Hey folks, It's a good day for a chat. And to all you moms out there, have a great Mothers Day next weekend. Let's take some questions.
Biggest free agent bust so far? Biggest trade bust?
Hey Kevin, I would have to go with Josh Hamilton and his .511 OPS as the biggest free agent bust. As for trade busts, you might want to start with the Toronto Blue Jays roster.
Well, given the article up... I'd like your take on the best pitcher in the AL
Kyle, I'm a big believer in track records, so it's going to take more than a month to knock Justin Verlander off that perch for me.
Jerry, how do the Rangers sweep the Red Sox, yet the new Power Rankings has the Red Sox leap-frogging everyone to #1? Typical ESPN east-coast bias? (Just joking on the bias comment)
Hey Christian, I haven't even seen the updated Power Rankings. Is that really the case? I'm not on the power rankings committee, so I don't have any special insight into how those guys decide. Sorry.
Thoughts on the season that James Loney is having? Maddon doesn't let him bat often against LHP, but he is tearing up RHP. Any chance we see him playing more?
Kevin, I think Maddon is doing a nice job of spotting Loney and putting him in situations where he can succeed. He has only 1 homer in 83 at-bats, but nine doubles. If they start playing him against tough lefties, you might not be liking him quite so much.
Brian Wilson. Does he sign? should he sign? does anybody want him?
CJ, I checked on him recently and I was told he's just not ready. Keep in mind that this was his second career TJ surgery. I wouldn't be surprised if sometime in the next month or two he has an open audition and throws off a mound. There will be a lot of clubs watching if and when he throws.
When do you think Tampa calls up Myers? And what do you expect from him, when and if they do?
JB, The Rays people say Myers has been "OK" in Triple-A, holding his own but not quite burning up the International League. He has three homers and an .805 OPS in 105 ABs. I think there's a good chance we see him in late June or around the All-Star break -- sometime after the arbitration cutoff date passes. Some teams have the luxury of not worrying about that; the Rays aren't among them.
Two or three teams you really enjoy watching this season?
Rob, I really like the Orioles. I've been around that team and they have a good vibe. They've taken on the persona of Buck Showalter and they don't fear anyone, so they're very tough in the late innings. I'm also getting a kick out of seeing the Royals show some feistiness. I like Dayton Moore and his group and it's good to see them enjoying some success. It's been a rough stretch for baseball in that city.
If you could pick 3 stadiums to watch a game, which ones would you pick? Thanks!
Ernie, Hmm, good question. Probably PNC Park in Pittsburgh, AT&T in San Francisco, and Camden Yards. I've always thought that the Seattle and Houston parks are very underrated. I'm sure I'm missing a few.
Frank Fransicso may be back soon. Could the Mets get anything of value from the Cardinals (or anybody else) for him?
Frank, I don't see it. He's got an extensive injury history, and I've never seen him as the type of guy you want on a mound in a big spot. I can't imagine he'd attract a whole lot of interest.
How do you think the Phillies feel about Michael Young so far? Was a fan of his in Texas but also thought he forced organization's hand a bit.
Kyle, Everybody who's been around Michael Young as a person loves him. As a player, he's still a hit collector. But he's grounding into a ton of double plays this year, and his defense at third base is only so-so. I'm sure the Phils would love to have a third baseman with more pop, but there are only so many of those guys out there.
What should we expect from Brian McCann when he returns?
Tyler, I suspect he'll show some rust out of the gate. But if he's healthy, the guy will hit. I know some people in Atlanta are on the Evan Gattis bandwagon, but Brian McCann has done enough at that city that they can't just casually toss him aside. Keep in mind that McCann is also playing for a contract as a pending free agent; that's a little extra motivation for him.
Hunter Pence is looking like his old self again. I guess last season's struggles was just a fluke (or just a lack of offseason ping pong).
Brian, Hunter Pence doesn't look pretty, but the guy certainly is entertaining, and he plays his butt off. He seems like a nice fit in that city, where the fans embrace the offbeat. If the Giants could sign Angel Pagan to a long-term deal, I would think they'd at least try to get something done with Pence.
Who do you think has the better rotation between Cardinals and Rangers and Why?
Patrick, I'd have to go with the Cardinals because of the depth. Darvish and Holland are terrific at the top for Texas, but I have my doubts about Alexi Ogando holding up for 30-plus starts, and the jury is still out on Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch. So far, they've been great.
Hey Jerry, do you think the Mets should bring up Zack Wheeler now?
Dan, Zack Wheeler just had his second straight good start, and the Mets are monitoring him closely. I don't know if there's a great rush, given that the Mets aren't going to win the NL East. But they're not going to mess around with him because of his "service clock" or anything like that. Once he's ready, he'll get the call. I won't be surprised if it happens soon.
