Hey folks, Another exciting week in store in MLB as teams continue to fight for those wild card berths. Let's start the chat.
Whats the most fascinating storyline left with so few games to play?
Ryan, For me, it's the Orioles and A's both making spirited runs at the wild card spots. But you can also look at the fallout that will ensue if the Tigers and Angels fail to make the playoffs. I'm a Little Engine that Could type of guy, so I like the underdog storylines.
Has there been any player to have a better run of seasons without an MVP than Cabrera?
Stephen, I had a few minutes to look this up, and the list of great players with no MVP awards includes Derek Jeter, Robbie Alomar, Eddie Murray, Mark McGwire, Billy Williams, Al Kaline, Duke Snider, Dave Winfield, Mel Ott, Mike Piazza, Tony Gwynn, Manny Ramirez and Eddie Mathews, to name a few. So my shorthand answer is "yes."
The A's are fortunate that they came with one win in detroit and Ny, and if they split it with Texas is a succesfull road trp??
Rod, They have to be a little disappointed over losing Saturday's game, but if they can go 4-6 and maintain a slight edge over the Angels, they'll take it. I don't know if I'd call that "successful." But it's certainly not a disaster.
I must ask the weekly Mets question...If you were Mets ownership, would you consider trading Dickey, Wright, and Davis to see what you could get? Those three, especially Davis, could bring back some really good long-term pieces. They won't be relevant for at least two years, anyway. (Of course, one would have to understand next year's attendance would be awful)
Alan, It might be the best thing in the long-term if they can get a mother lode of prospects in return. But teams in New York don't operate in a vacuum. The Mets need someone for the fans to come watch play, so I just don't see that scenario happening.
Who are your AL and NL managers of the year? (I've got Buck Showalter(AL) and Don Mattingly(NL))
Harrison, I'll go with Showalter in the American League. As for the National League, I think the first place managers -- Johnson, Baker and Bochy -- will all get some support. You can make a strong case for Dusty Baker given how his team played in Votto's absence, and the way he didn't let his contract status become a distraction.
who is the front runner for nl mvp cutch posey or braun
Truman, I think Posey is still the frontrunner because of the offensive numbers he's put up as a catcher. The Pirates' late fade will hurt McCutchen, obviously, and Braun faces his own set of obstacles that I don't need to elaborate on here.
As a Cards fan, I am at a loss as to why Posey is the frontrunner for NL MVP while Molina is barely an afterthought. Their offensive stats are similar (obviously Posey has a slight advantage), while Molina is a superior defender. Molina is actually leading Posey in WAR. I'm not arguing that Molina should win (I'd probably vote for Braun), but I don't understand why we don't hear more about Yadi. Thoughts?
Alan, I think Joe Sheehan of SI wrote today that Yadi Molina should be NL MVP, so Yadi is gaining traction in some quarters. To be honest, names get tossed around and repeated and other names fall through the cracks because writers just don't have time to keep a running scorecard. Hopefully the writers will sit down at the end and give each award a good, honest, thorough assessment.
NL Cy Young is wide open right now. Does Kimbrel have an honest shot at winning it?
David, Hey, that ringing endorsement from Jayson Stark certainly can't hurt his cause. But I think he's fighting the proverbial uphill battle because of the innings differential between him and the starters on the ballot. I have an NL Cy Young vote, and I'm big on pitchers' workloads, so it's tough for me to get past. But Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman have both put up cartoon-like numbers.
At 1 point we were 16 games above .500,what happened?
Clint, You're 11th in the NL in runs scored in September and 14th in team ERA, so it's been an all-around team effort. And you probably haven't helped matters by running out some guys who looked dog-tired. It's been an unfortunate end to what was shaping up as a nice feel-good story in Pittsburgh.
Hi Jerry...What am I missing? the cards keep running Garcia out there and he keeps getting pounded!! I have not thought much of him since the beginning, so tell me what I'm not seeing with him... please!!
Kardfan, I checked on this and Jaime Garcia is 2-1 with a 3.22 ERA in September, with 19 strikeouts and six walks. So I don't think he's been quite as putrid as you're making him out to be.
Of Bourn, Victorino, and Upton, who gets the most interest this offseason?
Stephen, I'd go with Michael Bourn by a hair over B.J. Upton. BJ's power is a huge attribute, but you don't find many leadoff hitting center fielders who play great defense like Bourn. They should both do fine. Victorino hasn't helped his market with his performance this season, but I think he'll do OK in the end as well.
if the season ended today, who is the MVP of the AL? Trout or Cabrera?
Brian, I don't have a vote in this, thankfully. I would probably still take Trout because of his superior all-around game (defense and baserunning), but I don't think the people who malign Cabrera do Trout's cause any favors. The guy is the best hitter in the game, and even if he's no wiz at third, he plays everyday and he allowed them to sign Fielder by agreeing to move. If someone wants to vote for Miggy, I can totally respect that.
The key with Jaime Garcia is the home/road splits. He stinks on the road but is good at home and I have no idea why. If the Cardinals pitch him at home in the playoffs (if they make it), he should be OK. However, if the Cardinals are down 1-0 with Jaime lined up for game 2, I think many Cardinals fans would go through a bottle of Tums for that game.
