Chat with Jerry Crasnick
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at noon ET!
Jerry Crasnick (12:00 PM)
Hey everybody, My Starting 9 column is up on the ESPN.com site. This week, in honor of Bryce Harper, the subject is "the most hyped draft picks ever." I bet it's the only baseball story this week that includes mentions of Bo Jackson, David Clyde and Todd Van Poppel. Let's start the chat.
does Major League Baseball plan to do something about the horrible umpiring going on with the games lately.
Jerry Crasnick (12:03 PM)
Alex, Well, Bob Watson said that Bill Hohn is going to get a "stern" talking to after that Roy Oswalt debacle. When the bad publicity keeps going on and on, it has to prompt Bud Selig to cringe a little bit. But there's no one like Sandy Alderson around to crack the whip on the ump these days. On the whole, I don't think the umpiring is any worse this year than in other years. But those embarrassing displays of temper by Hohn, Joe West and others are completely uncalled for. That has to go.
9 Teams combined between AL and NL are at least 8.5 games out of the Wildcard... A) is there one team in there that you think is capable of a run to get back into contention? B) How soon do you expect these teams to start selling?
Jerry Crasnick (12:04 PM)
Jason, It's a pretty uninspired group of afterthoughts. If I had to pick the best of the bunch, I'd probably say the White Sox because of their pitching. But other than Alex Rios and Paul Konerko, no one on that team can hit. I think we're still 3-4 weeks away from the hardcore selling.
Do you see the Reds implanting Volquez and Chapman into the bullpen later in the summer? They (the Reds) desperately need bullpen help. Inserting two guys who throw in the mid-90s in the late summer months would be a big boost to this ball club when hitters are starting to wear down. Or could they use them to relieve Leake to preserve his arm if his inning count gets to an area he's never approached.Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (12:05 PM)
Roman, In spring training, the Reds said they envisioned Chapman as a starter. I don't think that's changed. As for Volquez, he'll be a year removed from Tommy John surgery in August. To be honest, anything they get from him this year is a bonus. They just have to make sure he can stay healthy.
hey jerry, love the chats. with the rays looking like they're going to make a playoff run what are the chances they try to acquire another bat, like ty wiggonton, in exchange for someone like reid brignac, who they don't seem to really need since they have bartlett and zobrist up the middle?
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Dave, That's big-time wishful thinking on your part. Reid Brignac has been a top prospect for years, and he's doing a nice job for the Rays. Wigginton is a 32-year-old journeyman who's been great in April and May, no question, but I see him coming back to earth pretty soon. It would be very un-Rays like to trade a 24-year-old talent like Brignac for Ty Wigginton. Sorry about that.
Chapman threw 7 innings yesterday with a pitch count of 88. How far off is his debut? Do the Reds put him in the rotation (assuming there is an opening) or put him in the pen (which, aside from Art Rhodes, has been abysmal)?
Jerry Crasnick (12:09 PM)
Meekus, Just to follow up on Chapman, Ted Power has been working with him on his mechanics in the minors, and I think the Reds have been wise to take a patient approach with him. Homer Bailey might be ready to return from the DL in a week, and they can plug the hole in the rotation with Sam LeCure for the moment. Every quality start that Chapman throws in Triple-A now will only help him down the road.
If you were the Mets, why not go out and get at least Jake Westbrook right now? They have arguably two very good to great starters right now and need some stability at the back end of their rotation right now. I like Takahashi but he is the secret weapon in the bullpen.
Jerry Crasnick (12:11 PM)
Ryan, Westbrook is a No. 3-4 guy at best, but he's a nice fit for a lot of teams because of his reliability and professionalism. He could also benefit from a move to the NL. I see the Indians letting this play out a while and seeing how many contenders become desperate for pitching. He's a nice, affordable option for clubs that can't land a Cliff Lee in trade in July.
Jason (St Louis)
Matt Harrington is a sad story. Do you think had he signed his first draft he would have ended up a star, or at least a solid player?
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Jason, Wow, there's a blast from the past. Matt Harrington had a lot of potential, although you never know with young pitchers. Amazing to think he could have signed for $4 million or so and wound up stocking shelves at Costco, or wherever it was.
Should the Giants try ang get more hitting before the all-star break?
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
Steve, Well, they did call up Buster Posey. That was a nice start. If they couldn't do better than Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa during the offseason, I'm not sure what kind of rabbit Brian Sabean can pull out of his hat in June and July.
