John Perrotto is BP's man on the beat, covering the game from the inside.
John Perrotto: Hi, everybody. Hope all is well. Let's talk some baseball.
Joel (Washington, DC): John, will the Pirates trade Jason Bay? What is a reasonable return now that Bay is back to being one of the more productive outfielders in the NL?
John Perrotto: Yes, I think the Pirates will trade Bay closer to the non-waiver deadline on July 31 when his value is highest. I think a reasonable return would be a major-league ready player of good value along with a top prospect. They are not going to get a Teixeira-type haul for Bay but they should get something good back.
Scott (Greenville, SC): Shouldn't Barry Bonds take off his Jay Bruce costume and let the world know what he is doing?
John Perrotto: As much as I think he can still help a lot of teams, I really think we've seen the end of Barry. There doesn't even seem to be any teams even kicking the tires on him.
Dennis (LA): Just wanted to ask your thoughts on Steve Pearce. Think the Pirates will call him up later this year despite his early struggles and do you think he will make an impact his first few years in the majors? Thanks for your great work!
John Perrotto: He's really struggled all year at Class AAA Indianapolis and it's a bit of a mystery after the big year he had last year. I think he'll get a callup at some point and I still think he's going to be a good player but not a superstar.
Cidy (Wilmington): At what point do the Padres remove Trevor Hoffman from the closer role?
John Perrotto: That is a tough, tough question. The guy is an icon and perhaps no player in baseball is more closely associated with his team than Hoffman. It's a delicate situaton but I think once the Padres commit themselves to a full-bore youth movement later this year, they'll have to move on at closer as well.
Alex (Houston): If you took a boy of median athletic genes and had him work 8 hours a day at hitting, would he have a legit shot at reaching the minors0? D1?
John Perrotto: Yes, I think hard work can achieve a lot. You still need God-given talent, too, but hard work can help close that gap.
Matt (Mt. Albert, Ontario): Matt Stairs: first-ballot hall-of-famer, or will they make him sweat an extra year?
John Perrotto: As a person, Stairsy a first-ballot Hall of Famer as he's one of my favorites. As a player, well ...
ynkxxx (nyc): My sp are HALLADAY,ZAMBRANO,SHEETS,VOLQUEZ,BURNETT,VERLANDER,CUETO and just picked up on waivers COLON....I was offered C UTLEY for ZAMBRANO and CANO....seems like a no brainer but my biggest need is speed .
What ya think ?
John Perrotto: I'd have to do it. Utley's a great, great player.
tycobb (ga): what's jeff francis's deal?
John Perrotto: I know this sounds simplistic but he's just not pitching well, falling behind in too many counts, leaving too many pitches up in the zone. He's in a funk like the rest of his team and can't pull out it. I still think he's pretty good, though.
Mike (Utica,NY): What do you think of Carlos Gomez's start this year(you hyped him pretty good last year) and do you think Jason Heyward is the next Jay Bruce?
John Perrotto: I think Gomez is an outstanding talent who can be a superstar and he is already taking steps in that direction. Heyward is going to be a good one but I think probably a level or two below Bruce.
Taylor (Toronto): Would a Adam Lind and David Purcey for Bay deal workout well for both teams? Wouldn't Lind project as a lefthanded Bay with a little less power in his prime?
John Perrotto: I think the Pirates would want some higher-end guys than Lind and Purcey. I don't think Lind is in Bay's class and Purcey doesn't excite me.
Bill (New Mexico): Followup on the Jay Bruce Q: does he improve the Reds enough to make them relevant? They've dug a pretty big hole and some other teams in the division are overperforming.
John Perrotto: They won't be relevant this year But guys like him, Votto, Cueto and Volquez make the Reds a chance to be really good in the very near future.
Swingingbunts (NY): Hi John, What's up with Towles? I expected some struggles, but he's been awful.
Also, why haven't the Mariners recalled Clement? It's not like they can get any worse with him in the lineup.
John Perrotto: I'm a little surprised that Towles has struggled this long but Cecil Cooper seems very commited to sticking with him. I don't get the Mariners handling of Clement. They called him up, he struggled a little and they sent him right back down. It's pretty obvious they don't have much faith in him as they are playing Miguel Cairo, for crying out loud, at first base.
tycobb (ga): how long till dempster hits the wall?
John Perrotto: I think it's inevitable he does into some decline. One would be a regression to the mean. Two would be the fact that such an increased innings workload will catch up to him.
