Hey everybody, I'm already in Detroit looking forward to Game 3 of the ALCS. I've got a great view of Comerica Park from the window of my hotel. Very cool! Let's start the chat.
Joe Girardi says he wants more instant replay (lets ignore the fact that his remarks are after the fact). Will this particular blown call result in more instant replay next year or will Bud continue to back the umps?
Ryan, Hey, I'm an advocate of more replay, but I think there are a lot better examples to use than the Jeff Nelson missed call yesterday. The umps are generally good on safe-out calls, but it's the fair-foul calls, HR balls and trapped balls where they really need help. Also, it's a misnomer that umpires don't want instant replay. They'd love it as a security blanket so they don't have to live with the ignominy of a bad call in a big spot. I think they just want to make sure it's use properly.
Do you see any chance of A Rod bouncing back and having an all star caliber season again? The dude looks done.
Zack, I think it's safe to say that A-Rod's days as a superstar-caliber player are behind him. He can still be a productive player, but his bat has slowed to the point where he has a lot of trouble against the elite RH power pitchers. Maybe he's not entirely healthy and he bounces back next season, but I just don't think that will happen.
Are you a believer yet. Tell the rest of the espn writers except stark that we want to hear all of you eat crow
Sam, Yep, I'm a believer. About what, exactly?
Is Carlos Beltran a hall of Famer? Postseason numbers are ridiculous with the best OPS beating two guys named Gehrig and Ruth.
Zack, Interesting question. I checked, and Beltran has 7 All-Star Games on his resume, but only one top 10 MVP finish in 15 seasons. When you look at his Baseball-reference.com comps, you see a lot of names like Ellis Burks, Shawn Green, Reggie Smith, Fred Lynn and Jim Edmonds. He has a chance to strengthen his case with another 2 or 3 elite seasons, but I think he falls a little short.
Do you think there will be an overreaction in NY with Cano's awful postseason where they trade him?
Jon, I don't think we're at that point, but this is certainly reducing Scott Boras' leverage for a huge mega-deal. It's amazing how quickly the narrative changes in a week. But let's not overreact and run Cano out of town just yet.
Jerry, under what circumstances does Leyland bring Valverde into a game again this season?
Rick, Not sure. Valverde did some work on the side with pitching coach Jeff Jones yesterday, and the Tigers are hoping things click in a hurry. Maybe they bring him on in the 7th or 8th if they're ahead or behind by a few runs. Leyland clearly isn't comfortable throwing him into the fire just yet.
What was Sam in Stockton talking about? Just curious...
Z, Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe he thought I was writing off the Stockton Ports.
A lot of Reds fans feel Dusty Baker was outmanaged by Bruce Bochy in the NLDS. Baker seems to manage postseason games as if they were regular season games. Curious as to your take-- Is that why is his postseason record is so awful in closeout games?
Jux, Let's remember that they lost Johnny Cueto to an injury. Otherwise, I really think they would have won that series. Also, I watched that final game, and I didn't have a problem with Baker leaving in Latos to pitch to Buster Posey. Latos had sailed through the first 4 innings and unraveled in a big hurry. Sometimes it's about the players and not the manager.
Will the Orioles make a play for any big name FAs? If so, which ones?
D-Lo, I'm honestly not sure who. The O's already have about 8 potential starting pitchers and Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman on the way. Maybe they pick up an arm to deepen the bullpen, but it'll just be a setup guy. They have to figure out what they want to do at second base and left field, and decide whether to pick up Mark Reynolds' $11 million option. I see it as more tinkering than doing something huge.
Funny that Girardi is in favor of replay now and didn't say a wordabout it when Cuzzi missed what would have been a game winning hit by Mauer a couple of years ago. This call didn't matter as the Yankees were already behind and never did score a run. Forget about replay it has ruined the NFL.
Richard, To be honest, I'm kind of tired of calls for replay every time something happens in the postseason. I've been watching the Yankees for 10 days now, and trust me: They're trailing in this series because their hitters stink, not because of Jeff Nelson.
