Hey folks, Looking forward to some fun interleague matchups this week. Let's talk some ball.
Brian Dozier for President! He's the most exciting thing to come to MN since Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.
Hey Brady, Yes, Dozier is starting to burst on the radar. He leads the majors with 31 runs scored. He's one of those solid, fundamentally-sound, old school players in the Twins mold, and they've been rewarded for their patience with him. I have to say I'm a little surprised by his power, as well. Too bad he can't pitch.
How long can the dodgers put up with Crawford? Its time to joc to be called up!
Hey Derrick, Kemp and Ethier aren't exactly burning it up either. I can understand why Dodgers fans have the "next big thing" disease and want to see Joc Pederson. But if things are a little tense there now with Don Matttingly trying to squeeze four outfielders into three spots, can you imagine what that clubhouse will be like if they call up Joc and play him everyday?
Jerry can you please explain to me why everything I read on ESPN is always somehow bashing the SF Giants? You guys never have anything good to say about us, even when we won our two World Series titles. Can you guys please stop praising average teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, and Cubs and please start respecting MLB's team of the decade thus far? Thanks. -Giants Nation
Ray, It's funny. I went on today and read Dave Schoenfield's blog post about how the Giants are thriving thanks to their offense more than their pitching this season. Then I scrolled to the comments section and saw a bunch of people ripping him and ESPN for our "anti-Giants" bias. Sorry, but I just don't see it. You'd be amazed at the comments we get from Braves and Brewers fans. Again, I just don't see it.
Assuming no improvement, what's going to hurt the Yankees' chances worse this year: Jeter's inability to drive the ball or his severe lack of range at short?
Hey David, It's hard to take one without the other. Let's face it: Derek Jeter doesn't appear to have much left in the tank, and it's affecting his all-around game. As Buster Olney mentioned on the podcast this morning, we might be nearing a time when they have to drop him in the order or cut back on his playing time. Tough to see, but that day might be close.
Jerry, do you think the batting order Fredi Gonzalez is using could/should be altered to help cover some of the struggles of individuals? Or do you think those struggles are beyond a batting order mix up helping at all?
Brad, Sure, you could argue that BJ should be dropped in the order, but I think Fredi wants to hit him higher up so he'll see more fastballs and find a way to get untracked. When a team has 4 mainstays in the order that aren't producing, the manager can only do so much to mask the holes.
Dustin McGowan your thoughts on his magical story of still being a relevant pitcher (two good starts with great stuff still) for the Jays after all the surgeries, set backs etc?
JaysFan, I was shocked when I was listening to a Jays broadcast in the car the other night and they mentioned that McGowan was drafted in 2000. Given what he's been through, it's a real credit to his character and his love for the game that he's still playing. He'll never have the career that was originally laid out for him, but he's inspirational in a lot of ways.
The Angels - Rangers 9 inning game yesterday lasted over 4 hours. Baseball is in trouble.
Greg, At least there were 23 hits and a bunch of runs scored. I have a bigger problem when a game is 2-1 with eight hits and it still takes 3:40 to play.
Jerry, the Tiger's pen seems to be settling down with Joba in the 8th, Nathan closing, and Hanrahan on the way. Does these developments make the Tigers the top AL team for the long season?
Hey Rick, The Tigers are the top AL team for the long haul because of their starting pitching and Miguel Cabrera, but I liked the Hanrahan pickup for them. They're taking their time with him and hoping he can fill a big hole for them starting in maybe late June. I think he will. And he only cost them $1 million in base salary.
Jerry, the Tigers beat the Royals like a drum over the weekend. Is KC not yet up to the task of being a contender?
Rick, I picked the Royals as a wild card team, but I'm not sure if they'll hit enough. Hosmer and Moustakas are an ongoing mystery. I still think they'll pick it up and be a playoff contender, but the lack of offense has been exasperating to watch so far.
What on earth do you make of the Mets offense right now? Sixth in the NL in runs scored, yet they have a pretty putrid team BA, OBP, and no power.
James, That's pretty good, considering that David Wright has one homer and Granderson has been a nonentity. I checked and they're third in the NL in hitting with runners in scoring position, which helps. It's also a commentary on some of the other putrid offenses in the NL this season.
