Chat with Jerry Crasnick
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com baseball writer Jerry Crasnick will drop by to take your questions.
Crasnick 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 your questions now and join Crasnick Friday at noon ET!
Jerry Crasnick (12:01 PM)
Hey folks, Hope all is well. I have a story on the site today on Arizona's Mark Reynolds, who's having a heck of a season below the radar. Let's start the chat.
Brian (Chico, CA)
Hi Jerry - Giants vs Rockies starts tonight. 4 games series with huge wild card implications on the line - who do you have winning the series and why?
Jerry Crasnick (12:02 PM)
Brian, I'll take the Rockies, since they're at home and they won't have to face Matt Cain. As Tim Kurkjian pointed out today, San Francisco still doesn't hit much. And Colorado's pitching has held up a lot better than most people expected.
I don't think the Cardinals can beat the Phillies in a 5 or 7 game series, what do you think?
Jerry Crasnick (12:04 PM)
Roller, With Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Joel Pineiro in the rotation, the Cards are capable of beating the Phillies or anybody else in a postseason series. I think most people consider the Phillies the NL favorite to make the World Series right now. But the Cards aren't far behind.
Hey Jerry,Are the Dodgers officially in trouble?
Jerry Crasnick (12:05 PM)
Brian, No, they're just having a run of bad luck. I think they've lost six one-run games and four extra inning games in August. They'll turn it around.
Dan (Washington DC)
Did the Nats make the right move with Rizzo? Are they becoming a competent organization?
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Dan, I don't see how the Nationals could have done anything else but give Rizzo the job. He handled the Strasburg negotiations deftly, and that was his big audition. The Nyjer Morgan-Sean Burnett acquisition has worked out well, and he has a great track record in building through the draft, which is precisely what the Nats need. The Strasburg signing was a huge step in the right direction for Washington.
Jamie (CT )
Who do you see as the favorite right now to win the AL cy young?
Jerry Crasnick (12:09 PM)
Jamie, It's a real jumble right now, with Greinke, Verlander, Felix Hernandez and Beckett all in the mix. Before it's over, CC Sabathia might also have a say. It's way too early to call.
Wainright or Carpenter for Cy Young right now
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Cody, Right now I think it's Tim Lincecum in the NL. That 207-to-46 strikeout to walk ratio is pretty hard to ignore.
MW (GB, WI)
It seems like everything has been in complete disarray for the Brewers the past two months. How long do you see them sticking with Ken Macha?
Jerry Crasnick (12:11 PM)
MW, I think it's pretty tough to hang the Brewers' problems on Ken Macha. It has a lot more to do with pitching than the manager.
Should Mets fans be concerned that Santana has an arm injury due to the noticeable velocity drop?
Jerry Crasnick (12:13 PM)
Jason, I'd put Santana at about 108th on the Mets' list of problems. Throw out a few clunkers against the Yankees, Brewers and Astros, and he's still having one fine season. Did you know that Johan has lost six games this year when he's allowed three runs or less? That ties him with Cliff Lee, Dan Haren and Zack Duke for most hard-luck losses in the majors in 2009. The guy just needs a little more help.
Roy Halladay (Toronto)
I'm not in the mix for Al Cy Young?
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
Doc, You're always in the conversation, certainly.
Mike (St. Louis)
Jerry - Do you think the Cardinals picking up Smoltz was a steal and should Mo be in jail or what? The Cardinals seem to lose nothing with this.
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
Mike, I don't know if it was a "steal," but the planets certainly seemed to align properly. The Cardinals will give Smoltz a chance to start, and he gets to pitch in a race and reunite with his old Atlanta buddies DeRosa and Wainwright. It was the perfect fit for Smoltz. If he craps out as a starter, they can always put him in the bullpen in the postseason.
Just heard a guy on Denver radio say he would take Ubaldo Jimenez over Tim Lincecum for the next five years... he's nuts, right?
