Chat with Jerry Crasnick
Jerry is the author of "License to Deal: A Season on the Run With a Maverick Baseball Agent," which chronicles the ins and outs of what happens off the field.
Send in your questions now and join Jerry in The Show on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:57 PM)
Jerry Crasnick will be here at 2 p.m. ET to take your questions!
Jerry Crasnick (2:00 PM)
Hey folks, Lots of questions in the queue. So let's get started on today's version of "Manny Being Medicated."
Jerry, I dont care what Gammons or Boras say, if he was suspended it was a steroid. And why wont they release the name of the drug he took? What are they hiding?
Jerry Crasnick (2:01 PM)
Brad, The drug testing policy is negotiated between the players union and MLB, and I think there's a privacy component to it. If players thought that baseball would simply run everything out there for public viewing, I don't think they would have agreed to the testing in the first place.
The Ramirez camp is claiming that the substance in question is not a steroid. But that doesn't seem to jive with my understanding of MLB's banned substance policy. If I understand it correctly, only steroids warrant a first-violation, 50-game suspension. Could some other substance warrant a 50-game suspension?
Jerry Crasnick (2:03 PM)
Cleveland, I don't know that Ramirez's camp is claiming it's not a steroid. They're claiming that what he took that violated the drug policy was given to him by a doctor for some undisclosed medical issue.
Dave (San Francisco, CA)
The Dodgers will have an extra 25-man roster spot during Manny's suspension, as though he were on the DL?
Jerry Crasnick (2:04 PM)
Dave, The Dodgers are expected to recall outfielder Xavier Paul from the minors to take Manny's spot on the 25-man roster. Juan Pierre will slide in for him in left field.
James (Los Angeles, Ca) [via mobile]
Why hasn't A-rod received any penalties from the league and Manny does for a doctor prescribed non-steroid medication?
Jerry Crasnick (2:05 PM)
James, A-Rod and 103 others tested positive during the 2003 "survey' testing. There were no penalties for that. Those were the tests that MLB conducted to try and determine whether it was necessary to institute a drug policy. Manny's suspension is because he failed a test more recently.
Evan (Auburn, AL) [via mobile]
Mr Crasnick, Do you believe Manny's story?
Jerry Crasnick (2:07 PM)
Evan, I'm like everybody else. Given how many players have blamed GNC or said they tried steroids "once" to come back because of an injury or a momentary lack of judgment, I'm conditioned to be skeptical. We're all skeptical these days.
Jerry, Forget for a moment the gaping hole Manny will leave in the Dodgers lineup, what will this do to the psyche of the team?
Jerry Crasnick (2:08 PM)
Robb, That's an interesting question. I'm sure players will get sick of answering Manny questions over the next two months. But Ned Colletti brought in a number of professional, veteran types like Mark Loretta, Casey Blake, Orlando Hudson and Brad Ausmus to help improve the clubhouse. And Joe Torre is the best manager in the game at crisis management. So I think the Dodgers will be OK.
Nick (Santa Barbara, CA)
Jerry-- Any thoughts on how the loss of Manny changes the dynamics of the Dodgers' line-up?
Jerry Crasnick (2:09 PM)
Nick, Well, substituting Juan Pierre for Manny means they'll run more often. I know Pierre has his detractors, but if you're in a spot like this, there are a lot worse guys you could be calling on for more playing time.
I always thought Manny was one of the few great clean players. Even if this is just a prescribed medication containing a banned substance, people will still view him as a cheater. I don't want it to be true.
Jerry Crasnick (2:10 PM)
Mitch, You and me both. This just goes to show that you can't make any assumptions in this era. I've seen too many middle relievers test positive to know that's the case.
Haig (Glendale, CA)
Is the fact that Manny chose not to appeal a sign that the substance he tested positive for is something more serious than something obscure in a prescription from a doctor?
Jerry Crasnick (2:13 PM)
Haig, No, I think it's just a sign that whatever Manny used was in violation of the policy, and he has no recourse. Remember, J.C. Romero of the Phillies claimed that he bought something over the counter and the banned substance wasn't listed on the container. In baseball's eyes, it doesn't matter whether you do it intentionally or you're just plain negligent.
Brad (Jackson, MS)
Jerry, do you know what happens to Manny's suspended pay? Do the Dodgers just get to keep it, does MLB confiscate it, or do they send it to some sort of charity? Good thing Boras got a second year in the deal, or Manny would have been playing for peanuts next year.
