Q&A With Sirius XM’s Mike Ferrin: Joe Maddon, Free Agency, Kris Bryant

From here on out I plan on bringing you a weekly interview, ideally each Monday, with a different member of the baseball community. Still looking for the right name though…any suggestions?

Today’s subject is Mike Ferrin of Sirius XM radio. Ferrin hosts SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio’s Power Alley, College Baseball, College Sports Nation & The BP Fringe Average Podcast. Today we get into Joe Maddon, Cubs free agency, and, of course, the kids.

TL: Were you shocked by the Joe Maddon situation/hire?

MF: Absolutely. Heck, I think he was shocked he was leaving Tampa. That’s some good agenting on the part of Alan Nero to get Joe an opt-out he didn’t even know about or remember.

TL: What kind of impact do you see him having in his first year?

MF: I think it largely depends on the talent level of the players he has. Joe’s really good at riding platoon advantage & mixing matching an undermanned position-player roster. He’s also great with bullpens that have few assigned roles.

What we don’t know is how he’ll strategize in the National League with the middle inning chances to pinch hit for his pitcher, and the strategic element of how deep you let even trusted starters go. It’ll be fun to see if he plays for big innings when a starter is cruising. And I think he’ll enjoy finding out what works and what doesn’t in those spots.

TL: Any player in particular he can help develop?

MF: Not really. I think he’s great when it comes to teaching & fundamentals. Watching him lead drills in Spring Training is always fun. His attention to detail in those spots, I think serves his teams well over the course of the season

TL: Which free agent can you foresee the Cubs landing?

MF: Well, I thought it was gonna be Russell Martin. Now? Not so sure. I wonder how easy it is to lure free agents here on the promise of hope. Seems to me any of the free agent big-name starters might find need multiple years and big money that, say, Jayson Werth got to help lead the culture change in Washington. If I’m committing extra years/dollars above and beyond, I’d rather do that for a position player.

So, I’m inclined to say none of the big free agent starters. But my feeling has always been that Theo Epstein is highly competitive, and that’s certainly the case in free agency. I often wonder if that explained some of the longer term, high money deals he gave to players in Boston.

If so, can he know when it makes more sense to walk away from the table now when the stakes get outside the value of the player? Or does he (or should he) keep pushing his chips into the center of the table?

TL: Which get would have the biggest impact?

MF: Which of the free agents? Probably Lester. He’s pitched at a high to extremely high level for a long time. He “knows how to pitch,” which, to me, means he can still be effective after his stuff diminishes.

TL: Baseball Prospectus ranked Addison Russell over Kris Bryant; you buying?

MF: I understand why they said it, but no. I think Russell has a chance to be a special player for sure, but I’ve been betting on Bryant since his USD days, and I’ll keep betting on him. Wouldn’t it be something if they both reached their potential?

TL: Do you believe the front office views Russell as an anchor moving forward?

MF: Absolutely. Power, speed, defense whether it be SS or 2B? That’s a potential all-star profile.

TL: Buying Jake Arrieta as bona fide top of the rotation piece now?

MF: Not yet. I think we get too excited about bust-out years on both players & position players, and start throwing labels around way to quickly. Arrieta had a fantastic year. And for a couple his peripherals pointed to a breakout.

But, I think he probably settles more towards the middle of a rotation than the front. That was the book on him as a prospect, and I think the most likely outcome now. But, of course, I thought he’d be a better fit in the bullpen when the Cubs got him, so shows you what I know.

TL: What are we to expect out of Javy Baez in 2015?

MF: .220/.290/.440

TL: Some chatter at GM meetings still suggests Starlin Castro gets moved. Is it just talk, or is now the time to cash in on value?

MF: How many times have 24-year-old shortstops who’ve been to 3 All-Star Games get moved? From the best I can tell using Baseball Reference, the answer is ZERO. Heck, if my use-of-play index is correct, the only SS in baseball history who’ve been to 3 All-Star Games at SS through age 24 are Arky Vaughn, Alex Rodriguez, Cal Ripken, Lou Boudreau, Harvey Kuenn, Chris Speier,

That’s a damn good list of players. It’s really tough to get fair value for an All-Star SS via trade. I think it’s highly unlikely

TL: When and where (position-wise) does Mr. Bryant appear?

MF: June 9th in Detroit. Starts at 3B. Goes 1-4 with a 2B & a strikeout.

Follow Mike @MikeFerrinSXM

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