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
Bob, You could say he's nuts. Or if you're being kind, you could say he's in a very small minority. An extremely small minority.
Michael (Olympus, Turkey)
what do you think of the Rangers chances?
Jerry Crasnick (12:19 PM)
Michael, If Scott Feldman, Derek Holland and the young pitchers hold up, they'll hang around a while. I'd probably take the Red Sox over them as the wild card right now, but the Mike Maddux-Nolan Ryan influence has had a profound impact in Texas. It's a nice story they've got going on in Arlington.
Jerry, i saw your article on Mark Reynolds and had been wondering to myself all year where he could possibly end up as a player. Is his ceiling higher than David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman or Evan Longoria?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
John, Reynolds isn't nearly as good a defender as any of those guys, but he's got as much raw power as any of them. If he continues to mature as a hitter, he's going to make a few All-Star Games -- the strikeouts notwithstanding.
Chase (Fargo, ND)
Do you think the Twins resign Joe Mauer? He says he wants a winning team, but I'm not sure if the Twins are that team?
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Chase, It's just hard for me to fathom the Twins letting Joe Mauer get away through free agency. They're moving into a new stadium, he's a local icon, and he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who will chase every last buck. They absolutely, positively have to figure out a way to keep him there long-term. In the long run, I think he stays.
Jones, Markakis, Reimold or any other outfield in baseball for the next 5 years?
Jerry Crasnick (12:23 PM)
VK, I'd be perfectly happy with that Baltimore outfield over any other outfield in baseball. I wrote a story on them a month ago, and Nick Markakis was struggling at the time. He's been on fire ever since. He's just a terrific, really overlooked player.
Least likely to start for the Mets Opening Da7 2010 -- Reyes, Beltran or Delgado?
Jerry Crasnick (12:23 PM)
Joe (New York)
With Wagner posting a strong inning last night where he K'ed 2 and hit 96mph on the gun, will he pitch again for the Mets? He comes off the waiver wire at 1pm, who will he be pitching for next?
Jerry Crasnick (12:26 PM)
Joe, It's a really interesting question. Wagner could help the Rays, Tigers and some other contenders, but he's not out of the woods yet with his health. And he's still owed a bunch of money, so the Mets might have to pick up a substantial chunk of change to get a good prospect in return in trade. There's a chance the Mets will hang onto him, offer him salary arbitration and collect the draft pick compensation when he signs elsewhere. With K-Rod there, I can't see him returning to New York.
Adam (San Francisco)
Mr. Crasnick, I am going to be playing college baseball next year and have had 3 concussions in the last 2 years. Once by being drilled in the head, and I can honestly say that I have never been the same player I was before. And now to this day I still experience some post concussion syndromes and have recently been diagnosed with ADD which has been linked to my injuries. So when I see what happened to David Wright and others, it brings a tear to my eye because I know how hard this is for David. Your thoughts please?
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Adam, Sorry to hear your story. Thanks for passing it along, and best of luck. I wrote a couple of stories on Corey Koskie, and I know that head injuries aren't to be trifled with. There's too much at risk long-term to push it. Hang in there.
Patrick (Bel Air MD)
Any word on Ben Sheets? Might he be joining a contender for the stretch?
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
Patrick, There's been almost no word on Ben Sheets. And if all is quiet in late August, that means he won't be back until 2010. If he's healthy, the Rangers seem like the best fit for him.
Will the Atlanta Braves sneak up on the NL Wildcard? The Giants and Rockies play an awful lot against each other [and the Dodgers] over the next few weeks...
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Craig, You can't count out the Braves because of that starting pitching, and the bullpen is good too. I'm still not sure if they have enough bats, although Adam LaRoche has certainly given the team a boost. The Braves are awfully left-handed, and they don't have a player with more than 15 home runs.
Who are your rookies of the year in both leagues?
