Ronald Acua Jr.'s Extension, Plus Bryce Harpers Welcome Tour | The Ringer MLB Show
Let's change the way you watch baseball. Introducing change up a brand new live whiparound show across league brought to you by m o and does own jump in and out of the best places. They happen and get expert analysis for post could bring a fresh personality and a new perspective to the game. It's on every night and available on nearly any device smart TVs, tablets mobile and gaming consoles getting set up with design as easy. Just download the design apps in the apple or Android app store. Sign up by creating an account and start watching it cross any of your devices. That's dissolved on DA's C N. Hello and welcome to the rare MLB show. My name is Michael Bowman. And I'm a staff writer at the ringer. It's the regular season. So let's just hop right? Into it with that cram. And some breaking news. All right. So let's kick things off with Zach cram sack. How you doing more Tuesday news? Yeah. I made a joke about the Kevin poll. Our trade fulfilling our quota for our traditional Tuesday morning, news dump and thirty minutes later Ronald CUNY assigned an extension. So we're gonna put our original topic on hold for a couple of minutes while we break this down. So why don't you give us the details in and tell me what to think so Ronald the kunia, obviously, wonderful young Braves player. He's just won the rookie of the year award. He's going to be a cornerstone of the Braves franchise for years to come in today. It came out that he's going to be a cornerstone for even longer than that because he signed well, I guess a seven year extension. It's being reported as eight years, even though the first is the twenty nine thousand nine season with two club options on the end. And even if both of those club options are exercised this will amount to just one hundred twenty. Four million dollars for almost the next decade of a kunia, which seems like the biggest swindle steal, whatever. Synonym? You wanna use to show that basically kunia is going to be incredibly underpaid for the next decade Ivan seat like you, usually don't see people get absolutely destroyed in Atlanta like this and less the federal grand armies involved. I was I went into this with an open mind because so far from free agencies. I mean, he's frankly, so far from arbitration that you wouldn't you can't like look at the I mean, it's essentially seven year one hundred million dollar deal. You can't look at that. And think, wow, you know, he's only making what is at thirteen million dollars a year fourteen million. And and judge that against free agent salaries. But then you look at the like the two extension deal or to extension years or or seventeen million dollars each like what like if he's going to be worth going to be worth exercising? Those options. In his thirties. Like one old be the going rate for a superstar by that point. I can't I dunno. It's it just seems. I you call it a swindle. I think that's that's not a bad way to describe it. I mean, the Braves just completely put one over on him and Kuna, I think it's important to note is in this position because he was not a super highly touted prospect when he signed at Venezuela with Atlanta as a youngster he wasn't one of those guys who made, you know, five million dollars on the free agent market. I think it was watch us one hundred thousand hundred thousand he made and he was held down by Atlanta for the first month last year. So he's going to hit free agency a year later than he otherwise would have he's making the league minimum this year next year. So he's not really going to have the chance at getting paid for a few years anyway. So you can sort of understand why he would want to lock up the security because if he suffers a career threatening injury tomorrow, then he's. Not going to have the sort of financial security to fall back on that players who came from more means will have. But at the same time, this is such a potential underpay that it seems like it goes even beyond just that situation, and it's hard to even so let's address appoint too because I think that's important, and I do want to be cautious about how far we go and not generalize on necessarily. But you know, nothing in accuse contract before he signed. This was guaranteed, and you know, when you sign out of Anna's wail at sixteen that's not the same as it being a having most of a college education going in going to draft at twenty one and we've seen players like Alex bregman came from a comfortable background went to college and still signed a six year hundred billion dollar extension with more service time than kunia. So this is not a hard and fast rule. But this is an instance of teams using every point of leverage against players in these. Negotiations. Even when some of those points leverage are sort of baked into societal inequality which. Like, it's gross. And if you know, not to go the obvious place with this. But. This is just sort of how we expect for profit businesses to act. Knowing what the Braves got from Cobb County in that stadium deal knowing that being relatively certain that they're not gonna turn around and say, well, we're paying, you know, fourteen million dollars for a forty million dollar player. Let's go spend that twenty six million dollars on the free agent market. They're not gonna do that. So it's just sad that that this is that we expect so little from the businesses that make up such a large part of our society, which is not, you know, this is life changing money for Tunisia. And I certainly don't blame him for taking this. I just think he could've made. But you know, if one hundred billion dollars over over the next ten years or eight to ten years versus two hundred million dollars. It's not that big difference for Acuna. It's gonna make even less difference for for, you know, the holding company that that owns the Braves and runs it from behind that faceless corporate facade. So yeah, it's it's a mixed emotions for me. Yeah. And I think the next step is I think like if you're a Braves fan to hope that they will take these savings and spend them on other players, maybe spend it on Craig kimbrel right now. Because the first week of the season showed that Atlanta's certainly has a bullpen problem. But I think the way the Braves of operators, especially with the ownership group in the new stadium and having more public fighters bridge, I want to sell his act they have more public finances than a lot of teams have, and we know how much money they're making or at least purporting to make. And I'm not, you