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)
Hey everybody, It's time for this week's chat. Don't be shy with the questions. I promise not to "go all Serena Williams" if I see one I don't like. Let's get started.
Bill (Raleigh, NC)
Can the Tigers overtake the Yankees and have home-field throughout the AL playoffs?
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Bill, The Tigers are five games out in the loss column with less than 20 to play, so I don't see it happening. What are the chances that the Red Sox would collapse, and the Yankees would suddenly collapse as well? That's just too much ground to make up in too short a time.
Wow, the Tigers are really clicking. I mean they are getting contributions from everyone and everywhere - starting pitchers, relievers, hitters, you name it. Dare I say they can catch the Yankees in the AL for homefield?
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Shawn, I know this is basically a duplicate of the previous question. I just wanted to point out that the Tigers have a pretty easy sked down the stretch -- with the White Sox, A's, Royals, Orioles and Indians. So there's a real chance for that team to build up some momentum heading into the playoffs.
Will the Rays give Matt Moore a legitamite shot in the rotation next year? Or will they hold him back until the middle of the year to keep his arbitration clock from kicking in?
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Steve, From every scout and talent evaluator I've talked to, Matt Moore is the real deal, and he has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. So I would be surprised to see the Rays play the "service time" game with him and send him back down next spring if he pitches well in September and holds his own in the Grapefruit League. If he's as good as advertised, he's here to stay.
MLBfan21 (Kansas City, MO)
Besides Cubs and Orioles, what other GM jobs do you see opening up this off-season?
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
MLBfan, Ed Wade's contract runs through the 2012 season. But the Astros are 49-97 and new ownership is coming in, so I don't think he can feel too secure. In addition, there would be an opening if Billy Beane, Theo Epstein, Brian Cashman or one of the established GMs leaves for Chicago. But I honestly don't expect that to happen.
Cubs GM - any new news? Seems like Ricketts is keeping this one to himself. Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (1:08 PM)
Gene, In the end, I wouldn't be surprised if Cashman, Beane, Epstein & Co. stay put and Ricketts winds up choosing from candidates like Josh Byrnes, Ned Colletti and Rick Hahn. He'll find a good GM out of that group -- it just might not be the big splash name that he appears to crave.
Can the Pirates be successful next year with their current roster?
Jerry Crasnick (1:10 PM)
Nick, Define "successful." Look, they made some progress this year, but they're still going to finish with between 85 and 90 losses. My big concern is that they really haven't developed another All-Star position player to complement Andrew McCutchen. Is Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata or Neal Walker going to be that guy? I'm not sure about that. If Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon turn out to be the real deal, that will help. But they're not there yet.
Is there anything we can take away from the Phillies winning 3 out of 4 from the Brewers in Milwaukee this weekend?
Jerry Crasnick (1:12 PM)
John, When the Phillies go into Milwaukee and torch a Brewers team that was 50-16 at home (or whatever) without Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard sitting out a couple of games, it just further establishes their dominance. I have some concerns about the back of the Philadelphia bullpen, but right now it's the Phillies and everybody else -- and that includes both leagues, not just the NL.
Stephen (Narberth, PA)
I know you see the Phillies quite a bit..do you give any creedence to the accusations (beginning in 2007 with the Mets) that the Phillies' offense has benefited from stealing signs? It is clear that their production has declined over the past 3+ years.
Jerry Crasnick (1:13 PM)
Stephen, If they're stealing signs, wouldn't their offense have improved over the past three years -- not declined. I don't think there's anything to it. Stealing signs certainly isn't helping Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee.
Mike (San Diego)
Between his play and how the Rays have made up so much ground recently, don't we need to keep asking why the heck the Rays kept Desmond Jennings in AAA for so long?
Jerry Crasnick (1:15 PM)
Mike, I guess you could, but it's not an exact science. Look at young outfielders like Delmon Young or Jeff Francoeur or Cameron Maybin. They came up and struggled, and in some cases it took a long time for them to recover. Maybe we should look at it the other way and praise the Rays for the way they handled Jennings' development. When he came up, he sure was ready.
