Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts

Friday, September 5, 2008

Deadspin Interview

Rick Chandler over at Deadspin was kind enough to lend some of his time to answer a few questions for us. Here they are:

1.) What do you think was the main cause of the Yankees woes this year?

Besides Giambi shaving his mustache? I'd point to the pre-game buffet. Due to new MLB restrictions, no longer is HGH provided with the waffles. Also injuries, which come to think of it, again could be due to lack of steroids. I also think it could be time to come to grips with the fact that -- however incredible this may seem -- Joe Torre may have known what he was doing. And how did they not get Manny? This isn't beginning well, is it?

2.) Who do you think is the best team in baseball?

Last week I would have said the Cubs. But then Zambrano's arm fell off (Know who caught it? Steve Bartman! Weird!). Despite the fact that the Rays have the best record in baseball, I'm going to go with the Angels. To me it's been a foregone conclusion that they're going to win it all. West coast, represent.

3.) Who made the best move before the trade deadline this year.

Best single move: Dodgers with Manny, especially since they're not even paying his salary. Best moves overall: Yankees. Xavier Nady, Damaso Marte ... and Ivan Rodriguez for Kyle Farnsworth was inspired greatness. 

4.) Who is your AL and NL MVP?

NL: Will Leitch has paid me to say Albert Pujols. Between you and me though, it's Ryan Howard. AL: Carlos Quentin.

5.) Who is your AL and NL Rookie of the Year?

Can I show some Royals love with Mike Aviles? NL: Um, Fukudome?

6.) Who is your Al and NL Cy Young winners?

AL is Cliff Lee, hands down. In the NL I'm going with Tim Lincecum. I strongly suspect that both are robots from the future ... Lee concludes every interview with suspicious questions about Sarah Connor. Which brings up this point: Where would the Indians and Giants be without these guys? Answer: They'd be demoted to a lower league, like in European soccer.

7.) Which teams do you think are going to make it to the World Series?

Um, Angels and ... wait for it ... Mets. Yeah, sorry. My belief is that there are always cosmic forces at work evening out events in the universe, and after last season's epic late-season crash and burn, fate owes one to the Mets.  

8.) Which of those two teams will win it all?

I think that in the end the California Angels of Anaheim in Los Angeles County near Fullerton will hoist the dangerous, pointy World Series trophy. Rally monkey will celebrate by gorging himself on bananas and blow.  

9.) Who do you think is the most promising Yankee prospect?

My prediction of greatness for Ian Kennedy seems to have hit a snag. Austin Jackson and Jose Tabata, I suppose. My coverage of the minors skews more toward weird promotions, like the Altoona Curve's Frivolous Lawsuit Night.

10.) Do you think they should bring Cashman back?

I don't see how Cashman gets his reputation as a bad dealmaker. He brought in Jeter and Rodriguez, Giambi, Joba, all those guys. He restocked the minors with good talent. He got rid of David Wells, which is probably the most impressive of all. Plus he makes an avocado dip fit for the Gods.

11.) Overall how do you think Hank and Hal are running the team?

Hank and Hal always remind me of Big Enos and Little Enos from Smokey and the Bandit. Hal is always dragging out his money clip and signing Jason Giambi, and then hiring Jerry Reed to pick him up and deliver him by semi in less than 72 hours. But actually Yankee Stadium is more like Cuba. One day we woke up and Raul was in charge. As with all dictatorships, it's the people who suffer most.

Funny stuff. Thanks again for your time Rick!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Interview With Pending Pinstripes

This right here is an interview with one of the guys over at one of the best Yankees Minor League blog called Pending Pinstripes. Thanks so much for your time Ashish.

Here it is:
  1. Dellin Betances is a very intriguing prospect in the Yankee organization. He has huge potential, but struggles a lot with his control. I think its safe to say his ceiling is an ace, but where do you think he realistically ends up?

I honestly believe that he is going to reach his ceiling as an ace, only not as quickly as others. No doubt, Dellin has dynamite stuff. However, the simple fact that his large frame gives him inconsistent mechanics is probably the reason why he isn't flying through the system a la Phil Hughes in 06 and Joba and Ian in 07. At the end of the day, I see Dellin reaching his potential when he's about 24 or 25, kind of like Randy Johnson did. We also have keep in mind that if Dellin decided to go play for powerhouse Vanderbilt instead of sign with the Yankees, this past college season would have just been his sophomore year. One more year to draft eligbility, and for some of the younger prospects, all it takes is one year to iron out all the kinks in their repertories. He’s only 20, and once he learns to throw his three plus pitches with cleaner mechanics, we are all in for a real treat.