know, I'm not convey. Inst- that they're going to actually reinvest those savings. Yeah. I would say the the winners here are Braves ownership in to a lesser extent. Braves fans who now get to be certain that they're going to watch the best player. I mean, God, you know, kunas the best player they've developed since Chipper Jones or Andrew Jones at the very least like yeast, so good. I picked him to win the MVP this year and the brakes went oh and three this weekend. But kunia had a couple of spectacular plays. Like, you could this is a once in a generation find in in terms of talent. And now he's locked up with the Braves at before we move on. I do want to sort of. I think it's we should zoom out a little bit. And think about the the impact of the slow a couple slow free agent years on players willingness to sign, you know, might trout came out and said as as much that he just didn't want to deal with the hassle of free agency after talking Harper Machado, and we're seeing this knock on a fact where teams are you know, they're taking on. Little bit less risk themselves. But they're limiting their their earning ceilings, which it's it's just disappointing. Because you know, it doesn't make any difference to you or me whether it makes a hundred million dollars or two hundred million dollars. But I it it should matter to us as fans and analysts if if teams aren't turning around and reinvesting the that savings in the club instead of just pocketing it and not lowering prices for you know, for tickets or concessions or anything like that. So you know, it's like I said they're using every bit of leverage that they can. And we're gonna talk about under ship groups not investing in the clubs is that a good transition to our plan topic for today. Wow. That's a fantastic transition. So we're gonna talk. So we wanted to talk about the American League's big dogs had kind of a rough weekend are the Mariners leading the American League standings. I believe so hours no undefeated team left and the Mariners still have just that one loss. And while the Phillies are undefeated American League team. Okay. Yeah. So the Red Sox had a rough weekend. The Yankees are dealing with some injuries Cleveland lost their opener, and there's a little bit concerned with Francisco Lindores or still on the shelf. So let's talk about Cleveland in particular because I think Boston's going to be fine. I think the Yankees are going to be fine. At least for now. There's I think there's some reason for them to be concerned just because they've suffered so many injuries, but Cleveland, but they've got the depth to overcome it, and Cleveland doesn't and that's by design looking at Cleveland's first weekend. It's impossible not to notice that Francisco Dora's missing from the line-up Francisco indoors what a top five player in baseball. I think he's the best shortstop in baseball. And he's just been a huge part of Cleveland's team. The fact that they've won the last three division titles, basically coincides with when Linda received his promotion from triple A and he's injured and he wasn't just injured. He's. Suffered a new injury while he was rehabbing from the first one the new one being a problem with his ankle that I think hasn't fully been diagnosed yet I saw yesterday MLB dot com reporting that he was going to a second doctor outside the Indians organization to get a second opinion, which is always a concern with these things, and I think looking at Cleveland's lineup from the first weekend in changes like Jose Ramirez. I think is a very good player. Carlos Santana has great. And I think he was good bounceback candidate. Now that he's back in Cleveland. But man, they were like hitting Tyler Nick win third. There's way too much Hanley Ramirez on this team. I'm not sure where the runs are coming from an even when Linda returns, I think this offense is gonna be mediocre at best. Yeah. I mean, I it is sort of hard to overstate the difference between Linda in air statements, the spore guy from Star Trek discovery. But even then like they didn't the outfield. There's just not a it's definitely not a playoff quality outfield there, but they're relying on Jose Ramirez because you could use to rely on Hanley Ramirez to to carry an offense. But the rely on him in and row. Rely on Linda when he comes back and they're not gonna get much offense from their catchers in. Oh, Greg Allen as as a major outfield contributor like I think he's a great bench guy. I think he's a very useful bigly player, but not somebody. I'd want to give five hundred plate appearances too. So they're just they're essentially just relying on those two middle infielders who are two two guys who at their best will finish in top ten in ale MVP voting and one of the best starting rotations baseball and apart from that is just a bet that they can go cheap because arrested division is so bad. And I think it's also important to note that like Cleveland is most likely going to win this division. I wrote a piece off season his premise was if the entire ale central combined, it's rosters. It would basically be Cleveland's. Equal, but that came with a healthy indoor, and that's a huge x factor. Also, like those holes you just mentioned they're not getting offense of production out of their catchers. Will these traded their number one catcher young gums to Washington and the ongoing isn't like Mike Piazza out there. But he's also a decent hidden catcher. He was an all star. They lost Michael Brantley and free agency, they didn't even extend him a qualifying offer. And there are placed in with minor league contracts. They are placed in with Jordan loop Lau from the pirates I guess Jake Bowers from Tampa Bay, but he looked pretty terrible in the field over the weekend. And it's not like he's the best hitter either. So they cut a lot of money from their payroll last season, which is a strange thing to do when so many their players are basically in their primes and have the star power known like make this team. Maybe the best in the American League. If only they put a decent supporting cast around them and they've managed. I mean, this is a testament I think to how good a manager Terry Francona is but they've put out. The team that went to game seven of the World Series. The team that won. What was a twenty two games in a row the year after that, none of those apples are known as outfielder any good either. But this is a whole a whole new level like they're bad enough. This is the overwhelming favourite to win the American League central and they decided that Lonnie Chishan hall was