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 (12:01 PM)
Hey everybody. We don't have any "Get Off My Mound" T-shirts available today. But the latest Starting 9 is up on the site. It's on Offensive Laggards for contending teams who need to pick up the pace. Lets' get started.
Mike W (Chicago)
Lets start this off with Cliff Lee. What are the odds he goes to Cincinnati for a playoff push and what would it take to get him?
Jerry Crasnick (12:02 PM)
Mike, I find the Reds to be a very interesting stealth Cliff Lee candidate. There's something special going on with that team, Walt Jocketty has a history of making deals like this, and the owner, Bob Castellini, is a very motivated guy. But Edinson Volquez's comeback clearly complicates matters. I think they'd like to give Volquez another couple of weeks before they jump in with both feet on Lee.
Jerry, how do the Braves plug the hole at shortstop if they trade Yunel Escobar midseason?
Jerry Crasnick (12:04 PM)
Brady, I address the Yunel Escobar trade stuff in my Starting 9 today. I know they're exasperated by him, but they think he could be in for a big second half, and they don't have anyone ready to step in at shortstop (Omar Infante and Brandon Hicks aren't the answer). So unless they get a SS back, it's hard to see Frank Wren making a deal.
Max (Oak Park, IL)
Jerry, who would you rather have for the rest of their careers? Yovanni or Ubaldo? Also, if you had to give one of your kids one of those names, which would it be?
Jerry Crasnick (12:05 PM)
Max, Great question. I guess I would take Ubaldo by a hair. As for the name, I'd go for the hybrid approach and name my kid Uvanni -- or Yobaldo.
Brett (Hot Springs, AR) [via mobile]
With Peavy getting hurt, how does that change the A.L. Central? I'm pretty high on Daniel Hudson.
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Brett, It doesn't help, but the White Sox think highly of Hudson and based on his minor league numbers, he was ready for a callup. At the risk of sounding trite, this is what front office people mean when they say, "You can never have enough pitching." (Did I actually just say that? My apologies)
Why wasn't Andrew McCutchen picked for the ASG?
Jerry Crasnick (12:08 PM)
Jim, Because of an inane system? Look, I'm happy for Evan Meek, but Andrew McCutchen is clearly the best player on that team, and he should be in Anaheim. I don't know what else to say.
Any chance the Rays call up Desmon Jennings soon? This year there hitting has been awful (as your starting 9 pointed out).
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Tarek, I asked the Rays people about that last week, and I don't think a Desmond Jennings callup is imminent. He's been dinged up a little this season, and while his overall numbers are decent, he's not driving the ball with much authority. I also think it's tough to call up a young kid in the middle of a pennant race and ask him to be a savior.
It is looking more and more like the Marlins will be sellers at the deadline. Which of there players do you expect them to move?
Jerry Crasnick (12:11 PM)
Jason, Dan Uggla is one name that springs to mind, because of his power and his contract status. But the Marlins couldn't move him over the winter, so I'm not sure the chances of that are any better now.
Which AL "final vote" nominees deserves to be in the all star game the most
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Nick, I'll go with Joey Votto in the National League and Kevin Youkilis in the American, although Billy Wagner is a great story this year and deserves to be in Anaheim. And Heath Bell certainly would make Media Day a lot more entertaining.
Will the Cubs move Ted Lilly or instead offer him arbitration and worst case scenario get 2 picks for him?
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
Jason, It obviously depends on what they can get for him. Jim Hendry is positioned nicely with Lilly, because trade partners might think they can acquire him for a slightly lesser package than it would take to land Lee. If that package doesn't present itself, then the Cubs will keep Lilly, offer him arbitration and take the draft pick compensation.
I hate to ask it, but has the Panda become a liability for the Giants this year? His power has disappeared, he's grounded into a ton of double plays, his fielding is mediocre, and his base running is atrocious.
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
AP, I also address the Panda's struggles in this week's Starting 9. He's a very talented kid, but he needs to lose weight and improve his plate discipline to reach his potential over the long haul. He's in a tough spot there, because he's still just a kid and he's looked upon to be the leader of the Giants' offense. He hasn't had much of a grace period.
ziti (h-burg, pa)
who would you want to head up your starting rotation for the next five years: lincecum or strasburg? why?
Jerry Crasnick (12:18 PM)
Ziti, I love Tim Lincecum, but he's such a little guy, I think there are reasons to be concerned about his durability. So I'd go with Strasburg. But if history is any indication, no one can predict which pitchers will stay healthy and which ones will be durable. Mark Prior, anyone?
Josh S. (Philly)
Do you think the phillies should consider bringing up domonic brown sometime after the all star break if ibanez doesnt start hitting?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Josh, I think Ibanez would have to go completely in the tank for the Phillies to sit him for Domonic Brown. Again, it's a lot to ask a young kid to come up and be perceived as a savior for a team in a pennant race. And the kid would have to be especially tough-minded to handle that kind of pressure in a city like Philly.
Jerry, can Edward Salcedo be Chipper's future replacement in the future? What kind of tools does he have?
