BP's man "On the Beat" is on the hot seat today, taking questions about everything going on inside the game.
John Perrotto: Hi, everybody. As Esteban Loaiza is fond of saying, let's chit-chat.
Goose (Chicago): Do you think this weekend's performance finally puts Aramis Ramirez on the national stage? One All Star game? That screams underrated, then again the fans shouldn't be voting anyway, but that is a whole other discussion.
John Perrotto: Personally, being from Pittsburgh, I've known how good Ramirez is for a long time. He loves the chance to be in the spotlight. While there may no such things as clutch hitting, he seems like to hit with the game on the line. I do think he will finally get his due this year, though. He showed this past weekend just how good he can be.
BL (Bozeman, MT): Other than recalling Billy Butler, do the Royals have anything in the wind in terms of personnel moves? Wouldn't David DeJesus be a nice fit for the North Siders?
John Perrotto: Butler would be the main move the Royals would make right now. I think DeJesus would indeed make a nice addition for the Cubs and the Royals should think about trading him if they can get a good return. How about that Mike Aviles, though? He can't sustain it but it's been a neat little run for the stocky shortstop.
Amos (New York): People keep referring to Chris Antonetti as staying put to replace Shapiro in Cleveland, but isn't Shapiro a bit young for that line of thinking? Also, is DePo going to stick around to replace Towers in SD some day?
John Perrotto: I don't think Shapiro is retiring anytime soon but I also get the distinct impression Antonetti is very happy in Cleveland. I understand he is well compensated and likes being an important part of the decision-making process. The scuttlebutt around baseball is that the one job Antonetti would like leave for is the Washington GM job if anything ever happened to Jim Bowden. Antonetti went to Georgetown. Also, the San Diego situation is hard to read. There is always a lot of speculation that Sandy Alderson would like to bring in his own GM and Paul DePodesta would certainly fit Alderson's way of thinking. However, Alderson was pretty emphatic last week that he would not let Towers out of the last year of his contract if Seattle were to express interest in hiring him. All that being said, I'm not sure what to think.
Guancous (Silver Spring, MD): Hi John, have you heard if any other teams are interested in Rich Hill? I am curious if his trade value is higher or lower than Sean Marshall's. Thanks.
John Perrotto: I think a small-market club would be perfect for Hill. He's got an awful lot of talent but it's clear that he has lost the faith of Lou Piniella. Put him in a low-pressure environment and he could easily put his career back together. Yes, I think Hill has more value than Marshall simply because he has a higher ceiling, though I also think Marshall has a chance to be a good major-league starter.
Tony (Brooklyn, NY): If the Mariners wake up, which team is most likely to benefit from the fire sales (outside of the Ms themselves). Thanks!
John Perrotto: Well, there are a lot of contenders who can use a startig pitcher and the Mariners seem willing to move Erik Bedard, Jarrod Washburn and Miguel Batista. The Cubs really seem to want Bedard, so I'll say they would benefit the most _ if Bedard gets back on track.
Drew W (NoVa): Does MLB ever discuss expanding the DH to the NL or eliminating it from the AL? Do most people in baseball like the current system?
John Perrotto: Bud Selig would like to eliminate the DH as he is well documented as being a traditionalist. I think the majority of people in baseball would like there to be uniformity, either both leagues use it or they don't. However, eliminating the DH would have to be collectively bargained and the Players Association is not going to give up a position that generally pays well above the median salary.
R.J. (Beyond the Boxscore): John, what are the chances the Rays get serious about C.C. Sabathia?
John Perrotto: I think the Rays definitely have the depth of young players to be a factor in the Sabathia derby if they are really feel they have a chance to make the playoff this year _ and it's sure looking like they aren't a fluke with each passing day _ and are willing to accept that Sabathia would be a rental becuase they don't have the financial ability to sign him long-term.
Robert (Chicago): Even if Carlos Zambrano comes back 100%, the Cubs could probably use another starter - assuming they don't get Sabathia (probably can't beat other teams in a prospect deal, if he's even dealt), do you see any good fits out there, or is just a bunch of middling guys to the point where they might just want to hold their chips?
John Perrotto: I wouldn't count the Indians of the Sabathia sweepstakes. I think the Cubs will definitely try to add a starting pitcher. Though they downplay it, the Cubs know that the club they've put together this season has a chance to be very special and that whole 100th-year anniversary of the last World Series title is hanging over them. Look for them to back some kind of splash before the trading deadline.
Or (Dallas): What sort of return could thoroughly contributing veterans with a history of inconsistency and trouble (read Vicente Padilla, Milton Bradley) fetch in a trade?