was too expensive. And not only that they're going to miss him. They're probably gonna get away with it. But it's just we're seeing the the downside. I it almost you know, it's if karma existed than Ronald Reagan, you'll be making more money or Braves tickets would be cheaper. But it's it's hard not to you know, sort of you what hap- you view, the they're they're paying right now for their lack at like a death in that lineup where are you on the twins? Do you think they can actually mount run contend because they certainly look superior to Cleveland over the first week. And I think my concern with Minnesota is just the back end at their rotation and bulb I don't think can match. Up with Cleveland's. But like Jose burritos looked really good Jayco. Torrisi looked good. I think their offense is actually better than Cleveland's. So I certainly wouldn't you know, pick them to win. But I'm not quite counting them off after that first weekend just because of of how they matched up. I mean, they've got so many boomer bus guys is the problem like if they get the best version of Sinow Jonathan scope and Byron Buxton than yeah. They could make a run, but like. All three of those guys have been below average hitters in the recent past via Buxton, it's by being maybe the best defensive center fielder in baseball wasn't playable for large parts of last year. Yeah. I had parts of this conversation. I did a radio headed on a station in Cleveland on Friday, and they were not happy about opening day. I said while you're probably going to be okay. As long as you're not facing Jose Barea every you know for one hundred sixty two games 'cause he was really good. But like you said beyond that like. I I don't have a have a ton of faith in in the rest of average station to say nothing of the bullpen which. Yeah. Yeah. Because you look at it's hard to to look at Cleveland with the two best physician players in the division. Probably. And by far the best rotation and not just a good rotation. But a salves rotation of guys the you could probably count on throw two hundred innings. You've got four of them. You know, it's not like every other team the division doesn't have equally big holes without those without those unreputable tent pole positions on the team, you know, yet. Yeah. And I think if you zoom out I would if I had to pick like one of the four American League powers to just completely claps and miss the playoffs. I think I'd pick. Either the Yankees are Red Sox not because their holes are necessarily any worse. But because I think Tampa Bay is clearly a better team than any of the contenders in the other divisions. I think Tampa Bay has like if you move Tampa Bay to Shreveport and put them in the AL central. I think they have decent shot. Shot at winning the division. Just as everything is currently constituted. Decent chance at winning the at least feel about that. Yeah. And what he checked prediction that is. We'll see how much you keep bringing that up in in six months. Is there is there anything they could do? I guess that's that's what we should end on from Cleveland's perspective. Maybe the easiest place to upgrade the bullpen because the bridge between those amazing starters. And Brad hand is really lacking right now with the guys they lost in free agency. It just looks like a completely different bullpen from the one that like revolutionized. I mean baseball a couple of seasons ago, and you saw that just last night against the White Sox might cleven jer pitched a gem and then Cleveland lost the lead before ultimately regaining it in the eighth inning. But I think adding basically some high high reward maybe lower cost relief options is probably the easiest course top grade. I'm curious to see like, I don't know. Does Bradley Zimmer improve the outfield? I don't know how much he. Moves the needle when he returns from injury. But it just seems really unlikely that they'll like make that investment. I look at the players who are available this off season like enter mccutchen. AJ Pollock didn't sign for that much money. I think either one of them would have just made such a difference in both the outfield in the middle of the slalom signed for even less money than they did on a shoulder contract. So if you're worried about limiting your long term exposure, like I could I'm almost sympathetic to to the idea of Cleveland, you know, not wanting to pay mccutcheon was three years and fifty million dollars. But they could've brought Brantley back for less. So I think I'm not necessarily convinced that they're going to add to the bullpen until like July because they just don't need to know. I think Leona smart tina's, actually, pretty good. No probably play better than he did the first weekend. It no they have enough guys that maybe one or two of them will play. Well, but I just think the ceiling is so low that there's no way to make this a good lineup without. You know engaging in a practice. They seem loath to engage it. So here's the thing. Here's where I think the outfield has the opportunity to improve like even conceding that you're going to for reasons. Passing understanding like pay literal league minimum minor league free agents guys off the streets even conceding that that's the approach. You're gonna take. I'm surprised at that approach. Didn't yield a better crop outfielder Senate has. They're they're outfield is just so bad right now. You know, I I like Leona Martinez much as the next guy think he'd be useful. But he's got to be useful between two guys who can actually hit. And like part of the what a lot of what he gives you the ability to cover the gap. You know, so you can play somebody like Jake Bowers in in left field at that point. It's incoming on Bowers hit which he has done quite yet. But yeah, I mean, there's it's just it's very strange like it's almost like a literal poor man's version of those Tigers teams that had Cabrera invert Lander in Victor Martinez in sherzer Rick Courcelle, oh and like seven guys off the street. You know, so there's obviously a lot of room to improve even after the season's already started. But we'll see what they're willing to spend it to take advantage of that. It's almost like when you build a stars and scrubs roster in the best star gets hurt. And it doesn't look so good anymore. They are getting what they paid. For so on that note, it's time to move on to our next segment, but thanks for joining me, I'll talk to you next week until then thanks Zach by next guest is Meghan Montemurro of the athletic. She's coming on to talk about Bryce Harper. And baseball's