home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


December 6, 2006

Mike Scioscia


Q. For the past few years you guys haven't had a true third baseman. Do you see that becoming kind of a problem over the years and then maybe going into this year with the team you have right now?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Here's a couple things. I think we've had at times Dallas McPherson has stepped up and been a true third baseman and has shown the things we need from a third baseman. Chone Figgins, although prototypically doesn't fit the mold with some of the homerun numbers, but his extra base numbers and his productivity was outstanding.
There's a lot of teams that might not have the prototypical player at a position, but you look at the makeup of the whole team and you can see how everything fits, and right now, whether it's Dallas McPherson or Chone Figgins or Maicer Izturis, Robb Quinlan, we have depth at third base, and I think any one of them could step up and give us the production we would expect from a prototypical third baseman. Izturis had a terrific year for us, although it wasn't in homeruns, but if you look at production, his runs scored and RBIs, these guys did a good job for the time they were in there.

Q. Are you looking at kind of the same rotation right now between the guys that you just mentioned or is there a starter in your mind?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: We're going to do whatever evolves. If there's one guy that can step up and play it every day and do the job, then that's great. If it's going to take some kind of a combination to get that position covered, then that's what we'll do.
But I think that Chone Figgins has shown he can play on the defensive end at a very high level like he did a couple years ago at third base. Last year he struggled before he moved to center field. And Dallas, the question mark with his health is probably the biggest issue with Dallas because he showed the potential he has in his bat was starting to be realized because he was driving the ball well.
And Q and Izzy, I'm real comfortable with that position that somebody is going to give us what we need.
The defensive end is something that we're going to have to pick up because it certainly affected our season last year, especially in the early going.

Q. How likely is it Dallas is going to be able to play that position every day with his back and his history?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, you know, I think the last couple years when he's stepped up and has really won playing time and is on the verge of breaking through, he's been snake bit with a couple of things that have set him back. I think that there are some things that Dallas certainly is going to have to prove, especially on the health end of it, and if he does, then he definitely would be in a position to give us a big boost.
How realistic is it? Over the last couple years he's struggled, but there have been years where he's put it together and played a whole season. We'll see how it goes.

Q. What are you hearing about him in terms of his therapy and his health?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, I think he ended the year healthy, which was important. You know, he's continuing in his program, and hopefully the issue he has in his back and with the core strength -- the core strength will address that, and he can do what he needs to do on the baseball field. He's got -- he's a terrific talent with big potential, and the only way that's going to play out is if he's out there and can stay healthy.

Q. What's Casey's status?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Casey is playing winter ball right now in Puerto Rico. That's a big move forward. I think it's important -- as important as it is for us to maybe try and evaluate guys and see where they are, it's more important for Casey to get out there and play. I think if he does well this winter and comes into spring training with some momentum and confidence, he still has the opportunity to be the player that we think he can be. It was kind of a lost year for him last year.
But I think him playing winter ball, I think it's important.

Q. And is he over the issues that he had and healthy again?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Yeah, he had mono, and it really just knocked him for a loop. I think it affected some other things that were going on in his body. He's all through that from what I know.

Q. So it's really just a baseball thing now?

Q. Any early reports on him? Do you have anybody watching him?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: He doesn't have many at-bats. His first couple at-bats after not seeing velocity for a while, naturally there's going to be some adjustments. I heard the other day, someone said he hit a three-run homer. I haven't verified that.
Physically he feels very strong.

Q. With Jered Weaver, how do you handle him this upcoming year in his development? Do you still watch his innings, pitches, all that? At what point do you turn him loose?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: He made a huge jump as Ervin Santana did. Ervin was a little banged up and went from 40-some innings to pitching deep into a season close to 200, and even expanding on that this year. It's already started with Jered because Jered, his program when he was pitching last year his first full season to what his off-season plan has been has been mapped out for him. He's going to be very aggressive to let his arm, I guess, get the stamina it's going to need for the big season.
We kept waiting last year for maybe there to be a little bit of a lull because you're certainly concerned when a guy goes from 110 innings to now pushing 200 innings, around that figure, and he was beautiful. He kept going strong, finished very strong and was healthy. He'll be ready for the next challenge, and you hope he can keep the consistency through his career that he showed especially towards the end of last year, which impressed us with how well he held up in the Pennant race and with a lot of innings under his belt.

