Joe Morgan Chat Day By Joe Morgan Chat Day-My Dear Lord, These Things I Pray
Joe Morgan is the Zen koan of baseball analysts-he's totally incomprehensible. His ability to be insightful and idiotic, sometimes in the same breath, is baffling and is what truly sets him apart. Once I heard two analysts arguing about the flags on the foul poles. One said the flag was moving, the other said the wind was moving, but Joe said, "Not flag. Not pole. Mind is moving." Ah, yes.
AJ Cincinnati : Do you think the moves that bowden made to get Dempster and MOhler pay off this year in shot at making the playoffs?
Joe Morgan: Part of this is the reaction to St. Louis getting Finley. Everyone needs one more pitcher and one more bat. Since they couldn't get Rogers, they got Mohler. I think Dempster is the key but he wasn't pitching well even in Florida. I'm not sure about those moves. I'm not overjoyed with either one.
[Mike: Agreed. Dempster's career adjusted ERA is 7% above the league ERA and his ERA at the time of the trade was 4.79. Moehler is slightly better with a career adjusted ERA 6% better than the league average, but he is recovering from an injury. At best these guys are a #3 and #4 on a decent eam and a #4 and #5 on a contending team. Cy Young they aint.]
Kash (Edison, NJ): Hi Joe. What do you think about the Ray Durham trade? Does he effectively replace Damon in terms of the lineup?
Joe Morgan: The A's need a leadoff hitter and Durham can lead off. He is a very good addition to the A's I think.
[Mike: Agreed. I can't believe that it took the A's this long to get a second baseman. They start with Frank Menechino and his .661 OPS, who gets demoted during the St. Valentine's, er, Carlos Pena May 21 massacre. They try veteran Velarde (.695 OPS) and rookie Ellis (.718) and finally admit that they need a decent starting 2bman. So they get Durham and his .834 OPS and ability to lead off to fill the void. He does not replace Damon, however, since he doesn't play outfield, but the A's are still paying for relying on Terrence Long (.695 OPS) and journeyman John Mabry playing way too far over his head. The gap left by the departure of Damon is still there.]
john (trenton): hey joe. do you see any big waiver wire deals this year?
Joe Morgan: Everything depends on whether they get an agreement done or get close to one by the 31st. If GMs think they are going to get an agreement, I think we will see some big trades made. But if there isn't an agreement, we won't see that.
[Mike: Good insight.]
Jon Cincinnati: Joe, are yo going to play at the softball game at Cinergy with Rose and Bench?
Joe Morgan: I don't know yet .. probably not.
[Mike: Rose is allowed to go to the park and associate himself with the Reds and MLB is some way? I though he was banned. They had to get a special dispensation from the Pope to get him in the All-Century team celebration. Why not just drop the ban and be done with it?]
Evan, Philadelphia: Joe, what do you think will happen with the whole Scott Rolen situation, and do you think the Phillies can get anyone for him?
Joe Morgan: The only think I know for sure is he is going to leave. Whether it's now or at the end of the season, he will leave. He is a free agent after this year so folks are hesitant to trade for him. He turned down a lot of money from Philadelphia.
[Mike: Thanks, Joe. That is truly insightful. You couldn't get that unless you had been following the situation for last 2 years)
Scott (San Diego): Help out a bro from the westcoast...Is Phil Nevin staying put at third or do see the Padres shifting him back to first because of his recent birrage or errors?
Joe Morgan: Everything depends on Burroughs. If he becomes as good as they think he will, then Nevin will shift. That is just something they will have to wait and see.
[Mike: No, it depends on the Pod-People coming up with a plan and sticking to it. Burroughs hit well in April and then got hurt and played poorly before going on the DL. He's now working out at second in the minors because the Padres don't want to tick off Nevin and Klesko, who now think that they are setting team policy as far as where people play and how to handle the pitching staff (they criticized management for coddling their young staff). Read this Baseball Prospectus article about San Diego's wavering ways.]
Colin (DC): Love your broadcasts, Joe -- you're the only commentator I don't mute. Do you think Derek Lowe is going to last the entire season?
Joe Morgan: Thanks for not hitting the mute button! That is a good question .. when you haven't pitched 200 innings in the past and all of sudden you have that to do, it takes it's toll on your arm. We will just have to see.
[Mike: I'm sick of hearing this. Lowe once pitched 170 innings in the minors, pitched 150 twice in the minors, and pitched 150 in '97 when he split time between the minors, the Mariners, and the Red Sox. That's a lot of innings for the minors. He came to the majors and become a reliever. Now he has the experience of a veteran and the non-overused arm of a rookie. Why would you think that he couldn't pitch 200 innings? Is there some reason or it's just that he never has. Rookies pitch 200 innings usually for the first time of their careers, and they are on closely monitored pitch counts.]
Alan (Wisconsin Rapids): Joe, what is it with pitchers today? Five-man rotations and 100-pitch limits. I grew up watching baseball in the 60's, with 3-man or 4-man rotations and very often complete games, and I don't remember pitchers dropping like flies from overwork. Why the change?
Joe Morgan: Well, the answer was given to me by a GM a few years ago. We have spoiled them. They are taught from the minors that they only have to pitch every fifth day and just have to give a quality start, not a complete game. Roger Clemens won the Cy Young last year and never pitched a complete game all season. That wouldn't have happened before. It's a game of specialization now with set up men, closers, etc.
[Mike: Here is the ultimate Joe Morgan question. "Why, you young whippersnappers have it too good. In my day..." So pitchers are spoiled is that why so many go on DLs and have careers cut short by injury, there just spoiled babies? The game has changed, Joe. The game is constantly changing. Christy Mathewson spoke of coasting in the late innings with a lead to win a game. Do you think that "coasting" is a practical approach in today's stadiums (like, say, Coor's) against today's lineups when a 4-run lead can evaporate in an instant? Why does the game change? Because teams think that the new direction will help them win. It's evolution, Joe. Stop being a dodo bird and catch up with late 20th, if not the 21st, century.
Brad, Flatwoods KY: Joe, the other night on Baseball Tonight, Dave Campbell said he thought players are "just too damned coddled these days." Do you agree?
Joe Morgan: I don't use that word! But I do think we've made it so players don't have to be as mentally or physically tough as they used to be.
[Mike: "Please don't use coddled. I prefer spoiled."]
Not Wind. Not Flag. Mind is moving.
Kyle (Long Island, NY): HOW DOES CONTRACTION WORK? DO ALL PLAYERS BECOME FREE AGENTS?
Joe Morgan: If there is contraction, all the players go into a pool and are drafted. But I don't forsee contraction soon, even with Montreal. With the lawsuits filed, I don't know if that team can be disbanded now. I don't think there will be contraction by next year.
[Mike: A) How does he know what will happen to the players when they haven't even determined if disbursement has to be discussed with the players union, who certainly would push for a different solution. B) Good insight on the viability of contraction.]