Chat with Joe Morgan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, Hall of Famer and ESPN baseball analyst Joe Morgan will drop by to take your questions!
An analyst for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, Morgan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990. He won back-to-back MVP awards with the Reds in 1975 and 1976 along with two World Series rings.
Send your questions now and join Morgan Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (11:01 AM)
Hey everyone. Joe's running about 10 minutes late. So we'll get started around 11:10 a.m. ET.
Buzzmaster (11:12 AM)
We've got Joe!
Joe Morgan (11:14 AM)
I want to clarify my position on the 103 list of people who tested positive in 2003. I do not view all the players as suspects, because I do not know who's on the list. The only time I'm suspicious of players is when it's been called for suspicion. Because I don't konw who's on the list, I do not look at Ken Griffey Jr. and Derek Jeter and Jason Varitek and think they are suspects. I do not use the lack of knowledge of names on the 103 list to form my own list. I believe people are innocent until proven otherwise.
Gary (Buckeye ,Az)
Joe, did you like the White Sox trade for Jake Peavey?
Joe Morgan (11:15 AM)
I didn't until I realized that he's going to pitch until the end of this month. When I first thought that he was out for the season, I didn't think it was a good move. But Ken Williams says they can get 6 starts out of him down the stretch. So then I think it's a good move. They're also looking at next year too.
Should the list become public...
Joe Morgan (11:17 AM)
I wish it could, but it can not. It can not become public because all the guys that were on the list were assured that their names wouldn't come up. If you do put that list out there, then you're not being fair to those guys. They didn't have the chance to appeal and say that maybe it was tainted. They didn't have a chance at a B sample like the Olympics. there should never have been names linked to the samples. The problem I have is they have released several names from the list. It's not fair to have those guys exposed and the others sheltered. I don't think it will work to have the list released. I wish it could be, but I don't think it can be, legally.
Is Randy Wells the ROY in the NL if the season ended today?
Joe Morgan (11:18 AM)
He has to be considered a candidate, because he could end up winning 12-13 games. He has been an excellent guy and is probably their No. 3 starter right now if they were start the playoffs right now, depending on the health of Dempster.
Bo (Denver, CO)
Is Troy Tulowitzki the second best shortstop (behind Hanley) in baseball this season? most HR, 3rd highest OPS (behind Bartlett/Hanley), arguably the best defense, etc...
Joe Morgan (11:19 AM)
He had such a horrible season last year and you started to wonder if he was as good as his rookie year. When you start to rate the SS, that's difficult. Hanley is by far the best in the major leagues. But you have others playing well as well. A case could be made that he's second to Ramirez.
Isn't it unfair to the players (ARod, Papi, Manny) that have already been outed to have everybody else's names remain secret?
Joe Morgan (11:21 AM)
I think it's so unfair. It's unfair because you're putting those guys out there and the other guys are still being covered. Someone has an agenda here. There's a reason that only 7 names have been accused of being on the list. If they have the list, why havne't all the players been exposed? So, in my opinion, someone has an agenda. I don't know what it is, but there's a reason they've chosen to expose these 7 and not all 103.
Adam (San Francisco)
Which player has more value to their respective team? A very good hitter but a below average defender? Or a below average hitter but a very good defender?
Joe Morgan (11:22 AM)
That's a tough question, because that depends on your team. For instance for years, Jason Varitek was considered a good defensive player and they didn't care about the offense they gave him because they had a good offensive team. It's a cliche in football that defense wins championships, but defense also wins in baseball. Depending on your team, if you have good defense, you take the hitting. If you have good hitting, you take the defense.
what moves can the Yankees make to improve their rotation before the postseason? one injury and they will have trouble brewing.....
Joe Morgan (11:24 AM)
Well, if they think they need that, they will make a move. I think they did a smart thing by not giving away players and making deals. Now if they get to September and have to do a waiver deal or something, they'll try to do it. I still think they need another starter, but I think they can get it done later without paying too hefty of a price.
Rob (Alexandria, VA)
Just when the Cubs learn to hit again, their bullpen seems to be struggling. Do you see B.J. Ryan making an impact on the team this year?
Joe Morgan (11:25 AM)
I'm sure when they signed BJ Ryan, they had that in the back of their mind, that if he can get some innings in he could help them down the stretch. And it's a minimal cost to them. I think there's a possibility that he could help them down the stretch.
Do you think the Home Run Derby is the cause for Pujols' recent slump. Not a hit this past weekend. When was the last time that happened?
Joe Morgan (11:26 AM)
He didn't do well in the Home Run Derby either. He only had about 20-30 swings. I think he was on such a torrid pace and played at such a high intensity level, I think he needs a breather. I think he's mentally tired. He didn't get any time off during the all-star game, because he was the unofficial host. I think he needs a couple of days off and then he'll be back on track.
