Chat with Jerry Crasnick
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
Hi everybody, Looking forward to the MLB draft tonight. That's always a fun few hours. Let's begin the chat.
Albert Pujols (St Louis,)
Think everyone is still worried about me coming around?
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
Albert, I guess not. The track record said you were going to break out eventually. Unfortunately for the Cubs, it happened to come on their watch.
Jason (Nashville, TN)
Where did Matt Joyce come from and is he going away anytime soon?
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Jason, It's an interesting story. Joyce initially caught the Tigers' eye when he played for Florida Southern against Detroit in an exhibition game, and the Tigers drafted him in the 12th round. I've asked a few people about him, and nobody thinks he's a .340 hitter. But he's a powerfully built kid with a strong work ethic and a nice swing. I can see him being a consistent 20-25 homer and 80-90 RBI guy in the big leagues.
Will the Angels call up Mike Trout ?
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Marc, It's getting progressively tougher for Mike Scioscia to keep fending off the Trout questions every day. But the kid is so young, and it's tough to expect him to come up and be a savior for a floundering offense. I think the Angels will try to hold off until at least after the All-Star break. But hey, we've seen kids like Justin Upton, A-Rod and Griffey get the call at an awfully young age, so I wouldn't rule out seeing Trout in Anaheim sometime later this season.
Andrew Solomon (Cincinnati)
Can Aroldis Chapman come back to the Red's bullpen and make an instant impact to help the Red's chase the Central title? If so, when will he be back?
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Andrew, Chapman has been really awful in a few rehab outings with Triple-A Louisville. He's having a hard time finding the strike zone, so I don't see him coming up and helping the Reds until he gets a handle on his delivery and his control. It might be a while.
Samuel (Snohomish, WA)
I'm excited as a Mariners fan, not only do we have the 2nd pick in today's draft (Rendon/Starling/Bauer/Cole) but we're actually winning games. I know it's hard to think we can keep winning at this pace while not scoring very many runs, but our pitching has been pretty good, and we do have some options to help out in the minors...Ackley (.291/7hrs more bb's and k's) and Mike Carp (.330+/17hrs). What do you think of the Mariners recent surge and is there any way you feel they can sustain it to have a winning season?
Jerry Crasnick (1:07 PM)
Samuel, Typically I would say there's no way for the Mariners to hang around in the AL West with that offense. But this has been such an unpredictable season with the general decline in offenses overall -- it's produced some very unexpected parity. I still think the M's will finish below .500, but if they can start getting some offense out of Ichiro and Figgins, who knows?
Josh S. (Philly)
What do you make of chase utley so far this season?
Jerry Crasnick (1:09 PM)
Josh, Utley has been OK, given how much time he missed and the natural tendency for him to be a little rusty and tentative with that knee. He's been able to stay off the DL since his return, and that's the big thing. He's going to eventually find his rhythm with more ABs.
Mr. Crasnick thanks for your time, If you were an owner and had the chance to hire any GM and any manager (currently available or with a team, no restrictions) who would you hire?
Jerry Crasnick (1:11 PM)
Francisco, Wow, what an awesome question. I would probably hire Joe Maddon, because he's such an innovative thinker and a cool guy, and I think he really gets the most out of his talent. It would be fun just to sit around and talk classic rock music with him all the time. There are a lot of smart, innovative GMs out there, so that's a tough call. But I do think Maddon's boss, Andrew Friedman, does a great job with the resources available to him. Any other thoughts from people out there?
Time to panic for Indian fans?
Jerry Crasnick (1:13 PM)
Sally, Given the pessimistic nature of Indians fans, it's always a good time to panic. On a positive note, the starting pitching has still been pretty good. The Tribe was destined to come back to earth eventually once the schedule got tougher. Now we'll see how Manny Acta gets that team to respond during its first significant bout of adversity.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
As long as Braun and Hart are healthy it looks like Nyjer Morgan and Carlos Gomez are going to share centerfield duties for the rest of the season for the Milwaukee Brewers. Although it is a much smaller sample size, it looks like Morgan is a better option than Gomez in center for the Brewers. Who would you play in center, Morgan or Gomez?
Jerry Crasnick (1:15 PM)
Cheesehead, I don't think either guy is the 500-600 at bat type. Gomez is too much of a free swinger and doesn't make the most of his speed, and the more you play Nyjer Morgan, the more he's going to wear down and be overexposed. So I'd play Morgan 4-5 times a week as the lefty bat, and give Gomez 2-3 starts per week.
