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)
Hi everybody, I'm heading down to the Phils-Astros game tonight. Hopefully Cole Hamels won't be pressed into service in the outfield. Let's start the chat.
David (Elkhart, indiana)
what do you think the % is Manny ends up in a White Sox uniform with in the next few days?
Jerry Crasnick (12:02 PM)
David, I can't slap a percentage on it, but Kenny Williams certainly isn't doing much to downplay the possibility, so my guess is the chances are pretty good. It's a Kenny Williams type move -- bold, with a hint of shock value. Except that nobody is going to be shocked, because everybody is expecting it now.
Do you think the Redsox really wanted Damon, or was this a block?
Jerry Crasnick (12:03 PM)
Mark, Apparently the Red Sox were legitimately interested in Damon. The other players seemed receptive to the move, and obviously, their outfield has been decimated.
What did you think of the Ryan Howard ejection? In Philadelphia the umpire is getting slammed for mocking him and baiting him into the ejection on sports radio. Just wanted an unbiased opinion.
Jerry Crasnick (12:05 PM)
Dan, Are you telling me that sports talk radio is trying to stir up controversy in Philly? I'm shocked. Speaking objectively, I don't think Scott Barry, the third base umpire, handled the situation very well. I know young umps feel a need to assert themselves, but he stared in at Howard as if he were begging for a fight. It's one of those occasions where everybody would have been better served if the ump took a deep breath and walked away. As entertaining as it was to see Roy Oswalt play LF, it wouldn't have been too cool if he pulled a hamstring out there.
Jerry, Albert Pujols is .001 behind Joey Votto for the Batting Crown. If he were to overtake him in the next couple of days, when was the last time someone was leading all the Triple Crown categories this late in the year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:08 PM)
Dennis, Glad you asked. Jason McCallum of ESPN just sent out a note about this yesterday. Dick Allen of the White Sox led in all 3 Triple Crown categories on Sept. 8, 1972. The last NL player to lead all three departments this late in the year was Johnny Mize. He ranked first in HRs, BA and RBIs on Sept. 14, 1940. So it's been a while.
Of course Manny should go. Pods is better anyway. Guess - do the Dodgers just dump him to save the $4M, or do they agree to pay some or all of the $4M in exchange for a MUCH BETTER prospect?
Jerry Crasnick (12:09 PM)
Greg, I'm not sure if the Dodgers are going to get a great prospect either way, but they obviously improve their chances by picking up a chunk of the salary. They have to be pretty motivated to move Manny at this point, I think. He won't be serving much of a purpose there in September.
Is the list of waiver wire teams organized by league (american vs. national), and then by current standings? Why would the Red Sox have had a shot at Damon before the Rays. I'd have to look back, but didn't the Red Sox have a better year than the Rays last year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Scott, It goes by the standings this year, not last year. That's why the Red Sox got first crack at Damon.
Uncle Jimbo (Chicago)
Can a player use his no-trade right to block a claim during this waiver period?
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Uncle Jimbo, Yes, a player can use a no-trade clause to squash a waiver claim. Think about it: If Johnny Damon has a no trade clause in his contract, it would be a pretty cheesy way around it for the Tigers to be able to just give him away on waivers, wouldn't it?
Everyone in Baltimore is really excited about Buck. What do you think?
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
Justin, As I've said numerous times before, everybody who worked with Buck at ESPN admires him for his passion, his work ethic and his insights into the game. (Geez, I sound like his agent). But seriously, he's going to make sure the Orioles do things right and everybody is accountable for what happens there. He's been fortunate to have Brian Roberts and Felix Pie healthy, but still, I think he's helped changed the attitude there noticeably in his first couple of weeks.
Jack (Bay Area)
The Giants offense isn't this good, obviously, but they sure look much more poised for a stretch run with Pablo and Sanchez hitting again. Do they have a chance at catching SD?
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
Jack, It's going to be tough for them to catch San Diego, and oddly enough, I have some concerns about the starting pitching. As I mention in my Starting 9 today, Bumgarner's workload is really getting up there. And you have to wonder if Lincecum isn't worn down from the last couple of years. The Giants have something good going this year, but they're going to have to make it through the wild card.
