Gammons: Rangers, Angels, Yanks, Rays are among AL bargain shoppers

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This entry was posted on 6/19/2009 12:50 PM and is filed under uncategorized.

Here's the weekly segment with ESPN's Peter Gammons on the Mike and Mike Show on Friday morning. Among the highlights are:

*Serious doubt from Gammons that the Cubs are going to do much to add to their team with ownership in flux

*Texas needs a pitcher, but they are for real

*Angels need a pitcher or a hitter, but must do something at the deadline

*The Rays are looking for a veteran reliever to close out ballgames, but both David Price and Wade Davis will factor into the bullpen equation.

*The Yanks should be in the market for a middle reliever, but they want to see what they have in K-Rod Fan Club President Brian Bruney first.

*Pudge Rodriguez should be a Hall of Famer, but during his first year in Detroit he would tell Cleveland Indians hitters what pitches were coming because he was displeased with manager Alan Trammell and his spot in the Tigers batting order. Interesting. I thought only A-Rod did things like that.

I want to start with the Cubs. Is this a fixable team the way you seem them? PG: Well, it’s a fixable team if Alfonso Soriano gets on base 35-37 percent of the time rather than 28-30 percent. That’s a huge hole when you’re not getting on base out of the leadoff spot, and you’ve got to assume that Derrek Lee is not going to be a 40 home run guy after hurting his wrist. There are a lot of guys there that can hit. Milton Bradley is certainly capable of doing a lot more than he’s done.

So it’s fixable, and I think they will fix it. But I think it’s one of those things where they can’t go out and do a lot. The ownership situation is in flux, so I’m going to presume that means they won’t spend any money. They have to get their good players to produce and that hasn’t happened yet.

Instead of players that are on the trading block, what teams out there are in contention and have to make a move? PG: I think there are a few. If you to the AL West, Texas has to add a pitcher there. They have (Frank) Francisco back now and maybe in a few weeks or a month Brandon McCarthy will be back. They need a pitcher, but I think Texas is a pretty serious contender.

I think the Angels probably have to either add a bat or a pitcher. It’s astounding that they’ve survived the injuries that they’ve had, but one way or another before the trade deadline they have to do something. Tampa has to go find one veteran reliever. There are ways they can go with their young pitchers where they want to put Price back in the bullpen and pitch Wade Davis in the seventh and eighth innings.

But they need some veteran to go into clean ninth innings situations and stop the bleeding. There was a very interesting piece in Tampa last week about strength of schedule. They had had by far the toughest strength of schedule (in the first two months). They can come back and play much better in the second half, but they need stability at the end.

I think eventually the Yankees are going to have to get another middle reliever. I think they can do it, but they want to see what Brian Bruney is going to give them. But I think they’re another team that has to go out and do something. Then I look at the AL Central and NL Central and there’s so much up in the air that I’m not sure anybody has to do anything. It’s just a matter of who plays best. In the AL Central my guess is that Minnesota is a team that better than anybody else can heal themselves from within.

What’s your overriding feeling about the home runs at Yankee Stadium this season? PG: I just hate the idea of having anything at Yankee Stadium cheapened, and the home runs have cheapened it a bit. I don’t really understand how they didn’t plan it out a little better. I understand how building around ballparks can change wind patterns and therefore change home runs patterns, but the people that designed that ballpark could have done a little more.

They could have planned a little better. It’s too bad. But the amazing thing is that the first homerless game came against the Washington Nationals. That’s tremendous, and it wasn’t even Strasburg that was pitching.

Pudge breaks record for most games caught, and much has been mentioned about him. What’s going to be his legacy? PG: I think he will go down as a Hall of Fame catcher after catching the most games. And it is remarkable that he spent most of his career in that heat in Texas. That shortened the career by at least five years of an extraordinary catcher named Jim Sundberg because he was out there catching 150-something games a year in that heat for 8 or 9 years.

But I mean there’s been a lot said and written about conflicts with pitchers and Pudge. When Alan Trammell was the manager there in his first year (in Detroit) he got mad because Trammell batted him lower in the order and was sort of cryptically telling opposing hitters on the Indians what was coming because he was mad.

Those things happen, but you know they’ve happened with a lot of stars over the years. I think he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer, I really do.

There’s been some smoke around Pudge for all these years. Is that all part of the legacy? Should we whisper about guys like that? PG: There were a lot of suspicions around the players in Texas in the 1990’s. But unless somebody showed up in the Mitchell Report or is linked in a federal investigation or has failed a drug test, I don’t think it’s fair to throw it out there. I remember a couple of guys in the 80’s asking the question ‘how did you get so big’ and you dig and you try to dig, but you get nowhere trying to get any proof. I just think it’s hard just throwing it out there against guys.

Did Pudge get a lot bigger for three or four years there? Yes. Was he a workout fanatic? Yes. Do we know that part of the PED thing was to recover and continually work out? Yes. But unless we’ve got something concrete, I don’t think people in our business are qualified to make medical judgments just with their eyes.


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