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, The Starting 9 is up on the site. This week I rank the lineups for teams still in the playoff picture. (Sorry, Cardinals, you failed to make the cut). Let's begin the chat.
Scott (South Dakota)
Hey Jerry - love the columns. If you had to pick the 4 NL Playoff teams right now - who would you pick?
Jerry Crasnick (12:03 PM)
Scott, At this point, looks as if it'll be Phillies in the NL East and Reds in the Central. That leaves Atlanta, San Diego and San Francisco duking it out for three spots. If I told you I knew who'd make it from that trio, I'd be lying. So I'm going to punt and let the last three weeks play out. I will say the Padres and Braves are both sucking wind more than the Giants at the moment. They both look gassed.
As of today, whose your MVP in both leauges
Jerry Crasnick (12:04 PM)
Sam, I'll go Joey Votto in the NL. With Hamilton out for a while and Cabrera now injured and his team fading, I'll probably take Robinson Cano in the AL. I know he has a great cast around him, but his numbers are comparable to Konerko's and he provides much more value defensively.
Carlos Gonzalez has a 1.241 OPS at home and a .760 OPS on the road. Votto has a .972 OPS at home and a 1.052 OPS on the road. Votto will win the MVP, agreed?
Jerry Crasnick (12:05 PM)
Jason, I think you have to take that into account. What the heck happened to the humidor, anyway?
Is Carlos Zambrano creating a trade market for himself or do you think the Cubs see his improvement as a reason to keep him on?
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Matt, Interesting question. Zambrano still has about $55 million owed him after this year (if you include the vesting option), and that's awfully pricey for a guy with his recent history. One thing he's done is prevent Jim Hendry from having to do a Milton Bradley, "get him out of here at all costs" type of deal. Now Hendry can ask for a decent return, and he won't have to pick up a huge amount of money just to get Z out of Chicago. Zambrano's recent performance gives him more trade leverage.
Felix Hernandez is on pace to throw 255 innings. I know the Mariners want him to win the Cy Young but aren't they playing a very dangerous game with his arm considering in 2010 they are going nowhere fast?
Jerry Crasnick (12:08 PM)
Jason, I'm with you on this. At the beginning of the year, SI's Tom Verducci "red-flagged" Felix because of his innings total last year. I know he'd love to win the Cy, but I think the Mariners are flirting with disaster here.
Matt [via mobile]
How many bombs does jose batista hit next year? Will cito and dwayne murphy leaving hurt him?
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Matt, Just because Cito is leaving, does that definitely mean Dwayne Murphy is gone? (I'm not sure about that). I don't see Bautista as a 45 HR guy every year, but there's no reason he can't hit 30-35 every year in that lineup. He'll also be in his free agent "walk" year, so it'll be interesting to see how he responds.
Matt (St. Paul)
Jerry, just read your Starting 9 and my question is this: Considering the Twins will have played over 60% of their season without Morneau and still had the success they've had...how is not having him in the postseason going to be any different?
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Matt, To me, it's different because you're facing front-line pitching every single night in the postseason. As I quoted an NL GM in my lead, that's the big difference. Some hitters pump up their numbers against mediocre pitching during the regular season. It's a lot harder to do in October. I think they'll notice Morneau's absence more next month.
Austin Jackson AL ROY?
Jerry Crasnick (12:13 PM)
Dave, I actually have an AL ROY vote. For a while I had Neftali Feliz as the guy, but I'm impressed with the way Jackson has hung in there all year while playing CF everyday. If it's a coin flip between a position player and a reliever, I'm usually going to go with the position player.
Mitch (Cville, IN)
With Arroyo, Cueto, and Wood figuring to be the Reds playoff rotation, do they have a legitimate shot at reaching the World Series?
Jerry Crasnick (12:15 PM)
Mitch, Not to rain on your parade, but that rotation doesn't quite stack up with what Philly, Atlanta or San Francisco can run out there in October. Next year, if Volquez is further along from Tommy John and Chapman is in the rotation, the Reds might be better equipped to make a deep run in October.
