Chat with Jerry Crasnick
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, 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 Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
Hey folks, It was a lot of fun being in Baltimore for the great Josh Hamilton extravaganza. Looking forward to seeing Yu Darvish go head to head with C.J. Wilson tonight. Let's start the chat ... Oh yeah, before I forget, I accidentally deleted a question from Rich about the post Pujols-La Russa dynamic in St. Louis. If you want to re-send it, Rich, I'll try to get to it.
Steve (Sinking Spring)
Heard the Phillies and Hamels have not had talks lately....What is your gut felling, resign or with another club? Also, what are the yrs & $$$ you think he gets?
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Steve, I don't have a great vibe about Cole Hamels re-signing with the Phillies. The Matt Cain contract raised the stakes, and I just don't get the sense that Ruben Amaro regards Hamels as a $125 million starter. A lot of other teams probably will, which makes me think he's going the free agent route and signing somewhere else. Just my opinion.
Jerry, what are you hearing about Michael Morse?
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
Garrett, Morse is about 3 weeks into a 6-week injury, which means he's hoping to return in early June. But lat injuries are tricky things, and he's a very big, strong guy, which means he puts a lot of effort into that swing. So I wouldn't etch the early June return in stone just yet.
Frank (New Orleans)
Who gets the axe when Freddy Sanchez returns?
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Frank, I assume it'll be Conor Gillaspie, who was called up when Pablo Sandoval got hurt. Interestingly, the Giants are looking at playing Sanchez at third base when he returns. Hey, it's worth a shot.
Mr. Crasnick, after I saw what Josh B. said yesterday, I wonder if there is something Major Sports could do to educate their players. So many lose all their money (Canseco, Rodman, Iverson, etc) or make so poor decisions that it's really sad to have that kind of rol models. For every C. Ripken jr we have so many DUI's, domestic violence... Thanks
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Famavizca, Major League Baseball actually has a program where it tries to educate minor leaguers on all this stuff. Then they get to the big leagues, make millions and millions, and just do whatever they feel like ... On the other hand, Josh Beckett being tone deaf to fan and media discontent is a whole different issue from, say, Delmon Young's problems. It's mixing apples and oranges. (Or pick your other favorite fruits)
Sean Colvin (Dana Point)
The Angels will pick it up...right?
Jake Solomon (Florida)
Whats going on with Omar Infanted??? He is on fire. What are the chances Christian Yelich has his debut in 2012
Shane (Tampa Bay)
Was Bobby V really the best fit in Boston? And, why not let Francona stay for another year after the horrible end to the season? He had a great season just not the end.
Shane (Tampa Bay)
Do you think that the Orioles have what it takes to finish the year strong? And, where do you place them by the All-Star break?
Jerry Crasnick (1:09 PM)
Shane, The Orioles have some interesting pieces, but I have a hard time seeing the starting pitching holding up in that division. Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz haven't shown the ability to be consistent from one start to the next. Chris Tillman can't get out of Triple A, and Dylan Bundy is at least a year away.
Just want it on record that even at 19-12 we still can't stand Fredi. Why does he always give McCann a day off against righties? He does some really goofy things.
Jerry Crasnick (1:10 PM)
CC, I'll say it again: I get more critical emails and questions about Fredi Gonzalez than any other manager. It's not even close. Dusty Baker has second place nailed down, too.
Huge fan of Scott Rolen. But he looks kinda done (at the plate, still a GGer at 3b). What to the scouts say?
Jerry Crasnick (1:11 PM)
Dave, He's a big guy, he's had a lot of injuries (including back problems), and he's 37 years old. So yeah, the consensus is that he's slipped some. You just hope in that lineup, with guys like Votto and Bruce, he doesn't have to be the main cog now, anyway.
Is Jake Peavy the best pitcher in the AL so far?
Jerry Crasnick (1:13 PM)
Scott, I think I'd go with Jered Weaver and Felix Hernandez ahead of Peavy. But he's been terrific. His performance is a real tribute to his competitiveness, considering the medical ordeal he went through.
Jon (New Orleans)
Do you see the Astros being able to stay around .500 for the rest of the season? They've been a pleasant surprise so far this year.
Jerry Crasnick (1:15 PM)
Jon, If they go 73-89, Brad Mills should be considered for Manager of the Year. They do have some decent starting pitching and a pretty good closer in Brett Myers. But I think Jeff Luhnow is smart enough to sell off his veteran pieces at the deadline and collect some prospects if the opportunity arises. That's the way they need to go. (And it's not going to help their record this season).
Thoughts on Middlebrooks?
Jerry Crasnick (1:16 PM)
Knish, I'm very impressed with what I've seen so far. The kid looks like he belongs.
Cory Smith (Charlotte, NC)
Who is the better team, the Baltimore Orioles or the Tampa Bay Rays?
Jerry Crasnick (1:16 PM)
Cory Smith, Tampa Bay, based on the pitching alone. There's not even a debate.