Mike (San Diego)
I am a big Cardinals fan, but I hate that they're making me care about this season again. Two weeks ago, I had buried them, and while I still think they're just prolonging the inevitable, they're giving me hope. Do you think they have any chance to overtake the Braves?
Jerry Crasnick (1:18 PM)
Mike, The problem with trying to make up this much ground in such a hurry is, you can't afford a single misstep. Look at the Angels -- they keep creeping within a game or two of the Rangers, but it's a little harder actually catching and passing a team. I just don't thing the Cardinals have enough time to catch the Braves.
John (Spring Hill Fl)
I get Epstein, Cashman and Silverman staying where they are.ButWhy would Beane want to stay in Oaskland?
Jerry Crasnick (1:19 PM)
John,As Jayson Stark pointed out the other day, Billy Beane has a lot of freedom to run the team in Oakland, while meshing his side interests in soccer and Wall Street and all sorts of other things. He also has an ownership interest in the team. There are special challeges in Oakland. But he doesn't have to deal with all the second-guessing and lugging around a century's worth of fan anguish, either.
Jason Heyward (Atlanta)
Will I ever be a starteror am I dewstined to be a bench player?
Jerry Crasnick (1:21 PM)
Jason, I talked to some Braves people when they were in Philly last week, and they think you'll be fine. You had a lot of success very quickly, then you struggled for the first time in a fishbowl, and then you suffered some injuries and made some changes in your swing that didn't work out. It's not always as easy as it appears when you break in at age 20 with a splash.
Do you think I will like Ozzie Guillen?
Jerry Crasnick (1:22 PM)
Hanley, Hopefully -- although it doesn't really matter how much you like him. If he becomes your new manager, you just need to stay in the lineup, be productive and embrace a leadership role. We saw how things worked out for Fredi Gonzalez and Edwin Rodriguez when you didn't.
Derek Lowe (Atlanta)
Will anyone take me off the Braves hands this offseason?
Jerry Crasnick (1:24 PM)
Derek, They've tried, but $16 million is an awful lot of money for a back end of the rotation starter. Hey, your contract still looks more team-friendly than A.J. Burnett's deal with the Yankees.
Justin (Redlands, CA)
Didn't the Angels just prove that the Yankees are going to have a much harder time in the postseason than most people expect? Good pitching almost always beats good hitting in the postseason and the Angels starting pitching was able to make the Yankees look silly over the weekend.
Jerry Crasnick (1:25 PM)
Justin, As the Giants showed last year, a really good staff can carry a team through October -- and the Angels fit the description. But it's not going to matter if they can't find a way to catch and pass the Rangers.
Clay Buchholz (Boston)
Do you think I will pitch again this season?
Jerry Crasnick (1:26 PM)
Clay, I'm dubious. Even Theo Epstein seems to acknowledge that if you're going to pitch, you don't have the endurance at this point to pitch in the rotation. I have a tough time envisioning you stepping up and playing a significant role.
How big of a dissapointment would it be, if the Red Sox miss the playoffs this season? Would there be big changes for next year?
Jerry Crasnick (1:28 PM)
Jim, Given the expectations, it would be a huge disappointment. But the Patriots will probably go 13-3 this season, so that might help cushion the blow. I'm not sure how many "big changes" they can make. It's not as if somebody is going to take Carl Crawford and John Lackey off their hands and pick up the entire contracts. And let's not forget, that team was pretty dominant until the pitching injuries kicked in.
You're nuts if you think the Phillies are that much better than the Yanks/Rays/Sox. The competition they face in the NL is a joke...
Jerry Crasnick (1:29 PM)
Stack, You can think that if you want, but Charlie Manuel's biggest task is choosing between multiple All-Star Roy Oswalt and 11-1 Vance Worley as his fourth starter. Do you really think Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels aren't capable of shutting down American League lineups? Halladay and Lee fared pretty well in the AL before, as I recall.
Can the Angels or Rays catch and pass the Red Sox?