With Porcello looking like he's turned the corner, would it make more sense to let Scherzer walk after this season and try to extend Porcello? He's younger and cheaper and shown he's durable.
Brian, The Tigers don't appear to have much choice with Scherzer. He wanted a boatload in the spring, and the price is only going up given the way he's pitched this season. If they can get Porcello for a price they're comfortable with, I have to think they'd consider it. Look what the Reds did with Homer Bailey. I'm sure the Tigers would be hesitant to put all that time and effort into Porcello's development, then let him walk just as he might be ready for a breakthrough.
Can Juan Lagares be a star?
James, I don't know about a "star," but he's a premier defender and he's making strides at the plate. Looks like he could be a solid CF for years to come.
What is wrong with C.C. Sabathia?
Ed, I saw him pitch last week in the Robinson Cano game, and his stuff is just very fringy now. A scout at the game told me that his command almost needs to be perfect, or he's gonna get whacked. CC is a real warhorse, but he's thrown a lot of high-stress innings, and all that wear and tear has taken a toll. Whether he's actually healthy now, we'll see. But you have to wonder.
I know it's still way too early to formulate any real opinions on teams yet, good or bad, but what do you think about the Pirates? Their pitching is just not the same as it was a year ago. Their offense is more or less the same with Alvarez and Marte struggling right now, but that happens with streaky hitters. Do you think they can turn it around?
Jordan, Well, they lost AJ Burnett, which hurt. And first base and RF, which were big questions in spring training, remain big questions. The Pirates are 13th in the NL in OPS at both positions. I know they want to be patient with Gregory Polanco, but the pressure is going to keep building for them to call him up from AAA.
Jerry, do you think teams will start rethinking those Super 2 deadline thing? George Springer is a perfect example of a player that would have benefited from a cup of coffee at the end of last season after he tore up the minors. He could have worked through some of his growing pains then and worked on improving this off season.
Jeff, I'm not crazy about the whole Super 2 deadline in general. Teams keep saying they want to wait so kids can get more "seasoning" in the minors, but we know they have an eye on that deadline. You're not the first person that I heard say George Springer would have benefited from a late callup with no pressure on him. Now he's hitting cleanup and there are a lot of eyeballs on him. Not the easiest spot for a kid.
does spriners slow start make it more or less likely that we see singleton soon
Mike, I'm not sure it affects things one way or the other, but I suspect the Astros would rather wait another month to call up Singleton. He's coming off a rough season, and he's only had one good month.
Dan Uggla. Sigh. WHY? Please explain why Fredi refuses to bench him. Why isn't his negative play in the field and at the plate, especially when there are 3 better replacement-level players available, keeping him firmly planted on the pine? Why isn't winning ballgames more important than continually failing to justify a bad contract?
Matt, Fredi benched him in the postseason, so clearly he's not hesitant to hurt his feelings. To me, this is one of those organizational decisions that have to be hashed out among a lot of people. If Dan Uggla is so bad that the Braves have decided they simply can't play him anymore, they probably just need to bite the bullet and release him. It's awful tough to keep him around as a high-priced bench player.
If Granderson puts up a full season of Jason Bay-like numbers will it scare off potential free agents from coming to Citi Field?
Dexter, I don't really think so. If a free-agent hitter can get four years and $60 million, or whatever, he's not going to say no because Bay and Granderson have flopped there. It all depends on what a guy's options are. For what it's worth, I think we need to give Granderson some more time. It's hard to imagine that he'll continue to be this bad.
On the subject of Uggla, I am no expert on the swing, but it seems like his swing is very reckless. How hard is it to recraft a swing, so that it would be more about contact and less a one handed home run attempt?
Brad, He takes a huge hack, no question, with that one-handed follow-through. He's made a lot of money and hit a lot of home runs this way, and he's 34 years old now. It's a little late for a swing revamp.
Read an article by some baseball writer yesterday about Jays thinking of trading Buerhle. Dont you think its abit premature for the Jays to do that being only 2.5 games out and all the teams on the AL east hurting?
NBBaseballNut, Yes, it's premature. I just think it's a case of writers looking ahead and concocting "what if" scenarios. It doesn't mean Alex Anthopoulos is thinking that way.
Any news on when the Cardinals will call up Taveras?