only undefeated team the Philadelphia Phillies. So here to talk about probably the biggest baseball story. The weekend is someone who is there. Begging Montemurro is Phillies beat writer for the athletic and she joins us now. So Meghan, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. So I watched the first game on TV. What did I miss? You know, what did being there? Add to the atmosphere. Yeah. I mean, I think the biggest thing is just the vibe around the ballpark and in the clubhouse. I've I've been covering the team then mid season of twenty fourteen and you know, I really had not seen the ballpark like that the the clubhouse, even you know, since the start of spring really has just been so different from what it was at the end of last year. You know, there's a really good mix of more veteran leadership and guys who has you know, done it at the at the big league level where all star caliber players, and I really just think that collectively there's a difference. Amount of confidence swagger in that clubhouse. When you add guys like that. I would say the biggest thing is is atmosphere. I don't know how well that that showed up on the broadcast. But that definitely stood out knee brace or Peru, obviously once the fans in Philadelphia to to like him. This is something that I've talked about a lot. You know, how you're closer to this than I am how how's it coming off? You know, you went over three first game, obviously. And then hit those two huge home runs later in the weekend. You know, what's the fan reaction to the first first weekend of Bryce Harper and Phillies uniform. Oh, I mean, they're they're definitely loving it. I mean, I think I think it says a lot about that. He's making the effort to do things build a relationship with fans and the team, you know, he's coming up with handshake individual handshake with all this teammates, which I know I think some people have seen after the home runs when he's done some of them with Hoskins than Francke and other guys, you know, wearing. The fanatic Clete on opening day, and you know, bowing out to the fans in right field. And you know, I think he's making a a very specific focus on trying to do stuff like that. And I know I seen some people on maybe social media say that, you know, it's pandering or whatever, but you know, he clearly planning to be here the next thirteen years. And you know, I think it says a lot that he's trying to make efforts to build that connection with fans, and I've from everything I've Suns fan, certainly appreciated, and you know, there are embracing him as one of their own kind of thing. So right now, I think it's off to a good start. Yeah. Mean this is something I keep coming back to is. I don't think it's possible to pander to hard to Phillies fans, I think just any level of attention. They will they'll just eat up. Yeah. And I mean here already made a statement obviously choosing to sign with the team. I know, you know, the naysayers or national fans or giants fans will say, of course, he did. You know, they offer them the most money and gave him thirteen years. But you know, he did still choose to, you know, lay roots here with his wife, and I just announced on Instagram yesterday that you know, they're gonna have a baby later the fear. And so, you know, I think all that stuff matters. And I do I do think, you know, maybe from the outside looking in. Maybe maybe people will think it's too much. But I the thing I've sent from Philly fans, I didn't they appreciate it. So tonight of as we record this show will go out probably like an hour or two before his return to Washington. So maybe previewing that by dumpy the best use of our time. But you know, what are your expectations for for what it's going to be like then? I mean, it's kind of what he had said the other day he's expecting some booze. She probably will get when cheers. And I think that's kind of a realistic thing. I think the national kinda help themselves by offering you know, that ten year three hundred billion dollar deal. Even though it was obviously weirdly structured with so much of it deferred. But I think that gives the franchise bowl, but a cover in terms of, you know, a fan perception, maybe that, hey, you know, they can claim that they made an effort to bring them back. So I would say probably victory actions. I would expect I'm certainly interested in seeing I, but I do think there'll be some booing. So I want to one thing that Harper does on the field, and you've written about this is he adds. I mean, not just himba JT, real Mutoko, and and jeans Gerber and Andrew mccutchen. Like, this was a team that put in you know, it came relatively close to make the playoffs last year. And now for their top five hitters this season worn on the team last year. And so, you know, I have obviously read a lot. And you know, was I thought I was prepared for this lineup which is watching it or the past three days. Like it almost reminds me of the Astros of the past couple of years where there's just no, it's relentless. It's it they can put on a conga line. And they did that a couple times against the Braves. Yeah. And I kinda wrote about this. What really makes the lineup dangerous in my opinion. Is you have guys like a ducal Harare, say Hernandez? Mike health Bronco hitting six seven eight in that lineup. And those guys that have experienced, you know, hitting somewhere the one through three or one three or four spots in the order. Her and are used to the pressures that come with that. And so when you have a lineup that deep, you know, JT room moved hosts that it after opening day that you know, there's no there's no easy out in the lineup. Really? You know, you even look at a guy like Franco who, you know, he hasn't really maybe reach for the tension of what people have thought he could be as a hitter. This is a guy who had the lowest strikeout rate on the Philly's last year. So he puts the ball in play the kind of guy that you want to have it pity in front of the pitcher key clearly show his shown on fan that he definitely can still hit for power. And and you know, take advantage of the situation. So I think those three guys at the bottom part of the lineup is part of what makes it so dangerous because you can't say, okay? Oh, we got through you know, the first five guys we're through real Bhutto. And you know, now now we can you know, count these disease the out. I mean, they really don't have that in the lineup right now. And so I do they're gonna score plenty of runs then that kinda that's exactly what. They're going to need to do because I'm not exactly