Josh S. (Philly)
Hey Jerry, don't you think everyone is taking the phillies current struggles out of proportion? every team goes through a slump at some point. Do you still think they win the division?
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
Josh, I still think the Phillies are the best team in that division, and there's no way Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth are going to continue to be this bad. Jimmy Rollins is such an energizer for that team, his absence is definitely starting to catch up to them. But I wouldn't be surprised if the offense starts clicking once they come back home to Philly this weekend.
John, Austin [via mobile]
Jerry, i'm checking back in with you to see if you have an answer to my Tim Kurkjian question regarding his last name being on an outfield sign I'm the movie Eight Men Out.
Jerry Crasnick (12:18 PM)
John, Yes, I do. Thanks for checking back. Apparently the sign was a reference to Harry Kurkjian Confectioners, a real-life company back in the day when Shoeless Joe played. Tim told me he noticed it when he was watching the movie with his brother. But from what I understand, Harry wasn't related to Tim and his family. Fun story, though.
Hey, is John Ely for real? Can he keep up his accuracy throughout the year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:19 PM)
Crazy Pete, Ely was 14-2 in Double A ball last year, and the scouts say he really knows how to mix it up and adjust on the second and third time through the order. Ely is an upper 80s, crafty kind of guy, so he gives teams a different look from Billingsley, Kershaw and the Dodgers' power starters. So far, so good.
4 of the Top NL pitchers in terms of Most Homeruns allowed play for the Dbacks... When did Chase Field become Coors Lite?
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Jason, If you sift through the Bill James guides, you'll see that Chase Field has always been a launching pad -- although I'm sure the lack of quality on the Arizona staff hasn't hurt the HR production this year. As for Coors, it's been a different park since the arrival of the humidor. You don't see anymore 26-7 games like you did when I was writing for the Denver Post back in the mid 1990s. Ubaldo Jimenez also has something to do with that.
Cowboy Joe West (via mobile)
Jerry, you need to speed up the pace of the chat. It's pathetic and embarrassing.
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Cowboy, Thanks for the subtle reminder. I appreciate that, Podner.
Jerry, 3 no hitters so far, including 2 perfect games. Coincidence or have the pitchers regained the edge they may have lost due to all of the hitters using PED's?
Jerry Crasnick (12:23 PM)
Mike, I can see offensive production declining without PEDs, amphetamines or whatever. But there's no way you can link no-hitters and perfect games to it. There's just too much luck and an element of chance involved.
Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana have combined to throw 143 innings, while giving up only 122 hits/47 walks and striking out 106. To date, are they best 1-2 punch in Baseball?
Jerry Crasnick (12:25 PM)
Jason, They've been good, but let's not get carried away. I wouldn't take them over Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, or David Price and James Shields or Matt Garza. Check the numbers and Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia have also been great in St. Louis. That said, the Mets have to be ecstatic with the leap that Pelfrey has taken this season.
Are the Cubs just too cheap to fire Lou? He is done, lost his head, and needs to be canned. Let Ryno be the interim manager the remainder of the year and take it from there.
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Goose, I'm sensing an awful lot of dissatisfaction with Lou in Chicago. I love Lou, but I think his body language shows it when he has a team that he's not very enthused about. And that certainly appears to be the case in Chicago this summer. I do expect him to finish out the season, but this very well might be the end of his run at Wrigley.
If he becomes available, can the Mets land Cliff Lee without trading Ike Davis or Jenry Mejia?thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
Boscoe, I find it very hard to see how the Mets could land Cliff Lee without including at least one of those guys in the deal. Fernando Martinez isn't going to get it done.
Peter (Norfolk, MA)
The Red Sox certainly had an impressive May, and it looks like David Ortiz is back. What do you think the odds are that both the Red Sox and Ortiz can keep it up?
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Peter, Throw out his sorry April, and David Ortiz has been very good since early June of last season. I've said this often, but I think he has enough left in the tank to beat up on mediocre pitching and put up some good numbers -- maybe .260 with 30 bombs and 90 RBIs. Can he do it against really good, hard-throwing pitching in October if the Red Sox make it that far? I'm not so sure.
Jason (St Louis)
Was Matt Bush hyped or just overdrafted?
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Jason, He was overdrafted. There's no way he should have gone No. 1 in a draft that included guys like Jered Weaver and Stephen Drew.
If the Rangers fall out of the race do you see them trading off Vlad or Cruz or Hamilton?
Jerry Crasnick (12:32 PM)
Blue, Given how balanced (some would say mediocre) the AL West is, I have a hard time seeing the Rangers falling out of it enough to become sellers. Do you think the Angels or A's are good enough to run away with that division by mid-July? I don't.