Matt (Mt. Albert, Ontario): But seriously... about Alex Gordon: some people look at his year and see progress in strike zone awareness and think that the power will come very soon; others seem to think his batting average rests on luck with singles and that his breakout won't happen this season. Maybe both are wrong, but what should we expect over the rest of the season from Gordon?
John Perrotto: I think Gordon will continue to improve this year then consolidate his gains and really break out in 2009. I've had a chance to talk to him and he seems like a bright and focused kid.
Wendy (Madrid): Now that Kershaw has been knocked around and opinions of him have hopefully come back to earth... what do we expect from him for the rest of the summer?
John Perrotto: I think he'll have his ups and downs like most very young pitchers and I think control will be a problem at times. On the whole, though, I think the kid is the real deal and will eventually turn into a No. 1.
Joel (Washington, DC): John, don't want to make this chat too Pirate focused, but are you sticking with your draft prediction of the Bucs taking Pedro Alvarez if he is available? Will they take him over Tim Beckham if the Rays go with Posey?
John Perrotto: I think they go Alvarez because they feel they owe it to their fans and the rest of baseball to show that their penny-pinching ways are in the past. It would be tough to pass up a high-ceiling talent like Beckham, though.
Ira (North Texas): Think Eric Hurley sees the Rangers Rotation this year? Maybe September?
John Perrotto: I think September is realistic and I look forward to seeing him in the majors.
dianagramr (NYC): Worst first pitch ceremony ever has to be Mariah Carey's 5 bouncer in Tokyo recently, right?
On a more serious note ... will the Rays turn back into pumpkins now that Percival is DLed for a while?
John Perrotto: Yeah, that was a really bad pitch but when you look that, it really doesn't matter. The Rays are for real. My man Will Carroll says Percival will only miss the minimum and Joe Maddon will figure out a way to weather this little storm.
Dusty (Not Chicago): Reyes (the good one) has really been heating up... how do you see his year ending up?
John Perrotto: He'll be fine. He'll wind up hitting .280 with 15 HR, 60 SB.
Jessica (NYC): Xavier Nady is probably the most popular name among NY talk-radio callers trying to fix the Mets' first-base problem. What sort of package are the Pirates likely to ask for in a hypothetical Nady trade?
John Perrotto: I could see Aaron Heilman and a decent hitting prospect getting it done. However, that would also mean the Mets would need to find another set-up guy.
lemppi (Ankeny, IA): Could you share your thoughts on the Tigers inserting Willis back to the rotation w/Galarraga caddying for him? (even though Galarraga has been their best starter for a month) Thanks!
John Perrotto: I just don't understand how a team struggling like the Tigers are can take a kid who has been their best starting pitcher and put him in a piggyback situation. I understand finances dictate that Willis has to be a starter, but still ... It just seems like with all the juggling the Tigers are doing with their lineup and rotation that they are grasping at straws.
warclub (Cleveland): John: You're a great addition to BP. Anything in the works about the Indians doing something to get a hitter?
John Perrotto: Thank you. It's great to be a par of BP. I know the Indians have been calling anyone and everyone in an attempt to try to find a hitter and haven't had any luck so far. It seems no one is willing to trade yet so the Tribe is going to have to find a way to stay close until we get nearer the trading deadline.
hisjazziness (Pittsburgh): Johnny Baseball, what's happening? Who else will go from the Pirates? Nady, Marte, Grabow, etc?
John Perrotto: All of the above. The Pirates know they have to tear things apart and start all over again. They need as much young high-end talent as possible to come into the organization.
Homer Bailey (Cincinnati): Do I stick around for good this time?
John Perrotto: You will if you throw strikes and don't get so comfortable in the big leagues.
wwfwwf (New York): What is the deal with Daniel Bard? Is he for real and when we will see him pitching at Fenway?
John Perrotto: Right-handers that don't throw strikes don't inspire much confidence. I'll say, no, we won't see him at Fenway.
collins (greenville nc): John, any idea why home field advantage is so high (.575) this season? Thanks for chatting.
John Perrotto: I've thought about that and asked people in baseball that and no one seems to have an answer. I really don't know. I wish I had a better answer than that fo ryou.
Jim Leyland (Motor City): Have you looked at Galarraga's peripherals? He hasn't been that good this year.
John Perrotto: Yeah but on that staff, he's still looking pretty good.
John Perrotto: Well, that will do it. Thanks for all the good questions and it was fun chatting. Let's do it again soon.