Jeff Wilson is a baseball writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and one of the authors of Foul Territory, a baseball blog.
Me: What are the chances that the Rangers come back from 2-1 to win the World Series?
Jeff: Game 4 is awfully important. If the Rangers can win and tie up the series, they'd have Cliff Lee pitching in Game 5 with a chance to take a 3-2 lead going back to San Francisco. The hunch here is that Lee isn't going to get beat again, at least not the he did in Game 1. Tonight is a coin flip. If the Rangers win, I like their chances in the series.
Me: Will Josh Hamilton win the AL MVP? Will Neftali Feliz win the AL ROY?
Jeff: Josh Hamilton will win the MVP award. He was the best player in baseball this year and was at his best when the Rangers made their move in the AL West race. He didn't play down the stretch, but he'd already done enough to be the MVP. Neftali Feliz should win the ROY, but a closer won it last year and Austin Jackson was awfully good for Detroit despite a bunch of strikeouts.
Me: If the Rangers are to lose the World Series (god forbid), will Cliff Lee leave for New York? What if they win?
Jeff: I think getting to the World Series has convinced Lee that the Rangers can be a winner for the next several years. Winning it would go a long way toward him re-signing. Being a relatively short drive or a direct flight from his home near Little Rock, Ark., is also attractive. His wife has said as much. Now, the Yankees will throw a pile of cash at Lee, so the Rangers have to at least be competitive financially. I think the Rangers have the edge right now.
Me: Do the Giants have the best rotation in baseball?
Jeff: If it's not the best, it's one of the top five. Boston has Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett. That's pretty good. Tampa Bay's five-man rotation was solid from top to bottom. Philadelphia's H2O is also at the top.
Me: Was the Cliff Lee acquisition the best mid-season deal ever?
Jeff: The Lee trade has competition, but for the Rangers it was their best ever trade. Carlos Beltran was a heck of a pickup for the Astros. Manny Ramirez was huge for the Dodgers. Doyle Alexander was great for the Tigers in 1987, though it cost Detroit John Smoltz and they didn't advance. The Phillies' trade for Lee last year was also pretty dang big.
Me: How do you see the Rangers doing next year?
Jeff: The core of this Rangers team returns next year, so they have as good a chance as any West team now. The Angels will makes some moves, possibly signing Carl Crawford, to shore up their lineup, and they get Kendry Morales back. Oakland still needs a run producer in that lineup, but A's pitching is terrific. But if Lee re-signs in Texas, the Rangers have to be favorites to defend their West title.