Go on the beat and inside the clubhouse with BP's John Perrotto.
John Perrotto: Hi everyone. Lets' talk some baseball.
mef (Brooklyn): Re: All Star Picks - No Carlos Beltran? Really? 140 OPS+ and a 2.4 WAR (BR).
John Perrotto: He was under consideration but there were only so many slots available. He also didn't score quite as high in our WARP metric as he did in WAR.
Seth (Nanty Glo): Do you get the sense that if the Pirates remain in contention they will make a splash at the deadline? I am not talking about moving top prospects but maybe taking on a Carlos Pena type salary in order to have to give up less. I think the Nutting is cheap line is tired and worn out and they will take on salary as long as it is in with financial means of the team which apparently finally has some payroll flexibility.
John Perrotto: I think they almost have to do something if they're close. They have been saying for years that they will spend the money when the time is right. If they can get a Carlos Pena without having to give up a top prospect and just paying the $3.5M or so left on this contract, they've got to do it.
dan11995 (Atlanta, GA): Who are the most likely Braves to be traded away at the deadline? Mike Minor, Randall Delgado, Bethancourt? Please tell me that Tehran's going nowhere.
John Perrotto: There is no way they trade Teheran. I'd say they'd let Minor go in the right deal, though.
polyspast (Detroit, MI): Is team BABIP an effective tool in evaluating whether a team is overperforming offensively? What would a comparison benchmark be? Prior season BABIP or the league average?
John Perrotto: Yes, BABIP can indeed indicate if a team is getting lucky and league average would be the better benchmark to use.
pietraynor21 (pittsburgh): John, how many more wins or weeks of relevance will it take for the pirates to become buyers in July?
John Perrotto: I think if they are within four or five games of first place a week before the deadline, they've got to at least considering making some moves.
jhardman (Apex, NC): Thanks for the chat! I really like your "On the Beat" columns and especially love the quotes from scouts. How do you go about getting these quotes when the scouts are bound to know you'll use them in this context? Keep 'em coming. This level of baseball "news" is sorely needed as a mix from all the statistical analysis.
John Perrotto: Well, there are some things that are trade secrets but I will say that a free flow of information can be beneficial to both sides.
Matt (Chicago): With the proper amount of contract-eating, will the Cubs be able to get anything of value in return for some of their vets(Kosuke, Z, Pena)?
John Perrotto: Well, they'd have eat a LOT of Zambrano's money before they get anything. They made get a grade B or grade C player for Fukudome or Pena but not a top-of-the-line prospect.
jhardman (Apex, NC): Do the Pirates seem to you like a good fit to take on a player like Chris Davis and give him a shot?
John Perrotto: I'm not a big Chris Davis guy. I just don't think he's a big-league player.
Mickey (Gotta know . . . ): Are you the true identity of Not Jim Tracy?
John Perrotto: Well, Mick, you know it's interesting you suggest that I might indeed play a significant role in the evolution of the role known as Not Jim Tracy but I'd henceforth have no further comment on the subject to which you refer.
Tom Verducci (SI): Am I the best sportswriter, or just the best looking sportswriter?
John Perrotto: I'd kill for your talent --- and your looks.
Jmast7 (NYC): Is HACKING MASS truly and officially dead? :(
John Perrotto: I really don't have an answer for that. E-mail me and I'll find out for you.
Bill (Pittsburgh): If the Pirates make moves, what are their biggest needs and who might be some realistic targets?
John Perrotto: I think they need a bat (first base or right field) and one more starting pitcher. I think Carlos Pena would be a good target and Josh Willingham intrigues me.
Dan (NY): Is the NL Central now the Brewers' to lose?
Or do you see the Cardinals staying close enough to make a race of it when Pujols returns?
John Perrotto: I really think the Cardinals will find a way to hang in there until Pujols comes back. Love him or hate him, Tony La Russa usually finds a way to get the most out of his club.
Philip (San Diego ): Future in LF: Darnell or Jaff Decker?
John Perrotto: I had not to answer your question but I'm not really a minor-league expert. But it's hard to go against a guy named Jaff.