In your column you gave the Rockies your highest ranking in the NL West. Do you think they have yet another September push in them, given all the division games left with all 3 teams the rest of the way?
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
Jason, I said they have the best offense of the three NL West teams -- and that's only at Coors Field. They're going to have to go at least 7-3 on the road down the stretch, and they haven't shown that ability so far this season. That said, a lot of scouts are telling me that team is scary right now.
If you were the Braves, would you trade Jurrjens this offseason for a bat? I know he's a good pitcher, but they definitely need some offense and I don't think Jurrjens is as good as the Braves think he is. Thanks!
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
Ryan, The Braves are so stacked with pitching in the upper minors, that might be something Frank Wren has to consider. They'd love to move Derek Lowe, I'm sure, but he certainly isn't going to fetch a young, productive hitter in a deal.
Patrick (Washington DC)
Rumors of Tim Lincecum's demise have been greatly exaggerated, haven't they?
Jerry Crasnick (12:19 PM)
Patrick, Lincecum just set the bar so high, people were going to flip out over a few bad starts. As long as he's healthy, he'll be fine. In this day and age, guys aren't allowed to go into funks, or everybody panics.
Latos leads the NL in ERA and WHIP. However, he has only thrown 162 innings which isn't a lot when compared with Wainright, Halladay and Hudson. Will the lack of innings as compared to others be the reason he doesn't win the CY young?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Jason, That doesn't help. But there's also such a thing as having a pedigree, and those guys are all ahead of him on the food chain. But Latos has the ability to bag a Cy or two down the road.
Who's the best option to bat leadoff for the Phils during the stretch? Rollins obviously can't be it. Is Polanco and his .300+ the right answer?
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Derek, Polanco is so great as a hit-and-run, contact guy in the No. 2 hole, I think Charlie Manuel is hesitant to move him from there. If Rollins gets hot and the Phillies go on a roll with him hitting fifth, that leaves Victorino as the main leadoff option. He's not ideal there, but he's got the speed for it. Whatever works at this point.
Are the Phillies the scariest team in the playoffs? In a 7 game series you know Halladay is starting 3 of those games and the other 4 games are going to be pitched by Hamels and Oswalt
Jerry Crasnick (12:24 PM)
Rick, I would take my chances with Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt, and there are signs the Phillies offense is starting to put it together. I see Charlie Manuel doing a lot of fidgeting when he watches that bullpen. But we said the same thing last year, and they made it to the World Series with a worse 'pen.
Looking ahead to 2011 and a couple of 'hyped' prospects...will Jesus Montero get significant playing time? How bout Michael Taylor in Oakland? Over / Under on either of those guys getting to 350ABs in 2011? 2012? Thanks for chatting!!
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Dan, If the Yankees are going to pay an aging Derek Jeter well over $25M a year, they need to cut corners somewhere. I'd like to see Montero get a legit shot next year, because people say the kid can really hit. Michael Taylor has 6 homers and a .392 SLG in 523 Triple A plate appearances, so I don't think he's advanced his cause much this year. He might need a do-over in 2011.
Chase (San Francisco)
Hey Jerry, love the stuff. The phillies seem to be slowing down. Possible the Giant could end up with the west and the Padres the wild card?
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
Chase, It's the Braves that are slowing down, which makes it entirely possible that the Pads and Giants will both make it. The final three games are in San Fran, so the Giants have no one to blame but themselves if they fall short.
Any comment on the situation in St Louis between TLR and Rasmus? As the team has faded and then this stuff came out, more and more I get the feeling that Tony is gone after this year.
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Mike, Everybody seems to have that feeling with La Russa. I'm sure he wouldn't want to go out on a lousy note like this, but when I watch that team, I don't see any sparks of life. Tony needs to do some soul-searching this offseason and decide if his time in St. Louis has come and gone.
You don't actually think Jeter will get more than $25 million/year do you? I hope not. They'll pay more than the market rate, but that's more than double the likely market rate.
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Steve, It's tough for me to see Jeter getting more than $25M a year. If it were anybody else, they wouldn't get close to that much. But you can't overestimate the impact that Jeter has on that franchise -- which is why they have to work this out someway.