Jerry - I am taking my boys to NYC to see our beloved Rays take on the Yanks. Should we go to the day game or night game? Is sitting on the RF porch a must at Yankee Stadium?
Kevin, Take them to a day game. That's what it's all about for dads and sons. A true slice of Americana. Judging from what I've seen on TV, there are plenty of good seats available in the Bronx. I don't know that it's imperative to sit in the RF porch (although I have sat there numerous times in the auxiliary press box during the postseason).
Do you think Halladay is done? If not, how can he revive his career?Thanks.
Denny, I would hate to say he's done, but the words "shoulder discomfort" and "Dr. Yocum" aren't exactly encouraging. Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay are two of the toughest, most competitive pitchers I've ever seen, and Carpenter was forced to walk away because of injuries. Let's hope the news is better for Doc.
Machado... future superstar or already there?
Rob, He's superstar caliber in the field, but he's going to be better at the plate -- at least in terms of power production. Scouts tell me they think he's capable of being a 30-homer plus guy down the road.
Jerry, I am pretty happy so far with my Tigers, but am wondering if the pitching and hitting will have staying power all the way into October. Do you think they are really for real?
Rick, I think Leyland will have to pick his spots with the older guys like Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez. Their defense isn't great, and the bullpen is obviously a concern. But as long as Miggy, Prince and Verlander are healthy, they'll be a dangerous team in October and will be capable of making a deep run. Yes, they're for real.
Jerry, did the A's need that series against the Yanks? They built up a chunk of their wins against the lowly Astros and disappointing Angels, but never really proved themselves against a winning team until now.
Brian, I think it was big for team morale. I don't care if the Yankees lineup has Jeter, Tex and A-Rod in it or Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay. There's something daunting about going into that place, and it had to be a boost for the A's to play so well against the Yanks over the weekend.
What do think is going on in Anaheim? Is Mike Scioscia the problem in Anaheim? A former player Trevor Bell said Mike was the problem in Anaheim. I honestly think its Jerry Dipoto fault.
Junior, As people have pointed out, this doesn't seem like the old Mike Scioscia-type of team that's built on aggressive baserunning and going first to third. It's a team of boppers now, and not as well-suited to his managerial style. To be honest, I think a lot of the responsibility for putting this team together lies at the feet of Arte Moreno. You don't think they would have spent $375 million on Pujols and Hamilton without a significant push from the owner, do you?
That may be the first time I've ever seen "our beloved Rays" used in a sentence.
Good point, Jack. I think Dick Vitale is also in that group, but it's a pretty small fraternity.
Is Oswaldo Arcia likely to stick in the majors when the Twins get back to full strength?
Ryan, Darin Mastroianni just had a setback in his rehab, so the Twins won't need to make a decision on Arcia for a while now. I guess part of the answer lies in the performance of Aaron Hicks, who has been better lately after a terrible start. There's no way the Twins keep both Arcia and Hicks around if one of them is going to be sitting on the bench. But they won't need to make that call until late May, it appears.
Who is more likely to rebound with respectable numbers the rest of the year: Heyward, B.J. Upton, or Uggla?
Chris, Once Heyward is healthy, he'll be OK. And B.J. Upton is probably trying too hard. Uggla is the least likely of the three, simply because he's such an all-or-nothing player right now. He just swings for the fences every time up.
Jerry, What are scouts telling you about Josh Hamilton struggles in Anaheim? Why he rebound to his normal numbers?
Keith, It's ridiculous how often he swings at the first pitch. He makes Pablo Sandoval look selective by comparison. I talked to a pitcher yesterday who said, "I'd never throw him a strike." It's OK for Hamilton to be aggressive -- he's always been that way -- but he's going to have a hard time getting on a roll if he keeps hacking at pitches six inches off the corner.
I think Hicks and Arcia are two different decisions, since Arcia doesn't play center.
John, Good point. I believe Arcia has been logging some time at DH. My basic point was that Gardenhire only has so many outfield ABs to go around, and it would be tough with Willingham, Parmelee, Hicks, Mastroianni and Arcia.
What is the record of fewest win by a bullpen on a playoff team? The Cards are on pace for less than 6.
Derek, The Cardinals' bullpen is 1-5 with a 5.45 ERA, although things have been better since Edward Mujica stabilized the pen at the back end. St. Louis leads the majors with 200 innings pitched by its starters. If that keeps up, I'm sure Mike Matheny couldn't care less how many "W's" he gets out of the relievers.