Mike, Thanks for the clarity. Jaime Garcia is 3-2, 2.83 at home and 2-5 with a 5.67 ERA on the road. But we're talking 18 starts total, so a couple of clinkers can really skew the numbers.
Prado really can do it all - most recently playing SS for the Braves. What is your take on Prado at SS?Thanks!!
Brian, He's no Andrelton Simmons or Paul Janish at shortstop, but the mere fact that he'll play anywhere with no questions asked makes him an incredibly valuable guy. I've talked to players in opposing clubhouses, and Prado might be one of the most respected players in the game because of the way he handles himself and does anything to help that team win. He's a true pro.
Jerry,Two years ago the upstart Reds seemed to have a deer in the headlights look against the veteran Phillies in the playoffs. Do you think that experience will help them prepare for this year's postseason?
Joe, It can't hurt. I think it all comes down to how guys like Latos, Cueto and Bailey pitch on the big stage. Latos and Bailey have picked it up a notch in September, which is a great sign for that club.
Hey Jerry, big time yankees fan here and would love to see the reds and yanks in the world series so i could make the hour drive to Cincinnati and watch a game. in your opinion how realistic is this? thanks
Corey, It's as realistic as any other possibility out there. I watched CC Sabathia the other night against Oakland when he struck out 11 and hit 95 on the gun. If that CC shows up in October, it changes the equation for that team.
True, but if you look at Jaime's career, which is 90 starts, his home ERA is over 2 runs lower than his road ERA. Once again, I have no way to explain this, but it's there.
Thanks again for the info, Mike.
Which cellar dweller has the potential to come out of nowhere next year, a la O's and A's?
Stephen, I don't see Houston, Colorado, Cleveland or Miami doing it, so I guess that leaves Toronto and Seattle.
Jerry, why hasn't the Braves handling of Medlen (Bullpen in April, Starter in August) and his emergence when the Braves need it intensified the Strasburg conversation?
Stephen, The Braves get lots of credit for how Medlen has been handled, but I think even they would admit they didn't expect it to work out this way. If Jair Jurrjens had been healthy and productive and Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado had been lights-out, I'm not sure Medlen would have been thrust into such a prominent role. Credit the kid for taking the opportunity and running with it: He's been amazing.
It is possible that Miguel Cabrera could win the Triple Crown and the Tigers could still miss the playoffs. If that happens will there be a shake up within the Tigers organization?
Jeremy, Mike Ilitch has reason be disappointed if the Tigers fail to make the playoffs, regardless of how Cabrera's Triple Crown pursuit works out. But he's not a reactionary guy. Maybe I'm out of touch, but I think the perception that Dombrowski and Leyland are in big trouble is overblown.
From a story line standpoint, what potential playoff match-ups are you rooting for?
Mike, Anything involving the Orioles or A's is bound to be a lot of fun.
Does the fact that the Angels are not likely to make the playoffs influence my decision in signing with them this offseason?
Zack, I don't think it should. You've seen how things go there and had a chance to assess your comfort level. And they now have a better idea what you bring to the table long-term. If the Angels make the playoffs and get bounced in the play-in game, that really shouldn't affect your decision on your destination for the next 5-6 years.
In this day and age - with sabermetrics taking over a good amount of our understanding of what is important to win in baseball - is the triple crown THAT important to you and should it be enough to sway an MVP vote?
Todd, I understand the SABR argument that RBIs are a team achievement and aren't that meaningful. But when I've raised it with players and managers, they look at me like I have two heads. The Triple Crown probably shouldn't sway an MVP vote, but it does help symbolize what a great hitter Miguel Cabrera is and bring more attention his way. So much of the MVP voting is about "buzz." It's going to give him momentum with a certain portion of the electorate.
Jerry, given that they don't have an ace, I wouldn't make the O's a favorite vs. anyone in the WC, but in a full series, I think they've got a fighting shot. They've got a good record agains everyone but Texas, I think. I think we've also reached the point in the season where almost nothing they do will surprise me. What say you?
Nick, I spent two months writing off the Orioles, then I just threw up my hands and decided they're for real. There are some things in baseball that can't be fully explained by the numbers, and that team's success is one of them.
Gio Gonzalez lock up the Cy Young yet?
Jack, Very, very close between him and R.A. Dickey, with Clayton Kershaw also likely to get some support -- and it'll be interesting to see where Craig Kimbrel slides in. Dave O'Brien, an Atlanta beat writer that I respect a lot, gave a lot of credence to Jayson Stark's argument that Kimbrel is a serious Cy contender. This is going to be a tough vote to sort through.
So would you give Jim Johnson/O's bullpen the O's MVP? or Showalter? or Adam Jones?
Jay, That's a really apple and orange-y comparison. I would probably go with Adam Jones because he does so many things day-in and day-out for that club. He has really matured into a leader and a guy who's accountable every game. Throw in the power and the defense in center, and he's an incredibly valuable piece for that club. I think he helped keep them together when Markakis went down with what could have been a crushing injury.
