Posted: Friday April 14, 2006 12:21PM; Updated: Friday April 14, 2006 12:56PM
How much will Coors Field wear down Jeff Francis and the Rockies' young pitchers?
Who do you think the Twins should try to trade for before the deadline? I think they need a power-hitting third baseman or some sort of DH with power. The older guys they brought in just won't cut it, but they've got the pitching to make a run. -- Justin, LeRoy, Minn.
Wow. We're talking trade deadline already, Justin? I think it's a little too early to completely give up on guys like Tony Batista. I think Luis Castillo will be fine. Rondell White ... I don't know. Whatever, coming off a three-game sweep of the A's, I'm sure the Twins feel pretty good about themselves right now. That said, GM Terry Ryan is not averse to making a move at the deadline if the Twins look like they'll stick in the race. We'll see in a couple of months.
I don't understand why everyone automatically eliminates the Rockies from contender status in the putrid NL West. Yes, I know this team is young and the back of the rotation is shaky. But I also know that every team in this division has numerous questions. With a good stable of young hitters and a revamped bullpen, I don't understand why no one thinks this team can compete. Do I think they will win the West? No, probably not. But they can compete for the crown in a division where 87-90 wins will probably do the job. -- Stirling Wade, Aurora, Colo.
A couple of things come to mind, Stirling. The pitching, No. 1. As good as it might be -- you certainly seem to think more of it than I do -- Coors Field always has a way of wearing down guys. No. 2, youth. Yeah, there are some good-looking young guys, but it's a long season and Coors can have an effect on position players, too (standing around while the pitchers struggle, covering all that outfield, that kind of thing). And who knows how guys like Garrett Atkins and Clint Barmes and Brad Hawpe will be in their sophomore years? We just haven't seen enough of them. I will agree with you, though, that if the Rockies want to challenge, they're in the right division to do it.
Does the tide of opinion within the M's front office soon shift on Adrian Beltre? We heard all last year that "he's too good a hitter, it's just a matter of time before he breaks out." No breakout observed from my seat in the stands. Maybe it's the contract year of 2004 that stands out, not the lack of production here in Seattle. -- Doug, Seattle
Former Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta was hung from the media yardarm for not re-signing Beltre after the '04 season. I think his successor, Ned Colletti, has to be happier than all get-out that DePo wasn't able to get Beltre to sign on the dotted line.
I don't know what the Seattle front office is thinking right now -- other than "uh-oh" -- but the Mariners still have Beltre for this year and three more on his original $64 million contract, and the way he's hitting, you have to think the Mariners couldn't trade that contract if they threw in the next great Japanese import and the Space Needle. Beltre doesn't look anything like the player who finished second in the NL MVP voting in '04 with a .334 average, 48 homers and 121 RBIs.
I don't think Beltre is as bad as he's been this season. But I do think he's probably more last year -- .255, 19 homers, 87 RBIs -- than he is '04.
How about everybody lays off the Cubs? I know a winning April doesn't mean a world championship is coming ... but all I hear is how bad the Cubs are going to be ... I am not saying they are the team to beat ... all I am saying is they are better than expected, so go bang on another team. -- Steve Tegnelia, Lynchburg, Va.
Steve ... who's all over the Cubs? I mean other than the ... normal gloom-and-doomers? The Cubs can compete in the National League Central. I love the bullpen ... it has a couple of pretty good starters, with more on the way.... A lineup with Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez in the middle is always dangerous, and it'll be more so if Juan Pierre can be the leadoff man the Cubs expect.... With the problems the Astros and Cardinals have, the Cubs should be fighting for this thing for most of the season.... Enough ellipses already.
Why is it that I don't see criticism of Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild? Doesn't he have more to do with Mark Prior's preparation, and Kerry Wood's mechanics, than the manager? Isn't it the job of the pitching coach to keep the pitchers healthy? If you ask me, a longtime Cubs fan, the problem with the pitching isn't Dusty, it's Larry. -- Pete Leiser, Chicago
Rothschild deserves some heat, too, you're right, Pete. But we know who calls the on-field shots there, and that's Baker. Just by Dusty's keeping Rothschild as his pitching coach, it's fair to assume that Rothschild is doing exactly what Dusty wants him to do. For good or bad.
Are there any indications -- with Brian Cashman more in control -- that the Yankees are going to try to develop some of their own stars? Do they have any projected stars in the making in their system at present? -- Jack Gibson, Neepawa, Manitoba
Jack, Baseball America has the Yankees ranked 17th in their organizational talent rankings. Last year, two homegrown prospects, Chien-Ming Wang and Robinson Cano, both paid off. But it looks pretty dry from there, at least in the high majors.
The Yanks' most talked-about prospects right now are outfielder Melky Cabrera and right-hander Philip Hughes. Cabrera had a cup last season, and he's on the 40-man roster now, but the 19-year-old Hughes still is way down in the minors. Not much chance you'll see him at all this year.
The Fielding Bible is full of itself. Michael Young is the worst shortstop in the majors? *eyes rolling icon* Does the Bible rate Derek Jeter No. 1? He can barely get a throw to first these days without a hop, skip and a jump and is undoubtedly the most overrated baseball player on the planet. It's rather easy to hit fairly well in the Yankees' lineup. We get plenty of Rangers games here and I was as skeptical as anyone that Young could handle shortstop after toiling at second, but he's more than adequate. Ask some scouts and people who have actually played the game. If I'm a GM, I'll take that guy in a heartbeat and have him among the top five shortstops in the game. -- Bobby Dozier, Tulsa
Well, Bobby, sorry to burst your theory here, but The Fielding Bible has Jeter down as one of the worst fielding shortstops ever. Last year, according to the good book, he missed 34 balls that an average shortstop could have had. Quibble with the book's methodology, that's fine. But I don't think anybody has anything, personally, against your guy Young.