Straight from the beat, John Perrotto of BaseballProspectus.com takes your questions on what's moving and shaking insider the game and out on the diamonds.
John Perrotto: Hi everyone. The All-Star break is just a few days away and am looking forward to providing full coverage from St. Louis. Before we head off to St. Louis, though, let's talk some baseball.
Grant Robinson (Ontario): Generally speaking, where do you expect top international prospects such as Miguel Angel Sano, Wagner Mateo, Gary Sanchez and Aroldis Chapman to lie in BP's top 100? If I'm not mistaken, Michael Inoa and Dayan Viciedo were the only 2008 signees to make the list. How does this years crop differ from 2008?
John Perrotto: This is a question better answered by Kevin Goldstein or Kiley McDonald but it would seem to me that Sano, Mateo and Chapman would definitely be somewhere in the top 100 and I would think Sanchez would have a chance, too. Exactly where is a little out of my range of expertise. The international free agent market may not be exceptionally deep this year but there is a lot of high-end talent, especially Sano, Mateo and Chapman.
Mike (Utica, NY): What's your opinion on Jenrry Mejia and whom do you think will be the best out of the rookie centerfielders: Maybin, Rasmus, McCutchen, and Fowler?
John Perrotto: I'm not informed enough on Mejia to give a good answer but I will say that I think Rasmus will be the best of the four center fielders just because he has a little more power than the others. That being said, I think all four have a chance to be well above-average big leaguers.
paulbellows (Calgary): The biggest name traded this year will be ____?
John Perrotto: Roy Halladay.
Bob (Idaho): John, love your tidbits from scouts about players. It would be nice if you could talk again to the scout who said that McGehee was just a AAA hitter to see if he has changed his mind. Also, your thoughts on what Milledge will do the rest of the year.
John Perrotto: I'm sure there was more than one scout who thought McGehee was only a AAA hitter but sometimes it's just a matter of guys getting an opportunity. Give McGehee credit because he is truly taking advantage of his chance. Milledge is joining the Pirates' Class AAA Indianapolis farm club tomorrow as he was in the Gulf Coast League rehabbing from the broken finger. The Pirates want him to earn his way to the big leagues but my guess it that he's in Pittsburgh as either the left or right fielder by mid-August. I have a feeling it's his time to blossom and he'll do quite well with the Pirates.
sturock (Brooklyn): I'm a lifetime Met fan. Is it my imagination-- or has Omar Minaya been doing a horrible job as GM and it's all just coming to roost this year?
John Perrotto: I really like Omar personally and it's hard to truly judge the Mets because they have so many key injuries. However, their lack of depth is glaring and I'll never understand Oliver Perez at three years and $36 million. So, yet, I would say it's come home to roost and his job could be on the line if they end up under .500.
joeboxr36 (San Fran): Can you explain the possible motivation of the Giants for calling up Conor Gillaspie to the bigs last year, when he is clearly not ready by his minor league results this year. Was it to start his clock in some sort contractual/financial motives between the team and the agent?
John Perrotto: It was in his contract that he would get a September callup.
Dave (Chicago): Should Trevor Cahill be sent back to the minors? He's gotten lit up the last few starts and even when he didn't give up many runs, his peripherals haven't been strong and seems very dependent on a good defense behind him.
John Perrotto: I just caught up with the Athletics last weekend and they seem very committed to riding out whatever storms their young pitchers encounter. So I'd say Cahill stays in the majors unless it just becomes too obvious that he is losing all confidence.
dangor (New York): Is there any chatter about trying to speed up the game? I understand the need for commercials but is there any reason NOT to have a time limit on pitchers? I honestly won't go to games any more because I'd rather toggle between 2 or 3 games at home. When I was a kid, games only took 2 hours. And for God's sake, please stop that ridiculous music between each and every pitch!
John Perrotto: About every three or four years, MLB says it is making "pace of game" a priority. The umpires enforce it for about two weeks and then it goes away. As long as TV money drives the game, and it always will, expect long games. As far as the music, I'm with you brother. It's non-stop and distracting.
Amos (New York): Between the release of Ryan, and the fact that Joe's column about the Jays needing to be rid of Wells more than they need prospects holding some water, is J.P. finally going to lose his job?
