Chat with Steve Phillips
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN MLB analyst Steve Phillips will drop by to take any baseball-related questions you may have.
The former general manager of the New York Mets guided the team to the World Series in 2000, working his way through the organization with which he played as a minor-leaguer. Now a fixture of ESPN's baseball coverage, Phillips offers a front-office perspective on the players and stories making news.
Send your questions now and join Phillips Thursday at 3:30p.m. ET!
Steve Phillips (3:31 PM)
Good afternoon everybody. We're 8 days away from the trade deadline. Still a lot to happen. It looks like the dominoes are starting to fall as the Red Sox have been very active. What's on everybody's mind?
There's been a lot of talk about Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee trades. My question is as the GM trading away a stud player how difficult is it to maximize your return without overpricing your player and winding up with nothing but a star player still on your roster that knows you were trying to trade him?
Steve Phillips (3:34 PM)
The good news for both the Indians and Jays for Lee and Halladay respectively is if they don't trade them now, they can trade them in the offseason or next year. So there is no necessity to trade them now. However, both players are at peak value at the trade deadline because they're both healthy and pitching well. And they could effect two seasons if they are traded now. There's always pressure on the GM to make the best deal, but all you can do is see the market on the value of your player. Sure the Jays and Indians go in with expectations for what they are looking for in return, but they can't be limited by those expectations. If they can't move the players, they'd have to assume they'd get less than the offers they're getting now.
Steve Phillips (3:34 PM)
I think Halladay will get traded. And if I'm the Indians, I do trade Cliff Lee, because the Indians aren't going to compete either.
I heard Tim Kirkjian talking today on Sportscenter about Erik Bedard being a better move for the Phillies, because he comes cheaper, do you think that could happen? and how would that effect Halladay?
Steve Phillips (3:36 PM)
I do believe that's possible that the Phillies will set their sites on something less than Halladay. I'm just not sure the Mariners are going to be sellers right now. They're only 5.5 games out. If they win a couple in a row, they could be within striking distance of the division and would want to have Bedard still in the fold. I think the Mariners should be sellers as they don't seem to have the offense or defense to support their pitching in a playoff caliber sort of way.
Tell me if you have read this script before -- another gem by a starting Tigers pitcher, only to be thwarted by a lack of runs and shoddy relief work. In three of their past four games, the Tigers have now lost, 2-1.
Steve Phillips (3:39 PM)
Who would have thought a year ago that we'd be worried about the Tigers offense? We all thought they might go down as one of the best offensive teams ever. But injuries have taken a toll on their offensive production. There are two ways to look at it: 1) they're wasting pitching performances and they better go out and add some offense or 2) what a difference a year makes, that the pitching is so much better and when we lose, we're only losing one-run games. Pitching is the key and if you track the Tigers success over the last few years, their win totals have been commiserate with their pitching not with the potency of their offense.
Steve can the Marlins compete and win a playoff spot if they trade for another bat?
Steve Phillips (3:40 PM)
No, I don't. I don't believe the Marlins have enough depth or experience to make the playoffs. I don't think the Marlins are consistent enough to keep pace with the NL wild card race. They strike out too much to be a consistent offensive team. They deserve a lot of credit for battling with such a young roster, but unless they add several experienced pitchers or players, they'll be talented, but just not consistent enough.
JD (San Diego)
Steve, Are you strong believer that Jim Hendry made the wrong decisons this last offseason. I agree that they needed to make some changes but the wrong players were brought in. They could have made a splash with Ibanez, Dunn, or Abreu over Bradley and kept Derosa. Whats you thoughts?
Steve Phillips (3:43 PM)
I don't flaw the logic of adding a left handed hitter. I completely understand the need to reallocate dollars in order to make the moves to fit their budget. The Cubs do miss DeRosa, but you have to give up something if you're going to bring in talent on the free agent market and fit your budget. In hind sight, who wouldn't pick Raul Ibanez, one of the best players in the NL this season? Milton Bradley is a personality to say the least. Sometimes his emotion/anger can get in the way of his performance. I've found him to be a good kid who cares about winning. Hang in there with Bradley, because he's super talented and will eventually get on track. Things don't seem right for the Cubs right now, but I still believe their best baseball is in front of them. They will win the NL Central.
What would you think about a Bowden, Declarman and Anderson for Adrian Gonzalez deal?
Steve Phillips (3:45 PM)
Well, that trade's not going to happen now as the Red Sox acquired Adam Laroche from the Pirates yesterday. The asking price for Gonzalez was steep, as it should be. Laroche will be a solid defensive first baseman who can drive a mistake out of the park. He tends to have better second halves than first. The Laroche move protects the Red Sox from catastrophic injury of Mike Lowell, allowing Youkilis to move across the infield to third base. The Gonzalez deal is dead, as far as I know.