Gerald (Savannah): Who are your favorite players to deal with, both past or present?
John Perrotto: Geez. That's a tough one because there are so many good guys I have dealt with in 24 years of covering baseball. I hate to leave people out but some of my favorites would have to include Sean Casey, John Burkett, Jay Bell, Craig Wilson, Jason Schmidt, Michael Barrett from the past. From the present: Jason Bay, Cole Hamels, Carlos Pena, Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, Nyjer Morgan, Neil Walker, Joel Hanrahan, Adam Jones, Max Scherzer, Don Kelly, Chris Perez, Adam Dunn, Matt Capps, Torii Hunter, Kurt Suzuki, Ian Kinsler.
Eddie (Youngstown): What's your take on the Pirates' ownership at this point? Are they serious about winning - finally?
John Perrotto: Well, they have spent money on signing amateur players but now they must prove they will spend on the big-league club once it gets in position to contend (which could be this year). That is when the proof will be in pudding. I hope they live up to their promise but they aren't the most trustworthy group of people I've ever encountered.
Mike D. (Brooklyn): Related to the Pirates, do you think Cleveland will makes moves to improve for 2011 or stick to the long term plan?
John Perrotto: I think Chris Antonetti is very, very reluctant to give up very much of the future to contend this year. Ideally, they could have it both ways and win without using giving up much of the farm system. I think the Indians are a year away from really contending, though.
Phil (New Jersey): Thoughts on what's going on with the Dodgers?
John Perrotto: Sad. Very sad. You hate to see a great franchise like that be put in the situation it is now in. That Frank and Jamie McCourt leveraged the Dodgers to enjoy such a ridiculously extravagant lifestyle is just another example of the corporate greed that is swallowing our country.
Mike W. (Atlanta): Any thoughts on the next Cubs GM? Or are we stuck with Hendry for life?
John Perrotto: There are a lot of people in Chicago, who believe White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn would be a good fit. He's a North Sider and grew up living and dying with the Cubs, so he understands that franchise's very unique situation.
The Most Interesting Man in the World (Brooklyn): You watch the Pirates closely. I know there's been a lot of talk about Charlie Morton's season, but what is Jeff Karstens doing (beyond getting extra help from his defense) that he wasn't doing before to become a competent starting pitcher?
John Perrotto: The thing about Karstens is that he's a smart pitcher. He understands his own strengths and weaknesses as well as his opponents, and really uses that to maximize his talent. That being said, he does need a good defense to win because he doesn't get many strikeouts.
Shaun (UCR): Alvarez, what's he going to amount to?
John Perrotto: I know big Pedro has had a lost season but I still think he'll be a guy who hits 30-35 homers a year with a a low average, many strikeouts and a good number of walks.
Tom F. (St. Louis): Are there any young up-and-coming manager candidates out there?
John Perrotto: Someone I hear a lot of great things about is Boston third base coach Tim Bogar, who gets high marks for his baseball acumen, preparation and communication skills. I'll throw out a name that rarely gets mentioned --- Giants bench coach Ron Wotus. He's a sharp, sharp guy and somebody needs to hire him as a manager.
Clayton (Houston): Is Bourn the first Astro to go and would a Bourn for Minor deal be reasonable? I feel the astros need to deal anyone with value but from all I've read they won't be dealing Pence.
John Perrotto: It all depends on if the Astros will finally pull the trigger and start rebuilding, which they have refused to do, which in turn has set the organization back to where it has reached rock bottom. If I'm the Astros, I'd deal all my tradeable assets: Bourn, Pence, Myers, W. Rodriguez.
Trout Mask Replica (KC): If you had to pick one team to make they playoffs that would not if the season ended today, who would it be and why.
John Perrotto: I'll go with the Diamondbacks. It's a weak division, the Giants' lack of offense is going to catch up to them and I've got the feeling Kevin Towers will be able to wheel and deal his way to the NL West title.
Not Bill James (Not Boston): Mid-season award picks?