Luke (Coventry, UK)
I cannot see why the Tigers have let Willis go for 'pitching depth in AAA Toledo.' Do you think the D-Backs got a steal?
Jerry Crasnick (12:34 PM)
Luke, I don't know if the D-backs got a steal. But Rick Knapp is one of the best pitching coaches around, and if he didn't think Dontrelle could be saved, that says a lot. Willis is going to a good spot in Arizona (except for the fact that Chase Field is a launching pad). The D-backs are desperate for pitching, they're all but out of the race, and he should get a nice opportunity to find himself.
Great "Starting 9" today. I can't even fathom the media hype/backlash if a kid like Jameson Taillon pulled a 'David Clyde' and started in the big leagues. Did anybody try to stop Texas from making this ill-fated decision back in '73?
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Kyle, From everything I saw, Whitey Herzog wanted to send David Clyde back to the minors after one start. But the kid pitched well out of the gate, and Bob Short, the owner, saw him as a cash cow. Then Billy Martin destroyed Clyde's confidence and helped wreck his career. Billy had a knack for doing that with young pitchers, didn't he?
Scott Hammond (Saint Amant, La)
Jerry, at what point do I go from taking note of Miguel Cabrera's great season to a full blown Triple Crown watch?
Jerry Crasnick (12:37 PM)
Scott, Feel free to start whenever you wish -- although it appears that Justin Morneau might make that difficult to achieve. For what it's worth, I picked Miguel Cabrera as my AL MVP way back in spring training. And I'm not known for my brilliant foresight when it comes to those things.
Jason (St Louis)
Do you think the extreme hype being paid to the likes of Bryce Harper and Strasburg is more a function of the attention being paid to prospects these days and how fast they can help teams post peds? I don't remember a bunch of hoopla like this back when Prior and Mauer were drafted, other than everyone in MN being mad at the Twins thinking they drafted for price. It sure would be funny had they gotten what they wanted.
Jerry Crasnick (12:39 PM)
Jason, No question, the media has exploded when it comes to draft coverage. The thing I find interesting is that fans all know who the hot prospects are in the minors now. If the Florida Marlins decided to trade, say, Mike Stanton for a veteran starter, the team's fans might revolt. That's an interesting development as I see it.
Kevin (Miami, FL)
Can you remember a prospect with better power potential than Mike Stanton. Looks like he should be called up very soon. What should Marlins fans expect from him once he is playing everyday?
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Kevin, Speaking of which ... Mike Stanton's power is incredible, and I can see him making a Jason Heyward caliber splash out of the gate. But since he's playing for the Marlins and he'll be arriving at the same time as Stephen Strasburg, he won't be getting a ton of attention nationally. That's probably a great thing for his development.
Will the AL East come down to which of the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox have the better record vs the Jays this season?
Jerry Crasnick (12:42 PM)
Steven, Good point. The team that does the best job of flogging both the Jays and Orioles probably gets the edge. I suspect they'll all do it as the season progresses.
Tim L. (San Fran)
What's wrong with me? My last 4 starts have been horrible.
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Tim, I honestly don't know. Assuming you're healthy, it might just be a temporary funk. But you've had a lot of innings piled on you the last couple of years, and maybe it's catching up to you. I noticed that your command hasn't been great lately, and sometimes that's a sign of a pitcher who isn't 100 percent healthy. Only you know for sure how you are physically.
Loved your starting 9 as always. I wonder if the younger fans can grasp just how amazing Bo Jackson was and could have been.Thanks for the chat.
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Tarek, Thanks. There are some amazing stories about Bo Jackson and what a phenom he was. He'd run for the HS track team, then go directly to the ball field and hit these 500 foot moon shots. I don't know if he ever would have had the longevity, but for quick snapshots, the guy could put on quite a show.
Are the Pirates legitimately taking strides as a franchise this year, or will the completely fall apart and be looking at 100 loses by the end of the season?
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Frank, Well, Andrew McCutchen is for real, I think Neil Walker has a chance to be a productive player, and Pedro Alvarez is on the way. And the Pirates have pumped a lot of money into the draft the last couple of years. Judging from their play so far, they're a bit more competitive this year. If they can win 76-78 games, Pirates fans will have some reason to be encouraged.
If you had to pick one baseball player to build your team around for the next 10 years, who is it?