Davey managed game 5 with his heart (allowing Gio to complete the fifth to get the "win" and Jackson's insertion in the seventh so he could redeem himself) and it cost him. Where were Mattheus & J Zim (he only threw 12 pitches in blowing away the heart of the Redbirds order the previous game)? btw, I was there.
Pat, Gio Gonzalez won 20 games and is a Cy Young candidate. If he couldn't pitch well enough to get through 5 innings without a control meltdown, that's pretty bad. It's not easy for a manager to start counting down outs with his bullpen when he has 14 or 15 outs to go. Besides, the Nats had a two-run lead in the ninth with their closer on the mound. How did that work out?
We pause for news out of Cincinnati: Dusty Baker has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Reds. Now we return to the regularly-scheduled chat.
Al Manager of the Year, Bob Melvin or Buck Showalter?
Ryan, Wow, that's a tough one. As much as I respect Melvin, I'm going to go with Showalter for changing the losing culture in Baltimore and giving them a 180-degree attitude makeover. Also, the manager has to get some credit when a team goes 29-9 in one-run games. But either guy would be a worthy choice.
Who has the edge in tonight's game? Carp is great, especially in the postseason, but after doing some research, looks like the Cardinals' hitters have struggled against Vogelsong their only two appearances against him.
Damian, I never bet against Chris Carpenter in the postseason. And the Cardinals just have that go-the-distance look in their eyes. I'm almost ready to make plans for a Detroit-St. Louis World Series.
Thoughts on Oscar Taveras? Do you buy the Vlad Gurrero comps?
Zack, When every minor league authority that I respect refers to him as a "young Vlad Guerrero" or a "young Alfonso Soriano," I only know that the kid must be pretty darned good. But that's a lot to hang on a kid who's only 20.
I'm surprised no one not talking about Cano's defense in the 7th inning. The Yankees could have got a double play and the game would remain scoreless
Jake, Ian O'Connor of ESPN New York wrote a piece today about Cano and his seemingly indifferent attitude when it comes to defense and baserunning. Ian pretty much dis-assembled him.
DO you think the Cards be in the position they are right now if they had KEPT Albert Pujols?
Chris, Sure, they might be. But they're better positioned to move forward with the payroll flexibility they gained when Albert left for the Angels. It would only work if guys like Holliday, Beltran, Yadi, Allen Craig & Co. produced, and they've done more than enough to allow the Cardinals to compensate for the loss of Albert.
The Yankees are trailing because their offense has been awful. That's a given. But taking Girardi's points more generally, that the stakes are so high in the postseason and margins of error slim that getting the call right should be paramount. Don't you think all players would agree with that? Get the call right and not let players feel like they haven't gotten a fair shake.
George, I'm all for getting calls right, especially in the postseason, and I have no problem with expanded replay. I think people were just more put off by the timing of Girardi's rant. Maybe he just got tired of talking about how awful their offense has been.
Do you think that the Yankees would hit just as well with Tom Tresh in the OF, Horace Clarke at 2B and Joe Pepitone at 1B?
Greg, No, because those guys all have to be in their 70s by now.
How devestating is the Jeter injury to the overall attitude in the Yanks' clubhouse?
Kevin, Hey, it's only been a day. But you could tell by the glazed look in the eyes of the other New York players that Jeter's impact goes well beyond his contributions on the field. It was interesting yesterday: If Jeter were in the clubhouse, I'll bet he wouldn't have said a word about that Jeff Nelson missed call. He's just not built that way.
Beltran signed a two year contract with the Cardinals last off season. Do you think the Cardinals give him an extension? His power can not be replaced by Taveras's skill set.
Damian, It's worth considering. I think the Cardinals might have had some concern about Beltran's knees, but he certainly hits as if he's healthy. He's a great fit there, and it would be nice to see him play out the rest of his days there.
Jerry going back to one of the previous questions bout Carlos Beltran's H.O.F possibility: Do you believe that even if he has 2-3 more good years plus maybe 2-3 excellent playoff tears he will not get in? How much does playoff performance alone effect his legacy?
Tyler, It should help his cause, no doubt. I just checked and Beltran has a 1.305 OPS in 29 postseason games. That definitely merits a "wow." If Jack Morris can get Hall of Fame points for one lights-out World Series performance, Beltran should benefit from his October heroics. But I don't think Andy Pettitte's great postseason track record will get him to Cooperstown, and I'm sort of in the same boat on Beltran.
