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. He also is a special advisor to baseball operations for the Cincinnati Reds, where he will assist in player development and work on the Reds' community outreach and diversity initiatives and other promotional activities.
Send your questions now and join Morgan Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (11:00 AM)
We're getting Joe!
Joe Morgan (11:03 AM)
One thing that I've taken notice of this year has been the fact that the stars are still being the stars. They're being consistent from the beginning of the season. Whereas, we're finding that a lot of teams that were supposed to be at the top of the division are struggling, but the star players are still playing like stars. I'm specifically talking about guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pujols, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Jeter. Guys like that are playing consistent. I think that separates them even more from the pack.
Clay D NY [via mobile]
What are your thoughts on A-Rod walking over the mound against Oakland?
Joe Morgan (11:05 AM)
I have to admit that I have been corrected, because I didn't know that unwritten rule. I've seen different reports. One said that he stomped on the rubber. The other said that he walked over the mound. But I was never told or thought about the fact that you should never walk over the mound. The pitcher said that was his mound, but it could be the Yankees' pitcher's mound too, right? If he's standing on the mound, I understand that. But I don't think he was. If that's the case, then pitcher's shouldn't stand in the hitter's batting box. I find it humorous that it was a big deal other than the fact that it was A-Rod. I still think that players are jealous of him because of the money he's made. I guarantee you that he's not the only one that's run over a mound this year.
Is Ryan Howard really worth 25 mil/year?
Joe Morgan (11:08 AM)
Well, let's put it this way. If Joe Mauer is worth 23 or so. A guy that hits 40 plus HRs and drives in 140 runs a year and Joe Mauer has never done that, then I would say yes. Howard produces numbers and that's what we've come to in this game is about numbers. I don't necessarily like the fact that it's about numbers, but he produces them. It also begs to question, what is Albert Pujols worth?
Joe Morgan (11:09 AM)
Bobby Cox of the Braves said Pujols is worth 50 million.
What is your early assessment of the Cubs? There seems to be a better vibe than last season- thank you Marlon Byrd.
Joe Morgan (11:10 AM)
I'm not close enough to it to give one guy credit, but I do believe that they have a better feel and chemistry this year. But chemistry is not going to be why they win. I'm still a little suspicious of the talent on that team. I have to say I was surprised the other day when they put Zambrano in the bullpen when he pitched 6 or 7 innings that day and gave up only a few runs. I'm not sure the Cubs have found their way yet. Byrd was a great addition to the team, but we still have to wait to see if they'll win the division.
Ray A. (San Francisco, CA)
Mr. Morgan, what do you think of the Giants Tim Lincecum? If you could compare him to one pitcher, who would it be?
Joe Morgan (11:12 AM)
Obviously, he has proven to me that he is going to, he's not yet there, a great pitcher. Being blunt with you, I didn't think he should have won the Cy Young last year. Wainwright, to me, had the best season of a pitcher last year. Lincecum went 2-3 down the stretch. I still believe that he's going to be a great pitcher. All that said, he's phenomenal in the way he handles pitchers this year. He's so much better in that way this year. When he gets behind in the count, the hitters don't have an edge. He goes to a changeup instead of throwing a fastball over the plate.
Joe Morgan (11:13 AM)
I just think you have to wait a little bit before comparing him to a Juan Marichal. I would compare them, because they both use the fastball and a lot of other pitches. But if you look at someone that's pitching now, I would say Johan Santana, except he's lefthanded. When Santana was in Minnesota and threw harder, I would say they were a great match. They use the same pitches and have great stuff.
How is the job with the Reds going?
Joe Morgan (11:15 AM)
I'm basically going to be working with the Reds in the community. I'm trying to help get more African-American kids playing the game. The Reds already had a program in the inner city. I'm going to try to push those programs into the community. I felt that if I was going to criticize teams for not having African-Americans on their teams, I should do something about it. This is a start to get more participation in the Cincinnati area. Then hopefully we can move and help get more participation around the country.
Joe Morgan (11:16 AM)
I'm not going to spend a lot of time in Cincinnati, but when I'm there I will be involved in those things. I'm building a Honda dealership there, so I will be there in the community.
Clay D (NY)
What player, either current or past, does Jason Heyward remind you of the most?
