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Network's Casey weighs in on Spring Training

Network's Casey weighs in on Spring Training

Network's Casey weighs in on Spring Training
MLB Network's Sean Casey -- The Mayor -- participated in a live online chat with fans on Thursday. During the chat, Casey answered questions about the 2011 season, Spring Training, his own career and more. The complete chat transcript follows.

Sean Casey: Hey, what's up everybody. Thanks for joining me today. This is my first chat ever. Let's have some fun with it!

spillane56: Do you think it would be better for the Yankees to start Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez instead of Jeter, Nick Swisher, Tex and A-Rod? I'm a huge Yankees fan and Gardner has the patience to pair with the speed -- he could easily steal 70 bases and score 100 runs.

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Casey: I agree with you. I think Gardner's got a great on-base percentage (OBP) and his speed at the top of the lineup would just set everything up for the rest of the guys. ... Do you want me to call Joe Girardi for you?

taliasen: How are you doing with "Casey's Clubhouse" planning?

Casey: Thanks for asking -- we're doing great! We've raised half of the $1 million we're trying to raise and if anyone out there wants to help us raise the other half, you can go to www.CaseysClubhouse.org and read up on us. Anything anyone can do is much appreciated!

SF_fan_in_SLC: So with the Giants losing two big bats in Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe, who do you think will step up to fill those spots?

Casey: Listen, more importantly they brought back Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell. Pablo Sandoval looks like he's ready to have a big year and they have Brandon Belt waiting in the wings. So the loss of Renteria and Uribe is not that big a deal.

va311: Hey Sean, I'm here in Richmond, Va. Have you been down to see the Division I Spiders since you finished up playing ball?

Casey: I was down there this past year for homecoming -- awesome new football stadium and the hoops team is going to be spinning webs all over the NCAA tournament!

dougie127: Sean, do you see a smaller market team stepping up, a la San Diego, in 2011?

Casey: Brewers! Adding Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke just took their team to another level. They finally have the starting pitching to go along with Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Casey McGehee and Rickie Weeks.

ghandi1972: Two questions. First, do the Reds send Mike Leake down to Triple-A Lousville, or break camp with him as a fifth starter? Second, time is running out for Homer Bailey -- could this be his make-or-break year?

Casey: I think Leake proved he deserves to be in the rotation and I think Bailey has the stuff, he just needs to hone in on the mental side of playing in the big leagues and stay healthy.

MikeyLikesThePhils: What are the Phillies going to do about the slot in right field? No one is getting the job done! Will they make a move before the season starts to ensure things are legit out there? I haven't even hit 30 and I can't handle any more gray hairs watching.

Casey: They're going to let Ben Francisco and Domonic Brown battle it out before the season starts. If Brown shows promise, I like him over Francisco in the long term.

dougie127: Sean, what is your assessment of Freddie Freeman in Atlanta? Do you think that Freeman and Jason Heyward can form the next nucleus for the Braves?

Casey: Love Freddie Freeman in Atlanta. Love his swing, he's already a top-notch defender and that 1-2 punch reminds me of the Chipper Jones-Andruw Jones combination back in the '90s.

conradtdi: I was in Pittsburgh two rows behind first base when you suffered a concussion. Any lasting effects?

Casey: I don't think so, but you might want to ask my wife!

youklismvp: Hey Sean, who do you have in the World Series? Who wins?

Casey: Phillies-Red Sox -- Red Sox winning.

grkflower: What do you think about Josh Barfield manning second if Chase Utley goes down? Or should the Phillies continue using Wilson Valdez?

Casey: I think Barfield has had a lot of chances to prove himself in the big leagues but I think Valdez did a great job stepping in for Jimmy Rollins, so I think he's your guy.

dj1234: Is it me or does A-Rod look like he is locked in?

Casey: He always looks like he's locked in, but this year's different since I think he's finally healthy from his hip surgery.

taliasen: Where do you see the Tigers finishing this season?

Casey: I see them finishing towards the top of the American League Central. Their rotation should be good with Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, and they added Brad Penny.

mathies19: Mr. Mayor, does Albert Pujols deserve $30 million per year? Thanks for all you did in Boston.

Casey: Yes, he deserves $30 million a year for seven years, not 10. Remember, he's 31, and when guys get to about 37 years old, bat speed starts slowing down -- it's just a fact of life.

34felix: Should Michael Pineda start in Triple-A for Seattle, or should he be the No. 5 strater?

Casey: If he proves in Spring Training that he's ready, why not give him a shot to be in the rotation? He's got lights-out stuff, and he's only 22.

channing11: What do the Cubs need to do to stop the slide?