Matt, In spring training, I got the distinct impression the Cardinals were down on Oscar Taveras. They weren't thrilled with his work ethic, his conditioning or his perceived sense of entitlement. To his credit, the kid went down to Memphis and put himself back on the map. I honestly can't say when they'll call him up. It depends on injuries, who's struggling with the big club, and other factors. But the Cardinals aren't the kind of organization to panic based on 30 games.
Whose contract is the worst? A-Rod, CC, or Uggla?
Adam, All different categories. I actually think CC has given the Yankees pretty good value for his contract. If you can't get 4 or 5 solid seasons out of a pitcher on a 7-year deal, it's hard to complain.
Hi Jerry, other than Cishek, who was a revelation last season, are there any major league quality pitchers in the Marlins pen???
Hey Kevin, They sure have a lot of hard throwers down there in guys like Carter Capps, Ramos and Mike Dunn. Not always consistent, but that's a bullpen that no one enjoys facing. And Cishek is really good. Doesn't get enough press.
Did I mess something up? I type awfully fast and don't go back and check my grammar and spelling sometimes. Sorry about that.
Colon has been both solid and horrific this year...i know they needed to do something once Harvey was lost but giving so much to a 40 year old i felt was more risky then signing Arroyo (who i know hasnt been great this year) or just giving one of these younger guys a shot (like Montero whos dominating right now)...what do you think? things stay the same or he turns it around?
Adam, I think he'll be OK. It was only a two-year deal, and the Mets are counting on him more as an innings eater and a stabilizer than expecting him to be "the man" at the front of the rotation. Not a terrible contract.
Jerry, I just did some quick research, since 2010, across MLB batter strikeouts have increased each year in (projected to jump again this year) MLB while batting average and OBP has decreased (trending at .250 AVG and .318 OBP) this year. Why are we seeing this trend happening in baseball? Lack of plate discipline, bad instruction, better pitching?
Jeff, Great question, and one that we can talk about all day. Here's one theory I have: All young hitters want to do today is go to the cage and take 300 hacks a day. There are fewer and fewer hitters who go up there with a gameplan or think much about what the pitcher is trying to do with them. Combine that with more pitchers throwing 95 mph plus, and it's going to lead to more K's.
Do you see the Red Sox still being a legitimate contender?
James, Sure. They've been up and down, but I don't see another team taking control of that division. As I've pointed out before, Ben Cherington has some cash in reserve to make a couple of moves in July. I would expect the Red Sox to be among the busiest teams at the deadline.
How much of an impact do coaches have on a team? Roger McDowell gets a lot of credit for the Braves pitching success, but the team's hitting coaches don't seem to get much blame for lack of offense.
Tyler, Well, they've had Terry Pendleton, Larry Parrish and now Greg Walker, so apparently someone is paying attention.
Some of the credit for the Giants success has to go to the signings Tim Hudson and Michael Morse. Those have clearly been two of the better free agent signings from this offseason so far.
Frank, Definitely. Tim Hudson is such a pro and a stabilizing influence on a staff, and everybody knows Michael Morse can hit if he's able to stay on the field. Two very astute, relatively affordable signings by Brian Sabean.
Hey Jerry! What can you tell me about Matt Wisler of Padres? Be in rotation in 2014?
Ethan, I don't know much about Matt Wisler off the top of my head. But every time I've seen Bud Black and I ask him about the team's pitching, he mentions Wisler as a kid to watch. So I know the Padres like him.
What do you think the Mets could get in return for Dillon Gee? One of the lowest ERAs in baseball since last June when he turned his 2013 campaign around. The Mets will have about 9 SP's on their roster next year (Harvey Wheeler Syndergaard Mejia Colon Gee Niese Montero deGrom), so something has to got to give with one of these guys eventually.
Alex, Right now I'd file that under "a nice problem to have." I'd like to see Gee maintain this for a couple more months, but he has a feel for pitching and the Mets people think he's a legit middle-to-back-end of the rotation guy.
Yu Darvish or Masahiro Tanaka: Who will have had a better career when it's all said and done?
Martin, I can't even hazard a guess. I'm not that smart. Whichever ones stays healthy, obviously, because they both have ace-caliber stuff.
Funny all the time I'm reading SF fans bashing the world for bad mouthing their team and yet the writers pretty much universally so respect for them. I guess my question is which teams fans are the worst whiners?
