Q. Danny Salazar — should I protect him?
A. Tough to say. Wouldn’t we all like to be protected by someone? But as we grow up, we realize it’s hard enough to protect yourself, and to expect someone else to shield you from all of life’s traumas and disappointments is, frankly, unrealistic. Danny Salazar had a terrible start to the season, but then rebounded quite nicely. Without your protection. So I think he may be more equipped than we realize to handle the ups and downs. He doesn’t need your protection, my protection, or anyone’s protection. Which makes him lucky, in a lot of ways. I think he’ll be just fine. Unless, of course, he gets Ebola.
Q. Any sleeper catchers for 2015?
A. Looking at a typical catcher’s body type, I think they all have pretty decent potential to be sleepers, permanently. Especially as you reach middle age and start to see people around you suffer the misfortune of illness and death, you quickly recognize that even if you want to ascribe it all to active choices and obvious causes — poor diet, alcohol and drugs, etc. — life doesn’t always work that way. There are accidents, there’s fate, there’s random misfortune. And catchers, despite their major league salaries, are just as likely as any of us to find themselves not waking up one morning. I’d keep my eye particularly on Mike Zunino, though. Especially if he gets Ebola.
Q. Rank these pitchers for 2015: Shields, deGrom, Iwakuma, Cashner
What a strange collection of four pitchers with seemingly little in common, except that they are all good at pitching. I rank them all tied for first, since they all have jobs pitching in the major leagues while the rest of us suffer through our lives only wishing we had such fortune. Unless any of them get Ebola, in which case I would move the others ahead in the ranking.
Q. Will Brian McCann rebound?
A. Can any of us ever really rebound from a down year? The trauma inevitably stays with us, implanting itself on all of our memories. McCann might or might not improve his production in 2015, but I don’t think he will ever be the same, mentally. Or physically, if he comes down with Ebola.
Q. Where do you think Lester is likely to sign?
A. Depends on how many airports start screening for Ebola, because, honestly, I’d be too scared to pass through one of those, accidentally fail the test, and get thrown into close quarters with people who really do have it. That’s the biggest fear, I think. Next to actually being in an airport with someone who has Ebola but isn’t getting tested, I guess. So if he moved to Oakland after the trade, I think he should probably just stay there. Travel is scary. Wow.