Mark (Cstat, Tx)
Regardless of the no-hit bid Rich Harden took into the 7th, how many more opportunities does he have as a starter if he doesn't limit is walks and pitch better more consistently?
Jerry Crasnick (12:18 PM)
Mark, He just came off the DL and pitched 6 2/3 no-hit innings, so I think he'll get lots more opportunities unless he gets hurt or implodes. Harden is shaky because of his injury history, but he has dominant stuff if he can stay healthy. I don't think the Rangers would mind running him out there for a start or two in October. If he gets on a roll, he can shut any lineup down.
I like what the Diamondbacks have done this season in shaking up the roster, do you think Kirk Gibson will be the manager of the Dbacks for some time to come? He has really changed the outlook of the team.
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Al, The Diamondbacks were 31-48 with AJ Hinch and they're 18-29 under Gibson, so it's not being reflected in the wins and losses. Derrick Hall and the front office folks in Arizona have to figure out if Jerry DiPoto is going to return as GM before they decide Gibson's fate. The GM has to play a major role in who's managing that club.
Les (East Windsor, NJ)
Love your takes on MLB, Jerry.Have you heard anything about the writers putting pressure on Cooperstown to create a separate area for players voted in that either were suspected or admitted to using PHD's during that era?Or, at least getting it written on the plaques - "Played during the steroid era"?
Jerry Crasnick (12:21 PM)
Les, Good question. Rick Telander of Chicago suggested a study committee, or something to that effect, to determine how writers might deal with the steroid question. I liked the idea, but the Baseball Writers don't like anyone even suggesting how we might handle an issue like this, so they shot the proposal down cold. So basically, it's 500-something voters, and every man for himself on how we should handle the steroid era candidates.
Jim Riggleman: Gone next year? I'd bet 90% of NatsTown (me included) is hoping so...
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Nate, My impression is that Riggleman will be back next year. If you took a poll, 90 percent of managers in every town probably hate their team's manager.
Is mike minor for real or just a back of the rotation guy for the future of a really good braves rotation
Jerry Crasnick (12:24 PM)
Adrian, I mention Minor today in my Starting 9. Frank Wren, Atlanta's GM, absolutely raved about him. I don't know if he's a de facto "No. 1," but the Braves think he's a lot more than a back of the rotation guy. He has three plus pitches and a ton of poise for a young kid.
Mike (Grand Rapids)
Hey Jerry. Question about Kerry Wood - in 11.2 innings with the Yanks, he has 15 K's and a 0.77 ERA. Do you think it's time Girardi tries out Wood in the key late inning situations in which guys like Joba and Robertson have been inconsistent at best?
Jerry Crasnick (12:26 PM)
Mike, I suspect that Joe Girardi just wanted Wood to get acclimated and get his confidence up after the Yankees acquired him. Wood's problem in Cleveland was that he never established any consistency, between the injuries and the lack of save opportunities for a losing club. But if he gets on a roll, I have no doubt the Yanks will start throwing him into some more high-pressure situations.
Reds 1st baseman (Ohio)
Am I going to be the NL MVP? will that guy in SL win a triple crown?
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
Joey, This should be a really interesting MVP race in the NL. You've got two first basemen, Votto and Pujols, whose teams are duking it out for a division title, and you can throw a blanket over their numbers. Seriously. Except for Votto's much higher strikeout total, their stats are similar in almost every department. That's a long way of saying it's way too close to call right now.
you should shave your mustache, yo.
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
Bob, That's cold, man.
Did the Phillies rush Howard and Utley back? They both are performing awful since coming back from the DL. I think Howard is 2-17 with a ridiculous amount of Ks.
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Dan, Personally, I thought one rehab start in Class A was pretty quick for Rayn Howard. I wonder if he didn't want to rush back and face Strasburg. And there are some scouts out there who wonder if Utley is completely healthy. They're both out of sync right now. But they're great hitters and eminently capable of turning it on in a hurry.
What is Freddie Freeman's ceiling? Better than Ike Davis?
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Jonathan, Yeah, I think so. More power potential, from what I've heard.
How do you see Austin Jackson doing next year? Stats-wise.
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Robert, Austin Jackson has a .425 batting average, I believe, on balls in play, so that suggests he's been hitting into some serious good luck this year. I don't want to minimize what he's done, because he ranks among the top 3 in the AL ROY race, but he's going to have to become a more selective hitter with time. And he could stand to cut down on the strikeouts, for sure.