  1. Jesus Montero’s hitting ability and power potential are pretty widely known, but there are concerns about his future at the catcher position. Do you think he will be able to stay at catcher, or will he have to move to first base?

I love this question. Only because most people seem to really be pulling for Montero to make the bigs as a catcher. I really hope he makes the big leagues, but not at the catcher position. I am really pulling for Montero to be the Yankees version of David Ortiz, a DH mostly who will play 1st during the interleague games. Right now, the 18 year old, is 6’4, 225. He will no doubt get bigger, and by the time he fills out, he might be in the 240-250 range. I can’t possibly see him remaining at the catcher position at that size. It’s just not possible. With that in mind, the only way to maximize his hitting potential is to move him over to the first base or let him assume dhing duties. That way, we get the most out of him offensively. Besides, we don’t need to worry about catching prospects in the Yankees organization, with the likes of Austin Romine, Francisco Cervelli, Chase Weems, and Kyle Higashioka down on the farm.

  1. What would you say is Austin Jackson’s ceiling?

I think A-Jack’s (the nickname he prefers) ceiling is somewhere between a Curtis Granderson/Torii Hunter type player. I see Austin being a .300/20/.390 player down the road, with tons of extra base hits. I just love his overall ability and his knack for constantly learning and fine tuning his hitting to get better. Next year when he replaces Melky at center, Yankee fans are going to see how truly special this guy really is.

  1. Zach McAllister is having a huge year, posting a 2.53 ERA between Charleston and Tampa. Where do you think he ends up? Does he have ace potential or is he just a groundballing innings eater?

I think he’ll be in Trenton at the start of the 2009 season and remain there for the whole year, regardless of what he does. The next year, we’ll see Z-Mac at Scranton for the beginning of the year, and if he dominates as expected, he will then earn to promotion to the bigs. The last thing the Yankees need is to rush their pitching prospects after what we saw happen to Phil Hughes so far in his major league career. With that being said, when Z-Mac reaches the majors, I see him being the carbon copy of Chien-Ming Wang, a solid #2 in the rotation who will just go absolutely crazy garnering up so many groundouts. Barring injury, I honestly don’t see anything being in Zach’s way.

  1. Brett Gardner was recently called up to the bigs. Do you see him as a legitimate starter or he is he more of a 4th outfielder/pinch-runner?

I see Brett as a legitimate starter hitting in the .290 range with a .400 OBP. You just can’t let his ability to get on base and steal at a great clip rot on a bench, whether it is the Yankees or any other team. People will always have a problem with his power, but he has already shown more power this year at Scranton than in years past. Add in his speed and he will be a XBH hitting machine (primarily doubles and triples). In addition, the game winner he had against the Red Sox and Papelbon truly showed that one doesn’t need tremendous power to prove worthy and essential to a team.

  1. A lot has been made of the switch pitcher Pat Venditte. Does he have a future as a successful major league reliever, or is he a gimmick with mediocre stuff.

I think Pat will definitely find some success as a major league reliever. Do I think he’ll be one of the better relievers in the game if he reaches the major leagues? Not really. He doesn’t have great stuff from either side so how hitters at higher levels adjust to his “style” of pitching remains yet to be seen. I mean the numbers his is putting up, albeit it’s at Short Season, are pretty darn good. He’s got all of our attention that’s for sure.

  1. Who is the most underrated prospect in the Yankee system right now? Is there anyone who may be on the verge of breaking out?

Manny Bareda, in my opinion is the most underrated prospect in the Yankees system right now. He gets a bad rap because of his small stature, as others believe that he will break down as a result. That’s not fair, considering the fact that most of the starting pitchers who get injured in today’s game happen to be guys with huge frames. In my opinion, small size has no correlation with higher injury probability. The guy has a fastball that tops out around 95 as a starter right now, and a pretty good changeup. I think once the training wheels are taken off a bit, people will see how good this guy really is.