Casey: They've added Carlos Pena and Matt Garza, who should help, since they need more consistency with the starting rotation. And maybe a new face at manager in Mike Quade brings a different type of chemistry.

Bravesfan88: Are the Braves being overlooked in the NL East? Yes, the Phillies have a great staff, but the Braves have a pretty good one as well, and their bullpen seems a little more sound.

Casey: Listen, no one here at MLB Network is looking over the Braves. They have such a great mix of veterans and young, legit players -- that spells great chemistry for me. Their rotation stacks up well and their bullpen is still solid even though they lost Billy Wagner.

channing11: Was it hard, as a Red, to play against the Pirates team you rooted for as a kid? I've often wondered that.

Casey: Yeah, it was really tough, when I first came up to the big leagues, playing the Pirates, because I still felt like I was with my dad watching the game at Three Rivers Stadium. That's why I was a career .175 hitter at that ballpark!

mull6783: How well do you see the Reds doing this season? Will they repeat as NL Central champs? If so, how far will they go in the playoffs?

Casey: With the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright going down for the season, I really see Cincinnati at the top of the Central. The Brewers will be up there, but I really see the Reds repeating this year. Hopefully they'll pass the first round of the playoffs this year!

dj1234: Sean, I know you are out of the bigs now, but do you still get out and play some pickup games or play in an independent league?

Casey: I rake the wiffle balls in Studio 42 every once in a while! My buddies back home want to get me to play softball, but there's no chance of that.

dougie127: Sean, with the recent retirements of Jim Edmonds and Garret Anderson, do you believe either are worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame?

Casey: No, I think they both had unbelievable careers and, at times, were the best players at their positions in the big leagues. I think they'll both get votes, but will be short of getting in to the Hall of Fame.

34felix: Erik Bedard has looked great during Spring Training, how do you think he is going to do?

Casey: Bedard has always had great stuff, it's just a matter of him staying healthy. If he stays healthy, I see him doing well for Seattle. He hasn't made 30 starts since 2006.

ghandi1972: Can Kirk Gibson gain respect coaching a last-place team?

Casey: Kirk Gibson has everyone's respect, no matter what team he's managing. Guys like playing for him out there in Arizona, they like his old-school mentality, and he manages from a player's point of view.

angelzfan4ever: Sean, who do you think the sleeper teams will be this year?

Casey: Brewers, but also the A's. People are going to know the A's rotation by the time this year is over. These guys can pitch. Trevor Cahill's a stud and coming off an All-Star year.

Casey: OK, just a few more questions...

ghandi1972: The Royals have a slew of hot prospects. Why not go ahead and play them? Even though they're young, they are better than what's in the dugout.

Casey: These guys will all be good big league ballplayers, but I think a little more seasoning will not hurt any of them. You'll probably see most of these guys up there soon.

dougie127: Sean, the Angels' Brandon Wood talked about shortening his swing over the offseason, and not trying to imitate other hitters. Do you believe he can get over the hump and live up to his potential?

Casey: I don't think so, I think Wood has had every opportunity to prove himself in the big leagues and he's been overmatched.

SF_fan_in_SLC: Do you think the Giants' pitching can keep up with the Phillies' arms?

Casey: Yes, definitely. If anybody matches up with the Phillies, it's the Giants. Remember, the Giants hammered the Phillies in the NLCS, and Cliff Lee in the World Series.

angelzfan4ever: Do you think the Angels can rebound from their 2010 showing and take the AL West?

Casey: No -- but I wouldn't bet against Mike Scioscia. I just don't think the Angels are strong enough in their rotation and I think the A's and Rangers will continue to move past them.

mull6783: I heard you are going to do some play-by-play announcing for the Reds. Is that true? If so, how excited are you about this opportunity?

Casey: Yes, I am! I'm going to be doing 15 games for the Reds this year on TV. I'm so excited to be a part of the organization again.

dougie127: Sean, you had an opportunity to play in Boston and experience John Henry and Tom Werner's ownership. What do you think about the job they have done during their stewardship?

Casey: I can't say enough good things about the ownership in Boston. They do it better than anyone else in the business because they really care about the product they put on the field and they market to the fans better than anyone else.

grkflower: Which pitchers will win the Cy Young?

Casey: It's Jon Lester's year in the AL, and Roy Halladay's going to saddle up for another in the NL!

Casey: All right, I've got to get going everybody. Thanks for your time. I'll be on "Front Burner" on "MLB Tonight" today at 6 p.m. ET and might pull a couple of your questions. Thanks again!

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