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
KC, He's 19 years old and 6-3, 195 pounds. I've heard him compared to Hanley Ramirez. Projecting with a kid that young is dicey, but he obviously has a world of talent. Johnny Almaraz, the Braves' international scouting guy, is one of the best in the game, so I'd trust his judgment on anyone.
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Hey Jerry, if the Phillies keep falling back what are the odds they trade Jayson Werth?
Jerry Crasnick (12:23 PM)
Matthew, I think people are getting a little ahead of themselves with the Jayson Werth trade speculation. If the Phils totally crash in the next two weeks and fall 10 games out, then yeah, Ruben Amaro will have to consider all options. But they're built to win now and struggling to score runs, so I think trading Werth is about 1,000th on their priority list right now.
Pat [via mobile]
Any concerns with Luke Gregerson?
Jerry Crasnick (12:25 PM)
Pat, I'm not going to be too concerned with a guy who has a 51-to-6 strikeout to walk ratio. Gregerson was destined to come back to earth a little bit. If there's any reason for concern, it's that he relies an awful lot on a single pitch -- his slider. If it's off-kilter or hitters are finding a way to adjust to it, I'm not sure if Gregerson has much of a Plan B.
Dale (Calvert City KY)
Would the Rangers do a deal like Lilly and Derrek Lee and maybe a prospect like Vitters for Justin Smoak?
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Dale, I seriously doubt it.
Besides Lee....who is the best player dealt this July?
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Hard to tell. Could be Roy Oswalt. Could be Ted Lilly. Could be Corey Hart.
Dan (Detroit, mi)
Is Miguel Cabrera the best hitter in MLB today?
Jerry Crasnick (12:29 PM)
Dan, Even though Albert Pujols isn't having quite an Albert Pujols-type of year, it's hard to pick anybody over him. Still, Cabrera is having an amazing year. He's got to be right in the MVP mix in the AL.
Who should be the NL All-Star Game Starter? Adam Wainright a clear cut choice?
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
John, I'm not sure how the days fall, but I think Ubaldo Jimenez deserves it for his overall body of work, notwithstanding a little backslide recently.
Are you surprised the Yankees are allowing Cano to hit in the HR derby?
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Jason, Just because it's the Yankees, do they exist in some different realm from the other 29 clubs? If Cano wants to compete in the derby, let him compete in the derby.
Stanley (Duluth, MN)
Jerry--what do you think of the talk that Mauer is dealing with a back/hip issue, which has affected his hitting? Do you think there is something too that, or are people just making excuses because he hasn't been as amazing as he was last year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Stanley, If Joe Mauer has an injury that's sapping his power, he's never going to say anything provided he's healthy enough to take the field. I imagine he also feels an extra burden this year because of his new contract, the move to the new park, and the fact that the Twins have a legitimate shot to go deep into October. Finally, Target Field doesn't help matters. Let's see if the place becomes a little more homer-friendly now that the weather is getting warmer.
If the Royals are within 5 games at the trade deadline to they still look to trade guys such as; DeJesus, Farnsworth, and Guillen (if healthy)?
Jerry Crasnick (12:34 PM)
Chris, I think Dayton Moore has to do anything that might help them even an iota after this season, so yes, he'll move any of those guys if the return is right.
Do you think the Braves should sell high with Mike Minor and try to get a bat, or do they believe he's really this good?
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Ryan, The Braves love their young starters in the minors, and they think Diaz's return and better second halves by Chipper, Escobar and McCann will make a difference down the stretch. I don't see Frank Wren trading Minor unless it's for a younger bat that he can control contractually for 2-3 years.
Jerry, you tweeted that the Phillies are interested in Dan Haren. Is there any chance that they could get Haren and Kelly Johnson to sure up their pitching and infield woes?
Jerry Crasnick (12:38 PM)
Chris, Ruben Amaro has said the Phils can add payroll, but nobody quite knows if that means a rental (like Ted Lilly) or something more. Like Haren, who has 2 years and $29M due him after this year. I think the Phils are hoping they can gut it out without making a big deal while Utley and Polanco recuperate. But if the offense remains this dormant, they might be compelled to look at one of the infield alternatives, like Kelly Johnson or Jhonny Peralta.
Jerry, With Stu Sternberg's announcement that he is willing to do whatever it takes to help this year's "special" team win the world series do you believe he the Rays are going to be serious bidders or do you think this is the Rays being the Rays and he is just saying all the right things
Jerry Crasnick (12:39 PM)
Taylor, The Rays sense that there's a window of opportunity here, so I wouldn't be shocked to see them make an impact move. Is a B.J. Upton-for-Cliff Lee trade realistic? I don't know, but that would certainly get everybody's attention.
Matt (Grand Rapids)
Any chance the Tigers picking up another SP before the deadline?? Would love to see them grab Oswalt.
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Matt, The Tigers aren't getting many innings out of their starters. One way to address that is to trade for a starter. The other option is to beef up the bullpen. From what I've heard, they might be more in the market for relief help. I don't think they have enough to put together a package for Roy Oswalt.
Dustin (Atlanta, GA)
NL ASG starter...Josh Johnson? Again, not even mentioned. He is overlooked in every conversation about the best the NL has and will be. How is this?