John Perrotto: Well, the way teams covet starting pitcher and as well as Padilla has been pitching, I would think the Rangers could get something decent back for him. Bradley is good but there's always a question of the baggage he carries and that scares some teams off.
bpfan (nyc): Hey I have bought the last 3 annuals- cant I get a question answered?
Now that they have had some major league experience how would you rate the following highy touted pitchers= Andrew Miller, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Tim Lincecum, Homer Bailey
and Clayton Kershaw. If Detroit had a do-over would they still select Miller over Kershaw?
John Perrotto: Of course you can get a question answered. I'd rank them like this: Chamberlain, Lincecum, Kershaw, Hughes, Miller, Bailey. Though I'm sure they wouldn't say so, I think the Tigers would rather have taken Kershaw with the way it's all turned out.
JM (MD): Does the Phillies mini slide over the last 2 weeks change their approach to the trade market? There have been murmurs that Shane Victorino or Carlos Ruiz could be dealt off the major league roster in a big move. Any truth to that? Thanks.
John Perrotto: I just don't see the Phillies making a big move. I've been wrong many times before but I think, their recent sturggles notwithstanding, that they feel they already have a club good enough to play in October. I see them making tweaks more than big moves.
Corkedbat (Dallas): Anything holding up Roberts from leaving Baltimore (other than a good trade scenario)? I am hearing mixed reports about Angelos stopping such a move, despite his relatively hands off approach with McPhail. What do you report?
John Perrotto: I think the Orioles are going to hold on to Roberts through the end of the season. Everything has been extremely quiet on that front and I think breaking that streak of 10 striaght sub-.500 finishes means something to Angelos.
Tommy (OPS,FL): The Rays are in need of some RH punch in the lineup. Besides Nady, who do you think is a possibility for them?
John Perrotto: Nady is really the guy at this point that makes the most sense. I think they'll be players for him.
scottziegler (Beaver Dam, Wi): What kind of #'s do you see Lind putting up the rest of the year? The next thing is will they let him play this time?
John Perrotto: I'm not good at projecting numbers like some of my colleagues at BP but I do think Lind will hit. He looked good Sunday in Pittsburgh and I think the Blue Jays are finally committed to giving him a chance.
Trey (SD): But John, the official rules of baseball state 9 players per side...in the AL they have 10 at a time, so technically it is not baseball. The DH is awful.
John Perrotto: Agreed. I don't like the DH.
Howard (Johnson): I don't get JP Riccardi. I know it's more complicated than this, but he seemed to get the job as one of the hot new minds from the 'Moneyball' era sabermetric community (ala DePosta) but he seems to be retaining his job against all reason as a member of the 'old boys network' (ala Chuck LaMar). Care to share any insight?
John Perrotto: Well, Ricciardi was a scout for the Athletics more than a "numbers guy" like DePodesta. I think when it comes to the heart of the matter, he trusts his scouting instincts more than the numbers. He has indeed changed philosophically since taking the job and, as the results show, I don't think it's necessarily been for the better.
Nate (Work): Braves need to fill the out-sucking black hole in LF. They have the prospects and a little fiscal flexibility. Who makes sense?
John Perrotto: How about Barry Bonds? OK, I know that's not going to happen. I think Matt Murton would really be a nice fit there. He could help them now and in the future.
Stephanie (DC): Why do you think the Rays would prefer to bring in a pitcher like Sabathia as opposed to a true right fielder to add some power and mitigate the Hinske/Gomes/Gross/Floyd experience?
John Perrotto: I'm not so sure they would prefer to bring in Sabathia. The question was if the Rays had would it took to get Sabathia. I think adding someone like Xavier Nady would make more sense than Sabathia.
Brent (Raleigh): How strange is the saga of Rich Hill this season? While perhaps not unprecedented, this whole situation just seems like one of the more bizarre collapses I can ever recall a successful starting pitcher experiencing.
John Perrotto: It's very strange. Again, Lou Piniella is a demanding manager and some guys get psyched out by him. I think Rich Hill is still a very good bet to have a good career. He just needs to get in a differet environment.
Mike (Atlanta): Gorkys Hernandez or Jordan Schafer as Atlanta's centerfielder of the future?
John Perrotto: Gorkys Hernandez. We'll always wonder now if Schafer's 2007 was legit or not after he got bushted for HgH. I think Schafer will be in a different organization by the start of next season.
Corkedbat (Dallas): Any insight into Jay Bruce's decline in production the past few weeks?
