Hello. Thanks for coming to the weekly live chat. Feel free to fire away your questions.
I'm a West Coast guy, so I'm going to go with Arizona winning it all. I'll go with Villanova, Arizona, Oregon and Kentucky.
There really isn't much of a market for fifth outfielders. At this point, he might be more valuable for the Cardinals as an insurance piece. I wouldn't be surprised if Jose Martinez has edged out Pham for the fourth outfielder's spot. Actually, I assume Martinez has already edged out Pham, but Martinez also plays first base, so he probably has already edged out Matt Adams for the backup first base job too.
This is the dilemma that most teams surely face as they watch their stars in the World Baseball Classic. You have to believe those were some very stressful innings on Carlos Martinez's arm last night. I cannot imagine that he would push himself quite so hard in a Grapefruit League game at this point in spring. Even the position players who play in the Championship game will have some time to rest after they return to their teams' spring training facilities. I'm not worried as much about the position players as I would worry about a star pitcher. As long as nobody gets hurt, I think they'll have enough time to settle back into their regular routines or have a few extra days off to rest.
Oquendo will work primarily out of Jupiter, Fla., so his focus will be on the young kids. He may also visit the team's academy in the Dominican Republic, but he isn't expected to be at Busch Stadium or in Memphis to tutor infielders, if that's what you're asking.
If I'm the Blues, the last team I'd want to face in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs are the Blackhawks. They are everything the Blues are not, meaning they are full of playoff-tested studs who really know how to win when it matters most. The Blues got rid of the veteran guys who pushed them past the Blackhawks last year. I would rather face the Wild than the Sharks because of the travel issues. All three of those matchups would be unkind, though.
Because the Blues' remaining schedule is relatively easy, I fully expect the Blues to pass Nashville and claim the third spot in the Central. I would expect them to face the Wild in the first round. If I were the Blues, I would not want to face the Blackhawks in the first round.
I will predict the Astros will reach the American League Championship Series. Before I predict them to reach the World Series, I'd like to see them acquire another front-line starter. They need to unload some of those studs in the farm system for another true No. 1 or No. 2 starter.
I'm going to go with Kevin Shattenkirk and the Washington Capitals. I'm still a neophyte in terms of hockey knowledge, so take this with a grain of salt, but I will predict a Blackhawks-Capitals Stanley Cup Finals.
It's still too early to tell. Both men are having solid springs. I would assume that Peralta has the edge defensively, and Gyorko might be a more powerful bat off the bench. It all depends what you prefer. The Cardinals are going for improved defense this season.
If Michael Wacha continues to shine and can avoid another shoulder setback, I really like the Cardinals' chances. They definitely suffered a major blow with Alex Reyes' elbow injury, but I think they're good enough to earn a wild-card berth. I expect them to reach the playoffs. I don't know if they're deep enough for an NLCS run, but I still think they will win between 84 and 86 games this year.
The Texans would be wise to get Tony Romo, but he's not exactly a guy you can expect to last the entire season. He has been injury prone. Never underestimate the ability of the Texans to screw up the quarterback position.
I don't see a question here. I assume you hope Cuonzo leaves Cal. I wouldn't be surprised if he heads this way, but will he go to Mizzou or Illinois?
I have to go with the United States. I would even say that Venezuela has been the biggest underachiever at the World Baseball Classic among the top contenders.
The Cardinals owe it to themselves to see what Wong can do over an extensive period of time. Mike Matheny needs to commit to Wong and let him settle in. I would like to see him play two months before they even consider sitting him for an extensive period. I'm not saying he shouldn't get a breather every 11 games or so, but I think they need to see if he can blossom into an everyday second baseman.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame decides which cap, if any, a Hall of Famer has on his plaque. They stopped letting the players decide a few years ago. It's not up to Pujols. It's up to the Hall of Fame.
I have not verified these reports. I have been on this live chat since some of these reports surfaced that Mizzou has offered him the job, but I haven't verified these reports. I'll check with our man Dave Matter later, but I'm committed to doing this chat until at least 2 p.m.
That is a very good point. If you are serious about wanting to compete for SEC titles, you must go out and invest in a top coach.
I personally wouldn't do it. I'm old school like that. If my kids did it, we would have a problem. I'll tell you a quick story. One of my best high school friends recently posted a video on Facebook of her young son hitting a home run. The kid is around 10-11 years old. He not only had a bat flip, but he also stayed at home plate admiring his shot before raising his arms and flipping his bat after he saw it clear the wall. I sent my friend, who is a single mother, a text telling her that it might be a good idea to tell her son to run hard and not showboat. She is one of my dearest friends, so I felt comfortable telling her about some of the unwritten baseball rules. I don't mind fun bat flips, but I also think you have to respect your opponent.
Both programs are pretty bad at this point, but I wonder if Illinois might be better off slightly.