John Perrotto: Ricciardi's contract runs out after 2010. He has one more year to get that franchise going or major changes will be coming. What he is able to get back in a trade for Halladay is going to play a major part in his future.
jerjapan (Toronto): Help, I'm a Jays fan. Ryan's contract, eaten. Halladay on the block. Entire starting rotation on DL. What are three good reasons I shouldn't permanently renounce baseball for lacrosse?
John Perrotto: 1. Cito Gaston (who should have never been let go). 2. Aaron Hill's amazing comeback (underreported in the U.S.), 3. Adam Lind emerging as an offensive force.
Joe (Tufts): What are you hearing about Freddy Sanchez to the Rockies?
John Perrotto: They definitely have interest in Sanchez but it doesn't seem like a deal is close.
Spork (MA): john, what kind of prospect haul could the jays get from the yanks if the latter were to take rios along with halladay? and why wouldnt the yanks consider something like that?
John Perrotto: The Yankees have said they don't want to give up the money and or prospects to get Halladay. Thus, the pinstripers are out of this derby.
ndubby (sfo): Which team has a realistic chance to get Halladay and what's it going to take?
John Perrotto: The Phillies have a pretty deep pool of prospects and the Cardinals are said to be willing to give the Blue Jays pretty much whoever they want out of their system. I wouldn't count the Brewers out because Mark Attanasio loves to win and is one small-market owner who will open his checkbook. It will be interesting to see what it will take because teams just don't give up premium prospects anymore, though it is going to take at least one and a gaggle of other good prospects to get Halladay.
Dennis (Monterey Park, CA): Hi John, thanks for the chat. What's changed with Zach Duke? Can we expect him to keep rolling along putting up great numbers for the next couple of years?
John Perrotto: I think he's healthy, for one thing. His elbow bothered him the last few years more than he let on and he's able to throw his curveball without pain again. The curve really sets up the rest of his pitches. I think he's a good mid-rotation starter who will continue to be solid if he stays healthy.
lemppi (Ankeny, IA): John, is one bat acquired enough for Detroit's offensive issues? Or would they be better served adding rotation depth since they've gotten where they have on starting pitching/defense to make sure the current formula keeps working? Thanks.
John Perrotto: I think they need a bat somewhere in their lineup. I know that is at the top of Jim Leyland's wish list. The Tigers feel they have enough pitching depth in their organization to get by with the starters they have _ even while watching Porcello's innings very closely _ but they feel their lack of run production is eventually going to catch up with them.
Chad (NYC): Tell a Braves fan how to feel about their season given their schizophrenic last few weeks (5 game winning streak, 4 game losing streak, road series win). Are they for real this season? Or just good enough to not be sellers and just bad enough to not be a real threat (see 2008, 2007, 2006)
John Perrotto: In a normal season, I'd say they are not good enough. But in this year's NL East, they are good enough to win it. Thus, if I'm Frank Wren, I'd go for it and everything points to him doing exactly that.
JFerg (MD): Orioles going to make some trades that will make a true future impact on the team before the deadline this year?
John Perrotto: Well, they've got a couple of players in Aubury Huff and George Sherrill who should be able to fetch a decent return. So, yeah, I could see them adding a few more prospects to their cadre of young talent in the organization.
jon (Seattle): In your notes last week you wrote ... "The Braves would definitely trade shortstop Yunel Escobar, who has exhausted manager Bobby Coxís deep reservoir of patience." What is it about Escobar that is so frustrating to Cox? -- Thanks
John Perrotto: His very inconsistent approach to playing the game hard. Some days, he is there mentally; other days, he isn't. There also some in the Braves' organization who privately question his ability to play through even the slightest bit of physical discomfort.
Lou (Chicago): Why can't my team hit?
John Perrotto: As he so classically said after yesterday's game, "go ask the hitters. Better yet, go ask the hitting coach."
Mike (Chicago): Speaking of pace of the game issues, watching Gonzalez pitch for the Braves the other night, there has to be something mlb can do to stop him from rocking like that. It's seriously irritating to watch. Can't Bud invoke his best interests of the game clause?
John Perrotto: LOL. That's really weird. I asked him about that earlier this season and he somehow believes it takes some stress off his arm and helps give him some momentum to begin his delivery. It is distracting, that's for sure.
don (lansing, MI): What do you do with Magglio Ordonez? Word on the street is that he's going to be the short end of a platoon in RF.
