02/08/11 2:45 PM EST
Network's Reynolds offers predictions in chat
By / MLB.com
Harold Reynolds: Hey everyone -- thanks for your questions. Let's get started.
slydogs1: Harold, Who do you think will be the Rays' first baseman, Dan Johnson or Leslie Anderson?
Reynolds: Slydogs, Johnson will be their first baseman. They put a lot of faith in him last year at the end of the year, and I think manager Joe Maddon has a tendency to go with guys he likes. I think it's his job to lose, but don't be surprised if Ben Zobrist ends up being their first baseman.
champion_88: Besides the Brewers, do you know of any other sleeper teams that are going to do whatever it takes to win in 2011?
Reynolds: The key phrase you used is "whatever it takes." The Brewers have made big moves and dove in with resources -- I don't know who else is ready to do that. I do think the Orioles will be much improved, and the D-backs and A's will be teams to watch.
J_money1000: I see a lot of people talking about trading a guy like Derek Lowe for a Brett Gardner/Jacoby Ellsbury-type player. Do you see a move like this happening?
Reynolds: Not with pitching that's so thin right now. I don't see a team giving up a big blockbuster pitcher for a position player. Lowe is a high commodity right now and I wouldn't give that up if I want to contend. You can go get Michael Young right now before you get Derek Lowe.
T Evans: Can the Giants win it back-to-back?
Reynolds: T Evans, I'd be very surprised if they did.
dmdcutter: Is Jose Bautista a one-hit wonder?
Reynolds: No, I think he's going to back it up again. I don't think he'll hit 50 (home runs), but he'll hit 30-plus, and that's a pretty good year.
SparkyDanMan: Do you think Joe Nathan will return to his 2009 form after missing 2010?
Reynolds: I think he will. If you look at the track record of most pitchers who come back from Tommy John surgery, they come back healthy. If he comes back healthy, he'll again be one of the best closers in the game.
domlione: The left side of the Yankees' infield is aging. Do you think the Yankees have hurt themselves by extending such long contracts to Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez?
Reynolds: It's hard to tell, it just depends on how they continue to perform. It's give and take. You have got to realize that with the Yankees, they can make a lateral move a lot faster than other clubs can. If Derek and Alex decide to retire in the next few years, the Yankees can go acquire the talent to keep their team at a high level.
Ceilingfan124: What type of year do you see from Mike Stanton? I think he's around 40 home runs, or will he go back to the Minors?
Reynolds: Love Stanton. I think he's going to be one of the great up-and-coming players. I don't like to say 40 home runs, but I do think 30 is within reach and that's reasonable.
domlione: In your opinion, who is currently the best designated hitter in baseball?
Reynolds: David Ortiz. He's the only guy who I really look at and say, "He's a DH." Everyone else is just kind of rotating in that spot right now.
punksroo: What's a typical work day like for you?
Reynolds: I've got the best job in the world. I come in and usually we have meetings to go over what we might talk about in the show, then I'll go back and go over highlights, look at some video. We break players down, talk with everyone, go on the air and then do the show. But that's just in the offseason. ... The regular season is totally different -- I do a lot of radio interviews, talk about games from the night before, and then you watch games all day long and prep for "MLB Tonight." Sounds tough, huh? Greatest job in the world, outside of playing, of course.
rolfes: What do you think of Mat Latos? We, the fans of San Diego, know what kind of gem we have. I hope that you give him his due! After what you all said about the Padres last year, it's time that you show a little love to our beloved team.
Reynolds: I thought we did give the Padres some love last year. I think Latos really made himself known last year. He really put himself on the map. He pitched great in that ballpark -- 2.92 ERA -- and he's one of the main reasons the Padres had a huge year last year.
dpn1996: Long-time Orioles fan. How improved do you feel my beloved Birds will be in 2011?
Reynolds: I'm excited about the Orioles for the first time since Cal Ripken Jr. retired. I think they've done an extraordinary job of changing the atmosphere and making Camden Yards a fun place to go watch games. This is going to be an exciting team. It's going to be tough to beat the Red Sox and the Yankees, but as far as an everyday lineup entertainment-wise, the Orioles are as good as anyone.
RoyStory: Do you think Domonic Brown is ready for the everyday job in right, or should he start the season in Triple-A? I don't want have his service clock running for anything left than a full-time gig.
