Our man on the beat, John Perrotto, stops by to dish the latest news from inside the game.
John Perrotto: Hi, everybody. We're in the home stretch of regular season now, so let's talk some baseball.
Pat Andriola (Tufts): Are the New York Mets one of the top 5 teams in baseball?
John Perrotto: Not with that bullpen, they're not.
Pedro Alvarez (NY, NY): Will I be a Pirate soon, or do I take the offer from the local 7/11?
John Perrotto: Only the Shyam Das, the arbitrator, can answer that question but hopefully the saga will have a resolution soon.
NealH (Pgh, PA): John,
What do you see the Buc's Neal Huntington doing in the off-season: blow-up the rest of the team and dealing vet's (JWilson, Sanchez, AdamL, the pierogies, etc) for prospects, or try to slowly recover to respectability?
John Perrotto: I would say the reconstruction will continue. Huntington knew from the time he took over that he needed to rebuild the organization from top to bottom. Going on 16 striaght losing seasons, I can't say I blame him for feeling that way.
Frank (Las Vegas): Brian Cashman has said he has "buyers remorse" over the Nady deal - do you believe him? And why (or why not)?
John Perrotto: I haven't read that but I would say it was because he gave up a lot of starting pitching help to get Nady. Though Nady has been extremely productive and I can't imagine the Yankees aren't happy with what he has done, though Marte is another story as he has been a huge disappointment.
Dale Berra's Stash (Pittsburgh): John - what can you tell us about the long-term prosepcts of Jarek Cunningham. Can he stick at SS defensively? He had a heck of a GCL season for an 18th round HS'er.
John Perrotto: He has definitely been a pleasant surprise. The jury is out on Cunningham at shortstop but I do know the Pirates will keep him at that premium position until he shows he CAN'T play shortstop unlike how the previous regime with Pirates prematurely moved Neil Walker from catcher to third base, decreasing his value greatly.
Meddler (Brooklyn, NY): Is the Mets enormous run differential in inning #1 (especially compared to the rest of their innings) exclusively a product of good starting pitching and the guarantee that both Jose Reyes and David Wright will have a turn at the dish?
John Perrotto: I would say it's having two premier hitters liek Reyes and Wright at the plate.
drewfuss (kc): Are you on the "the draft is bad, end the draft" bandwagon at BP? As a Royals fan, I hope Hosmer gets back into action soon, and I get that he could have made a little more money as a free agent, but I fail to see any benefit for Ownership OR the MLBPA in enriching 18 year-olds over enriching Major League players (you know, their actual membership)... thoughts?
John Perrotto: I like the idea of the draft if actually helps the lower-rung clubs but that never seems to happen, latest case in point being Pedro Alvarez and the Pirates. I'm still a draft guy but I'm starting to lean the other way toward abolishing it.
Evan (Vancouver, BC): According to the Current Adjusted Standings, the top 5 teams in baseball are the Red Sox, the Rays, The Cubs, the Jays, and the Yankees (in that order). 4 of those teams are in the same division. How does this happen? Doesn't think show that competition promotes excellence?
John Perrotto: I do think that competition does indeed promote excellent, instead of crying the blues, the Rays built up their orgnaization and so did the Jays. The Orioles will, too, though Andy MacPhail and Dave Trembley need more time to clean up that mess.
dianagramr (NYC): Has any mid-season replacement manager ever been named Manager of the Year? Could Jerry Manuel do it?
John Perrotto: I think Manuel definitely has a chance. The transformation of that club has been amazing since he took over.
Pat Andriola (Tufts): Woah, John, you're going to say the Mets are not in the top 5 in baseball even though they are #2 in runs scored in the NL and have a great 1-2-3 punch in Santana-Pelfrey-Perez? The bullpen isn't THAT bad.
John Perrotto: That bullpen scares me to death, even if Billy Wagner comes back.
Steve (Nebraksa): Why does everyone hate on Kid Wonder, AKA Mr. Daniel "Don't Call Me Dan" Murphy?
John Perrotto: I love the kid. He's really, really given the Mets a spark along with Evans. Thsoe kids have played well.
John (NY): Better farm system: Mets or Yankees?
John Perrotto: That's a question that out prospect guru Kevin Goldstein could answer better but I'd say the Yankees, despite the Mets getting more help than expected from its system at the major-league level this year.