I just wanted to get your opinion on who is the best overall catcher in the Majors? My pick is Brian McCann, to note he has a higher WAR threw 5 seasons than HoFer's Yogi and Bench did. Cheers.
Jerry Crasnick (1:17 PM)
Jonny, (This isn't Jonny Venters, is it?). You could do a lot worse than Brian McCann. Joe Mauer, Buster Posey and even Matt Wieters and Carlos Santana seem to get more attention, but McCann just keeps rolling along, driving in runs and posting the best OPS year in and year out among big league catchers. I was kind of surprised he didn't get picked in ESPN's "Franchise Player Draft" last week. He's a multiple All-Star, but still underrated in my book.
Josh S. (Philly)
How would you grade the phillies rotation so far this season?
Jerry Crasnick (1:19 PM)
Josh, I'd give them a B-plus. Halladay and Hamels have been terrific, Oswalt has been good even though he missed some time, and Lee has tossed in 3 or 4 clunkers but certainly hasn't been bad. They've helped the team keep winning even though the offense has been very suspect to this point.
Whatever happened to Garrett Wittels ? I know the hitting streak ended in February and that he had some off the field issues. Does he have a chance of being drafted or did the off the field issues end that chance ? If he is in a position to be drafted, what round do you think he would go in ?
Jerry Crasnick (1:21 PM)
Danny, I checked Baseball America's site and they have Wittels as the 42nd best prospect in the state of Florida, so it looks as if he'll have to wait a while. He's got a nice bat, but he doesn't have much power or speed, and nobody knows exactly where he's going to play. Throw in his off-field issues (a pending rape charge), and there's no need for a team to rush to draft him.
Miguel Cabrera (Detroit)
Speaking of guys who didn't get picked in ESPN's Franchise Player Draft...I understand I have some off the field issues but it's never affected my play, I'm only 28, and I've been the second best right handed hitter over the last 5 years.
Jerry Crasnick (1:22 PM)
Miggy, Yep, you definitely have a beef. I picked Starlin Castro with the 19th choice, but I also considered you, Mike Stanton, Adrian Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw, to name a few.
Can you do some digging and find out where Schoenfield's hatred for the Phillies comes from?
Jerry Crasnick (1:22 PM)
Mike, Just my opinion, but David Schoenfield is such a nice guy, I don't think it's possible for him to hate anybody.
Where do you see the Brewers with Prince fielder when that trade deadline approches?
Jerry Crasnick (1:24 PM)
Steve, Unless the Brewers pull a complete dive, Prince will spend the rest of 2011 in a Milwaukee uniform. That team was built to contend this season, and Fielder is obviously a huge part of that effort.
I guess getting a ws ring doesnt make you smart giants gm what out of line on his comments concerning cousins,it was terrible what happen to posey but not a dirty play.If it was a back up cather nobody would be saying a word.I saw ty wiggington collide with a catcher a few yrs ago when he was with pittsburg it was like getting hit by a truck and not one word was said,Sabaen needs to shut up.
Jerry Crasnick (1:26 PM)
Jim. I agree. I have a lot of respect for Brian Sabean, but he made a bad move by prolonging this thing and publicly wishing ill to Scott Cousins. I've gone back over that video a bunch of times, and I just don't agree that Cousins did anything malicious. It's easy to say it after the fact. But when a play is so bang-bang like that, it's hard to reflect in hindsight and fault a runner for not sliding because a "sliver" of the plate was available to him.
John (New Jersey)
For Comeback POY, I was thinking Lance Berkman and Russell Martin. Who do you have winning?
Jerry Crasnick (1:27 PM)
John, Those are a couple of good names. One other one on the list should be Kevin Correia, who had a very rough 2010 season because of the death of his brother, and is now tied for the MLB lead with eight victories -- for the Pirates, no less. I'm sure we're missing some other candidates. Any thoughts, people?
Undertaker's Dong (Parts Unknown)
Bartolo for CPOY
Jerry Crasnick (1:28 PM)
Yep, Bartolo is another possibility.
Tuck(anniston,al) [via mobile]
any word on hayward & mcclouth returns, and do you see chris medlin starting anytime this season or will he be a reliever
Jerry Crasnick (1:29 PM)
Tuck, Kris Medlen had his Tommy John surgery last August, so I don't see him making a significant contribution in Atlanta this season. Heyward and McLouth have both started their rehabs in Florida, but the're apparently a little ways away.