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Tim, I can honestly say I have no clue. Gordon Beckham, Nolan Reimold, Elvis Andrus, Rick Porcello, Ricky Romero and Andrew Bailey are among the kids in contention in the AL, and Colby Rasmus, Dexter Fowler, JA Happ, Gerardo Parra, Chris Coghlan, Randy Wells and Tommy Hanson are in the debate in the NL. I've never seen such a jumbled mess. I probably left out a half dozen other players who'll get votes.
tom s (portsmouth ,ri)
Reynolds is a nice story. Someone with a national audience needs to do a similar story on Jayson Werth. He gets lost among the bigger Phillies' names, but he's made himself into a darn good everyday player.
Jerry Crasnick (12:34 PM)
Tom, Funny, but I was just thinking that as I watched him clobber the D-backs last night. I live right outside Philly, so there's no excuse not to get working on that one. Werth has been terrific.
Michael Hodson (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
Managers of the Year in both leagues?
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Michael, I'd probably go with Mike Scioscia in the AL (just a ton of injuries to overcome), with Ron Washington in the mix. Jim Tracy has to be the guy in the National League.
Nora (St. Louis)
Why do you say people consider the Phillies the favorite to reach the World Series? Lately the Cardinals seem to do everything right--if a pitcher allows a baserunner, Yadi throws him out. If Albert goes 0-4, Brendan Ryan hits a grand slam. Like Jayson Stark said, I can't find any faults with this team. But if they are not the favorites, maybe that is a good thing. It worked out well in 2006.
Jerry Crasnick (12:38 PM)
Nora, It's no knock on the Cardinals. But the Cliff Lee acquisition has really energized the Phillies. (Although if I were a Phillies fan, I'd be concerned that Brad Lidge is going to blow a game in October, big-time). It's all a crap shoot in October, anyway.
Adam (San Francisco)
Why is Edgar Renteria still the starting shortstop? Right now he has as much range as Ryan Garko and his hitting as well as Matt Cain would. Please Mr. Crasnick share your knowledge with us frustrated San Franciscans
Jerry Crasnick (12:40 PM)
Adam, Well, they're paying him a lot of money, for starters. And I'm not sure if Juan Uribe would be a major upgrade. One thing worth noting: The Giants have a big fly ball-strikeout staff, so I think they're better equipped to get by with substandard infield defense than some clubs. Lincecum, Cain, Zito and company don't throw a lot of groundballs.
Do you think the Phillies will offer a contract extension to Cliff Lee in the near future?
Jerry Crasnick (12:42 PM)
Anthony, They might. But if he keeps pitching like this, his price will continue to go up every start. At any rate, I wouldn't expect to hear much about it until the offseason at the earliest. Lee is under contract for a reasonable $9 million in 2010.
How could so many scouts have been so wrong about Delmon Young?
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Scott, For the same reason that scouts were wrong about Jeff Francoeur. Natural ability can carry you through the minor leagues, but eventually hitters better learn to adapt once they get to the majors. Delmon Young has 74 strikeouts and 9 walks this year, so opposing pitchers have no incentive to throw him strikes.
Jerry, has Rajai Davis played his way into a starting outfield spot in Oakland next year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Scott in Baltimore (again), The A's seem to be focusing more on speed and defense these days, and Davis has certainly made a case for himself. This is a guy who once stole 57 bases in the minors in Pittsburgh. His OBP is .363 this season. If his plate discipline can continue to improve, he's got a shot. Even if he's not an everyday guy, he has a chance to be a serviceable fourth outfielder.
Is Josh Willingham really this good?
Jerry Crasnick (12:47 PM)
Rob, He's a pretty darned professional hitter. I heard about Willingham when I was writing my book License to Deal five years ago, because he was a client of agents Matt Sosnick and Paul Cobbe. They told me then that he could rake. He just needed an opportunity.
Jerry, how many windows do you have open on your computer? To pull some of these stats this fast is impressive!