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Tommy, Wow, great question. I'd be happy with Hanley Ramirez, Evan Longoria, Miguel Cabrera, Jason Heyward or Ryan Braun, to name a few. I'm sure I'm missing a half dozen others.
Mike W (Chicago)
When does Votto get a triple crown watch? The guy is leading the NL in batting avg and his 3 HRs and 7 RBIs back from the NL leaders in those categories. I know its highly unlikely he gets to the top of all 3 but he has to get some MVP votes because of this right?
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Mike W., Hey, why not start it on this chat? Thanks for the public service announcement. If the Reds continue to contend in the NL Central, I'm sure Votto is going to be mentioned more and more as an MVP candidate.
Let's say you were in a one game playoff (game 163) and you have a LH Pitcher that is deadly against Left handed hitters... would a manager be tempted to "start" a RHP and then change over to the LHP after an inning in hopes that the other team would load up Lefties against the RHP?
Jerry Crasnick (12:52 PM)
Jeff, Interesting question, but I can't see any self-respecting major league manager ever doing that. Win or lose, he'd get ripped for turning the game into a circus.
Boston was written off a month ago (clearly prematurely, but they did look terrible), but has worked themselves back into the AL East/WC picture. Which of TB, NYY, and BOS do you now think is playing golf come early October?
Jerry Crasnick (12:55 PM)
George, At this point, I think Boston is on the outs. Those injuries to Cameron and Ellsbury continue to linger, and strong defense was such a central core principle for that team. Then again, if you check the standings today, the Red Sox are 30-23. Remember when they were below .500 and it was all gloom and doom in Boston? Even if they don't make the playoffs, they're probably going to win 88-90 games.
Peter Nincompoop (Kentucky)
Seriously...how good is this Mike Leake character?
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Peter, He's probably not a No. 1 starter, but he looks like a very solid No. 3. I talked to fellow ASU product Dustin Pedroia recently, and he raved about Leake's competitiveness and athleticism. I think he has nine quality starts in 10 outings. Very impressive for a kid who never pitched in the minors.
Matt (Chicago )
Is it getting close to the time where the Cubs should start thinking about their '11 and '12 clubs? I'm not sure if Ricketts has the stomach for the overhaul needed as some of these contracts come off the books.
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
Matt, It is for me. I just don't get the sense that the Cubs have a shot this year. On a positive note, they've already started looking toward the future with the arrival of Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin.
Tyler (Louisville, KY)
Your thoughts on the Rockies pitching staff as a whole... Ubaldo speaks for himself, but what about the rest of the crew?
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
Tyler, Jeff Francis should be fine provided the shoulder problems are behind him, but Aaron Cook is probably a No. 4 or 5 now, Jason Hammel is a back-end guy, and Jhoulys Chacin could use more time in the minors. Losing Jorge De La Rosa really hurt them.
For the record, every fan in MN wanted Mauer, the media here wanted Prior.
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Jeff, When I researched the story, I found some news coverage of Mark Prior's father Jerry ripping Terry Ryan. Taking a HS catcher sure seems riskier than picking the Tom Seaver college clone. But it all worked out well for the Twinkies, didn't it?
Jerry, What kind of money is Scott Boras going to ask for Bryce Harper? and what kind of money will the Nationals give him? Is he already worth the Stephen Strasburg type of bonus?
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Mike, I really don't know, but some of my BA buddies think Harper is looking at something in the $10-12 million range. Stephen Strasburg got $15.1, but he was an accomplished college pitcher. Harper is 17 years old and played one year of junior college ball. That said, Harper has incredible power. I saw him take batting practice at the JUCO tournament in Grand Junction, Colo., and his power is mind-blowing.
Cliff Lee (Sleepless in Seattle)
What's it going to take to trade me to sunny Los Angeles (LAD) this Summer?
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
Cliff, It probably wouldn't turn if Frank and Jamie McCourt called off this nasty and costly divorce proceeding. Somehow, I don't see that happening.
Jim (San Fran)
How about the Toronto Blue Jays pitching staff.. Romero, Marcum, Cecil and Morrow are all an interesting bunch of arms. Can they last and who do you think has the highest ceiling among them?
Jerry Crasnick (1:05 PM)
Jim, They might wear down this season, especially against those killer AL East lineups, but that's a nice young group. I think Romero has the highest ceiling. Marcum might be the most reliable over the long haul.
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Thanks for the emails, everybody. We've got Bryce Harper and the draft and Stephen Strasburg's debut coming up in the next week, so it should be a fun time for baseball. Have a great week.