Jerry Crasnick (2:14 PM)
Brad, Manny doesn't get the money, so he's out about $7.7 million. I assume that Frank McCourt just keeps that, and uses it to make up for the extra tickets he would have sold if Manny were still in the lineup.
Charles (San Jose)
Jerry, isn't this just a classic case of Manny being Barry?
Jerry Crasnick (2:15 PM)
Charles, I guess you could say that. I can't help but wonder what Barry Bonds must be thinking as he watches all these other purported "clean" players dropping like flies.
Joe, Syracuse, ny
Jerry, I wish I could say I am surprised or even disappointed. It is not even a shock anymore...Is Pujols the last hope?
Jerry Crasnick (2:17 PM)
Joe, The temptation is to label the guys who aren't busted as "the last clean hopes." I honestly think that if we keep taking that mindset, we're just setting ourselves up for disappointment. We've reached the point where this needs to be put in perspective: Steroids were abundant in this era, and lots and lots of prominent players used them for a competitive edge, bigger contracts, etc.
Tim Brown is reporting that the substance was a "sexual enhancer" and that he tested positive in the spring and again recently. Wrong kind of performance enhancers!
Jerry Crasnick (2:19 PM)
Gary, If that's true, I imagine a lot of players past 40 must be a little nervous right now.
Given the hypocrisy of the BBWAA regarding the Hall, will this kill Mannyu's chances for the Hall? By hypocrisy, I mean the same writers that voted in guys to use greenies, slippery elm, spit, sandpaper, and other items that were either illegal or against baseball's rules, seem to now march in lockstep against anyone using a current performance enhancement technique.
Jerry Crasnick (2:22 PM)
J.L., It's a quandary for Hall of Fame voters, no question. During the Pittsburgh drug trials, it came out that Willie Mays used a form of liquid amphetamine known as "red juice." But I don't recall a huge outcry about that. There's a definite stigma to steroids that isn't applied to other forms of cheating -- or trying to get an "edge."
Aaron (Farmington, Utah)
Is there any reason to watch baseball anymore? Are we bad people for supporting this?
Jerry Crasnick (2:25 PM)
Aaron, No, we're not bad people for supporting this, and feel free to continue to support baseball. For what it's worth, I've always thought it was weird that baseball gets singled out as the "steroid sport" when players in the NFL stand 6-5, 260 and run 4.4 40 yard dashes. Everybody keeps track of home run totals, but nobody cares if two linemen on performance enhancers are knocking the snot out of each other every play.
So with Manny out of the picture atleast for fifty games what are the NL west standings going to look like in July?
Jerry Crasnick (2:26 PM)
Bruce, Until someone from that foursome of San Francisco, Colorado, San Diego or Arizona proves that it's capable of making a run, I think the Dodgers can maintain their edge until July. They're up 6 1/2 games now. We'll see.
Danny being Danny
Does this mean Matt Kemp will get moved up to the 3 spot, with Pierre leading off and Furcal dropped down?
Jerry Crasnick (2:27 PM)
Danny, Geez, I have a hard time seeing Joe Torre moving Pierre to leadoff and dropping Rafael Furcal down to No. 7 or 8. I would have to think Pierre is the one who hits down near the pitcher.
Jerry, which player is the most adversely affected in the starting line-up, given Manny's absence?
Jerry Crasnick (2:29 PM)
Randy, Well, we've heard a lot about Manny being a "mentor" to Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier and taking the pressure off them in the middle of the lineup. So they're the guys who'll be challenged by his absence. For what it's worth, I checked earlier and Russell Martin and James Loney both have slugging percentages below .350. So if those guys start to crank it up, they'd definitely help pick up the slack.
Jerry, to be fair baseball got the most scrutiny because they took the longest to even feign a care.
Jerry Crasnick (2:30 PM)
EDB, You're right. There's no question that MLB has been subject to more scrutiny because the game was so slow to embrace a drug program -- even just for show.
Mike (New York)
How happy do you think the Red Sox camp if feeling right now?
Jerry Crasnick (2:31 PM)
Mike, You know, that thought did happen to cross my mind earlier today. And I have to imagine that the Red Sox Nation chat boards are reveling in this as well.
Jerry Crasnick (2:31 PM)
Well, Theo just checked in with his reaction, so it's official.