sold necessarily on the pitching staff, and we'll come back to that in a second. But, you know, do and franca in particular are two guys who have at their best have been all star quality fires for the Phillies, but have been a little bit inconsistent. And just what we've seen from franca the past couple of days. You know, he combines that bat to ball ability with really impressive power, which like you said makes him like if if you can afford to hit a guy like that eighth like in that position in the line of it doesn't matter that he doesn't walk that much because he's gonna put the ball in play. He's going gonna do stuff with it. Obviously it's early. But you know, what have you seen from those two guys that that may be gives you a read on whether they're going to hit that peak this year, or if we're going to settle into maybe both of them being merely average hitters or maybe not even that. I mean a new ball. I mean, not that far removed from being you know, one of the better hitters in the game. It has you know, an all star parents whose name he showed in the first, you know, two months last year that when he gets pod. I mean, he he can single-handedly carrying off. Offense. He's capable of driving the ball, and he'd double and has some pop in his bad. The biggest thing for him. Is you know, you get a little swing out of his shoes. Happy kind of time. So that's still kind of needs to be reined in occasionally. But I think it will help for both those guys that they don't have the pressure of having to carry the team. You know, the score runs and drive in runs not going to be solely on that. And. Yeah with Bronco. I mean, I think he's in a great position to have a great season because you know, that eight spot there is a little bit of, you know, a challenge there when you're sitting in front of the pitcher because you might not get a lot of stuff to see. But I think he's shown that you can take advantage of mistake pitches. And he certainly has the power to to put the ball out of bullet. So I think those guys, you know, have have the chance be the best versions of the selves and and reach maybe more of their potential and at the same time. If they end up having, you know league average seasons or career average seasons. I mean that was still be great for the Philly. That's fine line on that. Yeah. They're not relying on them to be, you know, the their p potential. All right. So let's talk about the starting rotation. And I guess maybe the pitching staff, more, generally. I thought the Phillies were good would have been a good landing spot for somebody like Dallas kaikal, but even beyond that like if they had made a run at maybe GIO Gonzalez type when he was still on the market. Like, I I think most of the pitchers I mean Nola is is in ace but passed him. It's a lot of guys who I like individually components of what they can do. But I'm not sure how much I trust them over thirty starts. And I think we saw that a little bit over the weekend where you know, area walked want like six guys and Pavetti would occasionally break off that big curveball. And we'll look good. But he got you know, the the results. You know, not exactly what you want from from your number two starter. So I know you wrote about area to trying to find his arm slot. Bring it back up compared to what it was the past year. And some of the injury problems that he suffered that might have impacted him down the down the stretch, you know, where are you with this rotation? What should we we, you know, be looking for from the outside? Yeah. I mean, I do think the biggest thing is they're banking on the some of these young guys really take another step forward. You know, Profeta Esselin who's going to be starting in DC and then Velazquez to their Skippy and through the first time in the rotation because of all the off days, you know, they need those guys to keep progressing forward. And I know fans, you know, wanted them to pursue kaikal. And and I understand both perspectives. You know, from the Phillies perspective, they really didn't want. You know, another ground ball pitcher. They weren't gonna meet kaikal demands. In terms of length of a deal, and they do kind of need to figure out, you know, who especially for, you know, a guy like been slashed as like is that the point where he needs to perform the Sierra, otherwise they're going to call up a guy from triple A and and roll the dice with somebody else. So, you know with area, you know, I as I as I looked at the numbers for the armed slot thing. He had an issue last year where he was dropping more three quarters. And it was giving his pitches a lot of run, and he was having problems where if he made a mistake they're usually getting hit because of that. So he's more on top of the ball his vertical and horizontal numbers and spring training were much more closely aligned to his numbers from twenty fifteen when he was at the cub. And so I think over these next few stars. I think maybe that'll stand out a little bit more. Obviously it wasn't ideal condition for any pitcher when he started on Sunday night. I'm interested in Thane. If if he's able to replicate what he was doing in spring. I think that'll make a big difference. And then turn I mean, everyone kind of peg about as the breakout guy, which you know, he certainly has stuff for it. You know, he needs to come out of breath. One thing they're preaching to guys like that. And Blazquez they don't want them saving stuff for to try and make it, you know, six or seven innings. They want them, you know, put to the puddle being aggressive from pitch one and giving it all they have. And you know, I'm interested in seeing you know about can put maybe the mental part of things together as well. And and not get frustrated when he was out on the mound. I think the preventative Alaska is in particular are suited to take advantage of that that they can go harder for you know, if they don't think they have to pitch six or seven innings with the obvious question after that is how much confidence do you have in the bullpen. And you know, Ceram guys was great in a in a very versatile role last year, they signed David Robertson. But beyond that, you know, do you think that they have the bullpen to make that work if they have two guys in the fourth and fifth inning. Well, I mean on paper, you know, through the off season the bowl times looking like one of the strengths. That's obvious today. Added real Voto and and Harper but part of that. Assumption was that you'd have Tommy hunter. And you know, he's injured and he felt soreness after throwing