I know there is plenty of playoff questions, but some of us are already looking at next year. Any chance the Indians can put together a decent enough rotation to contend in the AL Central?
Jerry Crasnick (12:32 PM)
Ed, The Indians have some pieces on the way, but I think they're a good couple of years away from a run at .500. Have patience.
Joey (West Palm Beach)
How scared should us Yankee fans be about the state of our rotation? Hey, at least Mr. Vasquez might have a chance to face the NL again...IF they can somehow make it, right?
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Joey, I don't see how you can't be nervous based on what they're running out there after Sabathia. Even Phil Hughes hasn't been very good for a while now. They desperately need Andy Pettitte to come back healthy. If Girardi has Sabathia and Pettitte in the 1-2 spots, he can figure it out on the fly after that.
JP (Columbus, OH)
jerry, a popular rumor out of Cincy is Dusty going to LA and TLR coming to Cincy to rejoin Jocketty. I like LaRussa as a manager, but don't he and Rolen hate each other? I don't know if I like the idea of TLR and Rolen in the same clubhouse.
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
JP, That's a great point about Rolen and La Russa: They're not the best buddies. I also think money is an issue. If the Reds are going to let Dusty walk because they don't want to pay him, why would they bring in La Russa, who also makes a lot of coin? Plus, Baker has said he's not interested in the L.A. job (although I'm not 100 percent sure that's true).
Hey Jerry, fellow BU alum here, do you think Cliff Lee's poor second half will decrease his value of getting a huge payday this off-season? Or will teams still chase him as the pitcher too get?
Jerry Crasnick (12:37 PM)
KT, Good to hear from a fellow Terrier. Lee's recent funk isn't helping his market value, but he's still the best guy out there, and if it's a function of having a stiff back, he'll do fine in the offseason with his contract. Once teams start bidding up the price, they tend to have selective memory loss.
Have the Reds over taken the Cardinals for top team in the central division for the near future or do you see this being a one season run?
Jerry Crasnick (12:38 PM)
Jared, I think the Reds are set up for a nice, extended run. As I mentioned earlier, Volquez and Chapman could be the core of that rotation next year, and they haven't really been factors this season. Cincinnati also has a pretty nice farm system.
How underrated is Carlos Ruiz? He gives the Phils probably the best middle of the field defense, and he's hit .303/.420/.485 in the playoffs with plenty of clutch hits.
Jerry Crasnick (12:39 PM)
Derek, He's really turned into a nice player. He has 49 walks and 46 strikeouts at the plate, and the pitchers love throwing to him. Phillies fans really love the guy, too. Definitely underrated.
Jim (Huntsville, AL)
Worse looking trade right now for the Braves: Trading Escobar away or trading for Derek Lee?
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Jim, I don't know if either deal was really avoidable. The Atlanta players practically held a celebration when Escobar left, and the Braves didn't feel like they could make a postseason run with him as SS this season. As for Lee, he's a free agent this winter, so he was just a short-term fix anyway. But they need him to start hitting the ball with authority -- and soon.
Jerry, if you think that both the Braves and Padres are gassed and can be caught, why dismiss the Cardinals? They still have the best 1-2 punch in baseball, and if Pujols gets hot he could carry them to October.
Jerry Crasnick (12:42 PM)
Henry, The Cardinals still have a shot mathematically, but I'm seeing some bad body language from that team. If Pujols or Holliday aren't at the plate, you get the sense they have no chance to score. I'm not dismissing them, but they need to get hot in a hurry. And I don't think that's likely.
Jerry, I miss the days of reading daily Reds stories from you and Tim Sullivan. At the end of the day, do you see the Reds retaining Dusty. I think he makes a lot of bad, "old school baseball" decisions but I feel anyone they replace him with will likely be a "baseball guy" that thinks the same way Dusty does. That being said, his players really seem to enjoy playing for him and I think it'd be worth it to extend him 2 more seasons.
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Jeff, Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane (Or is it Fountain Street?). I think you pretty much nailed it with Dusty. He's no tactical wiz, but the players perform for him and I think he's gotten as much out of that club as you could expect this season. My guess is he gets a 2-year extension.