Jerry Crasnick (12:42 PM)
Dustin, He's terrific, too. A lot of factors go into the decision. Personally, I don't see where it's such a big deal who starts the game. They all just pitch one inning or two max, anyway.
Jeff (St. Louis, MO)
Do you see the Tigers as buyers, sellers or standing pat at the deadline? I'm sure they don't have the good for a Cliff Lee- type player, but do you see them adding another arm or a bat in a medium sized move?
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Jeff, Yet another question that feeds into my Starting 9: The Tigers need Damon, Inge and (to an extent) Guillen to pick it up in the second half. I'm sure David Dombrowski is looking to add some pitching depth. And an upgrade at shortstop would be nice. I think the Tigers are poised for a medium-sized move.
Hi, Jerry. I'm a big fan of yours living in Nicaragua. The local heroes here are Vicente Padilla(LAD), Everth Cabrera (SD) and Wilton Lopez (HOU), how do you see them this year? What numbers can we expect from them? 5 million Nicaraguans will thank your answer.
Jerry Crasnick (12:47 PM)
Katie, I don't have a tremendous answer for you, but it's pretty cool to get a question from Nicaragua. I will say that when the Padres selected Everth Cabrera in the Rule 5 draft, an agent told me that he's the "Nicaraguan Dustin Pedroia." He's been hurt for much of this year and he hasn't hit a lick, but he's sure fun to watch play shortstop.
Braves should really go get Josh Willingham...right?
Jerry Crasnick (12:49 PM)
Tom, Willingham's righthanded power would certainly look good in the middle of the Braves' lineup. But he's been a good fit for that team for a couple of years. And if they haven't landed him yet, I don't see it happening now. On a side note, Frank Wren's $2 million Troy Glaus acquisition is looking pretty good -- no matter what the Braves get from Glaus the rest of the way.
Sara (Temecula, CA)
What do you think about the speculation that McGuire has been a less-than-productive influence on the StL lineup? Do hitting coaches even have that kind of mojo?
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Sara, Good question. I know that McGwire works very hard at it, and I've had several players tell me he really knows what he's talking about. Some of the Cardinals (Yadi Molina, etc) are having pretty lousy years. But McGwire has only been at this a few months. I think it's a bit unfair to lay the team's offensive problems at his door.
Am I crazy for thinking Ramos and Hicks is way to much for a two month rental even for a player as great as Lee.
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Kyle, As I mentioned in my Cliff Lee story yesterday, the packages for these two-month rentals are contingent on how fervent the bidding is. If I could guarantee you the Twins would win a World Series with Lee, would you still feel that way? (Unfortunately, I can't make that guarantee).
Out of the box Phils solution to the infield - move Jayson Werth to third (don't tell me he's not athletic enough to pick up the position in short order) and call up Brown to play right. It could work.
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Noonan, I give you credit for thinking creatively. I'm sure Jayson Werth would be thrilled at the idea of trying a new position in the middle of a pennant race three months short of a big free agent windfall.
What kind of upside does Freddie Freeman have?
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Kyler, He's got a lot of power, but he's only 20 years old and playing Triple A, so there will be some growing pains. There's no reason to think he can't be a 25-30 homer guy in the big leagues.
jerry, did you see madison bumgarner's start last night? pretty impressive, especially when you consider he's still only 20 years old.
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Mike, I didn't see Bumgarner's start. It's been a heck of a year for promising young pitchers, hasn't it?
Complaining about all star selections jumped the shark about 15 years ago. No manager ever gets it completely right. Can't sportswriters get over that fact by now?
Jerry Crasnick (12:58 PM)
Noonan, I have more of a problem with the mindless selections by players. The fans do a better job of picking than the players do. To me, the process is just too much of a hodge-podge now. It's so weirdly constructed, bad choices are going to be inevitable.
Jerry, it's clear the Twins, Reds, and Rays can put a better package together for Lee than the Mets. But, are the Twins, Reds, and/or Rays very likely to pull the trigger on such a deal for the rental? Seems like the Mets may not have the best bullets, but will be the most likely to fire. Thanks!
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
Mark, It would be more in character for the Mets -- a big market club with conceivably greater resources. But the Twins aren't the same Twins now that they have Target Field. And I think the Reds are super-motivated to make a push this year. I covered baseball in that town in 1990, and they'd go wild if Walt Jocketty could make a big impact deal at the deadline.
Tyler Smith (Atlanta, Ga)
If the Rays make Upton available, would the Braves make a play? If so, what would it take to acquire him?
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Tyler, I can see Upton fitting with a lot of teams -- the Mariners, Padres, Reds, Braves, etc. But Andrew Friedman is a smart guy, and he's going to be raiding their farm systems in exchange for Upton. I assume he'd be asking for guys like Teheran and Minor -- the Braves' best pitching prospects.
How genius was the Rockies getting CarGo and Street for Holliday. I'd take CarGo For Holiday straight up.
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Jason, It was a heck of a deal by Dan O'Dowd. Not to mention the nickname "CarGo." It's one of the best in ball.
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Thanks for the emails, everybody. I enjoyed it. Heading to Anaheim this weekend for the All-Star Festivities. It should be fun.