Peter Gammons Red Sox chat transcript

Thursday Jan. 3, 2008
JMI__Guest_Hi Peter, do you think Julio Lugo is the long-term answer at shortstop for the Sox ?
Peter_GammonsHello everyone... RE: Lugo: The way he played defensively the last 5 weeks, indicates he should be all right. He never recovered offensively from being sick before spring training. It will be interesting to watch if he's more consistent this year. If Jed Lowrie is still with them, he should allow them to give Lugo more rest and be a good alternative at SS.
alan_in_brighton__Guest_Peter, what is the status of contract negotiations with Tito? Also, is there any truth to the rumor that they are looking to extend the contracts of Papelbon, Tek, and Kevin Youkilis?
Peter_GammonsI believe the Terry Francona contract will get done before spring training. And it should. I don't think you're going to see them doing anything long term with the others, not yet. Youkilis would make the most sense, but indications are that they will wait and try to get him for a house price. With Papelbon, they will just as soon wait another year. Varitek is great question, obviously they have no catching ready, but they've always seem to worry about catchers in mid-30's. So my guess is that will play it out until the end of his contract.
ATownsox__Guest_Who do you think are possible teams that would accept a trade for Coco Crisp?
Peter_GammonsI think Texas... and Oakland... would be the most likely if he's not part of any deal with Minnesota. I could see Billy Beane trading for Crisp and then turning around and trading him before season starts. The A's think he's the best defensive center fielder in game right now.
cape__Guest_What song will you be playing at Hot Stove, Cool Music? Do you play lead guitar or rhythm?
Peter_GammonsI'm definitely playing rhythm. We're going to do a couple of songs off the CD from last year, but if I can finish a song about the Mitchell Report, we'll play it. It includes the line: "Bob Heise would be Jim Rice if he knew what I know"... Paul Barrere from Little Feat is here and he's going to play a song with me.
guestWhere do you see Clay Buchholz fitting in next season, might he end up in triple A barring any injuries to the starting rotation?
Peter_GammonsI think he could start in Triple-A, but by the time the season's over he'll be an important part of their rotation. They showed that resting starters during season, e.g. Beckett two weeks, Schilling time off, can be very beneficial come October. Having 6 starters can eventually work its way out.
alan_in_brighton__Guest_How did surgery go for David Ortiz? Do you think he will be in '06 shape for this season, or should we expect a solid year like this past season, with a little less home run power?
Peter_GammonsMy guess is that he'll be fine. And in a lot less pain than he was at times last year. I thought for nearly three months, he was very clear that self confident presence was missing and it was injury related. In the 40 HR range... what's going to be interesting is going to be how Manny hits with him. Manny rented a house in the Phoenix area and has become a maniacal workout warrior in Tempe Arizona at the Athletes' Performance Institute (API). From what I've heard from people at API, Manny is getting himself into phenomenal shape. And having watched those workouts, I can tell you, they are extremely difficult.
tc__Guest_Do you think Okajima can have another year like the one he just had? He was such a surprise and a big part of the Sox Success.
Peter_GammonsI would be surprised if he could duplicate that performance, but I do think he'll be a perfectly viable LF 8th inning reliever. What will be interesting will be to see what righthanders emerge along with Mike Timlin, especially whether Craig Hansen bounces back after a very strong Arizona Fall League performance.
JMI__Guest_Which hitting prospects in the Sox system do you feel will make a BIG IMPACT in the near future?
Peter_GammonsProbably the two highest regarded young hitters other than Brandon Moss are Lars Anderson and Ryan Kalish. Anderson is considered their best power prospect after a very strong season at Greenville as a 19 year old. Outfielder Josh Reddick made himself a significant prospect and scouts who saw some of the players out of last years draft were impressed, specifically 3B Will Middlebrooks, 1B Anthony Rizzo, and OF David Mailman.
Dan_from_Marlborough__Guest_Hi Peter, I'm happy to see that you're health is good. You gave us all a scare my friend. I grew up reading about baseball with you and Leigh Montville and hope that my 1 year old has the same privilege soon. Jacoby for Santana...I'm not sure I want to part with him. I've got a feeling that he is going to be real real special and I think that Sox are loaded with enough pitching (Cheaper than Johan at that). Your thoughts please?
