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, The dog days are nearing an end and the kids are getting ready to head back to school. (Yikes). Let's talk a little baseball.
Are you surprised that the White Sox have continued to hold off the Tigers? Its not as if the Tigers are playing poorly either.
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
Shawn, I can't say I'm shocked. The core guys like Konerko, Rios and Dunn have continued to produce, and Kenny Williams' late July trades have paid off. He deserves a lot of credit for that, considering he didn't have a lot of trade chips to work with. I'm sure White Sox fans are holding their breath a little on Chris Sale and Jake Peavy, but those guys have held up so far. And they've gotten some nice mileage from a young bullpen. Don Cooper, as usual, is very good at getting the most out of a staff.
Ryan (Black Rock, AR)
I absolutely love how everyone seems to be overlooking the Rangers. I realize they don't have a dominate ace, but they have solid starters, a great bullpen and the best 1-9 lineup in baseball.
Jerry Crasnick (1:05 PM)
Ryan, No me. I picked the Rangers to make the World Series again this year, and I'm not backing off that (even though they've had quite a bit of drama with Josh Hamilton, the pitching injuries, etc). It's a long season and you can't expect things to go smoothly from start to finish. But they have a very professional core there, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them kick it in gear and have a very good September.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you lke the Dodgers trade with Red Sox? Or feel that it was too costly and big of a risk? Will this move allow them to get over the hump and overtake SF in the divison?
Jerry Crasnick (1:07 PM)
Tony, Here's my thought: I understand why they wanted Adrian Gonzalez, and I wouldn't have objected to taking Josh Beckett and his entire salary as part of the deal. But I thought the Crawford acquisition was too much. He can still come back and be a pretty good player. But I'm just not a fan of larding up your payroll with huge salaries for players who are going to be in their mid-to-late 30s. I think it's a bad longterm strategy.
Is CJ Wilson hurt? Are the Angels hiding an injury?
Jerry Crasnick (1:08 PM)
Kevin, CJ Wilson's velocity has held steady in the 90-93 range, but his walks are up quite a bit. I have no idea if he's hurt. But the guy did throw 250 innings last year between the regular season and the playoffs. I wouldn't be surprised if he's a little gassed right now.
What is the best baseball museum outside of Cooperstown?
Jerry Crasnick (1:09 PM)
Alex, I haven't seen many. But obviously the Negro League museum in Kansas City should be on any serious baseball fan's agenda. If anyone else has a suggestion, feel free to pass it along
Bob (Exton, PA)
Ryan Howard's lifetime K to AB ratio is 32% (2012 is 40%), Dave Kingman's was 27%. Howard's lifetime HRs to PAs is 6.4%, Kingman's was 6.0%. Sobering stats considering how high Howard's peak was. For those believing his 2012 is primarily a result of his injury, 2012 HR to PA is 5.0%, 2011 was 5.1%. Struggles against LHP, below average defensively, poor baserunner, etc. Time for the Phillies to be realistic about what Howard's future production will be. 2006 was a LONG time ago.
Jerry Crasnick (1:11 PM)
Bob, Ryan Howard is a better player than Dave Kingman, but I get your point. A lot of people didn't like a five-year, $125M contract for a slugger who'll be in his mid-to-late 30s. Then naturally, other teams went out and signed first basemen to 10-year contracts. Some things never change.
Would you call Dylan Bundy up if you were Baltimore?
Jerry Crasnick (1:13 PM)
Robert, I think the need to call him up is lessened by the imminent return of Jason Hammel, the trade for Joe Saunders and the move of Brian Matusz to the bullpen. That said, I can definitely see the Orioles bringing him up as a bullpen weapon. The kid is very mentally tough, and I think he's only thrown about 100 innings this season. He's also on the 40-man roster, so there are no big procedural hurdles. I wouldn't be surprised to see Bundy in Baltimore soon.
Do you see an MVP in Jason Heyward's future?
Jerry Crasnick (1:15 PM)
James, He has all the tools, and he's shown admirable mental toughness to overcome some setbacks earlier in his career. So sure, I can see him being a perennial MVP candidate once he gets a little more established.
Wouldn't it make sense for Braves to bench Uggla and have Prado play second and Johnson play right? They are playing for the playoffs and can't afford to keep running an automatic out like Uggla, in the middle of their lineup, everyday.
Jerry Crasnick (1:16 PM)
Donny, Uggla is such a streaky guy, I'm sure they're hoping something will click and he'll bust out of it. But it's getting a little late for that. But he's making a lot of $$ and he's been a big part of that team, so there's no way you're going to see them mothball him entirely.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Jerry, can you give your prediction for my A's? I've asked your opinion a few times now on your chat. Thanks!