Next year, the player I see on the verge of breaking out is Austin Romine, in my opinion the future catcher of the Yankees of many years to come.  No doubt Jesus Montero was the breakout player this year. Austin could have given Montero a run for his money this year, but the simple fact that Austin was out for an extended period of time earlier in the season might be the reason why I think Austin hasn’t been getting enough recognition as Montero. Next year, that will change. If healthy, he will not only be better defensively, but I believe he will be hitting over 300, with a 350+ OBP clip, with low strike out totals, and many extra base hits. By the end of next season, Austin will vault himself into the top 10 in terms of Yankees prospects and will succeed Jorge Posada as the next Yankees backstop. Yeah, you could probably say that I’m really high on him.

  1. Ivan Nova is another young pitcher with good potential who hasn’t been putting very good numbers. Will he be able to figure it out, and if so, what is his ceiling?

I think he’ll toil away in the minors and never be able to make the majors as a starter. Maybe he does it as a reliever, but he is SO inconsistent. He is sort of an enigma, as it is so difficult for Ivan to string two good starts together. Realistically, I see the Yankees organization switching Ivan to a reliever, as they can afford such a change with the starting pitching depth they have in terms of prospects. When they do that and if he makes the majors, I see Ivan as a serviceable reliever but nothing to get excited about.

9. Jose Tabata has been having a very rough season in Trenton. He is still only nineteen, but does he have a future as a successful major leaguer?

I think he will find success. After all, he is only 19 playing at the Double A level. Now obviously he has the opportunity to make the majors with the Pirates, which can only help him as pressure is miniscule over at Pittsburgh compared to the big stage in New York. I ranked Jose as my #1 prospect before the season started, and I still believe in him. He’s immature right now and still a kid. Things did not pan out for him this year. That is why he will come even harder next year to reclaim his prospect status. The weight issues can be solved. His hitting slumps can be solved. Jose just needs to focus better, and I believe he will do that, next year as he is playing with a chip on his shoulder. I think the Yankees jumped the gun with this one, but it’s in the past now.

  1. There is a lot of hype surrounding Mark Melancon. It seems like he may eventually replace Mariano Rivera as closer. I think its safe to say he won’t be as good as Mo, but how good can he be?

There is no way Mark will be able to duplicate what Mo has done over his career. Then again, I don’t think anyone will be able to do so. However, I believe Mark will be really good, establishing himself as one of the better closers in the game when he replaces Mo. I think he is fairly comparable to Jason Isringhausen. So, I think we can realistically expect Mark with a low-mid 2ish ERA.  However, for the time being, if he does get called up in the near future (that is sometime this year), I see the Yankees being very very careful with him. He’s already logged so many innings. The last thing the Yankees need is for Mark to get injured again. 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pete Abe Interview

Pete Abraham is a beat writer for the Yankees and he was courteous enough to answer some of our questions in an Interview. Here is is (Pete answers are in italics):

1. How is the atmosphere in the clubhouse this year as compared to previous years when the Yankees had more success?

I don’t think the atmosphere has changed much. The Yankees are a little younger this season than they have been in the past, so it’s a little looser and a little louder. The mood generally revolves around Jeter, Posada, Damon and the older guys.

2. What do you think would be the players’ response if the Yankees signed Barry Bonds?

I think the response wouldn’t be good, Signing Bonds would be a media circus and every player would be asked how he felt, etc. I don’t know that the Yankees have any personal opinions on Bonds. Outside of LaTroy Hawkins and Dan Giese, I don’t think any of the guys have played with him.

3. Do you get the feeling the players want Brian Cashman to make a big trade at the deadline, or do they feel that they will be okay with the players they have now?

It would obviously depend on the player. It’s hard to answer that question without knowing who the player is and what they would give up to get him. I don’t get the sense that the players are demanding a trade.

4. Young players such as Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera have struggled this year, causing some fans to lose confidence in them. It appears that the front office wants to stick with them, but what are the players’, especially the veterans’, feelings about the youngsters?

Until a rookie proves himself, they’re all the same in the eyes of the veterans. They’re sort of there until they deserve otherwise.

5. What is the hardest part of being a beat writer for the Yankees

There’s nothing that is hard necessarily. It can be a challenge to get people you need on the phone when you’re working on a story away from the park. Flight delays suck, that’s an issue sometimes.

6. What do you think the Yankees chances of making the playoffs this year?

I wrote before the season that I didn’t think they would make it and I haven’t seen much to change my mind. If anything, things have gotten worse with the injuries to the pitchers.

7. Is there any information or story you have collected as a beat writer about a player that is funny or not know by the public?

Not really, anything that I would be comfortable sharing, I have published in the paper or on the blog. Mike Mussina is a really good guy who says a lot of funny things. I think sometimes people get the wrong impression of him.

