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 everybody, I'm still trying to come down from my "Talk Like a Pirate Day" high from last weekend. Let's talk ball.
Who and in what order do you believe the Dodgers postseason Rotation will be?
Jerry Crasnick (12:02 PM)
Jason, Joe Torre has an interesting call to make. If I were him, I'd give serious thought to Randy Wolf and Hiroki Kuroda 1-2, because you know what you're going to get with them. Kershaw and Billingsley obviously have the stuff, but it's hard to tell if Kershaw is 100 percent physically, and Billingsley hasn't been good for a while now.
Steve (Middletown, CT)
Hey Jerry, are the Braves gonna catch the Rockies? They play 7 of their final 10 games against the Nationals. Meanwhile the Rockies face the Cardinals, Brewers, and Dodgers to end their season. It's gonna be very interesting.
Jerry Crasnick (12:04 PM)
Steve, The schedule lines up in the Braves' favor, but they've put themselves in a position where one misstep, one blown save, etc., could kill their chances. The Rockies are at home against the Cards and Brewers, and I like their chances to hang on. They've done a pretty nice job of responding when they've been backed into a corner.
Joe (Mansfield, MA)
Please tell me that people aren't buying into this Mark Reynolds = MLB's Ricky Davis argument. The average 3B in MLB has a .264/.335/.421 hitting line, Reynolds is .266/.357/.560. Do people really care how he makes his outs when he's hitting approximately 39% better than the average 3rd baseman?
Jerry Crasnick (12:06 PM)
Joe, If you mean Chris Davis, I don't think there's much of a comparison there. Look, I'd love to see Mark Reynolds cut down on his strikeouts. But with all the problems the D-backs have had this year, he's the least of their concerns.
Simple question, Jerry. Who's your AL MVP and why?
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Derek, You have to go with Joe Mauer. To put up those kinds of numbers as a catcher is incredible. And now he's helping to keep the Twins in it with no help from Morneau. I really think Mauer will win it.
At gun point, is it Lincecum, Carpenter or Wainwright for the NL CY?
Jerry Crasnick (12:08 PM)
Randy, I'm taking Lincecum first, and it's a coin flip on the two Cards for second and third.
Jerry, any chance the Jays will look at Canadians Bay, Bedard or Harden in the offseason to both improve their club and their sagging attendance ?
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Mike, Jason Bay is going to have too many other options to consider Toronto. And when you look at the run of pitching injuries the Jays have incurred -- with McGowan, Marcum, Litsch, Janssen and a cast of thousands -- it's tough to see them throwing in their lot with Bedard or Harden, two major injury risks.
Brian (Fort Wayne, IN)
What would be Miguel Cabrera's biggest obstacle to getting the Al MVP?
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Brian, A certain left-handed hitting catcher in Minnesota.
Jerry, are Aaron Hill and Adam Lind going to be 30/100 guys for years to come in Toronto or was this season a fluke ?
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
John, I think Lind is a legit 30-100 guy every year. Maybe not Hill, but he's an All-Star caliber guy. There's a reason he was the 13th overall pick in the 2003 draft.
Rather have: Buchholz or Joba in the playoffs?
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Eamon, Buchholz, by a long shot.
Better center fielders this year than Matt Kemp. Quick, name them.
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
Carter, I can't think of anybody. Maybe it's because there isn't anybody.
Although he has not hit for much power this year, Ryan Sweeney has quietly hit .323 over his last 84 games with an .827 OPS and has played gold glove defense all year. Having just 855 abs as an A, is he becoming a corner stone type RF?
Jerry Crasnick (12:15 PM)
Joey, Ryan Sweeney has made positive strides this year, but I think you hit on the problem. He has a .406 slugging percentage and he doesn't steal bases. His offense might play OK in center field, but the A's have Rajai Davis there. If Sweeney is your regular right fielder, you're going to have to find some power at second base, catcher or some other position where you don't usually get it.
Jerry, the Braves have six starters for next year. Who in your opinion is the odd man out? Derek Lowe's arguably been the worst member of the rotation, although he's the highest paid and hardest to move.
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
Brady, If they pick up Hudson's option, I would say Kawakami is the odd man out. But he's making some big money as well. I was watching a Braves game the other day and a broadcaster mentioned Atlanta moving Lowe to the bullpen. I don't see it happening just yet, but it's not too farfetched to see him returning to the closer's role later in that contract.
Jerry, did you know Justin Verander has thrown 300 more pitches then anyone in the league this year? That's basically 3 extra games, yet the guy is still throwing 100 mph heat on his 125th pitch last night. That's impressive.
Jerry Crasnick (12:19 PM)
James, Good stat. Assuming the Tigers get to the postseason (and win a series), that'll be quite a workload. It'll be worth keeping an eye on Verlander's performance in 2010. That's when you typically see the effects.
Better CF than Kemp this year? The other guy in LA?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Mac, I was going to mention Torii Hunter, but he did miss a bunch of time this season. Kemp has been better, but Torii deserves a mention too. He's brought an awful lot to that team.