What are the Angels going to do before the deadline? They obviously need relief and/or a starting pitcher. With Aybar, Izturis playing well and Kendrick starting to come around do you sell high with Aybar?
Steve Phillips (3:46 PM)
Yeah, I think the bullpen, which has always been a strength for the Angels has been a deteriment this year, so I suspect that's an area they'll look to improve. The health of their every day lineup is another, with Guerrero on the DL for a second time. The Angels have always won with pitching and defense. They also don't tend to dabble too much in the trade market during the season. It will be interesting to see if they pull anything off before the 31st.
Helton hit his 500th double yesterday, only 50 players have ever done it, significant?
Steve Phillips (3:48 PM)
It certainly is a worthy milestone of recognition. But in the scheme of things, it just doesn't carry the same sex appeal as HRs and RBI, batting average, ERA, wins and strikeouts. It does point to the fact that Todd Helton has been a quality offensive player who can drive the ball for a long period of time.
Steve with the Florida Marlins moving into a new ball park in 2012 will the marlins finally be able to have a payroll at least at the top of major league baseball?
Steve Phillips (3:49 PM)
The Marlins new stadium won't allow them to spend with the big boys. A new stadium in a small market still equals a small market. I suspect the Marlins should be able to spend more, as they should, as they'll be getting $30 million on revenue sharing. Hopefully they'll spend that along with the new revenue from the new stadium. Either way, they'll still compete, but not at the level they could if they spent more money.
Do you think Pedro Martinez will actually be able to contribute to the Phillies starting pitching this year?
Steve Phillips (3:51 PM)
I'm not holding out a lot of hope that Pedro will be overly productive. He's not been a great pitcher over the past couple of years, as his ERA has snuck up over 5. He still has a presence about him, but that only takes you so far. Even with a presence, you have to throw a pitch. The Phillies are trying to catch lightning in a bottle and it's a worthwhile shot to take. What I like about the move is they addressed their fifth starter's role without having to give up talent, holding back for a potential Roy Halladay deal. You'd hate to lose out on a potential No. 1 starter because one of the players you gave up to get a No. 5 starter could clinch the deal.
Steve,Where do you think Halladay ends up? Also what about Cliff Lee?
Steve Phillips (3:53 PM)
I think Halladay will get traded and I'm still thinking it will be the Phillies. If I had to pick a sleeper team, with no real information other than a gut feeling, keep your eye on the Chicago White Sox for Halladay. With regards to Cliff Lee, I don't think the Indians are going to trade him. I think they're going to try and hold him as he has an option for next year for only $9 million and see if they can bounce back and compete in 2010.
Can the Astros win the NL Central
Steve Phillips (3:55 PM)
The Astros are a confusing team, because when I look at their roster, I don't see a playoff club. Yet, every year, they seem to exceed expectations and they believe in themselves more than anybody else seems to believe in them. I don't see the pitching necessary to be a playoff team and their offense has been inconsistent at times. Yet, they find themselves one game out of the NL Central with just as good a chance to win the division as the Cubs, Cards and Brewers. It may be the GMs will decide the Central race based on an estute race to improve a weakness.
Cardinals Question: Julio Lugo wasn't a terrible pick up right, sense the Red Sox are paying most of the salary? Please tell me yes, cuz the sight of him at short scares me.
Steve Phillips (3:58 PM)
Well, Lugo is not a great defender, but that being said, he was good enough for the Red Sox to win a World Series with him playing the position. Tony LaRussa will find ways to utilize Lugo's versatility and a change of scenery might do him some good as he wasn't always treated well by Red Sox fans. I don't think it's a great pick up, but it's not awful either. It's another piece for LaRussa to try and work his magic.
Steve - do the Giants make any moves? Do you hear any trade talk about them?
Steve Phillips (3:59 PM)
I've heard that the Giants have interest in Huff or Nick Johnson for first base; Alex Rios for the outfield; and they've talked to the Pirates about Fredy Sanchez. Now talking and making trades are different things. You can trust that Brian Sabean will try to make some moves to support their fine pitching. I expect them to be active leading into the deadline.
Steve Phillips (4:01 PM)
Next week at this time, we might know where Roy Halladay is going. And Jack Wilson and Fredy Sanchez of the Pirates may have been moved as well. It will be intersting to see how many others will be moved at the deadline. Talk to you again next week.