Hey Jerry, do you think part of the Giants problems on offense have been Bochy's mixing and matching of the lineup rather than having a set starting 8? I've heard relievers don't like it when they don't know what their role in the bullpen is, and I almost want to think position players feel the same way about the lineup.
Jerry Crasnick (1:19 PM)
Brian, It's really just a lack of impact hitters. They have two stud hitters in Posey and Sandoval, and one is on the DL now. Melky Cabrera has been a godsend. But the rest of their lineup is a bunch of kids and complementary players. (No offense intended, Giants hitters).
Jason (St Louis)
Weaver has pitched against the Twins three times already. I'd say it's kind of hard to judge him based on facing that lineup in half his starts.
Jerry Crasnick (1:20 PM)
Jason, Good point, but Weaver has finished 5th and 2nd in the Cy Young Award voting over the past two seasons. So I think he's earned the benefit of the doubt.
Can the Braves offense keep it up?
Jerry Crasnick (1:22 PM)
Adam, I just checked, and Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman are the only Braves with OPSes above .800. In addition, Brian McCann is hitting .229. So I don't see any reason why they can't keep it up. For guys like Heyward, Prado and McCann, it's just a question of being healthy. They were all playing hurt last year.
Why does Hamels think intentionally hitting rookies is all right? I never liked beanball wars, but at least if it's in retaliation for something I can understand the logic.
Jerry Crasnick (1:23 PM)
Alex, I think most reasonable baseball people were puzzled by Cole Hamels' judgment there. I don't see the point in what he did. But at least he took his medicine at the plate. If he pitched in the AL and hit Harper and then had the luxury of hiding behind the DH rule, it would have been a much more objectionable offense.
Jason (St Louis)
Am I the only one who immediately thought of Vicente Padilla when Hamels hit Harper for no reason?
Jerry Crasnick (1:24 PM)
Jason, A few of the hitters who've been beaned by Vicente Padilla over the years probably also thought of Vicente Padilla.
Jeff Samardjiza - best surprise in baseball so far this season?
Jerry Crasnick (1:25 PM)
Ted, He's probably in the top 5. Bryan LaHair, his Chicago teammate, ranks ahead of him.
Given all the closers that have been hurt or unable to maintain their role this year, would you say that credits or discredits a signing such as Papelbon by Philadelphia this offseason (i.e. committing such a large amount to a closer)?
Jerry Crasnick (1:27 PM)
Todd, At least Papelbon has pitched well. But I'm never a big proponent of spending that much on a closer, who's going to give you 60-70 innings. Even at the time, I thought the money would have been more prudently spent on another bat.
Rockies desperately need a 3B option. Any signs of Arenado being promoted any time soon? Thanks Jerry
Jerry Crasnick (1:28 PM)
David, I saw Nolan Arenado in spring training and I was wowed by him. He has big leaguer written all over him. But he just turned 21 and he has 120 ABs above Class A ball. The Rockies have the worst team ERA in the National League, and that's their biggest problem right now. If they can't fix the pitching, I'm not sure there's a reason to rush Arenado to the majors.
I know Beckett has had issues, but people don't seem to take into account that Cleveland is actually a 1st place team. Maybe they had something to do with his poor outing?
Jerry Crasnick (1:29 PM)
Mark, The Tribe is playing well. I think the negative reaction to Beckett in Boston has more to do with his attitude and seeming indifference than his performance. My ESPN colleague Gordon Edes really took him to the woodshed with his column today.
Ant (Texas) [via mobile]
Hey Jerry, I watch every Rangers game every night when they're televised on FSSW, and 2 weeks ago Tom Grieve claimed that in a poll about 95% of the fans voted Josh Hamilton as the best left-handed hitter in the MLB. Do you agree with that, and also, if he were an NL player, do you believe he would still be as dominant?
Jerry Crasnick (1:31 PM)
Ant, I'm with Tom Grieve and the poll respondents. I was at the game that night, and I've never seen a hitter drive the ball so effortlessly to dead center and the opposite field. Hamilton is an amazing talent. Texas' ballpark is certainly favorable to hitters. But when he connects, it doesn't matter what yard or which league he plays in.
Jc (Fort Myers, FL)
Hello Jerry Can we assume that the Mets may not be as bad as we thought. They still be may be bad but maybe not as bad. I mean Terry Collins is a good manager for the young guys and if Johan and the boys can keep the team in games they should be in games to the end. Your thoughts?
Jerry Crasnick (1:33 PM)
JC, They play with a lot of energy, and they're a much different team when David Wright plays like an All-Star. One thing that gets lost is the presence of all the homegrown players. I'd like to see a few more props for Omar Minaya, a good guy who was savaged on his way out of town.
I think I hear somebody say that if Bundy was 2 inches taller he would be an opening day starter. Why is that 2 inches so significant?