The Orioles may be for real as you say but they don't have the look of a team built to make a run in the playoffs, if you want my unsolicited honest opinion. They've got to lose an extra innings game one of these day at a minimum.
Jason, I hear you. The rotation looks iffy for October and you have to wonder when the strain of pitching all those one-run and extra-inning games will catch up to that bullpen -- a la the Braves of 2011. But I'm past the point of saying that team"can't" do anything.
Jerry, one of your colleagues wrote earlier today that the Tigers and White Sox would finish in a tie, necessitating a one-game playoff at Comerica Park. Sale v. Verlander; Tigers win 2-1 on a 2-run homer by Cabrera. Sound okay to you?
Rick, That sounds like one entertaining scenario, but I would fear for Hawk Harrelson's health if it actually transpired.
Once the Dodgers traded for the Boston package I think a lot of people expected the Dodgers to take off, obviously that hasn?t happened. I think it?s always difficult to shake up the roster towards the end of the season & expect success. I think the players need spring training to learn each other more
Heath, That was my initial reaction, that you can't just throw a bunch of players together in July and expect them to gel as a team. I know it's a quaint and seemingly antiquated notion, but I don't see a lot of energy in that Dodger club. Maybe it's just a function of so many key components not hitting to expectations.
Will Jeter want to stick around long enough to collect hit #4,000?
Alex, As amazing as he's been, he's going to have to accept a move to another position in the next year or two. (Then again, a lot of people were saying that in 2009).
Let's pretend that the Braun PED scandal that was supposed to be confidential was never leaked, he'd be the runaway MVP candidate, right? Everyone was expecting him to regress with Prince no longer behind him and he's put up even better numbers...
Mike, I don't know if I would say "runaway," but he would be discussed a little more prominently than he is now. Personally, if I had an MVP ballot, I would assess Braun's candidacy based solely on his numbers this year. But if even 3 or 4 voters hold the offseason issues against him, that's going to put a severe crimp in his candidacy.
Any thoughts on Odorizzi's first start last night? Pitched really well through 5 then got roughed up a little in the 6th. Is he someone the Royals should count on being in the starting rotation next year?
Jason, Yep, they'll go to spring training looking for him to fill one of the five spots in their rotation.
Follow up to the Jeter comment, do you think he would consider playing somewhere else for a lesser team that would give him the at bats to try for Pete Rose's record. Say, let him play to 45-46 grinding out hits playing an extremely sub par defense somewhere. Say a team like the Astros this year. I can't predict who will be that terrible in a couple years.
Jason, I cannot see Derek Jeter wearing cowboy boots and a 10-gallon hat, no. No matter how much the Astros let him pad his hit total.
Jerry, how many names do you get to put on your NL Cy ballot?
Brandon, We get to put five names on the Cy Young ballots now. It used to be three.
Pitching is my teams biggest need, do you think I should part with perhaps Dee Gordon since we have Hanley & we can play him at short
Magic, Dee Gordon can run and play shortstop. But a .615 OPS in 526 big league at-bats probably aren't enough for him to fetch you a young, top of the rotation starter.
How do you explain the pirates collapse two years in a row?
Oaktown, Oops. I meant to respond to your question on the A's. As for the Pirates, it's just a case of too much bad karma. They were done in by the old Bucco Malaise.
Even though they lost two of three, I was impressed with the A's resilience. Can they make a post season run even with four rookies in the rotation?
Oaktown, Here's the one I meant to answer. I've been tremendously impressed with how the A's dug deep to win games in Detroit and New York on their current trip. One thing that concerns me is the workload for the young starters -- particularly Jarrod Parker. He was great against the Yankees Friday, but he's closing on on 200 IP. I'm not sure how much he has left in the tank.
You say "if even 3 out of 4 voters hold offseason issues against him (Braun)." Is that thought really that widespread? Everyone seems to think there is this overwhelming bias against him. But when anyone in business answers the question they claim "I wouldn't hold that against him."
Jackson, I can't read the minds of other voters. But there are 32 NL MVP voters. I would be surprised if at least a handful don't take Braun's offseason problems into account when they fill out their ballots. The good thing is, votes are public knowledge now, so they'll have to explain their rationales if he loses out by a hair.
Even if the Brewers dont make the Wild Card the run they have been on is pretty amazing. Next season should we expect them to contend if the fix the bullpen and possibly the rotation? That line-up is dangerous
Andy, I've said it before, but Ron Roenicke is really good. I was in Philly when his bullpen imploded in July, and he handled it as well as is humanly possible. If the Brewers somehow squeak into the playoffs, he should also be on the short list of NL MOY candidates.
is Tommy Hanson done or do you think another offseason of work and recovery from his previous shoulder injury will help get him back to a #3 starter?
Brian, Shoulder injuries are so difficult to assess. I always hesitate to say someone is "done," but the Braves clearly have reason to be concerned about Hanson.
How bad is it for the Marlins right now? ex mgrs calling out the owner, players playing better when they're traded, etc etc. What needs to change to get better?
Marcos, Do you have a plunger handy?
Thanks for the questions, everybody. It was fun. Let's do it again next week. Enjoy the pennant races.