John Perrotto: Well, for openers, it would have been impossible for him to keep hitting at the pace in the first 10-14 days of his career. The major leagues aren't as easy as Bruce made it look at the start. He's still going to be an outstanding player, though. Just call his slide regression to the mean.
Bill (New Mexico): Word out of St. Louis suggests that the Cardinals may get Albert Pujols back as early as Thursday. First, is the guy human? Second, does he give them a chance to catch the Cubs? I'm with Will: no matter how good you think Pujols is, he's STILL underrated.
John Perrotto: No, he is not human. I've felt since his rookie season that someone dropped him out of a spaceship because hitting isn't as easy as he makes it look. In fairness, Pujols is one of the hardest workers in the game. He's always either studying video or working out or taking extra hitter before games. Yes, he does give the Cardinals a chance to stay in the race but I still think the Cubs are just too strong in the long haul.
Vicente Padilla (Arlington, TX): What would "something decent" be?
John Perrotto: Say a young guy who could help the big-league club now and a pretty good prospect.
cchatham (Pittsburgh): Hey John, loved getting a chance to hear you on the radio last week. Anyway, have you heard anything from the Pirates FO on Ian Snell's elbow? BTW, speaking of Ramirez, will the Ramirez and Lofton for Bobby Hill, Jose K and Matt Bruback trade go down as the single worst trade in Pirates history.
John Perrotto: Thanks. Cchatham is referring to a guest host spot I had on ESPN 1250 in Pittsburgh last week where I had a chance to make a fool of myself for four hours. No word yet on Snell's elbow, though it would be a devestating blow to the Pirates if the injury is serious despite his troubles this season. The have no pitching depth in the minors. As far as the Ramirez trade, that was bad but that is one deal where I give Dave Littlefield at least a bit of a pass because he was under orders to move a big salary immediately.
Peter (Boston): John, do you think Sabathia has more value than Johan did before the season?
John Perrotto: Probably not quite as much because you're only getting him for part of a season.
jlarsen (DRays Bay): If the Rays end up with a mid-round first round pick and then trade for a Sabathia and get the compensatory picks for losing him, will the 3 combined picks be worth more than the prospects probably needed to acquire CC?
John Perrotto: Possibly if the Rays draft well and get a little lucky. Considering how well they've drafted, I'd say the odds are good that they would make out pretty well in this scenario.
jlarsen (DRays Bay): David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Jake McGee and Wade Davis....do the Montgomery Biscuits have one of the best 1-4 rotations in the minor leagues right now?
John Perrotto: That's a question better suited for our prospect maven, Kevin Goldstein, but you've got to like that rotation a whole lot. If they were hocky players, they'd be able to put the biscuit in the basket.
garethbluejays (Newcastle, UK): Three managers sacked in 4 days. How much effect does a manager actually have on a major league team? And what hold does JP Ricciardi have over managership to keep his job bearing in mind his record of futility?
John Perrotto: I think a manager can hurt a team more than help it as he can screw things up. Ultimately, you better have players to win. Talent trumps just about everything. As far as Ricciardi, I would say this is probably it for him this season if the Jays don't start turning things around.
Nate (Work): So Rich Hill and Matt Murton to the Braves for Jordan Schafer?
John Perrotto: No, Cubs need to use those guys to acquire more immediate help
Corkedbat (Dallas): Personal question: Ever play fantasy baseball? If so, do you kick butt?
John Perrotto: Unfortunately, reality baseball takes up quite a bit of my time, so I don't get a chance to play fantasy.
jlarsen (DRays Bay): Cubs too strong in the long haul? They're horrible on the road(under .500 possibly) and the Rays completely destroyed Marmol after Lou forgot he had Carlos in the 'pen for a few consecutive days. If Rays fans know anything, it's that Lou is known to make some very questionable moves that point that he was as much the blame for the Rays only topping out at 70 wins when he was manager as the front office was.
John Perrotto: I still think they are the best team in the NL Central, though your points about their weaknesses are well taken.
Robert (Chicago): Would the Cubs really just ship Matt Murton out for prospects to the Braves? Doesn't it make more sense for them to try and put him into a deal for a player who can help them win this year?
John Perrotto: Yeah, it does. I just don't see a whole lot out there they could help the Braves. Nady would be a possibility. There are still too many teams who believe they have a shot at contention.
Or (Dallas): A similar return for Padilla to what was fetched for Gagne, then?
John Perrotto: I think that would be realistic, yes.
wendtm (Chicago): CGonz - monster, solid player, or fringy regular?
John Perrotto: Not quite a monster but better than solid.
theguag (Louisville): Over the weekend, Rich Hill failed to make it out of the first inning - IN IOWA. He even had a throwing error over to first base. Who broke Rich Hill? Can anyone fix Rich Hill?