8. What do you think of the Yankees knocked down the stadium. What would you do different?

I think they need a new stadium; I wouldn’t do anything different. I do think they’ve done an awful job of celebrating the final year of the old stadium. I was hoping there would be some special guests to throw out the first pitch, sing the National Anthem, etc. It’s been pretty boring outside of the All-Star Game and MLB ran that.

9. If you were the GM would you sign Barry Bonds because of the setbacks that Damon and Matsui are encountering?

No, no, a thousand times no. His OBP was inflated by 48 IBBs last season, which was a product of San Francisco’s awful lineup. Plus, he’s old and presumably off whatever drugs he was on. The Yankees need young players who could develop, not old guys trying to recapture their glory.

10. What do you think is the root of the trouble that Robinson Cano is having at the plate?

The Yankees do not have a very experienced coaching staff. A guy like Cano misses having     somebody like Larry Bowa or Don Mattingly around. Girardi seems to just have blind faith in the power of positive thinking. The old regime used to put some fear into kids.

11. Do you think the Yankees will make a blockbuster move before the trade deadline to improve their playoff chances?

Not a blockbuster, no. Cashman has made it pretty evident he’s not going to suddenly start throwing around his best prospects.

Thanks so much for your time Pete. This is part 2 of THE CHUCK KNOBLOG INTERVIEW EXTRAVAGANZA.
Next we have an interview with the guys over at Saber Scouting

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MLB Trade Rumors Interview

Tim Dierkes the head of the great website was kind enough to let us interview him. All of Tim's answers are in italics:

1. Many of the upcoming big name free agents (CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets, Mark Teixeira) have been generating interest from the Yankees. Which of them do you see actually signing with the Yankees, and for how much?

I have actually not heard much about serious interest from the Yankees in any of those three. I could see a Sheets signing in the range of four years and $72MM, but more likely if Cashman leaves.

2. The Yankees may want to sign an outfielder in the offseason, and Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell seem the best options there. Do you see either of them signing with the Yankees? Also, regardless of where those two guys sign, how much do you think they will get, considering they aren't really looked at as the premier free agents for next year, but are still good players.

I would be surprised to see the Yankees add either of those players with Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon both under contract. Neither Dunn nor Burrell could replace Abreu in right field. Free agent options for RF are uninspiring, so I am not sure what they'll do. Also, I think it makes sense to leave the DH spot somewhat open to rotate in various older players.

Dunn and Burrell will probably command four or five years at $14-16MM per. Just a guess.

3. Last year, the Yankees gave Mariano Rivera a 3-year, $45 MM deal, a huge deal for a closer. On your site, you recently said that Francisco Rodriguez wants $55 MM. Do you think he will get that, and if not, how much?

$55MM was mentioned as the number the L.A. Times' Kurt Streeter thought the Angels should offer, rather than what he wants. I expect him to snag that fifth year, maybe for a total of $65MM or so.

4. Mike Mussina's resurgence this year has surprised a lot of people. Do you think the Yankees will resign him this offseason or will they let him walk?

I expect them to bring him back. It'd be great to see him reach 20 wins for the first time. He's missed it due to various fluke situations.

5. Do you see the Yankees going after a bullpen arm like Brian Fuentes or Damaso Marte, or will they just stick with the bullpen they have now?

I do think they'll make a move, with Marte the top target for them.

6. A lot of people are wondering why certain teams don't sign Barry Bonds. Do you think he could help a team that would be willing to sign him?

I do, and there are good arguments for all the reasons people bring up not to sign him. If I was a GM, I would probably sign him.

7. Who do you see as the winners of the four most recent trades involving big name players (Santana, Haren, CC, Harden)?

I hate to cop out on you but most of those deals need 3-5 years to really determine the winner. I will say that of all the teams trading away their veteran starters, the Twins come out looking the worst. Not only is the package of players questionable, but they might be in first place right now with Johan.

8. Two of the biggest names that were expected to be traded (Sabathia and Harden) at the deadline have already been dealt. Do you see any more blockbusters happening before (or on) July 31st?

Not sure if Brian Fuentes and Xavier Nady are blockbusters, but I expect those guys to be moved. Holliday, Teixeira, Bay I see staying put.

This is part one of The Chuck Knoblog Interview EXTRAVAGANZA. Many thanks to Tim over at Later this week we will put up an interview with one of the Yankees beat writers Pete Abraham.