Q. When there's an increase in innings pitched that much from one year to the next, is there concern the following year that he'll pay for it?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: There's always, I think, a concern, but it wasn't like he went from -- he had gone from 40 innings to all of a sudden going eight-plus innings every night for like 245 innings in a season and finishing with maybe some inflammation or it started to take a toll on him, I think you would maybe be concerned about the spillover effect.
But as strong as he felt and his innings were, although they were high, it was not -- it wasn't something that was totally out of what you would expect a youngster to be able to handle. He's fine. I wouldn't anticipate there being any kind of a lingering effect next year.

Q. What are realistic expectations for him this year and in the future?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, I think his upside, this guy has the upside to be a dominant pitcher, a guy that can be a lead horse in a championship caliber rotation and be in an elite group of major league pitchers. That's only going to happen with the day-to-day focus, the start-to-start focus that a young pitcher needs, especially you can't get too far ahead of yourself, and Jered is not that type.
He's committed to the grind. He understands the work it's going to take. He understands the game-to-game approach, and he had a lot of success in his first little taste of it this year, and he'll -- he's got to keep that mindset, and his upside is as good as any young pitcher I've ever been around.

Q. The Giants' deal with Benji Molina hasn't been announced and they're already being criticized for giving him three years saying he's in decline. My question to you is kind of A and B. A, how would you respond to that having had him for so many years and seeing him last year from the other side, and what are the Giants getting in Benji Molina?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Besides the physical talent that he has, which is terrific, he's one of the brightest and one of the most intelligent baseball players I've ever been around. I think his ability to work with pitchers is off the charts. He's going to bring that stabilizing force to a pitching staff. He's a hard worker.
On the offensive side he's as clutch a hitter as I've seen, and I think that a lot of the reports of his demise over the last couple years, if you look at statistically what he's done, particularly on the defensive side, with the pitching staff, when he catches, how does a staff before him, he's terrific.
I think they -- I haven't heard any of the length of the contract or what's happening, but I think that Benji has shown over the last three years that he's kept himself where he needs to be. He's playing at a very high level.

Q. I think that what the reports have been, even reading last year, maybe he doesn't block balls the way he used to, maybe the conditioning isn't what he needs to be at.
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, the bottom line of a guy's performance, from a catcher, the way we evaluate them, is not going to be, okay -- that stuff would be stuff to sift through. You want to get to the bottom line and see his performance.

Q. Cut to the chase?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: You take all that into consideration, and he's given up 3.8 runs a game when another catcher is giving up 4.4 runs a game. Over the course of a season, that's huge. That's a multiple that's going to be a huge factor in winning or losing games. So you could say, hey, he's only throwing out 20 percent of the guys, he's not blocking balls in the dirt.
You know what, when he started games, he started 125 games for us, and our record was 70 and 55 or whatever it might have been, and his runs against were 3.8 against other catchers who catch on the same staff. Now you're going to be able to compare oranges to oranges and apples to apples and see what's happening. If you get to that bottom line and a catcher is catching at a very poor level where he's giving up 4.8 runs a game, other guys just start to dissect the rest. You start to dissect, he's not controlling the running game.
Benji, his head back there is as good as I've seen. His ability to stay with a game plan and understand pitching is what's going to win ballgames for you behind a plate, and he's as good as there is. I think you can look at a lot of those peripheral things, but when you get to the bottom line, he wins, and he knows how to win back there, and that's important.

Q. Your team is in a pretty good position of being a contending team and also having just enormous talent in your farm system. How do you go about making a decision to flip some of that talent to get yourself over the hump or infuse it into the team?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: I think there's a combination of things. Some have to do with who's playing at your level right now, and are there voids that you think you have at the Major League level, who's ready at the Minor League level maybe to fill those voids, does it mean a position switch for some guys. There's a lot of things that come into play as to when you're comfortable making a move.
This year one example is Howie Kendrick is absolutely ready for his challenge in the Major Leagues. He's one of the young stars that we're very excited about. The guy whose playing time he took on our club was a huge part of the club for a long time, Adam Kennedy. It was a tough decision to make not to re-sign Adam, and especially Adam got a lengthy contract and might not have been available here.
Those decisions are tough, but I think the first thing is when your talent in the Minor Leagues is ready, now you can start asking yourselves some of these questions. Now we've got a lot of guys who are on the cusp of being ready. It happened last year with us with Benji Molina, Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli, and it ended up being Mike Napoli who stepped in and did a great job.
You have to be pretty sure that the talent you have in the Minor Leagues is ready, and then you can start to ask the questions.