The Twins...probably division winners but another first round exit, right? I just can't see them doing anything in the playoffs.
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Matt, I just have a hard time seeing that rotation stacking up with the other AL teams in the postseason -- unless a light goes on and Francisco Liriano starts looking like the guy who wowed everyone in the first half. The Twins could surprise me, but my guess is they don't go deep in the playoffs.
Andrew Ortiz (North Carolina)
Jerry, if your Manny, where would you go?h Do you go with te already very successful tampa bay rays and risk getting less playing time or go to your former team in Boston, who are injury ridden and "slumping, so to say. In Boston, i feel he would get more shots at playing, but also more shots at getting booed out of Fenway. What do you think?
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Andrew, If you're Manny, you don't have a whole lot of choice if somebody claims you on waivers. If the White Sox claim him and the Dodgers let him go, then it doesn't matter where he wants to play. He's a White Sock.
What are King Felix's chances at the AL Cy Young? He's been probably the best pitcher in baseball after the all star break.
Jerry Crasnick (12:38 PM)
Chris, Felix's chances are better than they were back in the day when voters would have automatically discounted a pitcher with a 9-10 record. But his numbers have to be drastically better than CC Sabathia, who's 17-5, and I don't see that wide a gap. One thing worth noting: Felix has pitched a whopping 40 more innings than Price this season. The Mariners might want to tailor back on his workload a bit in September. It's not as if that team has anything to play for.
trav (sf, ca)
a "white sock"? also, what's your current stake on NL ROY?
Jerry Crasnick (12:40 PM)
Travis, Yeah, I think it's technically White Sox, but I never liked that usage. NL ROY race is still a big scramble, with Buster Posey, Jaime Garcia, Starlin Castro, Gaby Sanchez and a cast of thousands in the mix. We need to wait and see how things shake out in September.
Jared (Westampton, NJ)
Jerry, what is the status of LHP Andy Pettitte right now? Is there any change on when he is expected to be back pitching for the Yanks?
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Jared, Last I heard, there was no specific timetable. It's taking a lot longer than the Yankees would have hoped. Thank god for Ivan Nova and Dustin Moseley.
what about bucholz for cy young. hes got the best era in a.l.
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Nate, He has almost 60 fewer IP than Felix, and that 96-to-53 K-to-BB ratio will weigh against him. The voters pay a lot of attention to that now.
Joe (San Diego)
How far do the Pads get in the playoffs? If the playoffs started today, they would face the Phillies. Sorry I know ESPN is all over their jock if they get in the playoffs. But the padres are the best road team in the NL and oh yea they have the best pitching staff!
Jerry Crasnick (12:45 PM)
Joe, Look, everybody who underestimated the Padres all season looks like a dope right now. But if you go into the postseason with Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels vs. a tired Mat Latos, Clayton Richard and Jon Garland, it's pretty understandable why most observers would like the Phillies, isn't it?
kevin b (denver)
Love your stuff, Jerry. Heading down to Coors Field in a few minutes: Any way the Rox have one more magical September run in 'em?
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Kevin, Not this year, big guy. And it pains me to say that, given that I picked the Rockies to win the World Series. It just wasn't their year once they got crushed by all those early pitching injuries.
Jack (St. Louis)
Gut reaction, who wins the NL Central?
Jerry Crasnick (12:47 PM)
Jack, The Reds have been a great story this year, but I still have to go with the Cardinals because they have a better, more reliable starting rotation and the best player in the game in Pujols.
Will we ever see a salary cap in baseball?
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Al, That's an easy one -- No, never, nada. But as we saw with the luxury tax, we will see elements by another name that serve as a drag on salaries. But a cap? No.
Mike (Long Island)
Why shouldn't the Cubs just elevate Ryne Sandberg as their manager for next year? He's "paid his dues" (love that phrase) in the minors -- are the Cubs not convinced he is MLB-calibre yet?
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Mike, I've heard that the Cubs like Fredi Gonzalez and will give the Braves a run for their money on him. I don't think it hurts for Jim Hendry to put some extra time and thought into the decision and see how things shake out over the winter. Maybe Ryno is the guy. But is there any reason why the Cubs need to rush to a decision in late August?