Jerry Crasnick (1:35 PM)
Rob, Scouts and baseball people have always had a bias against short righthanded starters. Tom Seaver, Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez didn't seem to suffer because of it. But you're talking about a pretty exclusive club right there. I guess it's the same reasoning that makes NFL teams think a short QB can't win a Super Bowl -- until a guy like Drew Brees comes along.
What do the white sox need to pass the tribe and tigers in the AL Central standings?
Jerry Crasnick (1:36 PM)
Dennis, Heck, in that division, just staying afloat might be good enough. If the Tigers don't get it together, 88 wins might take the Central.
Hey there Jerry- The home run was great but are Pujols' problems really behind him?
Jerry Crasnick (1:39 PM)
Dave, I thought he was gonna go on a tear and hit 6 once the first one was in the books, but that hasn't happened. Who knows how much the pressure of the new contract or being away from his family has affected him? One trouble sign: He has 6 walks in 132 plate appearances. That's a sign his bat speed might have slipped and he knows he can't wait as long and still catch up to the fastball. Definitely worth monitoring.
How likely is it in your mind that "the Tigers don't get it together"?
Jerry Crasnick (1:41 PM)
Rick, I think they're good enough to win that division even if they play to 80 percent of the talent on that roster. But the back end of the rotation is a concern, no doubt about it.
Jay (Long Island)
Jerry; Record now withstanding, do you think Bobby V is a good fit for the Sox. I would like to see him take some action against Beckett and light a fire under this team. They have grown increasingly complacent.
Jerry Crasnick (1:43 PM)
Jay, I've always felt they would have been best served taking a cooling-off period and finding a way to make things work with Terry Francona. He was great at taking episodes like this and defusing them with candor, humor or whatever. Joe Torre was the same at putting out brushfires in the Bronx. I just think there's more peripheral garbage in Boston than Bobby V ever realized. And he doesn't quite seem to know how to handle it.
Peter Husking (Alpharetta, GA)
Is Chipper Jones a First Ballot Hall of Famer? Where does he rank in your 3rd Baseman's of all time?
Jerry Crasnick (1:45 PM)
Peter, Chipper is a first ballot guy for me, no question. I put Schmidt and Brett ahead of him, for sure. But he's in the conversation with guys like Eddie Matthews, Boggs and Brooks Robinson. (Sorry if I missed anyone there)
Hey Jerry, what are Drew Smyly's chances of ROY?
Jerry Crasnick (1:46 PM)
Mike, He's been great, but it's a little too early to start assessing the ROY race. Let's wait until a couple of times around the league.
Boggs vs Chipper? You can't be serious. Chipper ought to be way ahead of him, no?
Jerry Crasnick (1:48 PM)
CC, I'm sure a lot of people feel that way. But Boggs did finish with 3,000 hits and five batting titles. Give the guy some credit.
Mike (Mision Viejo, CA)
Funny part is that, from a non-atlanta homer, I view Boggs as way ahead of Chipper. Seems like Bogs hit .350+ every year.
Jerry Crasnick (1:49 PM)
Mike, That's the great thing about Hall of Fame debates. There are two sides to every story.
Johnny Wishbone (St Croix)
Cardinals lost Pujols, TLR, Dave Duncan and so far Chris Carpenter and haven't missed a beat. They're the class of the NL right now, agreed?
Jerry Crasnick (1:51 PM)
Johnny, You have to love the dynamic there. They've got a lot of homegrown talent, and Mike Matheny seems like a perfect fit. Both first-time managers -- Matheny and Robin Ventura -- have the ideal temperament for the job.
Hello Mr.Crasnick. Who out of all the young hitters for the M's will become good hitters, as in like all-star level? Kyle Seager? Dustin Ackley? Jesus Montero?or maybe...
Jerry Crasnick (1:53 PM)
Take, From the scouts I've talked to, I think Dustin Ackley has the best potential to be a really good, productive hitter over time (although Seager has been the best of Seattle's young hitters so far this season).
Do you think Freeman is the starting 1B for the NL All-stars right now, and do you think it stays that way? I know he's free swinging (only 6 walks), but he just seems to rake whenever he gets a pitch he likes. Never mind the amount of runs he saves at first from our horrible throws across the infield.
Jerry Crasnick (1:55 PM)
Emory, If you went strictly by performance, Bryan LaHair and Freddie Freeman would both make the All-Star team. Weird to say that, after all those years of Pujols, Fielder, Helton, Votto and Ryan Howard getting all the attention.
Jerry Crasnick (1:55 PM)
I just have time for one more, folks. Thanks for sending in the questions. I look forward to doing it again next week.
Jerry, will my Buccos ever have a winning season again?
Jerry Crasnick (1:57 PM)
Kevin, I wish I could be more encouraging. But after all those years of high picks, I look at their lineup and Andrew McCutchen is the only guy who strikes me as an "impact" player. They have some good young arms in the minors, but the plan is coming together a lot more slowly than Pirates fans would prefer. My sympathies.