a bullpen the other day. So he might not be back Bill may at the earliest of this point. And then Dirano who is a really important multi inning guy versatile that they relied on quite a bit last year. He had an awful spring to the point where they had to send him to AAA. So those were two guys that were really going to add some deaths and give Kappler more options, especially you know, in the fifth and sixth innings, and so you lose two guys like that. And now, you're kind of piecing things together a little bit more. Obviously, you know, they've you narrowest Robertson and Dominguez kinda the late any ties. Plus, you have Pattni shack to employ. However, you want in the late innings as well. So they still have some solid back in he's there. But in terms of you know, if you're gonna try and sell some of these guys, and and aren't concerned about them going more than five innings, then you're going to need. Some guys and start sucking up in those potential fifth sixth innings. So I am not as confident as I was in the offseason because I do think they're they're depth and strategy will hit with hunter in Arianna situations. But I do think that they have enough, and they have some veteran pieces to make it work. So let's sort of tie together an end on this. You know, the Phillies with all the moves they made as much money as they spent, you know, the expectation has to be the playoffs in the short term or medium term. But at the same time the rotation is a little bit weak. And then you look at the division. How good the Mets looked this weekend? The Braves who got swept and then turned around and just crush the cubs last night. This is it's far from a certainty that the Phillies are going to make good on that this year. So how intense is the expectation of made the plans this year, or if they win eighty seven games and come close in and build up some momentum. Do you think that's going to be? Factory. No, I I think it play off their bus. I mean, they're definitely a win now load. I I don't think you can add the type of talent they added and commit the money that had Bryce Harper and find eighty seven wins acceptable. There's a lot there's going to be continued pressure on Kappler to manage the situation properly. And I think it helped for him that you know, he's not really gonna have to take her with the lineup. I mean other than third base and center field there. He's going to be sending out pretty much same guys every single day. So I mean battle help. But no this is the team that has make the playoffs. Whether it's winning the division, which obviously as you mentioned, you know, that he's going to be a beef this year or getting one of those to our cards spots. You know, I think this often it's really talented enough to carry the team, obviously, it's gonna come down to how can they stay healthy? And can they get enough from their pitching to really kinda hold serve? And and be able to take advantage of offense of output. All right. Well, win or lose. This is going to be one of the most interesting teams in baseball. So I'm sure we'll talk to you again as season goes on. But until until then thanks for coming on. Hey, rock an extended. Thanks again to Meghan. You can find her work at the athlete Philadelphia. And you can follow her on Twitter at 'em underscore Montemurro. My next and final guest is a familiar, Dave and voice. It's Ben Lindbergh. He's gonna come onto close things out with some Padres. Check. Right. So for our last segment, we have not one, but two guests we have been Lindberg and his dog, then Brian how how y'all doing Griffin's gonna keep quiet during the segment, I hope, but she may chime in from time to time. So we're gonna talk about the San Diego Padres, which I mean, there's a sentence. Wow. Wow. That felt weird coming out of my mouth because we've been doing this this podcast for parts of four seasons. Now, I'm not sure we've ever like outside of. So we did the the Christian Beden Corey thing we interacted him. But I'm not sure podcasts had been invented the last time. Anyone would have thought to talk about the Padres and the first week of the season pretty wild. So I just got off with mega Montemurro who's telling me about the the tone of the Phillies clubhouse after signing Harper, and Dave Robertson and mccutcheon and making the the trades for her and JT room Utah. And like the difference that in like, tone and optimism and confidence that would evidence evidence from two thousand eighteen to twenty nineteen and you know, the last time I'd been in the Padres clubhouse was early in the season when they were in Houston last year. And you know, it was it was let me just say it was nothing like what I saw on spring training. Like, just the. The vibe the there was almost like a bounciness to it after getting Manny Machado bringing up a lot of these players. And you know that vibe really carried over onto the field. I think they're one of the most there one of my bus watch teams for twenty nineteen. So we're going to, you know, talk about that for your next fifteen minutes or so they are for me too. That's kind of how we decided to do the segment we were talking about what we should talk about N T were asking me what I was watching. And I said I was watching the Padres. And you said you were watching the patriots. And so we wanted to talk about the team we're watching and we're watching them because they are suddenly really interesting and exciting. They may very well end up with seventy something wins again as they have just about every year for the last several except for the ones where they won sixty something. So in terms of win total it might not look all that different. But it just goes to show how different as seventy win something season can feel depending on how close you are to the next eighty or ninety win over one hundred win season and want to get ahead of myself. Here. But the patriots are clearly on the way up and even if they're not a great team right now. They're really interesting ones because the players who are going to be on the next. Good Padres team are largely here they've arrived. And even if they haven't reached their peaks yet, they're really fun to watch. And there will be reinforcements coming throughout the season. Yeah. And that's I think that's an important distinction to make you know, as opposed to some of the other teams that are sort of on the come in whether the Phillies who the Mets who or the cardinals. Maybe you wanna loot them in like those teams were pretty good last year. And you've seen a lot of those pieces either in those