Jerry: Your thoughts on A.Rizzo and a call up to Padres! Will he be closer to a B.Wallace or Freeman type player at 1B and how do you see him performing?
Jerry Crasnick (1:31 PM)
David, I had a chance to interview Anthony Rizzo in spring training, and he's a really big, strong kid. He's going to be more of a power threat than Wallace (by a lot) and Freeman. The question is, how much will Petco Park put a damper on his home run numbers? It will be fun to find out. With Brad Hawpe already taking more fly balls, it won't be long until Rizzo's debut with the Padres.
Assuming Heyward can eventually stay healthy, do you still rank him ahead of Stanton?
Jerry Crasnick (1:32 PM)
Richard, It depends on what you're looking for. Heyward is the better base stealer and defender, but Stanton looks like a consistent 40 home run guy. It's scary to think they could have been in the same outfield in Florida
Alon (Brooklyn, NY)
What do you think the long term potential is for Turner and Gee?
Jerry Crasnick (1:34 PM)
Alon, I think Gee qualifies as a good back-of-the rotation innings eater and Turner is the classic scrappy, gamer, knows-how-to-play type. Translation: They're not guys you can build your team around, but both have the chance to be significant contributors to a big league club.
Jerry, I asked you a few weeks ago if I could get excited about Vogelsong yet and you more or less said no. Now, I don't care what you say, the guy's been pretty exciting.
Jerry Crasnick (1:36 PM)
Rich, Yep, he's done a heck of a job. I love stories about guys who bust out at age 33. But typically there's a reason why it took them so long, and they have a hard time maintaining that success. We'll see with Ryan Vogelsong, but props to him for his performance so far in San Francisco.
John (New Jersey)
Robinson Cano is becoming not only a fan favorite, but, in what I believe, one of the top 5 second baseman in the league. Where do you see him a few years down the road? Both in the eyes of the organization and fans, and in the lineup.
Jerry Crasnick (1:38 PM)
John, One of the top 5 second basemen in the league is seriously underrating him. He's a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate. And his defense is underrated, too. Rangers manager Ron Washington, a major authority on infield defense, absolutely raves about Cano's glove. That's about as good as an endorsement can get.
Seth A (Orion, IL)
Does Mike Quade make it through the season? Every serious Cubs fan I talk to is not a fan of his, and giving up back-to-back walk-off home runs in extra innings to Albert Pujols when you're in situations where he should not see a pitch is a Cardinal* Sin. Plus, nothing he's doing is working. He will lose the clubhouse very quickly.
Jerry Crasnick (1:40 PM)
Seth, I think it's tough to lay the Cubs' problems solely at Mike Quade's feet. And it would be awfully tough for Jim Hendry to hire Quade over Ryne Sandberg and sack him midway through the season because he's "lost the clubhouse." Talk about a PR debacle.
Hey Jerry, do you think the Braves will have to make a trade for offensive help? Do you think Uggla breaks out, Heyward comes back and makes a impact?
Jerry Crasnick (1:42 PM)
Ryan, So many contending clubs are offensively-challenged this year -- and there's so much parity -- I think it'll be tough for Frank Wren to swing a deal for an impact bat. Heyward and McLouth will both be back relatively soon. And Dan Uggla has to be better than a .170 hitter. I look for him to click it in and go on a tear relately soon. He's been painful to watch so far.
Dan (New Jersey)
Any chance Adam Dunn snaps out of this funk he has been in, especially versus lefties?
Jerry Crasnick (1:44 PM)
Dan, It's weird how we get so many questions on slumping hitters -- Uggla, Pujols, Ichiro, Dunn and Rios, Vernon Wells. Etc. Etc. That's just the way it's working in this season of no offense. I have to think a combination of factors -- the change in leagues, the shift to DH and the early appendectomy -- have taken a toll on Adam Dunn. But there's no way the guy can be this bad all season. He's been absolutely dreadful.
Am I the only Chicago Cubs fan that knew this was a transition year? I mean, fans...there is a plan here, as tough as it is to see. The Cubs are getting some of these terrible contracts off the books. If anyone thought they'd win the division, they were delusional.
Jerry Crasnick (1:46 PM)
Goose, You're right -- the Cubs need to get some bad contracts off the books, and they have to be heartened by what they've seen from Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney. But it's not as if the farm system is loaded -- like, say, Kansas City's -- and they're going to be great in a year or two. It's going to take a while, and Cubs fans are running out of patience with Jim Hendry, correct?