Dave, Chicago, IL
I am a physician. Manny is not choosing physicians out of the phone book. Even if he was, a medical student knows the drugs that could affect a drug test. The doc on the corner knows this. But he is getting referred to doctors that have mega millionare MLB athletes. They are not making a mistake with the meds they prescribe, I assure you. The "doctor prescribed me this" is a bad aliby. If Manny has the drug in his system, he took the drug with intent and knowledge, hoping not to get caught.
Jerry Crasnick (2:33 PM)
Dr. Dave, You sound like a real doctor, so I thought this was worth posting. Thanks for the perspective. For what it's worth, I don't know that any "alibi" is going to fly in the current climate. People certainly grew tired of ballplayers blaming GNC, didn't they?
I have to get into the Hall now, Don't I? I pitched against Juicers For alot of years and dominated them in the Post Season. I would have won 50 more games if the playing field would have been level
Jerry Crasnick (2:35 PM)
Curt, One thing that all these steroid revelations does is put the accomplishments of Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina and other elite pitchers into proper perspective. (Of course, nobody ever talks about pitchers juicing, so we'll never know who did what until the next bombshell. "See: Clemens, Roger")
How demoralizing will this be for the team? Do you see them slipping in the near-term at least?
Jerry Crasnick (2:37 PM)
Abby, You never know how teams are going to respond to adversity. Look at the Angels: They've hung in there despite the death of a beloved teammate, not to mention a slew of injuries to key players. Joe Torre is definitely the right guy to hold things together in Manny's absence. He's got the right demeanor, and he's been through crises about, oh, 1,000 times before this in NY.
Jerry, you think some GMs knew in the offseason and that also kept them away from Manny (i.e. Omar Minaya)?
Jerry Crasnick (2:39 PM)
Franco: No, I don't think that was it. I think GMS shied away from Manny because most executives thought he dogged it last year, and he wanted too many years and too much money to sign.
Mark Scottsdale, Arizona
Hey Jerry, If the Giants added a bat do you think they might be able to catch the Dodgers now that Manny's out?
Jerry Crasnick (2:40 PM)
Mark, I guess they could. And who do you propose that impact bat might be? Because I don't see him out there.
Sure glad the spotlight is off me for a while!
Jerry Crasnick (2:41 PM)
A-Rod, I was thinking that too. Now all the writers who will go to Baltimore (or wherever it is) to cover your first game back won't be asking you about Selena Roberts' book. They'll be asking you about Manny instead.
It's being widely reported the drug is 'tamoxifen citrate," a drug very well-known in the bodybuilding community as an on-steroid-cycle estrogen suppressor.
Jerry Crasnick (2:42 PM)
Jay, I've been on this chat, so I haven't had a chance to see that. If so, thanks for passing along the info.
Who bats 3rd now?
Jerry Crasnick (2:44 PM)
John, Joe Torre has to use Ethier and Kemp in the 3-4 spot in one order or the other, I think. They're the team's best run producers. Have Furcal and Hudson in front of them, and Loney, Blake, Martin and Pierre behind them. It's still not a bad lineup, if the pitching can keep it up.
Best team in AL East is the blue jays?
Jerry Crasnick (2:46 PM)
OK, We'll take a few non-Manny questions sprinkled in with the Manny questions. As much as I love the Jays' lineup, we'll see how their rotation fares once they start playing the Red Sox, Yankees and Jays. But I watched part of their game in Anaheim last night, and I have to admit, I'm impressed. Adam Lind is the real deal.
Kyle (St. Louis)
If Pujols ever tests positive I'm going to crawl into a hole and die.
Jerry Crasnick (2:48 PM)
Kyle, There's no question that a lot of people are now pinning their hopes on Pujols. Fans really want a white knight -- an indisputably "clean" player. Personally, I think it's time to show some appreciation for Ken Griffey Jr. I honestly would be shocked if it came out that he used PEDs.
When the Yankees come calling on Greinke in a year or two, should he take the money? Or should he consider his mental make up and stay some place a little less intense?
Jerry Crasnick (2:49 PM)
Chris, This is an age-old question that only Zack Greinke can answer. There's no shame in taking less money to stay where you're truly happy. As I recall, it seemed to work pretty well for Cal Ripken Jr., Kirby Puckett and Tony Gwynn.
Kyle (Storrs, CT)
I cannot wait for the Jays to play the Jays - I bet I know who will win. When does the Manny suspension start - tonight?
Jerry Crasnick (2:50 PM)
Kyle, Did I say that? Whoops. I meant the Rays. Sometimes my fingers get ahead of my brain on these chats.