uniforms or other uniforms elsewhere. But like, you know, Chris there's such a such a novelty to the Padres too. You know, I've seen Eric lower playing college and I've seen Fernando Taiz play in the futures gay. But you know, I've never seen them. Saw a little bit of our last year. But there's there's a newness to dam and Chris paddock. And and some of the other guys have bringing up, you know, Mahia it were watching them face majorly competition for an extended period of time for the first time and the results so far have been it's been really fun to watch. I even beyond the novelty like these are exciting charismatic young players are bringing up. Yeah. And you can watch them and enjoy them with a clean conscience to your talking. Elsewhere. In this episode about teams that haven't spent and extensions that make a scratch our heads. And you look at this team. And they're the team that went out and signed Manny Machado when a lot of other teams weren't willing to and they're the team that promoted Fernando Totti's junior for opening day. When a lot of other teams probably would have made the decision to keep him down to manipulate his service time, so not saying the Padres are perfect, and certainly they've gone without spending for years at a time. But right now, at least they are really trying to win which. Of course, they did in AJ first year as TM when they just tried to go from nothing to something in a single off season. And that was fun and interesting and compelling to, but it just wasn't very smart, and it didn't work really, well, and this plan that they're following now is really sustainable because they not only have one of the best farm systems we've ever seen with maybe ten top prospects in the top one hundred league wide. But a lot of them are here were at the upper levels, and we can lay eyes on them. So it's not just a bunch of guys in low A or rookie ball who might be good three or four years down the road. Some of them are good or at least interesting right now. And what we've seen so far. I mean as we speak the Padres have the second lowest starter ERA in the National League. I don't think that is going to continue. I think. Oh, I thought you were to eat crow over your badmouthing of my man, Eric lower opening day starter. I have not though he did have a good opening day start. But not a whole lot of strikeouts. That's may concern about Eric lower. But I think that was largely a product of facing the San Francisco Giants, which will probably make a lot of pitchers. Look good the season. So that's not going to last. But even their starters are kind of interesting. You mentioned lower Lucchessi was the guy I picked for the league for the team leading innings total this year. I think he's good than you have Chris paddock who made his major league debut in. He was maybe the most anticipated member of this rotation and he's a fun guy. Not only because of his stuff in his excellent minor league stats, but also he has a fun, attitude and persona. He's show much. He has so much sauce. He probably could tell like there's a vibe to Syndergaard Scott this a little bit to guys who big Texans who have never experienced. Failure. You know, like there's there's a a way that they carry themselves. And he's he's got like he is the most big Texan news, never experienced failure. I've seen in a while yet. He carried himself into his opening day start in full cowboy get up with like boots and a hat and sunglasses and really looked the part. He really went for it. And I think someone s him after the start if he was happy with how it had gone 'cause he retired the first ten hitters he faced and he said he had envisioned retiring the first twenty seven hitters he faced which is indicative of his confidence. I think which is fun to see because he actually has the stuff to back it up. So the concern there. You've also got Nick Markelle vicious who had not made a start above able before his very first successful start in the matrix this year, I took and pitched really well in his Daniela took like an all time bad beat loss. Yeah. And he's got great. Minor league stats relate. Nice strikeout-to-walk ratios but in high. So I don't know how much you can make of that. And then you have met strum who like paddock is probably unin innings limit. I mean, that's the big concern about this team in this rotation is that no one in this rotation. I think has ever exceeded one hundred thirty six and two thirds innings in a single season. Or that's at least the top four members of the rotation. Whatever it was Casey pitch last year. I think everybody else's is a rookie, right Scott. Sorry Strom scalpels years experience but mostly out of the bullpen strums the old man of the rotation at twenty seven. So this is really young croup look in the mirror for us. I know will it it's gonna get ugly at some point the season. And I think that is why a you have in degreen talking about getting creative and openers and bullpen days. And the Padres had an extraordinary bullpen last year. So if that holds up to some extent, they could kind of paper over the cracks in the rotation by doing. Penn days now, and then and so they might get creative. They might do some fun stuff there. And also they have been very heavily involved in the trade market for starting rotation options such as it is. They were of course, connected to kluber in Bauer over the winter and even more recently than that. They've been connected to Marcus Stroman. They've been connected to Dallas kaikal. I mean if you plug in Dallas kaikal onto this team. I don't know that if makes the difference between contention and non contention in two thousand nineteen but it gets them a lot closer it really raises the floor. I think and if they would get him under control for a few years in innings eater type. That's what they'll need. I think they're going to be bringing up more young guys. So there will be reinforcements on the way. But that's really the the problem. That's the thing holding back this team this year, and and they're going to get some reinforcements Denilson lament is going to he's he missed all last year retirement, John surgery. He's supposed to be back sometime this year. So, you know, he's another guy with major league spirit. Who can come in? And and maybe plug one of those holes if they have to shutdown paddock for awhile. So there. It'll be interesting to see how they make this work. I think they can. But it's gonna take some doing on on AJ pro part. Yeah. And Andy green says well, and I think on the position players side, you have a wealth of options