Luke (Saint Paul)
Hypothetically where would the Twins be on that list with Morneau healthy? I would think that they would have given the Yanks a run for their money
Jerry Crasnick (12:45 PM)
Luke, I seriously debated putting the Twins ahead of the Rangers even without Morneau. They can bang the ball around if they have to, but they're also pretty good at manufacturing runs. I wish I had as much confidence in their starting pitching.
Hello Jerry, what rule changes would you like to see implented in baseball? I personally would like to see the re-entry rule used like it is in amatuer baseball.
Jerry Crasnick (12:47 PM)
Patrick, Good question. I wouldn't mind seeing the rosters expand from 25 to 26. Teams used to carry 9 or 10 pitchers, and now they carry 12 or 13, so the benches have gotten seriously squeezed. (Although Cito Gaston never uses his bench no matter how many players he has on it).
Do you like the core in Pittsburgh (Tabata, Walker, McCutheon, Alvarez)? Seems to me they just need a manager.
Jerry Crasnick (12:49 PM)
Chris, I like the position player core in Pittsburgh, and I think they should be excited about drafting Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie this year. But now that the Pirates have bats, they don't have much big league-caliber pitching. They need to sync it up a little better. As for John Russell, it'll be interesting to see whether they bring him back. He's a pretty dry guy, and I can't imagine the season ticket holders are too revved up about that possibility.
Marc (Malden, MA)
A year ago, I was against eliminating the DH. Today, after seeing AL games get longer and longer, I am in favor of it.
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Marc, I've never been a big DH guy. But could you imagine how bad Seattle's offense would be with the pitcher hitting?
Bash on his splits all you want. There's not a manager in baseball who wouldn't want Cargo in their starting linup. Is it possible a player just feels more comfortable at home than on the road? Outside of Cargo, the Rox team numbers are not inflated at Coors anymore than years past. Maybe Cargo is just figuring it out.
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Steve, CarGo is terrific, but those split differentials are out of this world. It's weird considering Coors Field had become a less hitter-friendly park in recent years. I'm not kidding when I say it's time for another Denver Post investigation into the humidor.
whatever, avoid rockies questions but not sure how all you guys can discredit cargo for hitting in a hitters park and not give more credit to Ubaldo for pitching in a hitters park.
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Sean, Ubaldo, 9-1 at home, 3.35 ERA. 9-5 on the road, 2.30 ERA. So it hasn't had much impact on him. I honestly don't have an explanation for it. But the Rockies' big home-road team differential offensively is puzzling. I wish I had an answer for it.
If you put Morneau in, whom do yu take out of the lineup? Thome or Kubel? Thome is killing the ball.
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Philip, I have my doubts that Ron Gardenhire is going to have that problem. I'd be surprised if Morneau plays again this season.
Do you think if Omar Vizquel can reach 2800 hits in total via this season, he will make the HOF? Do you think he will play next year seeing the success he had this year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:58 PM)
Todd, The stat-heads will stage a revolt if Omar Vizquel makes the Hall of Fame, but to me, he deserves serious consideration. I still don't think baseball quantifies defense very well. If Vizqel wasn't as good as Ozzie, he sure as heck came close.
Haze (College Park)
Ubaldo is a ground-ball/strikeout pitcher. His park effects should be less than a flyball pitcher. More credit should go to Colorado management for matching the skills of their pitchers (they seem to be going after ground-ball types) to their park.
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
Haze, I'm sure that plays into it. But back in the good old days when I worked in Denver, the Rockies would bring in "groundball guys" and it still wouldn't work. That goes to show that Ubaldo not only fits the profile, but he has special stuff.
If you had to pick right now between Chase, Jimmy, and Ry How, which Philly from this era has the best chance at the HOF?
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
John, Great question. Off the top of my head, I'd say Utley, because he's such an amazing offensive performer at second base. But Rollins already has 1,700 plus hits, and Howard is in some historic company with his power. If the Phils can win another title this year, it could give a boost to all three guys down the road.
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everybody. Let's do it again next week.