John Perrotto: AL MVP-Jose Bautista, NL MVP-Matt Kemp, AL Cy Young-Justin Verland, NL Cy Young-Cliff Lee, AL Rookie-Alexi Ogando, NL Rookie-Danny Espinosa, AL Manager-Manny Acta, NL Manager-Clint Hurdle
Justin (Tinley Park): If the Cubs trade Fukudome and Pena to the same team can they get 1 top prospect or do they just obtain additional B/Cs?
John Perrotto: They'd get 3 B/Cs instead of 2
Clayton (Houston): Who do you see on the Diamondbacks "buy" radar should they choose to add a player?
John Perrotto: I'll toss this name out there --- Matt Capps. He'd give them one more good arm for the back end to pair up with Putz and Hernandez.
Jake (Kalamazoo): What's the consensus in the industry about the Rays' draft? I sort of feel like they played it pretty safe.
John Perrotto: They did play it safe to an extent because, frankly, the price tag would have massive if they went with high upside players with ALL of their top picks.
Jake (Kalamazoo): Gut feeling: Rays going to buy or sell at the deadline? Or both?
John Perrotto: Both. I'm certain they will trade B.J. Upton but still try to win because they can plug Desmond Jennings in at center and try to trade for relief help and another bat with the money they save by trading Upton.
Bob (Seattle): What can the Mariners get for Erik Bedard? They're better off trading him, right?
John Perrotto: I would think they would be able to get a decent prospect for him but they are in a tricky spot. Do they trade him and raise the white flag in a winnable division or do they trade him and still try to contend at the same time? That's a tough call.
moose (vermont): Which of the three Let's are still around Aug 1 - Reyes, KRod or Beltran?
John Perrotto: K-Rod because of the vesting option that ensures he'll make big, big money next season.
thresh50 (boston): Your thoughts on Felipe Paulino would be very much appreciated. Also, is he a breakout candidate and what do you see as his upside?
John Perrotto: Royals pitching coach Bob McClure has really worked some magic with Paulino in a short period of time. He's got a big arm, which means his ceiling is high. If he can continue to throw strikes, I can see him being a possible No. 2. However, that still remains a big if despite his recent success with the Royals.
Bob (Seattle): I don't think Alexi Ogando's really a rookie...
John Perrotto: Ogando did not go over the rookie limit of 50 innings last season but he may have surpassed the service time requirements. Anyway, I'll change my vote to Michael Pineda.
Bill (New Mexico): Rumors are emerging from St. Louis media that Ryan Franklin may not be long for the Cardinals' roster. Got anything on that? If the rumors are wrong and they're intent on holding onto him, why? He's clearly cooked.
John Perrotto: I think he's on the way out in St. Louis.
Danno (Pittsburgh): If the Pirates try to add at the deadline what about someone out of nowhere like Hanley Ramirez. It doesn't seem like the Marlins and him are on the best of terms. Also, the Pirates don't really have any good SS prospects coming, plus he is already locked up. What type of package would it take and could they do it without including Tailion?
John Perrotto: Well, I don't think the Marlins would do a deal with Taillon. He would be an interesting player for the Pirates to pursue, though. It does seem as, though, he needs a change of scenery.
Jake (Kalamazoo): Biggest name that moves at the deadline?
John Perrotto: Jose Reyes
Vic (San Diego): Are you buying or selling Utley?
John Perrotto: I'd sell but I don't think the Phillies will.
scorpio (ecuador): Who is better long time Simon Castro or David Holmberg
John Perrotto: Holmberg. Love big lefties.
thresh50 (boston): Love these chats. Al Alburquerque -- Is he as good as he seems? Do you see him closing someday -- perhaps next year if Tigers do not pick up the 9 million dollar option on Velarde?
John Perrotto: A lot of scouts think he's pitching over his head but I've seen him three times this season and he's just blown people away. I'd be tempted to make him my closer next year if I'm the Tigers.
John Perrotto: Well that's all the questions we have. Thanks so much for all the great questions. I really enjoyed it and look forward to do it again soon.