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Mark P
7:51
July 26 and we've got the first Sunday chat of the season!  Let's dive into the questions...
Chris
7:52
You on the Kyle Lewis hype train yet?
Mark P
7:53
You bet.  We often see rookies get off to a hot start in normal seasons before coming back to earth.  Well, in a 60-game season, what is usually a "hot start" might end up being the entire schedule.  Lewis should be considered a big ROY candidate
Save seeker
7:54
Committee in TOR or one from Bass, Dolis, Romano going to emerge with Giles out?
Mark P
7:54
I would imagine committee for the moment, at least.  The Jays like Romero a lot but they might see more value in him as a high-leverage guy rather than a specific ninth-inning specialist.
Aroldis Chapman
7:55
I just had a negative COVID test.  When do I get another test to to see if get a negative test again?
Mark P
7:55
I'm not sure of the specifics of the testing process, but I would imagine Chapman is getting tested daily.  Assuming his next test is also negative, he could be cleared imminently
Chris
7:56
Should the Phillies and their fans overreact to this first series? Also the poor marlins shouldn't have had to play today
Mark P
7:57
Never too early for Philly fans to over-react!  Ultimately, it's just one series, far too early too get concerned even with the schedule as short as it is.

The Marlins' situation is ominous, to say the least.
George
7:58
Why did Paxton look like hot garbage?
Mark P
8:00
Random topic: why is "hot" garbage part a common phrase?  I guess hot garbage is worse than cold or moderate-climate garbage by dint of a stronger smell, but it's not like garbage at any temperature smells great.  And speaking as someone who has chipped more than one frozen garbage bag out an icy bin in January, cold garbage is no picnic either.

Anyway, Paxton's issue seemed to be a lack of velocity.  It's not a good sign, though it is just one start, coming off a long layoff.  Too soon to over-react just yet.
Miller
8:01
Don Mattingly said after today's game that he thinks the traveling taxi squad should be expanded from the current three extra players allowed. What are your thoughts?
Mark P
8:01
Not a bad idea
Barrelman
8:01
Worth it for the Astros to trade for a rental starter for Verlander cover? Only so many runs left with the current core.
Mark
8:02
Is it realistic to think Forrest Whitley may be called up?
Mark P
8:03
The Astros are in a very tough spot with Verlander out, as they don't have much time to decide whether to just wait and see about his diagnosis (the early "his season is over" reports weren't encouraging, though it seems like JV hasn't ruled out a return yet).
8:04
I can see Whitley getting the call once the Astros have their extra year of control ensured
Jonathan
8:04
Chances Springer inks an extension with Houston before the end of the season?
Mark P
8:05
With Betts now off the board, I wonder if it Springer is more likely to test free agency since he'll be the top outfielder available (and arguably the best free agent overall, give or take Realmuto).
Jeff
8:06
If T.J. is necessary for Verlander, is this the last time we see him pitch?
Mark P
8:06
It can't be ruled out at his age.  That said, Verlander seems like the kind of guy who would want to end his career on a better note than that, so I can see him pushing for a return
Matt W.
8:07
Any word on Soto and Meadows timeline to return?
Mark P
8:08
Both just got the clearance to rejoin their teams, and I'd say Polanco is probably closer because Meadows missed virtually all of training camp
Rob
8:09
It’s great seeing baseball again.  I wish though they had a better plan to somehow deal with the empty seats in a huge park. The virtual fans in some games are awful ( I don’t actually have a solution as to what to do, but they have professionals to figure that out)
Mark P
8:11
Honestly, the empty seats aren't that big a deal to me personally.  I've seen enough sparsely-attended games in my lifetime that the change from "almost nobody" to "nobody" there wasn't that big an adjustment.

The virtual fans are a bit much, but I enjoy the creativity of filling the seats with stuffed animals and cut-out pictures.  Someone on Twitter had the funny suggestion of recreating the Sgt. Pepper's album cover behind home plate, which some team should absolutely do
Mike
8:11
Question was soto not polanco
Mark P
8:12
Oops, sorry, misread that initial question.  Had Polanco on my mind since he and Meadows were both cleared yesterday.

Soto hasn't been officially cleared yet, so I guess maybe still Meadows?  Though Soto theoretically should be able to play as soon as he gets the green light from doctors
Walter
8:13
Indians starting pitching looking good... Most underrated team in AL Central
Mark P
8:14
Did anyone really underrate them?  People were high on the Twins and White Sox but I don't think anyone was writing off Cleveland as a playoff contender.
Sssssssandy
8:14
what is the story on a Mike Rizzo extension? Surely the Nats aren’t trying to nickel and dime him? Might he walk? Where to?
Mark P
8:14
The Lerners are notoriously strange about dealing with management contracts and negotiations, but I would find it hard to believe they'd let Rizzo walk after winning a ring
Hal S
8:15
What do we do with Clint Frazier?
Mark P
8:16
The Yankees technically don't *have* to do anything, as he is under team control through 2023 and injury risk is omnipresent on the NYY roster.
8:17
If the Yankees ever decide to move on from Gardner, Frazier will have a clearer path to playing time.
Elvis
8:18
Would Springer receive less money given the cheating scandal if he signed with another team?
Mark P
8:19
I think I've mentioned this before in a chat, but Springer's career road numbers are actually better than his numbers at home.  So he and his agents can quite reasonably claim that the trash cans had nothing to do with his performance.
Baseball
8:19
Is baseball becoming the new hockey with the playoff’s expanding to 18 teams
Mark P
8:19
It won't officially be hockey playoffs until everyone grows a giant beard
Brian Ca$hman
8:22
An early exit this season means me losing my job with the Yankee$
Mark P
8:22
Cashman seems to have as much job security as anyone in the sport.  I highly doubt he'd be blamed for missing the playoffs (which I don't think happens anyway) in an aberration of a 60-game season
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