John Perrotto: I'd do exactly that, put him on the short end of a platoon. The season has reached the point where you can't worry about players' feelings, their performance bonuses or the amount of playing time that triggers option years. Scott Boras can complain all he wants but Jim Leyland has an obligation to put his best team on the field in an attempt to win his division. Right now, that doesn't include Ordonez.
JFerg (MD): Do you think some teams just think to much about the future rather then the here and now?
John Perrotto: Yes, I certainly do. As an owner or a GM, it's easier to take the heat off yourself by saying you're playing for the future and pushing that finish line further off into the distance.
kerrigrr (NYC): Hey John - thanks for the chat ... As a Met fan, I don't expect a major trade from them this deadline bc of the fallow farm and the myriad of holes to fill. However, I am curious as to whether there is any scuttlebutt around about them making minor, shoring up type moves that won't cost so much. The team is so threadbare at this point, it feels like adding a major league average player at any one of about four positions (1st, OF, SS, SP) would be a huge help.
John Perrotto: No, there really hasn't been much scuttlebutt on the Mets doing something like that at all. You just keep hearing that they plan to weather the storm until Delgado, Reyes and Beltran are healthy. That's fine, but the storm may have taken the Mets too far out to sea by the time those guys are ready to play again.
sbryk7 (Brooklyn, NY): Hi John, what is your take on Homer Bailey? Has he finally figured things out or is this just an illusion?
John Perrotto: You know, he's a tough guy to figure. I'd like to think he's figured things out but my instincts tell me he's one of those guys who, for whatever reason, won't really turn the corner until he changes organizations. Again, no solid reason why I feel that way, just gut instinct.
Shane (Miami): Hi John, thanks as always for taking time to chat. What are the prospects that the A's deal Holliday before the deadline, and who do you hear are the frontrunners?
John Perrotto: Billy Beane seems adamant that he'll keep Holliday all season and take the two draft picks if he does not get two impact prospects in return. Thus, I have a feeling Holliday stays in Oakland.
Tanner (Cedar Falls, Iowa): Some rumblings out of Chicago that Soriano is unhappy AGAIN. Between him and Bradley are there two worse clubhouse players? Does Soriano get dealt, have you heard any rumors?
John Perrotto: I saw the Cubs last week and Soriano did seem quite miserable, just the look on his face and his body language. I can't imagine Soriano being traded, though, unless the Cubs eat almost all of his salary. I don't think too many teams want to take him on.
Dan (Denver): John, I heard that Brett Anderson was touching 97 against the Red Sox earlier this week. That doesn't sound right - any truth to that? Is there an easy way to verify gun readings?
John Perrotto: I hadn't heard that and it would seeem a little surprising. The best way to check the gun reading is to check MLB.com's Gameday from that game. They record the velocity and break of every pitch.
Gary (Washington): Are you hearing any numbers being kicked around by the Nats to sign Strasburg? Do you think they'll let him start a game this year?
John Perrotto: It's been extremely quiet on that front, not even any good rumors. As far as starting a game, I'd say no. You can be certain he is not going to sign until the Aug. 17 deadline and there is no way the Nats would put a kid who sat out three months on the mound in a major-league game this season.
BL (Bozeman): Thanks for the chat, John. Can Kansas City improve itself in the trade market this summer without parting with Greinke or Soria? Is there a market for Meche or Bannister, and is there any chance at all of dumping Guillen's salary?
John Perrotto: They don't seem willing to trade Greinke or Soria, who would fetch the biggest return. About all they would probably get for Meche in this economic climate is salary relief and I don't think Bannister would bring back a high-level propsect. I keep hearing Atlanta for Guillen but I really don't think that's going to happen. I would suspect the Royals would have to eat at least some of his salary to trade him.
Mike (Niles, IL): Worse contract Vernon Wells or Soriano?
John Perrotto: It's a draw but it forced to pick, I'd say Wells.
Richard (Tacoma): John, Have you heard anything on Russell Branyan being dealt? Small sample, but seems like Mike Carp could be ready. If they hold on to Branyan, do you think the M's will give Carp the job next year and DH Russell?
John Perrotto: I don't think the Mariners will deal Branyan at this point because they feel they still have a chance to win the division. If they fall off the pace, I could see them trading him later this month or in August. However, it would not surprise me to see your scenario play out where Carp plays first and Branyan DHs next season with Griffey and Sweeney both moving on to retirement.
John Perrotto: Well, thanks for all the great questions. As always, it was a lot of fun and let's do it again soon.