Peter Gammons' chat transcript is up at Boston.com. Here are some of the best tidbits from our main man Gammons:
A) I think Texas... and Oakland... would be the most likely if he's not part of any deal with Minnesota. I could see Billy Beane trading for Crisp and then turning around and trading him before season starts. The A's think he's the best defensive center fielder in game right now.
Q) How did surgery go for David Ortiz? Do you think he will be in '06 shape for this season, or should we expect a solid year like this past season, with a little less home run power?
A) My guess is that he'll be fine. And in a lot less pain than he was at times last year. I thought for nearly three months, he was very clear that self confident presence was missing and it was injury related. In the 40 HR range... what's going to be interesting is going to be how Manny hits with him. Manny rented a house in the Phoenix area and has become a maniacal workout warrior in Tempe Arizona at the Athletes' Performance Institute (API). From what I've heard from people at API, Manny is getting himself into phenomenal shape. And having watched those workouts, I can tell you, they are extremely difficult.
Q) Which hitting prospects in the Sox system do you feel will make a BIG IMPACT in the near future?
A) Probably the two highest regarded young hitters other than Brandon Moss are Lars Anderson and Ryan Kalish. Anderson is considered their best power prospect after a very strong season at Greenville as a 19 year old. Outfielder Josh Reddick made himself a significant prospect and scouts who saw some of the players out of last years draft were impressed, specifically 3B Will Middlebrooks, 1B Anthony Rizzo, and OF David Mailman.
Q) Will Jim Rice finally make it into the Hall of Fame?
A) I don't think so. I voted for him, but it's been interesting that there have been people like Rob Neyer who are so obsessed with degrading Rice's career. The fact that he retired as early as he did clearly has cost him because of the 382 home runs. But for him to be in the top 5 in MVP balloting 6 times in 12 years, to me, speaks more about his career than the fact that his career OPS is the same as Ellis Burks.
Good stuff from Gammons in the chat transcript. If all he said about Manny is true then I can't wait to see him come February. If Manny is going through all these extra steps then he should certainly improve over last season's stats.