In my opinion we just witnessed one of the best Hall of Fame induction weekends in a very long time. There was no steroid discussion or controversy. There were 3 , count them, 1-2-3 of the winningest managers to ever stand on the top dugout step inducted. And then we had what was probably the best control pitcher ever in Greg Maddux along with teammate and 300 winner Tom Glavine. All this along with a smasher that was never mentioned in any derogatory roid reports other than being a strong advocate against them, the Big Hurt Frank Thomas. It was a great day for baseball.
So, after all the hooplah that is HOF weekend, the gang enters the stretch to the playoffs with these burning issues/topics.
MLB RT, 7 / 28 / 2014
1. Which club currently below .500 has the talent/potential for making a run at the playoffs this season?
ARCHIE: I don’t see any team below .500 with the talent or moxie to make the playoffs this season. IF I were forced to SWAG one of them I would say Miami. Simply put, the Braves and Nationals both can go into huge offensive slumps. IF THAT happened at the right time Miami could possibly slip into maybe a WC slot. The problem with reaching playoff caliber now is all the wasted time and all the teams you have to pole-vault over to get there.
JOE: Tampa… I just think if they do not trade David Price and with their pitching as is presently comprised that they are not out of the race in the AL East. With a rotation of Price, Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Jake Ordorizzi and Erik Bedard only Bedard has an Era over 4.00. As a team their ERA is 3.65… It ain’t the pitching that is the problem, it’s the hitting. And if, just half the lineup could start producing, i.e., hitting, they could make a run at a wildcard if not the division.
STEPHAN: This is an easy one. Has to be the Tampa Bay Rays. As of writing this, they are 52-54, currently in fourth place in the AL East, only 7 games out of first place, and just 4 1/2 games out of the wild card race. With the way the Rays have been playing, going 19-5 over the last 24 games, they are in great shape the rest of the way, with plenty of baseball left to play.
SANDY: They have some young pitchers except for Bedard that have ERAs under 4.00, if Loney, Longoria, and Zorbrist can get hot they have a shot. There are 2 months left and 7.5 gms to make up. Its probably a long shot, but they have the best shot.
2. Which club not making the playoffs this season has the core talent to go from worst to first next season?
ARCHIE: From worst to first is a difficult challenge. The only club that has some great young talent and by adding a couple of key acquisitions in the off season IMO is Colorado Rockies. They have a great offensive core, they just lack the pitching to match.
JOE: Ignore my first answer and its Tampa… they just need to get some hitters and at least one guy in their lineup that can jack one out at any time. They lack that threat.
Otherwise… I really don’t think Seattle will make it into the playoffs this year and I think if they add an arm and another bat they can win that division next year.
STEPHAN: If they can land a good arm or two. I like the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. They have three potential stars on their team right now with Rizzo, Castro, and rookie Alcantara. I had a chance to see this team play against the Braves the last day before the All Star Break. They were down 10-2 late in the game, and never quit before falling 10-7. Plus you have Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant tearing it up in the minors, and could potentially be stars in the Majors.
SANDY: Chicago Cubs – They have some decent hitters especially Anthony Rizzo. They have a couple of decent pitchers, but need an upgrade in that area.
3. Next year’s HOF ballot will include Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Randy Johnson. Will they all get in?
ARCHIE: IF I WERE VOTING< HELL YES! To all. Each in their own right were very dominating in their era. Usually that is what it takes to sway voters.
JOE: Wow… If I am voting… I think Johnson is a lock.
Smoltz… is a borderline guy but is as close as a player can get. He has 213 wins but remember at one point he became a reliever for four years (154 saves lifetime) and for three of those years was dominant in the role. He came back for four more years. Throw out the last year which was inconsequential and for the other 3 he averaged 15 wins. So, arguably add in 13 to 15 wins per year for the four years he relieved and that gives between 265 to 273 wins. He has 3000 Ks and a 3.33 ERA lifetime. I could see myself voting for him. Like I said he is real border line. Those 3000 Ks are a number that will influence some voters.
And Pedro? He only has 219 wins but it’s the W/L pct that stands out… .687 lifetime. Three Cy Youngs, 3154 Ks and just 760 walks. And a lifetime ERA of 2.93 and a WHIP of 1.054.
In his prime, he was a threat to win 20, keep his ERA at around 2.25 with a WHIP under 1.000. In other words, he was dominant. I think I would vote for him. Whether enough voters think that way is the question. I think he belongs as first ballot entrant but I also think he may not get that status.
