Chat with Mark Saxon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Los Angeles Angels writer Mark Saxon will stop by to chat some baseball.
Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.
Send your questions now and join Saxon Thursday at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT!
Mark Saxon (7:01 PM)
Beautiful, crisp evening at "The Stadium" as they call it in New York. Torii Hunter is wearing some sweet white cleats in honor of Jackie Robinson. Let's chat!
Joel Pineiro looks pretty solid so far. Should we expect this from him all year? Mark since you cover the Angels which pitcher has been the Vocal leader for the pitching staff?
Mark Saxon (7:04 PM)
Hey Joey, Pineiro was outstanding yesterday vs. the Yankees. It's exactly what they needed at the time, somebody to set a good early tone. I don't think you can expect that all year, but I'd guess he'll be a good No. 3 type starter. I don't think any of the pitchers are particularly vocal. That guy was John Lackey and he's gone.
I know you've picked the Angels to miss the playoffs but if the team stays healthy do you think they have a real chance at a championship this year?
Mark Saxon (7:06 PM)
Luis, The operative word in your sentence is "chance," and I'd say yes, they do have a chance. I just don't think they have enough dynamic elements to outlast three rounds in the post-season.
Mark, during the last homestand me and my husband were watching the game on T.V. when I notice 2 guys behind the batter box and they were taking notes pitch after pitch. So I ask my husband and he said they were probably scouts. Is it true? Have you notice any scouts this early in the season?
Mark Saxon (7:08 PM)
Daisy, My guess is you were seeing agent Scott Boras and his employees. They own the sunken-level suite just behind home plate. You might have seen scouts, but they sit in the stands and often are toting radar guns, so they're easy to spot.
If you had to pick the best all around player on the team right now, who would you pick?
Mark Saxon (7:10 PM)
Luis,Hmmmmmmm... It's between Torii Hunter, Erick Aybar and Kendry Morales. I'll give it to Hunter. Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in the same year says it all.
is this the year Howie puts it all together and makes a run at a batting title? How about moving him to the top of the order?
Mark Saxon (7:11 PM)
Hey Ruby, Yes and no. Yes, I think it might be the year he puts it all together. I've had that feeling since spring training. He just seems super-focused in the way he's going about his business. But no, I don't think he'll make a run at the batting title. Not with Joe Mauer, Ichiro Suzuki and Derek Jeter still at it.
Brandon (Santa Ana,CA)
Mark I read in a blog that the Angels could use Mike Napoli as a Trade Chip in Bringing Carl Crawford to Anaheim? Is it posible?
Mark Saxon (7:15 PM)
Hi Brandon, Yeah, it's possible, but that would be a high stack of chips and Napoli would only be one of them. I don't see it happening. If Tampa trades Crawford, they're going to want bushels of high-level prospects and the Angels don't have them.
Tess (Sierra Madre)
the identity of this team used to be defined by Vlad, Chone and Lackey. In the early going, who is the "face" of this franchise? Is it Scioscia?
Mark Saxon (7:16 PM)
Tess, That's a tough one. Even last year, some people thought Mike was becoming the face of the franchise, but I'm not sure how many tickets a manager sells. I guess it would be Mike, Torii and Jered Weaver, maybe in that order.
Hey, Mark: Any thoughts on Torii's early struggles in the field?
Mark Saxon (7:18 PM)
Brian, you're paying close attention, aren't you? I'm not sure I'd call them struggles yet, but he did let some guys take extra bases on him in the Oakland Series and he probably should have caught that bloop yesterday. I think he'll be fine.
Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)
Dear MarkCould you see the Angels with a new Stadium?
Mark Saxon (7:19 PM)
Chioke,No.I can't.Nor should they, at least in my opinion. Why is it that every building needs to be torn down when it gets to be 40-50 years old. Imagine if the Ancient Romans or Greeks had thought that way.
Luis (Burbank, CA)
I doubt Brian Fuentes will rack up 55 saves this season for his option to vest. Do you think the Angels will make an effort to resign him or look elsewhere?
Mark Saxon (7:20 PM)
Remember, Luis, he doesn't need 55 saves. He just needs to finish 55 games. It won't happen, which (let's be honest) is probably a good thing for the Angels. $9 million seems a tad steep for his services.
will the angels win their division this year?