Keith (Detroit, MI)
Jerry, what is the NCAA trying to do with the questions from your story? Those are obviously meant to hurt the player in the long run, why would anyone even answer the NCAA?
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Keith, You're referring to the story I wrote this week on the NCAA putting the squeeze on agents/advisers in the MLB draft. I think it's a reaction to the court case involving former OSU pitcher Andy Oliver. The NCAA wants to clean it up, but it's unrealistic to expect kids and their parents to negotiate bonuses with MLB clubs that have lawyers and a world of experience. Sending out a questionnaire like that to grill kids seems kind of ham-handed on the part of the NCAA.
rob (rhode island)
is there any possibility jj hardy or johnny peralta coming to boston this offseason to fill the shortstop hole?
Jerry Crasnick (12:23 PM)
Rob, I think J.J. Hardy would be a nice fit in Boston. He's solid defensively, and the Sox and Brewers would seem to have the makings of a deal. Peralta doesn't fit as well in Boston for me.
Do you think the Tigers hang on to the AL Central? The Tigers haven't fared well head-to-head with the Twins, and I keep having flashbacks of 1987 (when the Tigers stole the division from Toronto).
Jerry Crasnick (12:25 PM)
Jason, Yes, I think the Tigers will hang on. If they can't win one or two at home against Minnesota in the final week, they don't deserve to go to the postseason. Jim Leyland's team appears to have righted the ship (thanks in part to those always-charitable Cleveland Indians).
Robert (Belleville, IL)
Where will Rick Ankiel end up next year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Robert, Hard to say. If the Cardinals don't sign Holliday, I wouldn't rule out Ankiel returning to St. Louis. The Pirates were mentioned in speculation this week as a possible fit for him. After hitting 25 homers last year, Ankiel slumped this year -- in large part because of that shoulder injury. I don't think teams are quite sure what they're getting from him at this point. He's also represented by Scott Boras; I'm sure Scott has a grand plan carved out for him.
With SF stuck with Zito ($19M), Rowand ($12M) and Renterio ($9M), how do they afford the next three arbitration years of Lincecum ($8M, $15M, $20M)?
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
Greg, There's no yes or no to this one. The Giants have Tim Lincecum, and they pay him. They can always try to get a discount by signing him to a multiyear deal that covers his arbitration years. That way Lincecum is protected in the event of injury. Hey, the Phillies did it with Cole Hamels.
danny (south florida)
Where do you see Carl Crawford going
Jerry Crasnick (12:29 PM)
Danny, I don't see him anywhere unless the Rays get a mother lode of talent in return. I thought that's why they moved Kazmir -- to free up money to allow them to hang onto Crawford.
I know Greinke is the front runner for Cy Young, but what if Felix wins out? He ends at 19-5, top 5 in all of the "pretty" stats, and plays for a hugely improved Mariners team. Could that push him to the top?
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Zach, I wouldn't rule it out. But Felix doesn't get a huge amount of pub in Seattle, and I think Greinke has been building an edge in the minds of the voters for a while now. FYI -- Felix is 4-0 with a 1.15 ERA in September, and Greinke is 2-0 with a 0.35 ERA. They both deserve to win it. Personally, I'd still vote for Greinke by a smidge.
What is your take on the future of the Reds? Do you think we are heading in the right direction?
Jerry Crasnick (12:34 PM)
Bill, I'd feel a lot better about the Reds if Edinson Volquez weren't out for all of 2010 with an elbow injury. The Reds have some good things going for them (Votto, Phillips and Bronson Arroyo in the second half), but they need Jay Bruce and Aaron Harang to come back strong in 2010. The Scott Rolen trade should help them next year, but I don't know how much sense it made in the long run. I still think the Reds are a third or fourth place team at best.
Who's a realistic replacement for Manager in Houston next year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Todd, I talked to a few baseball people this week, and there's a lot of Jim Fregosi buzz going around because of his past association with Ed Wade. Drayton McLane has always pushed for minority hires, and I've heard Boston coach Demarlo Hale mentioned as well. My sense is that Wade wants someone with experience. We'll see.
Mike (St. Louis)
Stache - Can you tell all the guys at ESPN to stop putting my Cardinals up on a pedestal? We like to lay low and win the WS quietly.
Jerry Crasnick (12:37 PM)
Mike, Is this Normal or Abnormal Mike? The ESPN guys would love to put the defending champion Phillies on a pedestal, but Brad Lidge is making that pretty difficult these days.
Why is everyone so down on the Dodgers entering the playoffs. They have the best staff from top to bottom. They lead the majors in just about every major pitching category, and if it's just the starting pitching, they have more quality starts then both the Yankees and Angels?
Jerry Crasnick (12:40 PM)
Franky, They muddled along around .500 after the All-Star break until their recent run. And most people feel that while that rotation is OK for the regular season, it's not a dominant staff like several other postseason clubs have. You're also talking about a rotation that pitches in the NL West, and gets to put up numbers in LA, San Francisco and San Diego. It's a whole different world from the American League.
Any truth to the idea that JA Happ will move in as closer?