Jerry Crasnick (1:17 PM)
Tony, I think the A's are going to fade late and fall short of a playoff spot. That should come as great news to you, since my predictions are usually horrendous.
How do you think Saunders will do with his new team?
Jerry Crasnick (1:18 PM)
Dave, Joe Saunders isn't going to carry your staff, but he's a veteran guy who's pitched in the AL before and can be effective against lefties. Their bullpen is deep enough that he can help get them over the hump with 3-4 reasonably effective starts of 5 or 6 innings. To me, that was one of those "Ehh, why not?" additions.
Luke (Newcastle, Australia)
Given Liberty Media's stingyness, do you see it possible that the Braves can resign both Brian Mccann and Michael Bourn? I feel that Bourn would be much more valuable than Mccann, given that the Braves are very high on Christian Bethancourt, and David Ross is a more than servicable stop gap guy, where as the Braves would have to rely on either Reed Johnson or Jose Constanza if Bourn where to depart. Would you agree that Bourn is the one that the Braves should be targeting the most?
Jerry Crasnick (1:21 PM)
Luke, Wow -- a note from Australia. Are you a Peter Moylan guy? I basically agree with you. Brian McCann has been a huge part of that team, and in spring training Chipper Jones anointed him as the face of that franchise moving forward. But with Bethancourt on the way, the Braves could replace him rather seamlessly. It's just a tough call emotionally, because he's a local kid and a great person. As for Bourn, I'm not sure they have the $$ to sign him even if they focus on him. He's going to have a very active market this offseason.
Can people stop with this nonsense of how bad the trade was for LAD cause of the contracts? Are they that dumb to not realize that they will gain about $100M for a world series run and this will increase their network TV deal, to now some people say will be $8.5 BILLION. If anything they got three players for free because of the net increase in the TV deal if they make the playoffs just this year alone
Jerry Crasnick (1:22 PM)
Brad, I get that there's a bigger economic benefit to this. But if the deal doesn't produce a winner longterm because they have too many big, non productive contracts on the books, I think that partly defeats the purpose.
Why is Hunter Pence struggling so much in SF? He has been unproductive thus far. You could prop up Bernie from A Weekend at Bernie's and get the same production.
Jerry Crasnick (1:24 PM)
Buckley, He wasn't having a tremendous season in Philly, either. Pence is a pretty high-strung guy and I think he puts a lot of pressure on himself to perform, and starts swinging at too many balls out of the zone. And Melky's recent suspension didn't help matters. (By the way, nice "Weekend at Bernie's" reference there. Well played).
Darryl (San Antonio)
Any chance the Reds make a move to bring in a SP or a top of the lineup guy? Can they really trust Cueto, Latos, and Arroyo as their starters in the playoffs? What about having two guys (Cozart and Stubbs) with OBP below .300 at the top of the lineup? I just feel that sets them up for failure in the playoffs.
Jerry Crasnick (1:26 PM)
Darryl, These have been ongoing issues for the Reds this season. If Walt Jocketty didn't address them at the trade deadline in July, it's hard to see him remedying them now. I just checked and Cincinnati's leadoff hitters have an OPS of .580 -- worst in the majors. They've been able to overcome that, but it could be an issue against elite pitching in October.
Nora (St. Louis)
How about the season Allen Craig is having? And he missed 42 games!
Jerry Crasnick (1:27 PM)
Nora, He's terrific. Just a real professional hitter. I covered him some in the postseason last year, and I was also very impressed with his demeanor. He acted like a veteran right out of the chute.
You keep complaining about the money spent on big contracts but you seem unable to absorb the vastly increased revenues of a team like the Phillies who will get a TV deal bigger than the Dodgers. They can almost laugh at Howard's contract and will definitely sign Josh Hamilton because they can't win without doing so.
Jerry Crasnick (1:28 PM)
Free, Yeah, but where is it getting them? The Phillies have big revenue, and they're 61-67 because their core players have gotten older and more injury-prone every year. Who cares how much money they're making if they can't make the playoffs?
Should the Tigers somehow fail to either win the Division or a wildcard spot, what would that mean for the franchise, especially Dombrowski and Leyland?
Jerry Crasnick (1:30 PM)
Katy, I've always gotten the sense that Mike Ilitch is a reasonable owner rather than a hot-head who's going to charge in there and make changes just for the sake of it. We've heard rumors before about the fate of Dombrowski and Leyland and he's stuck with them. No question it's been a disappointing season in Detroit, but they're still in the mix for the postseason. So I wouldn't call it a disaster just yet.
Did the trade buy Bobby V another season in Boston?
Jerry Crasnick (1:31 PM)
David, Seems to me there's a greater rationale for keeping Valentine now than there was a week ago. If the Sox made a trade of that magnitude to reshape the entire direction of the organization, it's sort of an admission that the manager wasn't their biggest problem -- isn't it?