Who has the higher upside, Freeman or Ike Davis? Do you see either having 25-30 HR/year power?
Jerry Crasnick (1:47 PM)
Ryan, Just from people I've talked to, I think Ike Davis has more power right now. But Freeman is very young and has the potential to fill out. I can see both those guys being 25-plus homer men over the long-term.
With all the "Derek Jeter is washed up" stories out there, where's the Dustin Pedroria stories? Dude is batting .240 a third of the way through the season.
Jerry Crasnick (1:48 PM)
Joe, Dustin Pedroia is 7 or 8 years younger than Derek Jeter. I'm sure his hard-nosed style takes a toll on his body, but I'd have a hard time calling him "washed up" after two mediocre months.
Jerry what do you think about the D-BACKS are they going to make it to the playoffs?
Jerry Crasnick (1:51 PM)
Bo, I'm out of the prediction business. I thought the Rockies were going to win that division, and they're like 17-30 after an awesome start. Kirk Gibson and his staff have changed the mindset out there and the D-backs have a good enough assemblage of position players to hang around the top of the NL West for a while. If the rotation of Kennedy, Hudson & Co. can keep pitching this way, I can see them being in the mix in September.
Did Carlos Zambrano make an unofficial trade request with his most recent tirade? Could you see any team besides the Yankees in play for him?
Jerry Crasnick (1:52 PM)
Mo, I'm not sure that Carlos Zambrano ever does anything subtly or unofficially. If he wanted to be traded, he probably would have just come out and said it. On the other hand ... blasting a teammate and causing a rift in the clubhouse doesn't exactly help the general manager's leverage in trying to swing a deal for you.
Ellsbury for CPOY? Also, please choose one for 2012 - Jesus Montero or Trout? Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (1:53 PM)
Sam, Yep, Jacoby Ellsbury is another CPOY candidate in light of all the time he missed with rib problems last year. As for 2012, I'll go with Mike Trout. If Jesus Montero is strictly a DH, how and when is he going to get a chance to collect 500-plus at-bats as a Yankee?
Two Questions:1) Are you working on a new book right now?2) Is Alex Anthopoulos the grand slam winner for Executive of the Year this year?
Jerry Crasnick (1:55 PM)
Anthony, 1) I'm not working on another book right now, but thanks for asking. 2) Alex Anthopoulos has done a fine job in Toronto, but if Arizona wins the NL West, Kevin Towers will get some support. He really turned over that roster in the offseason. And I'm sure there are a few other GM candidates who will be in the mix.
Nora (St. Louis)
Please rank the following sandwiches for the rest of the year: reuben, ham and swiss, meatball.
Jerry Crasnick (1:56 PM)
Nora, Meatball, reuben (as opposed to Ruben Amaro), ham and swiss.
This Zambrano story is way overplayed.
Jerry Crasnick (1:57 PM)
Tom, Yep. But when you combine a pitcher with a history of volatility with an underachieving Cubs team, it was predictable. On a positive note, at least people aren't still talking about Buster Posey, Brian Sabean and Scott Cousins.
Interesting comment about Maddon. I think he lost the game yesterday bringing Howell into a leverage situation he clearly is not ready to handle. Got away with against Texas last, blew up in his face yesterday and he insists he'll keep doing it. To me he's Tony LaRussa's pleasant doppelganger.
Jerry Crasnick (1:59 PM)
Joe, I'm posting this response simply because I have a lot of respect for a guy who uses the word "doppleganger." But I still like Joe Maddon. Have you see what he's got to work with in that bullpen?
What is your take on Pineda's potenial?
Jerry Crasnick (1:59 PM)
Jim, Huge upside. I picked him as my AL Rookie of the Year. I'm amazed at how consistent a strike-thrower the kid is for such a hard thrower.
Ever been to the Negro Baseball Meuseum in KC? It's pretty amazing.
Jerry Crasnick (2:00 PM)
Mike, I went years and years ago, but it's been a while.
Was that Cano question from 2006?
Jerry Crasnick (2:01 PM)
Bobby, He's 28 and has 12 homers and a .514 slugging percentage as a second baseman, so I think he's still pretty good.
Jerry Crasnick (2:02 PM)
Hey, everybody. I've got to run, but thanks for the questions. Let's do it again next week.