Jerry Crasnick (12:42 PM)
Todd, At this point, I think Charlie Manuel will try everything short of coaxing Mitch Williams out of retirement. I've heard Madson, Myers, Pedro, Happ and Chan Ho Park bandied around as potential postseason closers for the Phillies. Desperation definitely breeds open-mindedness.
I'm a huge Twins fan, however, I'm also a huge AL Central fan in general. That said, Morneau is out so our long ball is lacking. Cuddyer has been on fire, but I don't think it would be enough to take the Yanks. There's a part of me wanting to root for the Tigers the rest of the season because they probably have a better chance to beat the Yanks. Who do you think has a better chance to get past the 1st round, Twins or Tigers?
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Cameron, The Tigers have a better chance to advance past the first round because of Verlander, Edwin Jackson and Porcello, but that doesn't detract from the run the Twins have made minus Morneau, Slowey and Crede. Root for Minnesota at Comerica Park next week, and if the Tigers advance, congratulate them and pull for Detroit.
Did you see Utley score from first base on Howard's single last night? How cool was that? Is it safe to say he is one of the best, if not the best baserunner and one of the smartest playesr in the game? He finds ways to help the team even when is bat is cold...
Jerry Crasnick (12:45 PM)
Tim, I see that from Utley just about every game. His instincts and anticipation on the basepaths are uncanny. It's a part of his game you don't hear about very much, but when you talk to people in baseball circles, they marvel at what a terrific baserunner he is.
Mike (St. Louis)
How in the world can you be a huge Twins fan and like anyone else in your division? I hate the Cubs, Brewers, Astros, Pirates, and Reds!
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Mike, Does this mean that people in Minneapolis are more gracious and sportsmanlike than their counterparts in St. Louis?
Quick who are the better fielding shortstops in the AL than Elvis Andrus? chance at ROY?
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Randy, Boy, Adam Everett is very solid in Detroit, but he doesn't have the range of Elvis Andrus. Personally, I'd pick Andrus as the AL ROY ahead of Oakland's Andrew Bailey. Andrus has 31 steals, he's hung in there offensively, and he's made a huge difference for that team with his glove.
Bullpen Cart Bob (Pittsburgh)
Should the Pirates add barbed wire to the top of the outfield fences and a pond filled with man-eating sharks in center field just to attract more fan interest? Would it work?
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Bullpen Cart Bob, Always good to hear from you. That might do it. If all else fails, the Buccos could try to field a winning club for the first time since 1992. But the shark pond might be a more realistic option at this point.
Grant Epstein (Bloomfield, NJ)
Jerry - RE: Mke in STLNo, it means that all fanbases have their moonbats. Most Cards fans only hate the Cubs. The Brewers are only recently good, so no really hatred. The Stros were to classy when DK died, so no hatred there. ANd teh Red and Pirates suck so bad that no one cares.
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Grant, Thanks for the NL Central scouting report and guide. I'll keep that handy for future reference.
What can the Royals do about Jacobs and Guillen. Is there any hope of dealing them away and what besides a bucket of BP balls could the Royals get for them?
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Mike, Jose Guillen's lack of performance and big salary for 2010 make him virtually untradeable. From my understanding, Mike Jacobs is a prime non-tender candidate in December. The Royals aren't going to get anything for him, so they just won't offer him a contract, and he'll become a free agent.
Jerry, there is no reason to think that the Rays won't contend for the next 5 years. People have been saying they are going to sell off Crawford, but I can't see that happening? can you?
Jerry Crasnick (12:55 PM)
TJ, The Rays really like their collection of young arms, with David Price, Wade Davis, Matt Garza, James Shields, Jeff Niemann and Jeremy Hellickson on the way. They need to upgrade the bullpen and get a legit closer, but I wouldn't write off any team with young pitching that good.
Keary (Brooklyn, NY)
Jerry, "...coaxing Wild Thing out of retirement" LOL! Liked your article on Werth. As a Dodger fan who was disappointed to lose him to Phils, is there a backstory there re: why LA gave up on him? Just seems like he had so much potential even with the injuries. Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (12:58 PM)
Keary, The Dodgers liked Werth, but he missed most of two seasons with a wrist injury after being hit by A.J. Burnett. Werth told me the Dodgers misdiagnosed the injury "about 18 times." Those were his words. I'm sure the Dodgers wish they had a do-over, but they've still done pretty well with Kemp and Ethier in the outfield.
going to the phillies stros game on monday?
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
KLK, Barring a change of plans, I'll be heading to Detroit for the big Tigers-Twins series on Monday -- unless the Twins fade this weekend.
Andrew ((Santa Ana))
Erick Aybar's got a decent glove. Don't know how he'd compare to Andrus.
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Andrew, According to Bill James Online, Jack Wilson, Brendan Ryan, Marco Scutaro, Troy Tulowitzki and Andrus are the five best shortstops in the "plus-minus" rankings this year. Just thought I'd throw that out there.
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Thanks for the emails, everybody. Enjoy the weekend. Let's do it again next week. Jayson Stark is up next.