Phil, Hah -- I might get myself in trouble for that one. I will say that Braves fans rarely seem to be happy with anything we write. And I've always had great respect for the Atlanta organization. Go figure.
Jerry, if the Phillies aging core keeps producing all year and stays healthy, any reason they couldn't make one last run at a championship?
Max, I've been thinking about that lately, as I watch Chase Utley hit so well, Ryan Howard look better than he has in years, and Jimmy Rollins playing with more energy than he has in quite some time. I don't think this is a title team unless Ruben Amaro Jr. finds a way to fix the bullpen, but they're better than everybody thought when people were writing them off as a 72-win train wreck in spring training.
Do you see Jason Heyward as a middle of the order hitter? I think he would do better with the pressure off of him in the #5 spot. What's your opinion on moving him out of the leadoff spot?
Michael, He was so good in the leadoff spot last year, the Braves thought that was the ideal spot for him. At this point, I don't think the lineup spot is that big a deal with Heyward. He just needs to start hitting. And if they move him out of the No. 1 spot, who hits there? Andrelton Simmons? Fredi Gonzalez might be addressing one problem and creating another one.
Jerry you believe C.Young of Mets can play well for remainder of season or does he lose OF job eventually?
David, My understanding is that Terry Collins will try to figure out a way to get ABS for Young, Lagares, EY Junior and Granderson in the outfield. Young has power, can run and plays very good defense, but he's a free swinger and he has some holes, so they're probably best served picking their spots and finding convenient days for him to take a seat.
Have you been impressed with Corey Kluber to this point?
Andrew, I have. Not so impressed with the Indians. They can struggle offensively and John Axford doesn't always inspire confidence at the back end of the pen. That was a crusher to the White Sox.
How far do you see the A's going this year?
Tony, They've been great, but I just have a hard time being as upbeat over the long haul with the injuries to Parker and Griffin. I'm sure Billy Beane and David Forst will be trolling for pitching at the deadline, but it's awfully hard to replace Parker.
Hi Jerry, Have you seen Dellin Betances lately? Here in our fair borough we're rooting for a Brooklyn kid to make good, especially after a lot scouts were pessimistic about his chances with the Yankees.
Keary, I haven't seen him much, but it's hard not to notice 28 strikeouts in 15 innings.
The platoon has started for Mike Moustakas for the Royals. How much longer will it be before he is potentially sent down to Omaha. Also the Royals just got waxed by the tigers; outscored 26-9 in 3 games and the offense is not there and the pitching is hit and miss... This was pegged as the year for the playoffs by Management... At what point do us fans stop believing in the team and management
Hey Mike, I went on KC radio this morning, and I could sense the frustration. I don't know what to say about Moustakas. In spring training, George Brett said he had finally learned to take the outside pitch the opposite way and was ready for a "breakthrough." Very disappointing start.
Follow-up to that Jeter comment - your buddy Schonfeld said that he wouldn't be surprised if Jeter retired mid-season if he can't produce. You think that's a possibility?
RJ, Things would have to be colossally bad for that to happen. But I wouldn't be surprised to see him make a DL visit or two.
Jerry, come on, Dillon Gee a legit mid rotation to bank end type of guy? I'm not saying he's an ace or anything but hasn't he done enough to prove that he's a little better than that!
Jamie, He's a 28-year-old command and control guy with a 3.77 career ERA. Front of the rotation means a No. 1 or 2. For the Mets, that means Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard. If Gee can slot in behind those guys and Niese as a solid No. 5, I think the Mets would be thrilled.
Jerry, Do you see Jack Z surviving the year in Seattle?
Ken, I do. The Mariners have been playing better lately, and now they have Hisashi Iwakuma back to add depth to the rotation, with Taijuan Walker on the way. If they can finish around .500, I don't think he's going anywhere. (I'm not sure all my baseball writing cohorts share that opinion, but that's my take).
Can we admit the NL East is better, or at least deeper, than everyone was saying at the beginning of the year?
Kevin, Yes it is. The Marlins and Phillies might be better than people think, and the Mets have a solid rotation. So the NL East might be pretty competitive from top to bottom.
Thanks for the questions, everybody. I have to run. Let's do it again next week.