Just wanted to add what a class act Roy Halladay is, he bought 60 expensive watches for teammates, coaches, clubhouse personnel, video guys even the bat boy to commemorate his perfect game, with an engraving saying "We did it together, Thanks Roy Halladay" and then had each individuals person name engraved. MLB should really be promoting this guy, hard worker, great teammate, class act, never tried to sign for every last dollar etc . . .
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Rick, Yep, he's the epitome of class. The thing is, Halladay seems to shy away from attention and personal promotion at the expense of the team. That's just his nature.
Jason (LI, NY)
Do you think that Ivan Nova and Dustin Moseley can keep the ship afloat? It seems the Yanks have a lot of pitching woes (Pettite's injury, Vazquez and Burnett inconsistency?
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Jason, It looks as if the Yankees have enough to get through the regular season. But pretty soon you're going to have to ask who Joe Girardi runs out there in the postseason. The Yankees need Pettitte to get healthy and Burnett to get his act together, because they don't want to be leaning too heavily on Ivan Nova and Dustin Moseley in October.
Jones (Ann Arbor)
Regarding Ryne Sandberg, since when is managing a couple of years in the minors paying your dues?
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Jones, If I'm correct, Sandberg managed four years in the minor leagues. Do you know a lot of other Hall of Famers (other than Gary Carter) who've done that lately?
Is this a severe overstatement, or does Buster Posey seem to be a RH hitting Joe Mauer clone?
Jerry Crasnick (12:55 PM)
Eddie, Posey is a very talented young hitter and a smart kid, and he's making strides as a catcher. But I don't think he's the natural receiver or pitch-handler that Mauer is. That said, he's very impressive, and might be the NL Rookie of the Year.
a D u B (Newps, CA)
Todd Helton's future (including HoF chances): Go.
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
a D u B, This dropoff has come so quickly, I think Helton is going to wind up falling short of the Hall. He's been a great player, but his power fell off drastically, and the Coors Field factor is obviously going to hurt his candidacy. (Even though his road numbers were always pretty good).
What do you think of the current skirmish between the LA Times and Matt Kemp/Dave Stewart? Does this signal Kemp's exit in the offseason?
Jerry Crasnick (12:58 PM)
Rob, I sensed some tension between Kemp and the coaching staff and people around the team when the Dodgers were in Philly. But he's so young and talented, I'm sure they're wary of trading him when his value is low and getting burned. Given the baseball-wide shortage of RH power, Ned Colletti would need a major haul in return if he's going to part with Kemp.
Can you explain the pitching equivalent of the Tripple Crown? and what do you think the chance of Halladay Achieving this? I remember reading an article recently, but when was the last time that this has been achieved?
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
John, The pitching equivalent of the Triple Crown is leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts. I'm pretty sure Jake Peavy did it in his Cy Young season (and Johan Santana might have done it too). Halladay leads in K's and ERA, but Adam Wainwright isn't going to make things easy for him.
With the Braves in a pennant race the "who will replace Bobby Cox" questions have taken a backseat. That said, who do you think will be there next year? Gonzalez? Any other serious candidates? Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Jeff, When you bring up Fredi Gonzalez's name to the people in Atlanta, it's clear they're fond of him and think very highly of him from his time with the organization. And he seems to have a personality in the Bobby Cox mold. So he has to rank high on the list. I'm sure some other names will emerge once Cox has officially retired.
If Strasburg's injury is more serious than originally reported, is it more evidence, along with injuries to guys like Zumaya, that the human arm was not meant mechanically to throw a ball that hard?
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Ted, The amount of stress these pitchers put on their arms is amazing. But Nolan Ryan threw awfully hard and was striking out guys at age 47, so that's not the only factor. Strasburg's little flareups have to be a concern to the Nats, obviously. They're being extremely cautious with him -- understandably so.
Chances the Rangers sweep the AL player awards?
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Allyson, Josh Hamilton (MVP) and Neftali Feliz (ROY) have a very good chance. But I don't see a Ranger in the Cy Young mix.
Jerry Crasnick (1:05 PM)
Thanks for the emails, everybody. Sorry I didn't get to more. Let's do it again next week.