Jerry Crasnick (1:30 PM)
David, I know it's fashionable to panic over the Red Sox, but they still have 10 home games left and seven games remaining with Baltimore. I think everybody is going to feel better once they notch a couple of 11-6 victories at Fenway. They might be shaky in the postseason, but I think they'll get there.
If you were Fredi Gonzalez would you put Lowe in the bullpen and go with the young gun Teheran. Lowe has proven he can not go 6 innings and give up less then 4 runs. Why throw the year away with this clown?
Jerry Crasnick (1:33 PM)
DJ, Lowe was lights-out in September and the postseason last year, so I think the Braves are hoping he can rediscover that magic this year. You know how big league managers are: They'd rather stick with the proven commodity until all else fails rather than heap an enormous amount of pressure on a young kid in a big spot. It's a lot to ask of Julio Teheran in September. I still think the Braves will get settled down and make the playoffs.
Tom (Santa Barbara, CA)
Aren't the Angels in good shape as long as they are within 1 game of the Rangers heading into the final 3 game series against Texas in Anaheim? The Rangers rotation seems to be fading down the stretch. Wouldn't a 4-man rotation of Weaver, Haren, Santana, Williams be the best any AL team could put forward?
Jerry Crasnick (1:34 PM)
Tom, If the Angels can keep it close and make that series meaningful, that's all they can ask. As for 1-3, yeah, that's the best in the AL. (I'll withhold judgment until I see a couple more outings from Jerome Williams)
Jerry, if you're Alex Anthopoulous what do you do to make the Jays serious playoff contenders next year?
Jerry Crasnick (1:37 PM)
Anthony, They've dumped the Rios and Wells contracts and brought in kids like Lawrie, Escobar and Rasmus, so it's just a matter of staying the course and hoping the young pitching develops. Brandon Morrow has a chance to be a nice big league starter. But they need Henderson Alvarez and Kyle Drabek to keep developing. As I've mentioned previously, it's awfully tough for young starters to develop and grow in the AL East. Just look at Baltimore's kids.
Ethan (Santa Monica, CA)
In 5 years, who is the better player: Mike Trout or Desmond Jennings?
Jerry Crasnick (1:38 PM)
Ethan, Wow, that's a heck of a choice. I'm going to have to go with Mike Trout. I talked to a bunch of people at the Futures Game, and you'd think that kid was the second coming of Mickey Mantle. Some people think he's going to be a better all-around player than Bryce Harper (who is going to be a monster at the plate).
You think the tigers match up well against the Yankees in the postseason? I don't think the Tigers want to face the Rays in the postseason in the Red Sox collapse
Jerry Crasnick (1:39 PM)
RK, I think when Justin Verlander is pitching twice in a five-game series, the Tigers might match up well against the 1927 Yankees.
James (London, ON) [via mobile]
What do you think AA is going to do this off-season? Lean towards a serious play-off run or stay focused on 2013 and beyond? With a closer and some more improvement from the kids they shouldn't be too far off next season.
Jerry Crasnick (1:42 PM)
James, Anthopoulos, like Andrew Friedman in Tampa Bay, has a knack for being creative while at the same time sticking to his long-range plan. He's not building the Jays to be a nice, 83 to 85 win team in the AL East. He wants to contend, and that's going to take some elite pitching. Outside of Ricky Romero, the Jays aren't there yet. They still need to be patient to wait for the other arms to develop. As to your question, I don't see him as a huge, free agent spender.
Do you think MLB executives ever look at requests and discuss the potential backlash that can happen with a decision - such as the FDNY hat issue with the Mets this weekend?
Jerry Crasnick (1:43 PM)
Todd,I would be surprised if Bud Selig and his people weren't discussing the negative PR backlash they received over the whole Mets hat thing this week, if that's what you mean. I'm not sure if it's going to change any policies. But they read everything that's written.
Joey Votto (Cincinnati)
How much better would my counting stat numbers be if I had real hitters in front of me for an entire season? All the best,Joey.
Jerry Crasnick (1:45 PM)
Joey, You're still going to finish .320-30-100 with an OPS close to 1.000. If that's a "down" year, I know a slew of othe big league hitters who would be ecstatic with it. You certainly didn't hurt your future free agent payday with your performance this year.