Peter_GammonsSantana is probably the best pitcher of this generation. He's young and he's a great athlete who should be able to last another 10 years, but the more I've thought about the Santana deal, the more I'm convinced it's not a great idea. Whether it's the Ellsbury deal or the Lester deal, the Sox would still be giving up three young players and I don't discount the importance that Lowrie will play in the next couple of years. Theo has rebuilt the RS farm system in a very short time and changed the culture. And I think that culture is really important. The baseball people with the Yankees feel the same about what Brian Cashman has done and would prefer not to make a Santana deal. There are days when I really believe that the Red Sox and Yankees wake up and hoping somehow the Mets can find 4 or 5 good prospects in the organization and make the trade, but right now, that's highly unlikely.
soxkrazy__Guest_Peter, please tell me you're a Hall & Oates fan, and what about Jon Lester? Will he be able to harness his control, limit his baserunners, and be an Andy Pettitte type?
Peter_GammonsI can't say I'm a big Hall and Oates fan, but I'm no one to talk... One of the most interesting thing about the winter meetings was that John Farrell was passionate about his case for Jon Lester becoming their equivalent of a young Pettitte. His velocity should be back to where it was 2 yrs. ago come spring training. His breaking ball and changeup improved dramatically in the postseason. And if you go back and look at DVD of Game 4 and watch his presence given the opportunity to clinch the WS, it's remarkable. After the Cleveland series, the Indians front office, coaches, and player personnel people had a meeting and it was unanimously agreed that after Josh Beckett, the best pitcher on the Red Sox was Lester. That doesn't include Papelbon, different category.
Sox_Girl__Guest_Hi Peter!! I can't wait for the Hot Stove preview on Saturday! Will you be there?? Will there be any surprise guests?
Peter_GammonsWe will have Brian Cashman, he's coming. Scott Boras is coming, which will be a fascinating discussion. It will a lot of fun. There's a VIP reception and a concert at the Paradise as well, and the full event on Sunday night.
Caes__Guest_Do Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino have a genuine relationship or is there still any tension from two years ago?
Peter_GammonsI think the relationship is very good now. Larry has immense respect for Theo and his work ethic. And I think some of the issues that existed probably were better dealt with by the brief rupture in their relationship.
jonas__Guest_Will Jim Rice finally make it into the Hall of Fame?
Peter_GammonsI don't think so. I voted for him, but it's been interesting that there have been people like Rob Neyer who are so obsessed with degrading Rice's career. The fact that he retired as early as he did clearly has cost him because of the 382 home runs. But for him to be in the top 5 in MVP balloting 6 times in 12 years, to me, speaks more about his career than the fact that his career OPS is the same as Ellis Burks.
Chris__Venice__CA___Guest_Peter, I always found it strange that Roger Clemens did not take more heat from the media as well as draw a suspension for his bizarre and violent behavior during the 2000 season. He literally almost killed Mike Piazza with a fastball to the head and then during the post -season he hurled a bat at him. For those of us who believe he took illegal narcotics to save his career it might be safe to assume that it was the steroids that caused his antisocial actions. Do you agree or have any thoughts?
Peter_GammonsIt certainly is possible. However Roger was always very emotional as we saw during the 1990 playoffs in Oakland, but Roger faces a very difficult task proving his innocence at this point. If he ends up in a "he said, she said" lawsuit with Brian McNamee, it may only make things worse. What people with the Yankees will never understand is why Clemens brought McNamee to the Yankees from Toronto in the first place. In 2000, when Roger had hamstring problems early in the season, he convinced the club to allow him to bring McNamee on board because McNamee had worked with him and knew his body. In the end, we'll find out if it was worth it.
JMI__Guest_Do you think J.D. Drew will settle down this year and start producing better power numbers?
Peter_GammonsI think he will. He hit very well in September. He played well in the postseason. And his family issues will be behind him. I don't think he was quite prepared for Boston and I also think that he's the type that can put fans and media completely out of sight.
Glenn_Hoffman_18__Guest_Peter, been a fan of yours since your notes page with the Boston Globe. I am sure you have been asked many times before, but do you believe Roger Clemens' denial of steroids/HGH use?
Peter_GammonsIt's hard for me to understand why McNamee would lie. Especially given the fact that Andy Pettitte has corroborated McNamee's testimony. There are those close to Roger who insist that in time, his innocence will be proven, so we all wait for that. But for now, we have to see if he can prove his innocence which won't happen if all they do is attack McNamee.
Joe__Guest_Hey Peter, what's your opinion of how Bill Smith is handling the Santana issue, it seems he is desperately trying to get someone to play against the Sox, but no one is playing along.
Peter_GammonsI think one issue that Bill faces, is because Terry Ryan made so many great trades, he's trying to remake the team using Santana. I think Hank Steinbrenner would trade for Santana but only at the cost that was offered a month ago. The one team that continues to try to continue to build up inventory to trade are the Mets, and Smith may be waiting to see if any offer gets better.
yukonjackPeter, How would you rate Dice-K's first season in Boston and do you expect a big improvement in Year 2?