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Kyle, I actually cheat. Some questions are sent in early, so I look up the stats before the chat starts. I'm not that smart, believe me.
Just wanted to say that while I am not a fan, you have to give the Angels props on their season thus far. They are flying under the radar even though the plane was torn from them at the beginning of the season. Sciosia as Manager of the Year is the only lock for an award outside Pujols. And they can beat the Yankees....
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Todd, Yeah, when I cited Scioscia as Manager of the Year, I didn't even mention the Nick Adenhart tragedy. I can't even imagine how difficult it was for him to hold that clubhouse together amid that ordeal. Scioscia really is a heck of a manager.
Jer, what is Carlos Gonzalez's ceiling? He is just mashing the ball right now.
Jerry Crasnick (12:52 PM)
Jay, Last year, after the A's acquired Gonzalez from Arizona in trade, I remember talking to guys like Mark Ellis and Bobby Crosby, who raved about the kid's arm and his level swing. Baseball America projected him as a .300 hitter with 30 homer power just 2 or 3 years ago, so there's no telling what he's capable of.
Boose (Louisville, KY)
Can Drew Stubbs push Willy Taveras out and be the everyday centerfielder in Cincinnati? I know he should have done it already but you know Dusty....
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Boose, Judging from what I'm reading out of Cincinnati, it wouldn't take much to push out Willy Taveras. He's really fallen out of favor there. The Reds aren't going anywhere, so they might as well give Stubbs six weeks to see what he can do.
Josh (Grand Rapids, MI)
Jerry do you see the Tigers holding on to the Central?
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Josh, I do. With the exception of Chicago, there's no one poised to make a run at them. Washburn has lengthened out the rotation, they picked up Huff to help the offense, and Jim Leyland is so great at managing bullpens, his relievers tend to hold up well in September. I think the Tigers are in pretty good shape.
Mark (Santa Monica)
Is there a better left side of the infield when you take in to consideration ability to get to balls and fielding ability? Also, I know Longoria is going to win it but any chance Chone Figgins can get some Gold Glove love? Hes been outstanding all year long.
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
Mark, Are you referring to the Angels left side? If so, it's pretty good. I was researching third base numbers for my Mark Reynolds story, and I was surprised to see that Chone Figgins has the best plus-minus of any third baseman in MLB this year according to the Fielding Bible ratings. I really think the Cubs will make a run at him this offseason. Piniella is a big fan of his.
Jerry, Is it too early to call Jay Bruce a bust?
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
Ryan, It's way, way too early. He's 22 years old, and he already has 39 homers in the big leagues. He had 18 this year before he broke his wrist. I do think he could have benefited from some extra time in the minors -- especially in his efforts to learn to hit lefty pitching. Let's cut the kid some slack.
Matt (Massapequa, NY)
Jerry, I know Joe Mauer is the MVP leader right now (his numbers are ridiculous for ANY player, let alone a catcher). But what people fail to realize is how much better Teixiera has made the Yankees as a WHOLE. His .999 fielding percentage sure has made Mr. Jeter look better at shortstop.....
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Matt, We've gotten a lot of MVP questions today. This is the classic case of the best player in the league (Mauer) playing for a team that won't make the postseason, so you're going to see a lot of back and forth. Personally, I still think Mauer is the guy. But Teixeira, Jeter, Miguel Cabrera and some others are going to be in the mix. I'm not sure why people feel compelled to anoint MVPs before September even begins. In a lot of seasons, the MVP award has been won in September.
Who is the odd man out when Tim Hudson comes back for the Braves, he says that he expects to be in the rotation.
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
Greg, I'm not sure what Bobby Cox is thinking. It's not going to be Vazquez, Jurrjens or Lowe, so that would leave Kawakami or Tommy Hanson, I guess. And Hanson is 8-2 with a 3.05 ERA, so it would be tough to pull him, wouldn't you think?
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
Thanks for the emails, everybody. It was fun. Jayson Stark is up next. Talk to you next week.