Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Bryan (St. Louis MO): Joe, sticking with my NL Central theme and speaking of "lost arts" (mentioned in previous post), what is your take on "small ball". I grew up watching the "Runnin Redbirds" of the 80's, and the style of management with Whitey Herzog. Do you think that baseball would be better if it were back to the way it was in the 80s, or is the long ball here to stay? Maybe raising the mound back up would help a bit?
I'm not sure it would be better to go back to that style. I find it more interesting myself but the long ball is here to stay. Chicks dig the long ball. The ballparks are smaller and the ball is livlier. The era you are talking about, they had larger ballparks. The Cardinals stadium was really big and there were lots like that in the NL. Those have all been replaced with parks where the ball really flies.
[Mike: Oh no, Bryan again! "Welease Bwyan!"
"Do you think that baseball would be better if it were back to the way it was in the 80s, or is the long ball here to stay?" Those are two separate questions. My answers are yes and yes.
I don't think we will see the likes of Willie McGee again but baseball is coming down from its home run-induced high.
The long ball has been "here to stay" since Babe Ruth popularized the tater. "Chicks dig the long ball"-haven't they said "Home run hitters drive Cadillacs, singles hitters drive Fords" for decades (I think it was Ralph Kiner)? We just have had two extremes in the past 30 years which seems to be too close a juxtaposition for the wee baseball minds to grasp.
By the way, Joe, the Cardinals have played in the same stadium since 1967. So how did it get smaller?]
Ed Wahlgren: Dear Mr. Morgan, I got looking at Rickey Henderson's #'s from Newark and I appears to me he as been blackballed. I know there has to be a few teams who can use his services. How do you feel about this?
I can't predict. My personal thought is that I wish he would have retired. But no one can tell a player when to retire. I just wished he would have retired with all those great numbers he attained. But he says he still loves the game so if he wants to play, let him play.
[Mike: Joe, get off Rickey's back. I have heard you say he should have retired seemingly dozens of times. It's his career and besides, that's not the question.
"I can't predict."-huh? We know, you can't even answer a question, but what does that have to do with anything?
The question, which you again avoided-"ATFQ: Answer the f'ing question"-is whether or not Rickey is being blackballed, which is patently ridiculous. Why now? Why not 5 years ago after his peak?
Rickey was being considered by the Yankees last week before they acquired Karim Garcia. Rickey is a 44-year-old, well known trouble maker, or that's how he's perceived. He probably could help a bunch of teams in a specialized role, but the impression is that he will not accept a reduced role. So he languishes. And it's a shame.]
Eric Roseberry: With the obvious surplus of outfielders on the Reds and the recent grumblings of Adam Dunn and Jose Guillen do you see them dealing an outfielder, possibly for some starting pitching?
I think they should but they have to make sure they are dealing the right one. They have to decide who that is. Dunn hits HRs but he strikes out a lot.
[Mike: Are you out of your mind! Who cares how many times Dunn strikes out? What matters is what he does when he connects. His .210 batting average is poor but his 23 home runs, .356 on-base percentage, .519 slugging, and .875 OPS are not bad. Besides he is only 23 and should continue to improve.
Jose Guillen is only 27 but has never come close to equally his offensive production so far this year in any of his previous 6 seasons. He has already established a career high in home runs (15). But Guillen has never been close to a league-average hitter; his best year was 12% worse than average. At 27, this could be his career year, which the Reds could ride to victory, or it could be a two-month fluke. Given his history, I'm inclined to pick the latter.
Besides 30 years ago, Mike Schmidt hit .196 and struck out 136 times at the age of 23. Would you have recommended to the Phils to keep the then 32-year-old Cesar Tovar instead of the future Hall-of-Famer? The Reds should dupe some unsuspecting rube GM into taking the grousing Guillen off their hands for a decent starting pitcher and thank their lucky stars that they got the production that they did out of him.
If he trades away Dunn in favor of Guillen, Jim Bowden should be shot, not fired, on the spot.]
Dave (New York, NY): Hey Joe, I loved watching you play, and I love your analysis and Sunday Night games almost as much. I am a Mets fan, and I was wondering, do you think Jose Reyes can soon (next year) be a legitimate top-of-the-order hitter? Also, do you think the Mets are going to show interest in acquiring Carlos Beltran or Kevin Millwood during the offseason with the large amount of salary space they will have? Thanks for taking the question Joe.
[Mike: Or not.
Joe? Joe? Are you out there?
Joe, we're used to you not answering questions directly, but a complete dis?
Look, Reyes is batting .205 with an on-base percentage of .211. He's walked once in 73 at-bats. Could he lead off for the Mets? Sure. Could he be a legitimate leadoff hitter? It's doubtful by next year.
Let the kid establish himself and hit more than Mo Vaughn's weight before you have him lead off. So far he is not making anyone forget Rey Ordonez.]
Will the Mets have "salary space"? Vaughn is still owed at least another $17 M. Burnitz' and Alomar's $20M are free. If they have the money, young players stars like Beltran and Millwood would be the way to rebuild quickly and wisely. So that leaves the Mets out.]
To be continued...
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