Q. How far away are Wood or Aybar?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Aybar, Wood, there was a lot of guys that we have down there that are -- Adenhart, Mosebach, Marek a little bit lower down in the Minor Leagues, I think that there's a little gap that has to be bridged as far as where a guy like Brandon Wood is right now, Erick Aybar might be a little ahead because he's played winter ball and has played a little bit longer. Those gaps, I've seen them close very quickly, especially when a guy gets to AAA.
When it happens remains to be seen, but I think it's safe to say that they're all on our depth chart, and when that happens, it could be like Jered Weaver coming into Spring Training last year, we knew there was a little bit of a gap there that needed to be bridged, and he just plowed through Spring Training, and by the end of Spring Training he was firmly on our depth chart. You saw a kid who came up and played a special game against the Giants, and the way Jered pitched in Orlando, we said, hey, this guy is real close to being ready for the challenge. Those guys are close.

Q. There have been some rumors about Manny Ramirez and the Angels' interest in him. How would you handle someone like Manny in your clubhouse and just on your team in general?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, you know, it takes -- certainly everyone is an individual on a team. There's different personalities, there's different makeups, and a guy with Manny's talent is certainly welcome in any clubhouse in the Major Leagues because of what he can bring. I think that he's one of the rare players that can make the players around him better and play at a higher level. I think we've seen it wherever he's been. It's happened in Boston.
That part of it wouldn't be an issue coming in. The part that's an issue in acquiring a talent like Manny or if you talk about trying to get offense, what's it doing to the rest of your club and what does your club look like after you acquire this talent, and that's our dilemma right now is it's great to go out there and search and dig for offense, but if we don't have the pitching intact and if we lose Francisco Rodriguez, Scot Shields, a young starting pitcher, maybe one, two or all three of that package, you're going to be in a position that a lot of teams in baseball are in right now where they're desperately trying to seek the pitching that we have.
So you know, you would have to I think move very carefully in those deals, and I know Bill is, and nothing that's been presented is anything that makes sense that is going to push us ahead to where we need to be.

Q. So you're content to go into next year not having upgraded the offense any more than like Matthews?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: It's a whole picture of the team. I think our team right now has -- although it's maybe not quite as much balance on the offensive side as you would like, we have the ability to score runs, to win ballgames with our pitching staff intact. If that would go the other way, I don't think you could ever get enough offense to get to be where you want to be. You know what I'm saying?
I think if you start to lose some of the key pieces of our starting rotation and the back end of our bullpen, you're not going to find enough offense to win games. There's been a bit of a dilemma. We need some guys certainly to provide move offense than they did last year, and with Gary Matthews in center, the Gold Glove caliber defense he's going to bring, but with the potential he brings from the offensive side, he scored over 100 runs last year, you're hoping that Gary -- things we talk about all the time, that Gary is healthy, that Juan Rivera can stay healthy, missed four or five games last year, and there are some things that our success is contingent on. We're not as deep offensively as I think any of us had hoped, but it's still there.
If there's something that makes sense, I think Bill would consider moving a pitcher that maybe we could replace or maybe would be able to -- we would be able to absorb, but that's not being presented, and it certainly doesn't make us a better team to consider some of the things and be in the place that a lot of these teams are now who are desperately talking to us about acquiring some of our pitchers.

Q. Toward the end of the year several players questioned the wisdom of letting guys like Adam and Darin go.
MIKE SCIOSCIA: No one has let Darin go.

Q. Well, most likely.
MIKE SCIOSCIA: That's not true.

Q. You hear the word gamers, character, leadership. Is there going to be an issue about replacing that or establishing that next spring?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: I think when you look at how hard -- the passion some of our younger players have and how hard they play the game -- if you've seen Howie Kendrick play for the last four years and you've seen how hard our young guys that are coming up, the way they play the game, you're excited about that part of it. It's the same way when Adam joined our club or Erstie joined the club or when these guys came up, they established themselves as these type of players, and that's what -- you certainly have to keep that ball rolling. To become a presence in the clubhouse you have to go out there and play hard and lead by example.
These guys are going to get that opportunity to do that, and hopefully that's going to evolve because there wasn't anybody that's come through our clubhouse in the last six years that didn't play or seven years that didn't play. You look at a guy like Eckstein and Adam Kennedy, you look at Erstie, you look at what these guys have brought, Spiezio. Some of that influence has moved on. It's something you look at, but I can't envision Howard Kendrick being anything but a gamer as he evolves, much along the same lines as Adam and Erstie and Eck, and as guys like Reggie Willits or Tommy Murphy come up, they get after it, and I think they'll establish that.