Peter_GammonsI thought he was good, not great. What surprised me, was the inconsistency of his pitches, especially his command in the last three months. I do expect he'll be much better this year if for no other reason, that he will be used to the expectations from the Japanese media and from Red Sox fans. He is an extraordinary athlete and a truly loves to play which makes me believe that he will improve.
LSCII__Guest_What difference will we see in the Yankees now that George has passed the reins over to his sons?
Peter_GammonsThis is an interesting year b/c it's Hank Steinbrenner and Joe Girardi instead of George and Joe Torre. I think the emphasis is going to remain on their young pitchers like Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. And I think Girardi will carry over the enthusiasm for the young players like Cano and Cabrera, that Don Mattingly brought to Torre. Baseball America has them ranked the 5th best org. in terms of prospects which is a huge jump. And Hank always liked young players and seems to be encouraged by this. Of course, if they're in 4th place by May 1, they might trade everybody.
guestWhat are your thoughts on the Tigers trading for Cabrera and Willis?
Peter_GammonsI think Cabrera will be a mega-star in what has a chance to be the best offensive lineup in the league. Willis is tough to judge. Every number has gotten worse the last three years, and the question will be, did all the innings he threw at such a young age catch up to him?
danny__Guest_Tim Wakefield quietly had a great year for the Sox. What are the chances of him putting together a similar campaign in 2008?
Peter_GammonsI think Wakefield may be able to pitch effectively until he's 45. He's very athletic, and he's in the shape of a 25 year old. He seems to continually come to grips with what it takes to stand out there and throw that pitch, so if his back holds up, he should continue to be one of the most undervalued pitchers in the game for another 3-4 years.
LSCII__Guest_Hi Peter, love your stuff! Any truth to the rumor that you're planning on writing the forward to Jose Canseco's book sequel?
Peter_GammonsHaaaa... There is no truth to that, however, I'm the first one to admit, that while there were inconsistencies in his first book, he has the right to say "I told you so." One of the unfortunate shortcomings of the Mitchell Report is that it did not trace the pattern of performance-enhancing drugs through Oakland and Texas, not to mention the huge importation of drugs from Latin America.
galvin__Guest_Do you think it was smart of Roger to hand pick Mike Wallace since Wallace is a friend of Steinbrenner and is a frequent guest in his box at Yankee Stadium?
Peter_GammonsProbably not. Wallace did a piece on Clemens for 60 Minutes a few years ago and had admired him from his Boston days. As you know, Mr. Wallace is from Brookline and grew up three miles from Fenway Park. I'm sure that Clemens felt more comfortable with Wallace but in the end, how this plays in the court of public opinion likely won't be decided for a long time.
long435__Guest_Am I the only one who cringes at the thought that Schilling might have a mediocre season and still get one cy young vote from a local writer, and the frenzy that will ensue.
Peter_GammonsI do not worry about the integrity of any writer. I think Schilling is going to come back and finish his career with a great season. I think it's unfortunate that writers will be put in that situation but this has been a long time coming given the incentive bonuses involving BBWA Awards.
Rebs__Guest_Seems like Manny may have finally settled himself here in Boston, only took 8 years. Do you think there is any chance he resigns after this contract?
Peter_GammonsI do think the Red Sox will pick up his option so that he plays through 2010. I think there's a good chance that he'll want to stay, but where he is at that point in his career is something that's impossible to predict. I know he'd like to finish his career in Boston, but when sluggers get close to 40 years old, the market can shift dramatically.
larry_david__Guest_Will Scott Boras be making any announcements during the Super Bowl? Maybe another one of his clients will be filing for free agency that day?
Peter_GammonsNo, Scott has apologized for the timing and clearly feels badly for the storm he created. It was one of those perfect storms and he knows that it took away from that 4th game. What we don't know is how much Alex Rodriguez was a part of the timing. Alex's performance on 60 Minutes proved one thing, he's a baseball player, not a Hollywood star. And players around the game will not forget that he actually said that the game is easy for him.
Peter_GammonsThanks folks, hope to see you at the Hot Stove, Cool Music events this weekend. Stay warm. Peter.

About Gammons
Peter GammonsBaseball guru Peter Gammons serves as a studio analyst on ESPN's Baseball Tonight and provides "Diamond Notes" and other reports for SportsCenter. Gammons also contributes to ESPN.com via his Insider blog.

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