Mike (Chicago): With Zambrano and Harden both bitten by the injury bug, are the Cubs still a playoff favorite in the NL? I can't see dempster lilly marquis winning a playoff series.
John Perrotto: If Zambrano and Harden aren't 100 percent or close to it, then the NL playoffs are wide open and it would be almost impossible to pick a favorite.
Mike (Chicago): Was Jack McKeon manager of the year for the 2003 Marlins? Tony LaRussa should get the trophy this year, how that team was anywhere near contention all year is beyond me.
John Perrotto: I think you can make the case for La Russa, certainly, because it's been one of his better managing jobs.
Dan (Missouri): Is it me or is Ryan Howard having a really down year despite his gaudy numbers?
John Perrotto: He's still productive but, yeah, he could be having an even better season if he were just a little more selective at the plate
Craig (Philly): What's happened to Jimmy Rollins this year? It's pathetic.
John Perrotto: He is back to his old bad habit of swinging at everything. He's never been a real patient hitter but now he is just hacking away.
John Paterno (PHI): Could the Phillies even do any damage in the playoffs with Meyers and Moyer after Hamels?
John Perrotto: Moyer will keep them in the game but Myers is a real wild card. He could pitch a shutout or be gone by the third inning.
Aaron (YYZ): (This is long, sorry)
I was looking at the underlying team-level stats for the Rays and Jays, and there doesn't seem to be a lot different between the two teams beyond a little more power for Rays and a marked difference in their results in close games (46-20 for Tampa, 34-37 for Toronto) which has Tampa outperforming their stats and Toronto underperforming.
Cutting through the Tampa hype, are the two teams really that different right now at a talent level?
Seems like something that would make a good article...
John Perrotto: I would agree that the gap between the Rays and Jays isn't as large as it would seem. I love the Jays' pitching but I think they need one more big bat to contend.
Matt (Pittsburgh): John, where does Jose Tabata start out next year? Altoona or Indy?
John Perrotto: That's a good question. I'd say like Altoona, though how he looks in spring trianing could push him to Indianapolis.
big baby (nj): who are these jerks talking about the mets ad nauseum? seriously, stop talking about my mets. stop it. you weren't here all year long, now you're going to jinx them. i hate all of you.
John Perrotto: Easy, big baby, easy.
Bill (New Mexico): The media have Tony La Russa shooting off his mouth about the need to get an "impact player" for St. Louis in the off season, saying he'll be managing there "if he manages at all" next year, and so on. Just TLR being TLR? Or is he seriously thinking about hanging 'em up? Who's the "impact player", any guesses?
John Perrotto: Haven't heard who that impact player will but La Russa will be back. He goes through his little emotional spurts where he threatens to retire but he will be back, guaranteed.
Desmond ((NY)): Pedroia for mvp? seriously, somebody wake up those sox fans, no way that guy wins the mvp right?
John Perrotto: He just might. Voters weight late-season performance heavily and Pedroia has been on fire.
Aaron (YYZ): The one problem with the Jays lineup is that it's much more of a "solid everywhere" approach than a Stars & Scrubs lineup like Philly, so it's really difficult to make big gains on offense. Who do you replace?
(Rumor has it they'll return essentially the same lineup and rotation minus AJ Burnett but have close to 20 million coming off the books this year)
John Perrotto: That's the problem. They don't have much flexibility, which is why I see them being the same next year _ competitive, but not a contender, unless somebody like Wells or Rios just has a career year.
Tim (Sonoma, CA): For the playoff push, right now, who has the best 1-2-3 starters in the National League?
John Perrotto: Cubs with Zambrano, Harden, Dempster, though Diamondbacks are right behind with Webb, Haren, Johnson
gmehrhoff (Connecticut): So... who are the top 5 teams in baseball if the Mets arent one of them? Angels, Rays, Sox, Cubs, ??. There's no doubt in my mind the Mets are a top 5 team. The bullpen will be fine come playoff time with the additions of Pedro and Maine come playoff time.
John Perrotto: Despite the sweep this week, I still like the Brewers better than the Mets.
John Perrotto: Well, it appears we're out of questions. Thanks so much for all the good baseball chat and we'll talk soon.