there. They really almost had too many players for their roster spots. And so you have like in right field right now, you've got friend meal race. But you also have Frenchie Cordeiro in hunter Renfro just a lot of f f names in the mix there, and it's not clear who's gonna get the most of the playing time there. But it's just a really interesting grappa players in you have Mahia you have hedges who I enjoy watching as a catcher defense conser. And of course, Totti's is there right now, you have other top prospects on the way, you have Machado who is a superstar in his prime hasn't really showed it yet. But he will. It's just a matter of time. So there's just a a lot of talent on this team. Just top to bottom. I'm not saying everyone will be good. But other than in Kim. Slur. Who's kind of the outlier there at almost thirty seven years old. And maybe the the one guy who's past his prime in this lineup main. It's really just a team on the upswing. And there's something refreshing about that, even if you can see the cracks in the works, and they're not quite there yet they're going to win in an interesting way, they're going to lose sometimes an interesting way, and you can project what this team will look like two years down the road or even as soon as next season. That's got to be a lot of fun for patriots fans because they just haven't had this in the longest time or ever. I don't know that the Padres have ever had a sustainable just wide deep talent base like this. I don't know that they've ever gone about it in such a methodical way and come up with this incredible crop of prospects. So it's going to be a lot of fun. And no fan base deserves this more. I think that the Padres spent I don't wanna get into desert. Well, maybe that's us. If one are gonna do that I've been at the patriots have. Fifty years of mediocrity and really really occasional success. So I just think that they've earned this. I mean they've gone without a title. They've made the playoffs. What five times in fifty years something like that? I mean, it's been a a dry half century or so preposterous, Vince. And right now, the Padres have the city to themselves which is another aspect that makes this all fun. There's no other major professional sports team in San Diego. And we've seen that the Padres can draw when they are good which doesn't happen very often. But when it does they get attendance booster when they opened the new park that got in attendance boosts. So I do think San Diego will support this team when it's good and we're not far away from that. So this one side effect of the Padres being suddenly fascinating. I think it was. I think it was Jason Kirk Espy nation tweeted something recently about like if the Padres just disappeared off the face of the earth would anybody notice? And obviously that's not the case. Now. Or else we've just wasted ten minutes on podcast, but they long been my pick for like least interesting team in baseball. Most team you are whether good or bad have some compelling thing about the Padres for so long like right down to the boring. Uniforms have been just eminently ignore -able. And now they're good and interesting now or now, they're good interesting. Now, the brewers who were also usually high up on that list or not only like really fascinating. But they have the rainy MVP, and they were the reigning number one scene the nationally ploughs I who is the most boring team in baseball now. Well, I mean, I guess the Orioles that the Tigers maybe they're probably in the running. Both of those teams are not only bad right now terrible right now, but years away from possibly being good again, which kind of the the killer combination at those are the ones that really come to mind. I mean, I think the the Orioles had the. Posssibility of like, I'm not sure it's it's possible. Have a boring hundred ten loss season. That's the thing. Yeah. And you can put the Marlins in that group probably two of them. Maybe they're closer to coming out of it than the Orioles. And the Tigers are, but that's I mean last year, it was kind of fun. Sorry. Mallory Ruben, if you're listening in Auriol's royals fans out there, but it was kind of fun to see the race to the bottom for those teams had seed just how low they could go, and yes, there's any team that's going to give the twenty eighteen Orioles in front for their money, loss wise. It's the twenty nineteen Orioles. Yeah. Tigers might be it could the Knight's is just before the dawn the night is only getting darker up here. Yeah. And they're not even currently the worst. There's something to be said for being the absolute restaurant now because team in baseball can be the most boring team based. Yeah. Because it's it's a source of curiosity to see how they can go. Plus, you can maybe look forward to the number one pick which is something at least to look forward to. Whereas if you're the Tigers in your maybe the second or third worst team in baseball right now in your at least a few years removed from being good, and at least a few. Here's for moved from being good again in terms of like current star power. I guess you've got Cabrera. But that's about it. That would probably be my pick. Well, let's just like is a back of the napkin judgment for for how far away. The tigers. Are do you know who Casey Mayes is? I do I do know a number one pick. So that I do. Okay. That's my my judge or might my like part of my. My my ruler for for how close a prospect is to the majors is whether you know, if you know anything about. Yeah. So I think number one picks probably get a an exemption. You have so much knowledge in your head. I don't know what what sort of cifs out the by. That's two. What's interesting fun facts in there that could be created crowding out, Casey mice. But he still in there for now. Okay. Cool. So maybe they are closer than we think. But all right. So we're going to give that big old civil information a couple more wax next week. But until then thanks for joining me. We'll talk to you again soon. All right, talk to you. Then that will just about do it for this week's dishes of the ringer MLB show. Thanks, Zac, and Ben next special guest begging mount mirrow of the athletic special. Thanks, Bobby Wagner, who not only produced today's episode, but he had to reschedule his appointment to get a Peter Alonzo back tattoo in order to come into the studio and do so that's dedication of the job. Thanks to rattle the Kunio Bryce Harper. And Chris paddock for giving us stuff to talk about. And thank you for listening. You're the weeks action and we'll see an extra.