Spring Chatter

Just finished a chat at Baseball Prospectus. Some highlights:

Mike W (Chicago): How many starts do the Brewers give [Jeff] Suppan? Not that their alternatives are very attractive, but we know how this movie ends, right?

JJ: It sounds as though the Brewers are closing in on the decision to make David Bush their #4 behind Gallardo, Wolf and Davis, which leaves Manny Parra, Chris Narveson and Suppan battling for one spot. Narveson made a good impression last year, and has further helped his cause this spring, while Parra seems to have really clicked with Rick Peterson and seems eager to mend his wayward ways. I don’t think it’s out of the question that the Brewers concede Suppan is a sunk cost and cut him by the end of the spring.

And a good riddance it will be.

Nick Stone (New York, NY): Assuming [Phil] Hughes is healthy and effective as a starter, do you think the Yankees re-think the Joba rules idea when dealing with Hughes’s innings count?

JJ: I can’t possibly imagine the Yankees taking the same approach with Hughes that they took with Chamberlain, because that turned into an epic failure.

For one thing, it sounds as though Hughes will be on a longer leash, good for about 170 innings as opposed to 150, which would require less manipulation. For another, Hughes has always come off a more cerebral, better able to understand the organization’s plans for him than Joba, who increasingly seems like the guy with the 10ยข head.

On the other hand, Hughes’ reputation for fragility may make that upper bound a moot point, and it could be that he takes a midsummer vacation on the DL for even the slightest aches and pains.

tommybones (brooklyn): Having now had the chance to see [Stephen] Strasburg pitch to major league hitters, what is your impression of him?

JJ: He’s all that and a bag of chips. I was particularly impressed with how well he’s handled the spotlight given the pressure and attention. And while we shouldn’t put too much stock into the strikeout to walk ratio (12/1) and groundball to flyball ratio (14/1 on outs) bode very well for the future. He’s going to be a monster.

dianagramr (NYC): Will the Yanks regret dealing Austin Jackson? If not this year, then ever?

JJ: A lot of it depends upon how well Curtis Granderson takes to New York. Do the contact lenses help? Can he restore his ability against lefties? Can the Yankees keep one of the two playoff spots that will inevitably come out of the AL East? If the answers to those are yes, not just this year but over the next few ones, I suspect they’ll sleep OK no matter how Jackson does in Detroit.

tommybones (brooklyn): Speaking of overpaying closers, how do you see the [Jonathan] Papelbon situation playing itself out?

JJ: In tears of rage, just like the vasts majority of Red Sox player/team divorces.

The chat also provided an opportunity to point people in the general direction of this great bit from Vin Scully on Bill Veeck and the role racism played in leading teams to flee Florida spring training sites for Arizona, and to unearth I’m Keith Hernandez, the awesome short film I covered last summer. Set aside 20 minutes to watch Rob Perri’s ode to the man who put the cheese in machismo if you haven’t done so already.

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