John Perrotto: I think he's fixable, just somewhere other than the Cubs. If I ran a club, I'd love to get my hands on him, especially if I could buy low right now.
Doug (LA): It is a little easier for the Rays to draft when they have the first pick every year.
John Perrotto: Definitely but they also pick the right guys. The Pirates pick in the top six almost every year and they still stink because they drafted the wrong guys.
Tommy (OPS,FL): Lets continue the Nady/Rays theme. What would it take for the Rays to acquire Nady? Niemann? Talbot?
John Perrotto: The Pirates will hold out for something pretty good because Nady is still under their control through next year, so he's not a three-month rental. I think they would prefer something better than Niemann or Talbot.
Tony (Brooklyn, NY): Have anything for us on Yankees minor league reliever David Robertson? Will he make a difference this season?
John Perrotto: He's got a chance to be a good one because he keeps the ball in the park. If he fine tunes his control a little more, he could help the Yankees in the second half _ or be used as a trade chip.
jlarsen (DRays Bay): I realize that you're not the prospect guy, but how long do you see Tim Beckham in the minors before we see a Longoria-Beckham left side of the infield?
John Perrotto: I think Beckham will be there quickly, like 2011. He's very, very talented.
Corkedbat (Dallas): Do you think there is an adverse affect on Ludwick when Pujols goes down? Is Ludwick legit in your opinion?
John Perrotto: I think Ludwick is reaching the point to where he is more than just a fluke. At the same time, he isn't a superstar and can't be asked to carry the lineup when Pujols is out _ and he hasn't.
R.J. (Beyond the Boxscore): Wouldn't the Rays be better served to give Justin Ruggiano an extended look instead of dealing for any right fielder?
John Perrotto: Well, until this year, I'd say yes. But if you have a chance to make the playoffs, you have to go for it. I don't think the Rays will be experimenting this year because they are a legit contender.
BL (Bozeman, MT): Do you enjoy college baseball on any level other than the 'see the future' thing?
John Perrotto: Honestly, I'm not a big college baseball guy. I just don't have a lot of interest in it.
Tommy (OPS, FL): What do you think the Rays should do with Edwin Jackson? There's nothing wrong with his arm, but he's hasn't taken the next step as a pitcher. Jackson/Niemann for Nady?
John Perrotto: I think Jackson has taken a step forward this season. He hasn't become a superstar but he's pitching better. Jackson and Niemann might be enough to get Nady. That would be interesting.
dmandell (Portland): Any concerns about Ryan Dempster in the second half? It's been some time since he's pitched a full season, and he's also pitching out of his mind right now. What do you expect out of him the rest of the year?
John Perrotto: Well, he certainly looks set up for a fall just because the innings are piling up. I will say this, Dempster is in the best shape of his career. He really worked hard in the winter to prepare for a much heavier workload. However, it's a lot to ask a guy to increase his innings pitched by as much as Dempster will be ask. I think there will certainly some regression.
jlarsen (DRays Bay): Hear about Matt Garza seeing a renowned sports psychologist? Do you think he's as "excitable" as Carlos Zambrano or did the Rays just replace one hot-head(Dukes or Delmon, take your pick) for another?
John Perrotto: Yeah, I read that. I don't think he is in Elijah Dukes' class (I mean who is? Not even Milton Bradley) or will do something as dumb as Delmon Young did in Class AAA. I'd say he's "excitable" like the Big Z.
Mike W (Chicago): Willie Bloomquist? Willie freaking Bloomquist? Now Riggleman is playing him! Does anyone in Seattle know what they are doing?
John Perrotto: I was around the Mariners for one game in late April and had the sense then that they were in for a really long season. Everything just seemed out of whack with them. It's hard to describe, just a feeling I had then. They need to completely overhaul everything there in my opinion.
Robert (Chicago): Not to keep harping on the Cubs, but since it was mentioned - do you think there's anything to their road struggles? They went 4-3 on a West Coast trip and took 2 of 3 from Toronto before that Tampa sweep. Does losing three fairly close games (two one-run games and that third game was close but for the seven-run inning late) on the road to a good team really make them "horrible?" That said, their hitting stats are much lower on the road - concerning issue, or sample size fluke?
John Perrotto: I'm still going to lean on the side of small sample size at this point but it is becoming concerning. I think it will level off at some point.
Goose (Chicago): Hold on, the Rays "destroyed Marmol?" Two walks and two hit batters is considered destroying a pitcher...more like they got lucky catching him on a bad day. Check the Rays road record...jeez, give the Rays a small taste of success and look what happens to their fans.