Reynolds: No, he needs to start the season in the big leagues. It's his time -- I think Charlie Manuel is the perfect manager to break him in. Brown is going to struggle, but I think he can hide in that lineup and grow.
cjbdiesel: What kind of year will Roy Halladay have? Will put up more Cy Young statistics or will he have a regular 13-15 win campaign?
Reynolds: I still think he's going to win 25 one of these years, and this could be the year he does it. He'll be better because he'll be more relaxed, he knows the league now after a full season, he knows his teammates -- all of that.
RoyStory: I've seen Mitch Williams outside of work, how long does it actually take him to get ready to do a show?
Reynolds: Mitch is here earlier than everybody else -- watch "Front Burner" tonight and we'll give you a sneak peek into his office.
Tribe3: What do you expect from the Tribe this year?
Reynolds: It's going to be a tough year. Hopefully Carlos Santana and Grady Sizemore come back healthy -- you don't know what's going to happen with Fausto Carmona. Will he be with the team or will he be traded? There's a lot of uncertainty.
dmdcutter: Which teams can contend with Philly and Boston?
Reynolds: It's going to be tough to beat them. I see the Phillies as having more holes than the Red Sox. I'm a little suspect of the Phillies' offense every night, but the Red Sox are solid. I don't see a whole lot of teams being better.
lucas1319: How do you feel about the Dodgers' projected rotation? It seems like they get overlooked in the division, with everyone talking about how good the Giants' pitching is.
Reynolds: Even though the Dodgers are six deep, I still think they're inconsistent. It looks as though Clayton Kershaw may have turned a corner last year, but I'm not completely sold.
Kel86: Do you think the Mariners are making the right offseason moves for success? I would like to see them come to life again, like back in the mid-90s.
Reynolds: I still think their moves are yet to come. I'm curious what's going to happen with Chone Figgins. Will he be in Seattle come Opening Day or will he be traded and, if so, what will they get in return? Third base is still a question mark, Dustin Ackley is not ready to play second yet in the bigs, so Figgins becomes a key factor with second or third. They've got to figure out how to plug those holes.
CurlyAce: Hey Harold, how do you think Brandon Morrow will fare this year? I'm a big fan of you and Mitch Williams, keep up the great work.
Reynolds: Thanks, CurlyAce. I think Morrow has found a home and I think he's on the upswing. When he was in Seattle, they weren't sure what to do with him because of his health conditions, being a diabetic. Could he start or did he have to be in the bullpen? I think Toronto has figured out that they're going to start him -- the diabetes is something he's dealt with his whole life, so I think they made the right decision. All right, I can only take a few more questions...
smeadjolly: Do you think Carlos Guillen can bounce back for the Tigers? He's my favorite player.
Reynolds: I like Carlos playing all over the field. I think at this point in time, he can't play every day, so you can use him as a switch-hitter, throughout the infield and outfield. He's a very valuable commodity when used in that sense.
ashjeterx3: Which teams do you think will advance to the World Series this year?
Reynolds: It's easy to say Red Sox and Phillies, but I like to look at the end of May and have a good idea about how teams are stacked together. Why I like the Red Sox and Phillies over the rest is their depth. Every year you have to look at what happens if someone gets hurt. They have the best depth in baseball. They can lose a starter or an everyday player and really not miss a beat.
dlee2103: What place do you see the Cubs finishing this year?
Reynolds: I think the Cubs are going to be fourth or fifth in their division. Others see them better, I don't.
atitiner: Is the White Sox rotation going to be the best in the American League if Jake Peavy is healthy? Edwin Jackson is a far better pitcher than Freddy Garcia, and Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, and John Danks are all very consistent. What you think, Big H?
Reynolds: They're going to be good, but I like Oakland's staff the best in the AL this year. Gio Gonzalez and Brett Anderson stand out more than anyone else. Their stuff is as good as anybody in baseball, but I think the inside clincher for me was spending time with Dallas Braden, because of the way he goes about things shows that rotation has a real understanding of how to get hitters out.
HouTX: Harold, your thoughts on Josh Hamilton. Does he have the best skill-set in the game today?
Reynolds: Yes, I think he does. It's still remarkable that he missed 3 1/2 years of baseball and is doing what he's doing. My next Hamilton is Mark Reynolds of the Orioles. He can steal 20 bases, he's going to hit 40-50 homers and he's going to drive in over 100 and he'll play Gold Glove third base.
Reynolds: Thanks for all your questions. I'll be on "Front Burner" tonight at 8 p.m. ET -- you can check out more info on the show on our Facebook page or Twitter feed. Thanks everyone!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.