Hey Could u see the redsox picking up one of these pitchers, Jake Peavy, James Shields, or Kyle Lohse? I would like to see them sign Mike Napoli or Adam Laroche to platoon at 1st.
Jerry Crasnick (1:32 PM)
Josh, The Red Sox have the financial freedom now to go in a lot of directions. James Shields has two reasonably price options, so I have a hard time seeing the Rays trading him within the division.
Is Anthony Rizzo a franchise player or just a really good piece? It seems like he goes through stretches where he doesn't always hit for the power he should.
Jerry Crasnick (1:35 PM)
John, He's shown enough flashes to make you think he'll be a legit middle of the order guy for a lot of years. He just turned 23, so let's give him a little time to figure it out. Just look at Justin Upton and Jason Heyward for sake of comparison. I hate to pass definitive judgment on what a young player is going to be so quickly. Kids are going to experience ups and downs. But in the Twitter age, people don't cut them a whole lot of slack anymore.
Harrison (New York)
What's Mike Socisca's Job Status?
Jerry Crasnick (1:36 PM)
Harrison, As I've mentioned previously, he's under contract through 2018. Under normal circumstances, I would think he might be on the hot seat. He's justifiably getting a lot of scrutiny in LA right now. But I don't think he's in trouble just yet.
Micah (Greenville )
What are the odds Beckett turns it on in LA? He always seemed like he was better then his numbers, and I think more then anything he needed a change of scenery. If nothing else he's definitely a good postseason pick up for them right?
Jerry Crasnick (1:37 PM)
Micah, It can't hurt getting a change of scenery. I'm sure he was ground down by all the negative vibes in Boston. (Some of his own doing). And he should benefit from the transition back to the NL. I wouldn't be surprised if Beckett pitches well there in September.
Jim (Polkton, NC)
Regarding Alex's question about museums, I certainly am no expert, but the Braves' museum at Turner Field is excellent, as is the Rangers' museum in their ballpark.
Jerry Crasnick (1:38 PM)
Jim, Thanks for sharing that.
Hey Jerry, are the Pirates done? I hope not but things look like there getting away from them now.
Jerry Crasnick (1:38 PM)
Tarek, I don't know if they're "done" yet, but I can't see them making the playoffs -- not with the Cardinals heating up, the Dodgers loading up and the Braves still playing well. The Pirates just don't have enough weapons to stack up with those teams.
We've heard a few big names as possible winter trade candidates - Justin Upton, Elvis Andrus, Shin-Soo Choo. Who else do you see as possible?
Jerry Crasnick (1:39 PM)
Dan, I'll give it some thought. But those three names are a pretty good start, aren't they?
Jerry Crasnick (1:40 PM)
By the way, the Yankees just acquired outfielder Steve Pearce, for those Yankee fans or Steve Pearce fans out there.
Do you see Shaun Marcum getting a multiyear deal this offseason? Is he better off taking a one-year deal to prove his health and rebuild value? Can you see him returning to the Blue Jays, who are desperate for pitching?
Jerry Crasnick (1:41 PM)
Bret, You're right: He's missed so much time with injuries, I think it's in his best interests and teams' interests to go short. Given all the problems the Jays have had with pitching injuries this season, I'm not sure a return engagement with Marcum is the best way to go.
Jeremy (Kewadin, MI)
What are your thoughts on Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer?
Jerry Crasnick (1:42 PM)
Jeremy, Very bright kid. Tremendous stuff, and he can look awesome on a given day. But he still has to battle that lack of consistency to get to the next level. When his career began, a lot of people thought he would make a great closer. Maybe he'll wind up in that role down the road.
Mark (NYC (ok, last try for me, I'll take the hint))
Jerry, as a red sox life-long fan, should I be Happy, with this trade - and that fact they the red-sox were actually able to get a "decent" return, along with all the financial relief, or, disgusted with how the red-sox will be a couple years out of contention, on-top of the past-3 years? Thanks
Jerry Crasnick (1:43 PM)
Mark, I would be happy with it. Crawford was a bad fit in Boston, and while A-Gon is a true pro, he had 15 homers this year. And it was clearly time for Beckett to go. For the Red Sox to get the Dodgers to take $250 million and send along some promising talent, I think it was a big win for Boston.
Jerry Crasnick (1:45 PM)
I know Dodgers fans would disagree with that. But look at all the $100 million contracts out there and see how many of them have worked out badly. It's always easy for teams to spend money. To be able to move two $100 million deals and start over, that's never happened in baseball history.
Why doesn't Theo Epstein catch more flack for the Sox's poor contracts?