Brian (Chicago, IL)
Baseball has a few white knights (i.e. Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia). Maybe the MLB needs a new marketing approach.
Jerry Crasnick (2:53 PM)
Brian, Or maybe the young players like Evan Longoria, Ryan Braun and Grady Sizemore, who are seeing the whole thing play out before their eyes, are realizing that the hazards of steroid use go beyond health concerns and extend to a permanently tarnished reputation. Look, the testing program has only been in place for a few years. If guys like Manny never got caught, then we'd hear about how the stars are "protected." At least this shows there's some teeth in the program, right?
Selig must go!!!
Jerry Crasnick (2:54 PM)
Abner, I've gotten a lot of emails like this one. In Bud Selig's defense, he was facing a very powerful players union that never had much interest in embracing a testing program. If MLB held the line and forced a shutdown over drug testing and the World Series were canceled, people would be ripping Selig for that too. There's enough blame to go around here without placing it all on Selig.
Jerry,back to the Jays for a minute. Is Aaron Hill legit? If so, he might be one of the most underrated guys out there. 49 hits already...
Jerry Crasnick (2:55 PM)
Zach, Aaron Hill was on the verge of breaking out a couple of years ago. The guy had almost 50 doubles the season before he suffered that concussion. So yeah, I'd say he's definitely for real.
Jerry - what makes you think that Longoria, Sizemore, and Braun (among others) didn't use steroids to get where they're at too?
Jerry Crasnick (2:57 PM)
Chip, Great question. I don't know anything for sure. But at least now the young players are better educated about this, and they can see the consequences early enough to know what might happen to a player who uses. That sure seems like an incentive to refrain to me.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
What's wrong with Selig? The man gave us the tie All-Star Game, the All-Star Game determining home field advantage, the two-day World series game, the moving of all games dealing with major weather issues to Milwaukee...oh yeah. Never mind.
Jerry Crasnick (2:58 PM)
J.B., In the interests of equal time, I had to throw this one in there to pacify the Bud bashers.
How do we know that these guys aren't taking HGH? It's not detectable, you know.
Jerry Crasnick (2:59 PM)
Mo, Three words: We don't know.
Doc Halladay or Grienke? Who'd you take for this season as your #1 guy?
Jerry Crasnick (3:01 PM)
Jesse, From everything the scouts are saying, Zack Greinke looks poised to have one of those monster breakout years. But I'm a huge Roy Halladay guy. With the possible exception of Johan Santana and Brandon Webb (before he got hurt), does anyone go to the post year-in and year-out like that guy? Halladay also has the advantage of a better offense behind him -- even though he's facing tougher lineups in the AL East. If you insist on taking Greinke, I'll gladly take Roy.
Jerry, I can't believe that Manny would be this stupid to tarnish a great career by knowingly taking a PED, especially after the all the A-Rod swirl. Manny's legend and place in the Hall of Fame were set. He is making $50M for the next two years even if he doesn't pick up a bat. I think we may be quick to judge exactly what happened.
Jerry Crasnick (3:03 PM)
Greg, I think we've heard the "I can't believe he was this stupid" line before. I don't think players take this stuff because they're stupid. They take it to get an edge -- and under the assumption that they're never going to get caught.
Blake (Athens GA)
After all this blows over(if it ever does) do you think Manny belongs in the Hall of Fame?
Jerry Crasnick (3:05 PM)
Blake, There have been so many elite sluggers busted, it's really going to put a new slant on Hall of Fame voting. Who could have imagined that Bonds, A-Rod, Manny and Palmeiro would all be tarnished, and that other guys like Sheffield and Clemens would be under the same steroid cloud? I honestly don't know what to tell you at the moment.
Jerry Crasnick (3:06 PM)
I only have time for one more, folks. Thanks again for hopping on the chat. We'll be keeping an eye on this ongoing story.
Jerry, do Sox fans have to be worried about Ortiz... troubling, but he hasnt been the same since the testing firmed up in 2005
Jerry Crasnick (3:08 PM)
Larry, My problem is attributing everything to steroid testing when there might be other factors involved. David Ortiz is getting older. He doesn't have the greatest body in the world, and he's suffered injuries to his wrist and his knees. Is he declining just because his skills have eroded, or for some other, nefarious reason? I'm always uncomfortable speculating about that when a guy has never failed a drug test.
Jerry Crasnick (3:08 PM)
Thanks again for the emails, everybody. We got a ton of response today. Sorry I couldn't get to more.