Mark Saxon (7:21 PM)
Hold on, Joe, I'm rubbing my magic crystal Scioscia bust... Um, no.
Mark, I still think the Angels need a leadoff hitter do you agree? The 3 games the Angels have won is because the leadoff hitter gets on base, works the count and tries stealing 2 base. Now thats Angels Baseball Right? What do you think?
Mark Saxon (7:23 PM)
Hey Keith, Get back to me in a month. I have my doubts about Aybar as that guy, but he's done a pretty good job adjusting his game so far. I've been surprised.
Kellie Kaukani (Hemet, CA)
I am concerned that the Angels pride themselves on being family friendly, but they did not have milk or juice available at the stadium for children during Opening Week. As an avid follower of the Angels, and a mother of a 12 month old, I was upset that they did not order milk for Opening Week, because it didn't sell well. I know you're more concerned about their play, instead of their food choices, but this is something parents need to know about to make sure they have suitable meal choices for small children.
Mark Saxon (7:27 PM)
Kellie, That stinks. I have a 1 and 3-year old, so I can relate. You can bring in non-alcoholic beverages in plastic containers, so maybe that's the solution?
Hey, Mark: What are your thoughts on Brandon Wood's start? Is he simply pressing?
Mark Saxon (7:28 PM)
Hi Brian, Early on, I think he was. He's looked really good to me lately, hitting a lot of balls to right field, which is the way good hitters regain their timing. His fielding has been excellent. I'm starting to think he's going to be a good player.
Luis (Burbank, CA)
If Carl Crawford is available this offseason, will the Angels go after him? If so what happens to Juan Rivera?
Mark Saxon (7:29 PM)
Yeah, Luis, I think he might be the one guy they would expand their payroll considerably for. If they got him, they could use Juan in right field and keep the DH spot open for a platoon of Abreu and Napoli. Something along those lines.
The Hideki Matsui signing is already paying off. If he continues to be a force for us do you see him as a darkhorse for MVP?
Mark Saxon (7:31 PM)
No, I don't think he'll be involved in that conversation. No. 1, he's a designated hitter which makes it far tougher. No. 2, he normally doesn't put up numbers quite that good. I don't think he'll have a sudden late-season dramatic spike. Seems highly unlikely.
Mark need a little info on how and where to get Angels Autographs for the Kids? Going to my first game this year. Any info would help since I have a 2 hour drive to the Big A.
Mark Saxon (7:33 PM)
Aliyah, Your best bet is to get there 2 hours before the game and hang out just up the left-field line from the Angels dugout. Some guys will stop and sign there. Good luck.
Why hasn't Mike Napoli played as much games?
Mark Saxon (7:35 PM)
Hey Jesse, He's not playing because his defense isn't as good as that of Jeff Mathis. According to Mike Scioscia, the discrepancy became apparent late last season and has continued. Look for this breakdown of starts to continue for a while. Eventually, Napoli will probably wind up as a DH.
Brandon Wood had a good game yesterday and think he will eventually produce but if he continues to struggle deeper into the season, what's the possibility of him being traded?
Mark Saxon (7:37 PM)
Luis, I'd say very, very low. They like his skill set and don't want to use Maicer Izturis on a daily basis. I also don't think Wood's trade value is terribly high at this point. It would have been higher 2-3 years ago, when he was an elite prospect.
Mark, Why does Mike keep Reggie on roster instead of Terry Evans? If Terry Evans get called back to the Majors does he have to go thru waivers again? How does that Work?
Mark Saxon (7:38 PM)
Jon, I can never keep all those details straight, but Evans told me yesterday that he would have to clear waivers again if they bring him and send him back down again. If he cleared once, he'll probably clear twice. The reason Mike prefers Willits, I think, is because he's a better defender and a better runner.
Mark, did the Angels give up to much prospects for Kazmir? What do you thinK?
Mark Saxon (7:40 PM)
Jesse, I'm not sure but remember when people here were going crazy because Sean Rodriguez had a great spring for Tampa? Well, guess what? He's batting .190 with one RBI.
Mark Saxon (7:41 PM)
Good chat, everybody. Let's do it again next week, what do you say?