John Perrotto: I agree with you about the Rays' road record. With them having a younger team, I'm more concerned about their lack of winning on the road than the Cubs. As far as their fans getting a little uppity, well, hey they deserve it after all the bad baseball that's been crammed down their throats for a decade.
Sawx and Yanks fans (Bos and NY): What's with this Florida bias? Answer some East Coast questions!
John Perrotto: LOL. It's definitely a Gulf Coast bias today. Everyone wants to talk Rays.
Peter (Beyond the Boxscore): John, do you see the Pirates dealing Jason Bay? If so, do you think they can get a package similar to what the Rangers received for Mark Teixeira last year?
John Perrotto: I think the Pirates will only deal Bay if they feel they can get two or three pieces who can help them now or in the future. If you look at the trade deadline the last few years, there haven't been many Teixeira-type trades. Furthermore, I just don't think a team is going to give up half its farm system for Jason Bay. He's well-regarded but not that coveted.
Tommy (OPS,FL): With Price being promoted to AA, if he should have success from now until September and the Rays are contending, do you see him as the 2008 Joba Chamberlain?
John Perrotto: I haven't heard anything about that or even thought of it, but that's a heckuva idea. Joe Maddon is a BP reader and maybe he'll see your suggestion.
R.J. (Beyond the Boxscore): Can Freddy Garcia be an asset to a contender as a 5th starter this season? And do you have any idea what his velocity is sitting at?
John Perrotto: Garcia is truly a wild card but someone will take a chance on him. He is supposed to work out in front of scouts sometime next month, so we'll find out then what his velocity is and if he can't help someone. Stay tuned.
Tommy (OPS, FL): Last one from me, um Florida is on the East Coast for those keeping score.
John Perrotto: Good point
jlarsen (DRays Bay): Should every Rays fan just buy an Evan Longoria jersey now? He's got 12 HRs in under 70 games and it seems that his swing allows him to hit them deep without much effort. It's gonna be frightening when he starts to adjust against LHP and hit against them too.
John Perrotto: Sure, if they have the money to afford you, go ahead and buy it.
jlarsen (DRays Bay): What would it take for the Rays to acquire Derek Lowe? I personally would love a groundball pitcher like Lowe replacing Jackson in the rotation. We seem to be on very decent terms with Colletti.
John Perrotto: Well, I don't think the Dodgers are ready to be sellers at this point as they aren't that far off the lead in the West.
Ronnie Woo (In His Own World): After the Cubs win the World Series, what will the Cardinals and White Sox fans use as a comeback to cocky Cubs fans?
John Perrotto: I have no idea.
Hombre X (Edge City): A lot of questions have referred to the CC Sabathia Sweepstakes, but Joe Sheehan wrote today that the Tribe should be buyers, not sellers. Where does the club stand on this right now? Are they looking to deal CC?
John Perrotto: I get the feeling the Indians aren't ready to call themselves sellers at this point. However, I'm not as sure as Joe that hey are going to be in the race come stretch time.
jlarsen (DRays Bay): How long will it be before Washington gives up on Dukes? I know what kind of a special player he is, when his mind is right, but he's really messed up and childish sometimes.
John Perrotto: They seem committed to trying to get him on the straight and narrow. We'll see.
Adam J. Morris (Houston, TX): Why do the Rangers keep getting mentioned as a contender in the Sabathia sweepstakes? Given that they are 7.5 games out, and Sabathia is a f.a. after the season, why would they give up a big package to rent him for 3 months?
John Perrotto: I don't know why. I don't see the Rangers as contenders right now and certainly not close enough to give up a large package of players for a rental
Adam (NY): You mentioned Maddon reads BP. Any other managers that you know of pimping the product?
John Perrotto: I know Manny Acta and Joe Girardi are readers.
Corkedbat (Dallas): Goint west... but east of the continental divide, if the Rockies are sellers, who do they shop?
John Perrotto: Garrett Atkins, for sure. It seems like they are ready to cut bait after he turned down their long-term contract proposal.
Robert (Chicago): How is the NL West this bad? If Boston sweeps Arizona - not the most unlikely prospect - every team in the division will be below .500 by midweek. Wasn't it the deepest in the NL last year? Obviously Arizona wasn't 90-win good last year and the Rockies were a three-week wonder, but both teams were so young I assumed they'd only be better. Not so, apparently.
John Perrotto: Perhaps the D-backs and Rockies were a mirage.
John Perrotto: Well, unfortunately I've got to run. It was a lot of fun. Thanks for all the questions.