Q. We heard Erstad in that one incident kind of take control of the clubhouse. Is there a guy on the team now that can kind of command that attention?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: I think there are. Some guys aren't going to do it and maybe some other guys will. Erstie certainly is a terrific -- he's just a terrific presence on any team both in the clubhouse and on the field. I think there are some guys that have done things -- Erstie was more vocal at some points and certainly led by example and continues to lead.
There's guys that have handled situations that you guys never heard of in more of a quiet leadership role. I think that leadership is part of our club, and there's no void there. I think that probably Mike was referring to probably the biggest thing that I think we look at is how hard guys like Adam play the game and how hard Eckstein did when David left. We see Orlando Cabrera's passion, Murphy, Willits, Mathis, Napoli, these guys get after it. That will reestablish itself.

Q. (Inaudible).
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Does he speak Spanish or English? He's as quiet as they come.
He plays hard. Izzy plays hard, and that's going to be more important than anything that's vocalized.

Q. Are you more cautious or skeptical about handing a starting job to a Howard Kendrick?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: With the amount of room that the OC Register is giving you to write your column. We're very cautious because I don't know in two and a half inches how you're going to get the whole thing (laughter).

Q. You said all these same things with Mathis, McPherson, Kotchman on the way up that you're saying about Kendrick now, and they struggled for health reasons or otherwise.
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Jeff I think maybe didn't produce on the field. He was healthy, didn't quite produce on the field right away the way we think he would, but this guy is going to be a front line catcher. You know, we can see that.
Casey was on the verge of doing -- you can't close the chapter on these guys until they play it out. Mac could want a starting third baseman job and was doing all the things we thought about when he hurt his hip two years ago. Last year same thing, these guys started driving the ball, getting some big hits for us, feeling comfortable defensively, and just lost the season when he got hurt down in Arizona in pregame.
I think there's always contingencies you can put on every player, if they stay healthy or do this or do that. You've got to operate with what you see on the field.
I don't think we're any less enthusiastic about the upside of Dallas or Casey or what's going to happen. It doesn't make us think twice about internally how we evaluate our players because you're always looking at the health of a guy, is he going to have the stamina to play every day, whether you're a catcher at a demanding position or a pitcher, is he better suited for the bullpen because it doesn't look like he's going to keep the length you need as a starter through his career.
Casey had a little bit of a setback, Dallas had a little bit of a setback. That doesn't change how we feel about these guys. Everybody is going to change as an individual.

Q. (Inaudible).
MIKE SCIOSCIA: I think that was a big part of it, plus Mike wanted to come back out west. He saw an opportunity to get back in our organization, and once he broached the subject, we felt very comfortable with Mike. He knows all of our guys. He's worked a long time with a lot of our young pitchers, and he's got the experience that I think we want at that position.
Buddy's influence on Mike, they've worked together for seven years, and I think he had a lot of influence on Mike, and hopefully the incredible job that Buddy did with that will just continue with Mike.

Q. They think along the same lines?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Yes, same philosophy, and I think they're both great communicators, great teachers and great evaluators, and that's what you need to be a good pitching coach.

Q. In the last year in Tampa, did you see anything specifically that he did with those young pitchers over there?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: You know, I think that -- you said there was a lot of young pitchers and inexperience there. Mike had worked with inexperience as Joe did because they were in player development for a long time. I think they did a great job of moving forward and trying to get roles as much as they could with those guys until they had some injuries that derailed some of the things they wanted to do. I talked to Joe a lot about Mike, and Joe was a big advocate of Mike and what he could do, and we're excited to get Mike back into our organization because he was with us for a long time.

Q. With Bartolo Colon, are you expecting him to be the pitcher he was a couple years ago or is it more a case of you're hoping he can be?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, we expect him to be healthy and pitch at a level where he can be a very, very successful Major League pitcher. Is he going to be the dominant pitcher and go out there and pitch at 95, 97 miles an hour? That remains to be seen, but he doesn't need that to be successful.
There's some things, hurdles Bart needs to get over before he's back on the mound that we can see, but I think what he's dealing with is something that's manageable, and if his rehab goes as planned, there's no reason why he's not going to get on that mound and pitch at a very high level again this year.

Q. Earlier today Buddy was up here and just exudes such confidence in the job he's going to do. What kind of advice would you give to him starting off his new gig?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: He's going to be himself. That's the best advice. He's prepared. He knows the game. He knows some very important elements of this game that you need to be in tune with to win, and I think the communication skills he has, it's off the charts. He's going to be able to talk to anybody, he's going to be able to walk to the clubhouse and talk to anybody. He's got great demeanor. I think he's going to show that he's ready for this challenge.
But you have to be yourself. He's got a great knowledge of the game, great communicator. He needs to go into the situation and understand and instill his philosophies because he's got a great baseball mind.

End of FastScripts
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297