Aren't the Marlins callups of Jose Fernandez and Marcell Ozuna a good thing for fans after the team's cheap winter, and worth the cost down the road?
Will, I was at the Phillies-Marlins game, and that topic came up among some of the writers. The Marlins also have Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick in the minors, and Adieny Hecchavarria looks like the real thing. I think the objections to the Toronto trade were based more on timing -- coming so soon after the construction of a stadium funded largely with public money -- than the Marlins' talent haul. The Marlins actually do have some very promising young talent.
Just a note on the Cardinals, Jerry-bringing up Martinez and Maness has been as much a God send as Mujica has been at the end. Seems to have stabilized Rosenthal as well.
Thanks, Rich. That's one of the things I noticed about the Cards in spring training -- their stockpile of young talent. They love Michael Wacha, the young pitcher, and Oscar Taveras is one of baseball's best hitting prospects. They have the depth to call those guys up and plug them in without missing a beat.
Hi Jerry, Do the Cincinnati Reds have potential to run away in the NL Central, they are 12-4 at home but about 4 or 5 games under .500 on the road?
Rich, They're not going to run away in any division that has St. Louis in it. But they've taken some early lumps and they're hanging around. I still think they're a playoff team.
Hello Jerry, the Pirates have been playing well so far. What do you think of some of their young players like Starling Marte and Pedro Alvarez?
Nafis, Starling Marte just looks like a ballplayer. He's very athletic, has speed and plays an excellent left field. He could stand to cut down on the strikeouts, but that's going to happen with time. Pedro Alvarez is going to be exasperating at times, but you just don't quit on guys with that kind of power. I wrote a story on the Pirates young players recently, and Clint Hurdle compared Alvarez to a young Mike Schmidt. That might be a stretch, but Hurdle's point was that power hitters can take time to develop. Eventually the Pirates are going to reap the benefits of their patience with Pedro.
What can the Angels do to fix their rotation? It seems to me that at some point (Mid June til the trade deadline) they either have to go all in and deplete their system or think about trading Kendrick/Trumbo/Aybar for some pitching.
Greg, It's really tough to trade for front line pitching during the season. I'm not even sure the Angels will be relevant by late June or early July, when it's possible that guys like Jake Peavy or Cliff Lee might become available. And it's not just the rotation: If Pujols and Hamilton don't start hitting better, their offense will be suspect, too.
Thoughts on the Harper ejection?
Jay, Bryce Harper needs to use better judgment than to throw his hands in the air like that. (I believe Davey Johnson said that, too). But I think it would have been easy for John Hirschbeck to just turn his back and let things go rather than get into it with Harper like that.
Jerry, what do you think of the Arizona pitching staff? Can Miley, Cahill, and Corbin keep it up?
Derrick, I checked and Trevor Cahill (.264) and Patrick Corbin (.274) have low BABIPS. Are they due for a few more balls dropping in? Perhaps. Wade Miley has been good, but he's flirting with danger if he keeps walking so many hitters. On a positive note, Ian Kennedy and Brandon McCarthy are due to start picking up the pace here soon. That has a chance to be a pretty solid rotation from 1-5.
I hope its not the reason... but are there any whispers of a Josh Hamilton relapse? Does mlb test as strongly for drugs like heroin and cocaine as it does for steroids?
TK, I believe Josh Hamilton is drug tested multiple times every week because of his history of substance abuse, so that's not even a factor. I just wanted to address this to nip that speculation in the bud.
Jerry, I miss the term "dying quail." Did Costner kill it with that speech in Bull Durham, or is there a chance it could catch on again?
Ryan, It's hard to believe that Hawk Harrelson doesn't use it, Ryan. Hopefully it can become fashionable again. I agree with you that it's a great term -- right up there with "frozen rope" and "rhubarb."
Jerry, I haven't had the opportunity to watch any Dodger games yet this year. Has Kemp shown signs of injury or is it just a slow start? Dodgers seem to have a lot of injury issues so far.
Jon, Matt Kemp really struggled in the early going and has picked it up a little bit of late, but he only has 1 home run in 114 at-bats, so you wonder if his shoulder issues are behind him. That entire team has been terrible with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers aren't quite buried yet -- like the Blue Jays and Angels. But they need to start playing better soon, particularly against the other NL West clubs.
Make that an hour into the chat with no mentions of the Royals (The best story in baseball through the first 27 games.) C'mon Jerry, say something nice about us!
Eric, You missed my earlier response in which I said some nice things about the Royals. Seriously. My biggest question was whether the starting pitching would gel (jell?) quickly enough to make them competitive, but so far they're looking good.
Thanks for the questions, everyone. Let's do it again next week.