Will (Newport Beach, CA)
If the Halos miss the postseason is Tony Reagins job in jeopardy? Taking on that Vernon Wells contract hasn't panned out one bit, especially when you consider that it blocks Mike Trout. With that being said, rumor has it that Mike Scioscia is the one that really calls the shots in Anaheim. Have you ever heard of a team having a GM as a figurehead, while the manager is the one making the majority of personel decisions?
Jerry Crasnick (1:47 PM)
Will, It's a strange dynamic there in Anaheim, no doubt (and I think Mike Scioscia has more say in moves than a lot of managers). But I don't see this season as an indictment of Tony Reagins' job performance. If somebody told you in March that the Angels would be nipping at the Rangers' heels in mid-September, wouldn't you have taken that? The Halos have surpassed expectations this year; seems like a weird time to consider firing the GM.
Pretending to be an athlete (Anywhere)
Do your readers think by posing as a pro athlete you will take their question or are the pro athletes actually interested in what you have to comment on?
Jerry Crasnick (1:48 PM)
Pretending, No, I think they're just poseurs. It's sort of like the "open letter" ploy that columnists use sometimes -- just in abbreviated form.
Russ (Cape Porpoise, ME)
Continuing the theme of ex-Shysterball's power ranking, what band/musician would you equate yourself to? How about John Hiatt?
Jerry Crasnick (1:50 PM)
Russ, Wow, that's a good one. I enjoy Steve Earle's music. But I have a decidedly more sedate lifestyle than that guy. It's an exciting day for me if I mow the lawn and catch a movie with the wife.
Will (Newport Beach, CA)
I'm pretty sure the Angels expected to win the division, or else they don't trade for a guy making $24MM/yr. Without that trade the Angels are in first place, with Napoli's 4+WAR instead of Wells' -WAR.
Jerry Crasnick (1:52 PM)
Will, No question it was a bad, misguided move. I didn't mean to dispute that. When every blogger and on-line analyst rushes to belittle a trade the second it's made, that's never a good sign. But if Scioscia is the guy calling the shots, as you suggest, why punish Reagins for it?
Jose Bautista (Toronto)
How much better would my counting stat numbers be if I had real hitters in front of me for an entire season? All the best, Joey Bats.
Jerry Crasnick (1:52 PM)
Jose, This isn't really you, is it? Something tells me this is just a regular Toronto fan pretending to be you. I have that happen occasionally.
Is Adam Dunn finished? I have never seen this big of a drop in talent before.
Jerry Crasnick (1:54 PM)
Sean, I hope not (and Kenny Williams certainly hopes not). I don't know if we even have a precedent for something like this -- a guy who's 31 years old to fall off the cliff the minute his feet touch down in a new city. I love Adam Dunn as a guy -- the Big Donkey. But he has a long, tough winter of introspection ahead.
El Hombre (St. Louis)
Jerry, I want to invite you to my birthday party. I'm going to be, uh......
Jerry Crasnick (1:55 PM)
El Hombre, ... Uhh, whatever Baseball-reference.com and the St. Louis Cardinals media guy say you are, I assume.
B dawg brewer (San Jose)
What improvements can the Giants make in the off season, to improve their horrific offense.
Jerry Crasnick (1:56 PM)
B dawg, Getting Buster Posey back will make for a huge improvement, and I've gotta assume that Brandon Belt comes into camp ready to go as the everyday first baseman. That's a nice start.
Craig (Minneapolis, Mn)
Any reason to be an optimistic Astro in the next 5 years? Farm system improvement? Big Leaque squad improved? Biggio and/or Bagwell make the HOF? Anything?
Jerry Crasnick (1:57 PM)
Craig, Well, I really do like Brad Mills. He's going to be a good manager if the Astros stick with him. Biggio will make the Hall of Fame, and Bagwell's vote total last year (around 40 percent) wasn't as bad as people made it out to be. But the farm system is weak, and we'll see what kind of vision new ownership has. It's going to be a long, hard climb, unfortunately.