STEPHAN: I think the Big Unit and Pedro are locks. Smoltz may get in as well, but it will be very close for him. He will get in eventually, just not sold on him being a first round ballot. All three will get in in time. I personally would vote for all three on my ballot (if I was a voter).
SANDY: Yes – I think all 3 will get in you can’t put Glavine and Maddux in without Smoltz getting in. I’d be surprised if any of them don’t get in.
4. Chris Archer called Big Papi out after his bat flip following a homerun Ortiz hit against Archer. Archer has pitched in only 50 MLB games. Has he earned the right to question a guy like Ortiz?
ARCHIE: I always find it humorous when some young pitcher or player criticizes or calls out a big name. David Price calling him out is one thing, a young pitcher is another. Anyone that has watched baseball in the past decade KNOWS Big Papi does that on just about every blast. For him to take exception to it is kind of funny. I think he should just catalog it into his memory and maybe buzz him the next time they face each other. Now, by saying something, IF he buzzes Ortiz’s chin with a pitch, Umpires are going to be all over it.
JOE: Anyone can question any one. So, on one hand that is not..or should not… be the issue. I think it is dumb but its sot of baseball today. Macho dumb stuff. I don’t like the bat flipping along with a lot of other demonstrative stuff. But, it is a part of the game these days. So, unless you start making rules… like in football… that you can’t taunt or delay the game or whatever you want to call it then STFU. As trite as it may sound… it is what it is.
A lot of pitchers fist pump, yell and do all kinds of stuff on the mound so if a batter flips a bat… it just is not that important. Ortiz hit a tater off Archer and that’s the issue? Then next time strike the SOB out and that stops that bat flipping stuff… don’t it?
STEPHAN: I’m torn here, because I don’t like when players “showboat” and do a bat flip, or a walk down to first base watching the ball go over the fence. I do give Ortiz a little benefit of the doubt with all he has done and proven in baseball. Has Archer earned the right to criticize? Sure, it is his right to free speech, and he is a major league baseball player, so that in itself gives him the right to say something. Just don’t be surprised, Chris, when Big Pappi burns you the next time you meet up.
SANDY: Ortiz played it up taking 39 seconds to trot around the bases, but most players do the same thing, they all have their little quirks and its nothing to get upset about. I also think that if Archer wants to call him on it he should be able to do so, its not something you have to “earn” the right to do.
5. Any last thought before the trade deadline? Who you would like to see move? Which team would you like to see upgrade? Which team do you think needs to unload? Those types of things.
ARCHIE: I personally would like to see the Braves pick up Lester or Price. I don’t think the “Price is Right” for the Braves to acquire DP, but they might be able to land Lester. I think Adrian Beltre might be on the trade block and I can see where the Yankees might make a move for him. At one point I thought Cliff Lee might be on the trade rumors but he has not impressed since returning and he is currently due $25 million for the next two seasons. I don’t think he will move. The price for his services would be so high, unless the Phillies are willing to eat some of his I think the Phillies will not find a suitor.
JOE: JOE: Red Sox look like they may try to move John Lester. Dumb move but being a Sox hater that’s fine by me. Unfortunately, if they move him it’s probably to a team out west like the Dodgers or the Giants… maybe Seattle? Why the Sox are in that mode I have no idea but they did the same thing with Elsberry. So, going along with that then they probably need to follow suit and completely unload and reload with young pitching if they can.
I’m biased… the Yanks need a big bopper and another arm at the minimum. I have no idea who they can get but Cole Hamels and John Danks may be available and if the price is right I would try to make a move for either one. As for a bopper… is there really one available that is out there? Maybe Marlon Byrd?
STEPHAN: Last week I thought that Tampa may be sellers and trade David Price. Now, I think they could be considered contenders and they will stay put with what they have. I think the Braves need to get another pitcher to help them down the stretch. Maybe a guy like Cliff Lee from the Phillies? I think the Phils need to unload some of their talent and rebuild. They have enough star talent like Howard, Utley, and Lee, that they could get some solid prospects to help rebuild.
SANDY: I’ll talk Dodgers since I know that team better then others. They definitely need upgrades. Their hitting is inconsistent so a big bat is needed. They also have 5 outfielders so trading one would maybe bring in some needed relief pitchers. A starter would also be nice, but not needed, even with Haren’s last 3 outing being horrible. Boston and Dodgers have had talks about Lester/Kemp deal, but as much as I’d like to see them acquire Lester, he would be a 2 month rental and there is no good price for that. If he would be willing to extend w/Dodgers that might work. Mariners are also interested in Kemp, but I don’t see what they could give in return except Kyle Seager (brother is in dodgers minor league), but they wouldn’t part with him.
Tiny URL for this post: