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Mark P
We're underway with the Weekend Chat, so let's open up the old question queue....
Jon D
What's your take on the Pirates? They for real?
Mark P
Their pitching seems due for some regression, and they're obviously not going to play .690 baseball the rest of the way.  But overall, there's a lot to like about the Pirates roster, and it seems like they're legitimately turning the corner.

This could be very similar to the 2022 Orioles season, where the Bucs end up with just barely a winning record, but that's still a nice step forward
Do you see the cardinals languishing all year or is this just a slow start
What can the cards do to turn this team around
Mark P
Last week, I believe I responded to a Cardinals question by noting that the team regularly struggles in the first half of the season before turning it on in the second half.  

Now, this could still certainly be the case, but geez, the Cards really digging themselves into a hole here.  It doesn't help that the Cubs and Pirates are both playing well, in addition to Milwaukee still being a contender.  St. Louis really needs to stabilize that rotation, since the pitching (apart from Montgomery and sort of Flaherty) has been the big weak link
I think Bloom and co. are going to be in a situation where they really need to appeal to the fan base and a .500 record isn't going to cut it. Could you see them pairing with the Rockies (McMahon, Bryant) or similar team with a lot of $$$ tied up in contracts to take on some bad ones in order to make up for lack of depth in their system and show the fans they are all-in this year?
Mark P
Not the Rockies in particular, since even if Colorado continues to struggle, it's not in their nature to blow things up at the deadline (especially not to the extent of moving a Bryant or a McMahon).

That said, the Red Sox should certainly be targeting pitching, since the offense hasn't been the problem.  Boston's larger issue is playing in a buzzsaw of a division, since there's a very real chance they could finish above .500 but still in last place
Timmy Oriole
Dylan Cease to Baltimore? We have the prospects to pull it off. Starting rotation beyond Wells and Gibson is subpar at best.
Mark P
Trading Cease would be the kind of major move that indicates a full-on rebuild.  As bad as April has been for the White Sox, I'm not sure they're ready to take that step just yet, even though (today's game notwithstanding) it's hard to see things getting a ton better
In regards to the Orioles, however, they have the prospect depth to ask about basically any starter at the deadline.  If the Sox did decide to blow it up, Baltimore can bid with anyone in trying to land Cease
What type of return could Joey Meneses bring the Nats back at the trade deadline?
Mark P
Right now not much of anything, since Meneses hasn't really gotten on track yet this season. He's been hitting a bit better over the last few games, but he was ice cold to begin the year
Should i be concerned with this losing streak or is this just weathering the storm until reinforcements come back
Mark P
First the Mets need to weather this actual storm, and avoid some rainouts.  But even though it seems like the Mets are still in first gear, they still have a winning record and are holding steady amidst all the injuries and absences
Alan H
Are the Yankees falling too far back too soon?
Stick Michael
Wow, what has happened to my Yankees? Is our season already done?
Mark P
Like I noted earlier about the Red Sox, the AL East is looking brutally tough yet again this season.  Obviously it's only been a month and the fact that the Yankees and BoSox are eight games out isn't insurmountable.  But, this is already a pretty deep hole being dug here, since the Rays (and Orioles, and Blue Jays) just keep on winning
In the Yankees' case in particular, losing Judge for even 10 days would be a big problem
Buy or Sell. Yankees are sellers in the trade deadline and end with a negative record
Mark P
Sell.  The Yankees have always found a way to win for so long that I'll have to see it before i believe they'd actually be deadline sellers.

At worst, it might be something like 2016, where they dealt some pieces (Aroldis Chapman) but didn't tear anything down by any means
How can the Guardians turn it around soon?
Mark P
Even despite a middling rotation and a lineup that is again not producing many runs, the Guardians are still at least treading water.  A weak division certainly helps, but they absolutely need to generate more offense, whether that's internally (guys like Gimenez or Bell heating up) or via new acquisitions
Who is the odd man out of the rotation when Lance McCullers comes back?
Mark P
By the numbers Urquidy, but I expect Houston to perhaps juggle things around and try a six-man rotation.  Maybe even a piggyback situation based on Brown's innings.
Any news on if tomorrow is going to happen?  Met with the doctor this morning right?  Such a crazy quick recovery time.
Mark P
Harper is meeting with Dr. ElAttache on Monday, with the aim of playing in Tuesday's game.  At this point, Harper has made enough progress that it would seem like a surprise if he didn't return Tuesday, but who knows what a fuller examination might reveal.

And you're right, it's wild that Harper has beaten the projections by almost 2.5 months.
Who can the Braves target as a LF/DH around the deadline?
Mark P
Right now they might not think they need one, if Hilliard can keep it up.  Atlanta is already in good enough shape in the standings to spend the next several weeks evaluating Hilliard, Rosario, and company to see if another move needs to be made.  Plus, Arcia and d'Arnaud will eventually be back from the IL to further add to the hitting depth
When does Ozuna get released? With Harris back, Ozuna is worthless.
Mark P
Once d'Arnaud and/or Arcia get back, Ozuna will look (even more) expendable.
Ang T
Could Vogelbach net the Mets a reliable bullpen arm? Feel like he’s expendable now with Escobar possibly becoming the full-time DH with Baty at 3B.
Mark P
Vogelbach has pretty limited value, as a mostly-DH slugger who is only good against right-handed pitching.  A reliever might be the tops of what the Mets could reasonably get back in a trade, if they can find another club who is looking for any kind of 1B/DH help.  (Maybe akin to the Rowdy Tellez/Trevor Richards swap between Milwaukee and Toronto a couple of years ago.)
Reds fan
Do you think Elly De La Cruz will get called up this year and do you think he will have a big impact
Mark P
It's been a pretty slow start for EDLC thus far in Triple-A, so an immediate call-up is certainly not in the cards.  Maybe late in the season if he starts to heat up over a consistent basis, but the Reds don't want to overwhelm or rush such an important prospect
Could this be McCutchen’s final year in the league? Returning to Pittsburgh as a swan song?
Mark P
McCutchen is still playing well enough that is certainly seems like he could play beyond 2023 if he wanted.  And for a narrative cap on a career, helping the Pirates back to a winning record would be a really cool way to go out.
How long before Mo blow up the Cards?  Major trade or new manager!
Mark P
A managerial switch probably can't be ruled out, considering that Matheny was fired at midseason.  Obviously Marmol hasn't been the skipper for very long, but if the Cardinals can't get on track, a dugout shakeup might be a quick-fix type of move
Uh oh, and in regards to that McCullers question earlier, Urquidy just left tonight's game with a possible injury.
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