Paul (Albany, OR)
How frustrating is it for a team like the Dodgers to win 15 out of 18 and LOSE a half game in the standings to Arizona? If they could have picked up 7 games in that time we might be wondering if they had some magic in them.
Jerry Crasnick (1:59 PM)
Paul, When you think about it, Don Mattingly has done a pretty nice job holding that team together through all the divorce headlines and other issues swirling around since day one. And having Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw doesn't hurt.
Any books, other than yours as I have already read it, would you suggest I take on a long flight?
Jerry Crasnick (2:00 PM)
Mike, I loved "Hellhound on his Trail" by Hampton Sides. And "Born to Run" was also very good. My pal Jim Caple recommends Leigh Montville's Evel Knievel biography, so that's up next.
Will (Newport Beach, CA)
I agree about it not being fair to punish Reagins, but maybe it's time to bring in a GM with total authority when it comes to making decisions. If Reagins has already been castrated, there's really no way for him to take over full control.
Jerry Crasnick (2:01 PM)
Will, That's a different question: Does Arte Moreno want to go with a different front office/leadership type model? The Angels have generally been pretty successful, so I don't see anything earth-shattering. But I'm not privy to Moreno's thinking on the subject.
If resigning Cordero means Chapman getting a shot at the rotation, do you do it? Enough with this radar gun sideshow b.s.
Jerry Crasnick (2:02 PM)
Roman, I'd like to see Chapman in a more expanded role, but he has 37 walks in 44 innings this year. Does he have the command to be a closer or a starter?
Who should i expect to see pitching game 2 in the playoffs, Fister or Scherzer?
Jerry Crasnick (2:03 PM)
Kevin, My guess would be Scherzer. He's had some clunkers, but when he's on, his stuff is good enough to stifle any lineup.
Alex Anthopoulos has had a pretty brilliant 2011, dating back to the Vernon Wells deal, but obviously, the Jays are not playoff contenders. Does he have a shot at Executive of the Year?
Jerry Crasnick (2:05 PM)
Bret, Very interesting question. Doug Melvin in Milwaukee might get some support. It's tough to give Kevin Towers the Exec of the Year award in Arizona, since Josh Byrnes assembled that team. Ruben Amaro has had a lot of money to work with in Philly, but that team is going to win 105 games, and his big ticket acquisitions have worked out quite well, wouldn't you say?
Can we agree that this has been a wasted year in Chapman's development? Wouldn't starting for Louisville have been a more sensible option to figure out if he can harness his pitches? I doubt this'll be posted, so just use telepathy to answer.
Jerry Crasnick (2:07 PM)
Roman, I don't know if it was a wasted year. Bryan Price is a great pitching coach, so being around him is never a "waste." This season just proves that pitching in the big leagues isn't easy -- even for a kid with a 103 mph fastball.
Jerry, I believe you may have confused Francoeur with someone else when you said he struggled when he first came up. Frenchy was fantastic his first couple of months in the bigs (SI called him the Natural). He's just struggled ever since. Easy mistake.
Jerry Crasnick (2:08 PM)
Jason, Well, you get the point. Francoeur struggled once opposing pitchers realized he would swing at everything and stopped throwing him strikes. It's a game of adjustments, as the scouts like to say. And Heyward still needs to make some.
Ziggy (Walnut Creek, CA)
Do you think payroll flexibility breeds incompetence? It seems like the more money teams have to spend, the more willing they are to make awful moves.
Jerry Crasnick (2:10 PM)
Ziggy, I guess that's true. Just ask the Giants about Barry Zito's $126 million deal, or former Cubs GM Jim Hendry about Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano et al. A team can't spend money imprudently if it has no money to spend. But I still think some of those small market GMs would love the opportunity to try.
Will J.P. Arencibia get any ROY consideration?
Jerry Crasnick (2:11 PM)
Aaron, I don't think he has much of a chance with guys like Mark Trumbo, Ivan Nova and Jeremy Hellickson in the mix, to name a few. But he's shown some impressive pop.
Jerry Crasnick (2:12 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everybody. It was fun. Let's do it again soon.