Do you think the Tigers close out the series in Detroit with Verlander and Scherzer?
Paul, I'm not in the business of predicting sweeps -- and keep in mind that a fully-rested CC Sabathia will be going against Scherzer in Game 4. But if Verlander shuts down the Yankees the way he's capable of in Game 3, they might be too demoralized to muster any resistance against Max on Wednesday.
Surprised Jeter isn't traveling with the team to Detroit? I thought his mere prescence alone and baseball acumen would be a valuable asset heading in hostile territory....?
Kevin, He's going to Charlotte, NC, to get the ankle checked, and Joe Girardi said yesterday that it's not optimal to travel with this kind of injury. It could lead to swelling in the ankle and other complications. This was a pretty bad injury. And to be honest, if he can't play, I don't know how much he's going to help them anyway.
If you could pick the starting pitching, bullpen, batters from the four remaining playoff teams, who would you pick and why?
Jeff, Right now I would go with Detroit's starting pitching, St. Louis' bullpen and probably the Cardinals' offense. Does that sound right?
But Jeter has such calm eyes...
Charles, Yep, they're dreamy.
Have you looked at Beltran's numbers?? Hes already at 65 WAR and has had 7 seasons of 5+ WAR and three others that were above league average. He was a terrific CF defensively and one of the best 5 players in the league for a good stretch. Hes a HoF now and with 3-4 more solid seasons, hes a no-doubter. Not really close
Josh, He has some strong points for sure, but he's only around 2,000 hits, and writers do tend to look at the "counting" numbers as well as the rate stats. I believe a lot of the statistical community thinks Jim Edmonds is pretty much a no-brainer as well. When Tim Raines has a hard time getting in, I don't think you can classify Beltran as a no-doubter.
More of a comment, but here goes: Beltran is a very good player...he's led the league exactly once in any category, and that was games played. 0 MVP's, 1 top 5 finish, and 7 AS games...which are subjective, out of 15 seasons. He's got to have...3 very good seasons left to get in the HOF, or to at least be seriously considered.
Jason, There's the Beltran counterpoint. Thanks for weighing in.
Let's say Swisher's postseason is enough to convince the Yankees to let him walk. What do they do in the OF for next year? Ichiro, Granderson, Gardner?
Jason, At this point, most people expect Swisher to walk. There are a bunch of other outfielders on the market this year (Josh Hamilton, BJ Upton, Michael Bourn, Torii Hunter, etc). I'm not saying they're great fits for New York, but if there's a position to troll for free agents this winter, outfield is probably it.
Is picking up Granderson's option for next year still a no-brainer? He's turned into Rob Deer.
Es, If the Yankees relied on the past two weeks to make roster decisions, A-Rod, Swisher, Granderson and Cano would all be history. They're going to have to take a step back after the ALCS (assuming the Tigers bounce them) and make some hard calls in a less hysterical atmosphere. That's probably not Brian Cashman's foremost concern at the moment.
Not to look ahead, but who would you pick in a StL-Det World Series matchup?
Steve, I picked Detroit over Atlanta before the postseason, so I'll show some consistency and stay with the Tigers. But that Detroit bullpen really does scare me. I know people say Leyland should just write off Valverde for the season, but the Tigers aren't thrilled with any of their other closer options. They need to get him fixed in a hurry.
Where does the Barry Zito contract rank on the list of ruinously awful contracts? Has to be top five.
Zack, It's easy to bash Zito. But run down the list of $100-million plus contracts, and you'll find a lot of bad ones. Do Vernon Wells, Carl Crawford, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee, A-Rod and Ryan Howard for nine figures qualify as great deals to you?
You think the Yankees regret trading Austin Jackson and Phil Coke?
Jim, Granderson, despite his struggles this October, has been a very productive player for them. So no, I don't think Brian Cashman spends too much time replaying that deal.
Thanks for the questions, everyone. I have to jump on an ALCS conference call now. Sorry I couldn't get to more. Let's do it again next week.