Jerry Crasnick (1:46 PM)
Tom, They won two World Series under his watch. That's obviously a big reason why. And he's in Chicago now, so does it really matter how Boston fans feel about him anymore?
do you think that even though both miguel cabrera and mike trout have better numbers this season than derek jeter Jeter would be the best pick for the mvp by leading his team to the playoffs?
Jerry Crasnick (1:47 PM)
Alec, I'm amazed by what Jeter has done this season, but those guys are still ahead of him in the MVP race for me. If the Tigers or Angels implode and fall out of contention in September, that could hurt their chances. But I think it's a little harsh to discount a guy from the MVP conversation because his team finishes a game or two out of the wild card.
Crawford was a "bad fit" in Boston... What does that mean exactly? A lefty power bat with speed. Problem is he stinks and is hurt all the time. Guys like that are "bad fits" in 29 other cities too, no?
Jerry Crasnick (1:49 PM)
CC, He was good enough in Tampa to land a $142M contract. People might not believe this, but it takes a certain mentality to get that much money and handle the pressure of a big media market like Boston or New York or Philly. I've talked to a lot of people about Crawford, and I don't think he ever felt comfortable in Boston.
Do you expect the Dodgers to win the West?
Jerry Crasnick (1:51 PM)
Alex, It's tempting to just anoint them. But sometimes a collection of great players takes a while to mesh as a team. (Sorry to sound old-fashioned there and inject the notion of team "chemistry" into the conversation). Just look at the 2012 Marlins. The approach certainly didn't work for them. I think Don Mattingly might have a challenge in front of him trying to get all these players on the same page in September. So in a nutshell, my answer is: Don't count on it.
Nick (College Park)
I think discussion of the massive contracts that the Dodgers took on misses the broader point - the Dodgers are now in the Yankees' spending stratosphere. They will not be devastated even if none of the players ends up being great over the term of the contract, just as the Yankees aren't when their stars fade. They've got money enough now to weather it.
Jerry Crasnick (1:53 PM)
Nick, It's true that big-spending clubs have a greater margin of error to weather mistakes. But spending a lot of money doesn't guarantee championships -- even though fans are conditioned to think that's the case. I just like the way the Rangers have done it -- with a balanced approach of trades, player development and free agents. That's always going to be the best model for longterm success.
Zack (Catonsville, MD)
Any update on the Pythagorean formula giving more weight to most recent games? Did the stats guys have any insights?
Jerry Crasnick (1:54 PM)
Zack, Oops. Thanks for reminding me. I whiffed on it this week. Try again next Monday. Sorry about that.
Do the Diamondbacks feel they're still in the playoff hunt? They have the talent, but they sure aren't playing like it.
Jerry Crasnick (1:55 PM)
Brian, They're living on the edge right now. I just think they have too many teams in front of them. Not very optimistic about their chances.
Charles (San Jose)
Jerry, what would you have said at the beginning of the season if someone told you the Diamondbacks would have 3 rookies in the rotation, none of them named Trevor Bauer?
Jerry Crasnick (1:56 PM)
Charles, I would have said, "Knock me over with a feather."
What parallel universe are LAD fans livingin that they think these new guys are "free"? If Gonzo, Beckett and Crawford struggle it's a huge problem for them. Every team has a payroll limit and they now have 3 huge contracts w/ highly questionable output. That's not a good thing and sure as heck isn't free. Just ask the Phillies.
Jerry Crasnick (1:58 PM)
CC, That's my point. It seems like the Dodgers are spending money in some cases just to spend money. I really wonder if they needed to take on that entire Crawford obligation in that deal. He has a chance to rebound and be a decent player. But he's a speed guy who's now in his 30s. Even when Boston signed him, everybody said there would be some slippage at the back end.
Why is Lincecum having so much trouble with his control? Is he peering in to the glove to late in his delivery? Is he starting with his feet to wide? Wide stance? I see him fidgeting with his fingers sometimes. Is he suffering from blisters?
Jerry Crasnick (2:00 PM)
Buckley, If the Giants knew, they would have figured it out by now. He's a small guy who's had a heavy workload, and he has also has a complicated delivery. He's also struggling to pitch with less velocity. When you're used to blowing it past hitters at 95-97 and you have to adjust to pitching at 91-92, it's not an easy thing.
Jerry, if the Braves can't resign Michael Bourn, which FA outfielders could you see them making a run at? Victorino, Swisher, BJ Upton?
Jerry Crasnick (2:02 PM)
Al, It depends on the price tag. If Nick Swisher really wants $100M this winter, I can't imagine the Phils jumping into the fray on that one. One thing I will say: I've been impressed with what I've seen from Domonic Brown since his return. If he's ready to play next year, there's one spot the Phillies won't have to worry about filling.
Jerry Crasnick (2:02 PM)
Thanks for the emails, everybody. I enjoyed it. Let's do it again next week.