Joe Morgan (11:18 AM)
Probably the only player you could compare him to that young is Joe Mauer. They're different types of players, but they're both young and expected to be great. I don't know if anyone has ever hit a home run in their first at-bat, had a two-out walk off hit, the heroics that he's had in the first month of the season. Being a rookie, he's had off days, striking out three times in one game. But I think he's as advertised in becoming a superstar in the game. The thing that impressed me most was not the physical tools, but after talking to him in spring training, I've never been impressed as much by a young player's attitude. He "gets it."
Joe, as a former player, how do you feel about how star players get paid these rediculous amounts of salary that they consider "fair" or "market value", causing teams to trade good players because they can't "afford" them?
Joe Morgan (11:22 AM)
That's a very, very, very good question. First of all, I don't have a problem with them being paid. I'm not one of the old guys that say they shouldn't get paid. I think they should get paid whatever the market will bear. I don't see anyone complaining when Tom Cruise gets paid $50 million for a movie and then more than that for residual DVD sales. However, I see your point in that if you have two guys on the team making most of the money and you have to trade a third player who's good because of the money. I understand the problem, but once you're there, you can't go backwards. Last year, MLB tried to cut salaries, but the stars will still get paid. The Twins had no alternative but to pay Joe Mauer. The Phillies had no alternative but to pay Ryan Howard. The Cardinals will have to pay Pujols. It's unfortunate that the superstars will get most of the payroll, but it's the same with other sports as well. Manning, Favre, Brady, those guys make big money too. I look at other sports and other entertainment industries and it's the same. The NBA, LeBron James is going to get whatever money he wants. The stars are compensated at a high level. And what about all the business guys and executives? Superstars in any business, they're going to get paid.
Nora (St. Louis)
Who's the best pitcher in the NL?
Joe Morgan (11:24 AM)
You have to start with Halladay, until last night. He was undefeated until then. Lincecum has not been defeated. He's pitched great. The stars are being stars. I pointed out the hitters earlier, but the star pitchers are doing well too. The guy who has pitched well and maybe wasn't supposed to is Mike Pelfrey. The Mets were looking for a No. 2 behind Santana and it's been Pelfrey. Brad Penny has pitched well. Barry Zito. There have been a lot of pitchers doing well this year and some haven't gotten wins this year. I've been impressed with a lot of pitchers. That's just to name a few.
Matt (Puyallup, WA)
Hi Joe, thanks for your time. What are your thoughts on Mike Pelfrey? While he didn't exactly dominate on Sunday, he did well enough & he seems like he has real presence in the early going - even moreso than his solid 4 months or so in 2008. What do you think is Pelfrey's ceiling going forward?
Joe Morgan (11:26 AM)
I go back to something that Herm Edwards, the football coach said: You play to win the game. Pelfrey didn't dominate on Sunday, he still pitched well enough to win. I believe that the pitchers job is to go out there and win the game, not to work on your WHIP or ERA, but to win. In most cases it's harder to win a game 5-4 than it is to win 2-1. I believe that we've gotten to a point where statistics are the only thing that's important, but you play to win the game.
Greg (Gainesville, FL)
Thanks for chatting! What is your opinion on Adam Jones? I often hear star potential, but have yet to be overly impressed with what I see.
Joe Morgan (11:27 AM)
Jones looks like he has all the tools. I don't get to see him much in person, but watching him on TV, he's a special player. A lot of those Orioles are still young and going to get better. I would say he's someone that you should be watching closely. I think this year is going to be an excellent year for him. He was good last year and I think this year will be better. You can count me in as a Jones fan.
Clay D (NY)
How much more years does Jeter have at this pace offensively?
Joe Morgan (11:29 AM)
I'm not nearly concerned offensively as I am defensively. How long can you play shortstop? At what age do you lose range that it hurts the team? Offensively, he can play another position and do well. He has a unique hitting in that he fights the ball off so well. I'm not concerned about the offense, but how long can you play shortstop at a high level on a championship team?
Joe Morgan (11:30 AM)
I'm broadcasting the Phillies-Mets this weekend. There's a lot of talk about Howard, but I'm always asking people, what about Chase Utley? He's the best hitting second baseman in the league. He drives in runs and scores runs. He's a much better player than he gets credit for.
Buzzmaster (11:30 AM)
Thanks for chatting Joe!