Joe,what is your take on Milton Bradleys struggles this year?
Joe Morgan (11:28 AM)
I think it started when he first got hurt and the fans were expecting so much from him and he was expecting from himself and he put pressure on himself. He played maybe when he shouldn't have played. Baseball is a tough game to play when you're healthy, let alone when you're injured. I think he has time to regroup and get hot. I think between now and the end of the season he will get hot and raise his average. He's not a .240-.250 hitter. I think there's still more to come from him if he can get mentally focused.
Who is going to be the "under the radar" team in the playoffs this year?
Joe Morgan (11:29 AM)
I don't see anyone getting hot like the Rockies did a couple of years ago. But I do see some of the teams that are playing well now getting hot and maybe opening up a lead. I do see that happening. I don't think the races are going to be as close as they are now.
Blake (Provo, UT)
What pitch did you struggle with the most as a hitter?
Joe Morgan (11:31 AM)
Probably the high fastball. I did not handle the high fastball well. But I tried not to swing at it. Most of the time, I didn't swing at it. As an example, some of the guys that I didn't hit well was Nolan Ryan, who threw the high fastballs. I took the walk. A guy I did hit well was a guy who kept the ball down, like Bob Gibson. Ted Williams said, and I believe it, that the toughest pitch to hit was the high fastball, middle of the plate and in. And I think he knew a little something about hitting.
Why are there no consistently great teams like your Reds teams of the 70's? Even the top teams this year (Yankees, Angels, Red Sox, Dodgers) seem to struggle with their consistency. What do you think is the cause of this?
Joe Morgan (11:33 AM)
Well, that's a great observation. The point is that there aren't any great teams any more. Great teams have speed, pitching, defense, hitting, power. You don't have anybody with that combination any more. You have good teams, not great teams. The weaknesses show up more. Any time that happens, you'll lose 3-4 in a row. When your strengths show, you win 5 in a row. That's why the good teams have stretches. The Yankees won 9 in a row, but then lost 3 straight in Chicago. One thing to watch the rest of the way is whichever team can shorten their losing streaks, that team will win the division.
Do you think Matt Holliday can keep it up? Why was he not playing like this in Oakland?
Joe Morgan (11:35 AM)
Well, first, it's kind of like what I said about Milton Bradley. Holliday is a good hitter. He struggled early on, but he started to get hot right before he left Oakland. That doesn't mean he'll hit like that the rest of the season. Playing in Oakland was a downer for him, because you're playing on a team that doesn't excite you. It's a boring team to watch. They either strike out, walk or try to hit HRs. Jack Cust is a typical Oakland hitter. He either walks or hits home runs. It's just not an interesting team and that had an effect on Holliday. Plus the ball park is not easy to hit in.
Who are your AL and Nl Cy Youngs/MVPs right now?
Joe Morgan (11:37 AM)
Well, the one thing to remember, there's a long way to go. In all of those awards, someone can still step forward. I think Pujols is the MVP in the NL. I still think Prince Fielder and Braun are legit candidates if the Brewers can win the division. As far as Cy Young, that's even more difficult for me, because I think people want to lean toward Tim Lincecum, but they ignore what Matt Cain has done. I think he's pitched more consistently from his first start to his last start than Lincecum. He's not going to get a lot of votes, but I think Jason Marquis has done a great job in Colorado. You always have to look at Santana, because of what he does for his team. He can get hot down the stretch and win many games in a row. It's hard to make a call, but those would be my leaders at the moment.
Joe Morgan (11:39 AM)
As for the AL, you have to look at Josh Beckett. Greinke was there at the beginning of the season. MVP, I think Tori Hunter was the leader until he got hurt. You have to look at Teixiera in NY. You can't count out A-Rod. And I think you have to look at someone from Texas and that's Michael Young. I could make a longer list because there are lots of people having good seasons, a lot of guys in the mix. There's a long way to go and whoever gets hot down the stretch or stays hot will win the awards.
Why do you think Halladay ended up staying put? And which team do you think could have used him the most?
Joe Morgan (11:41 AM)
Well, I think it was a bad move by Riccardi to say publically that he wanted to trade him. He overplayed his hand, thinking that he was going to get Fort Knox for Halladay. No one would give him what he wanted and he kept Halladay. People will say, hey he kept Halladay. But that caused a lot of stress on Halladay every start for a team that he played with for so long. Now, I don't know what you do, because if you're Halladay, you want out of there, because they've shown you that they don't want to. His value was as high as it was going to get at the trade deadline.
Joe Morgan (11:42 AM)
Everybody's talking about who got the best of the deals at the deadline. I still feel like Boston got the best when they got Martinez. If you can get an every day player is more valuable than a pitcher who goes once every five days.
Buzzmaster (11:42 AM)
Thanks for chatting Joe!