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, Welcome to the chat. Hopefully this won't be the weakest chat we've ever had in the history of September chats. Let's get it started.
Mr. Crasnick, I'm not asking who would be your MVP in the NL, but who do you think win get it and why? Many refuse to consider R. Braun.Thanks
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Famavizca, I would probably go with Buster Posey at this point. He's had an amazing second half, and anytime you get that kind of offense from a catcher, it's a bonus. I would consider Ryan Braun for the award -- he has to be in the top 3. But I'm sure some voters will punish him for the offseason PED issues. He was absolved by the arbitrator, and that's good enough for me.
Brad (Madison, WI)
What are the chances the Brewers can take the second wild card spot?
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Brad, The Cardinals have a slight lead on them and now they have nine games left with the Cubs and the Astros. I think the Crew is going to have a tough time making it. It has to kill Ron Roenicke when he thinks back to all those horrible losses because of the bullpen.
Who is the bigger surprise, Oakland or Baltimore?
Jerry Crasnick (1:05 PM)
Alex, I'll go with Baltimore -- although not by a whole lot. At least the A's have been good this century.
Corey (Louisville,ky) [via mobile]
Hey Jerry thanks for the coverage. In your opinion, what will pettite look like tomorrow? if he pitches well do you see the yanks winning the east? Thanks
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Corey, Pettitte is smart and savvy enough to come back from a long layoff and pitch a serviceable six innings. With him and Nova back, I think the Yankees have weathered the storm and will win the division.
Gio Gonzalez for Cy Young, any chance?
Jerry Crasnick (1:07 PM)
Jack, Sure there's a chance. Johnny Cueto has struggled lately and it looks as if we've seen the last of Clayton Kershaw, so it could be a two-man race between Gio and R.A. Dickey down the stretch.
So, the Orioles have 16 games left, and been through a bunch of injuries like many teams, have enough people given them their due now? Seems Oakland does get more respect.
Jerry Crasnick (1:08 PM)
Jay, Funny -- We ran about five Orioles stories last week and A's fans were complaining that we didn't give them any respect. I think people are giving the Orioles their due now. They're a great story and they've been getting a lot of attention from the national press.
Besides Bobby V, what other managers do you think will be fired this year? Jim Tracy and his lifetime deal? Or maybe even Don Mattingly if the Dodgers don't make the postseason?
Jerry Crasnick (1:10 PM)
George, The Dodgers have said Mattingly is returning. I'm not so sure about Jim Tracy in Colorado. The Rockies front office people like him, but that franchise needs to do a top-to-bottom assessment after this terrible season. I also have to think that Manny Acta will be under some scrutiny in Cleveland this winter. The Indians simply unraveled in the second half.
Can you say a few words on Jeter passing Willie Mays in hits.
Jerry Crasnick (1:11 PM)
Knish, Just a terrific achievement by a player who has embodied consistency and class for a long time. I'm not sure how much more I can say.
Jimmy (Overland Park)
Why are the Royals so bullish when it comes to sticking with Hochever going into next year? The guy is one of the worst starting pitchers EVER and he embodies the Royals losing ways.
Jerry Crasnick (1:13 PM)
Jimmy, The Royals have been hoping he would take a step forward and be a front of the rotation guy. But he's 29 years old now. What you see is what you get. If their young pitching had come along better, it would be easier to push him out the door. But somebody needs to pitch for that team.
Stephen (Blacksburg, VA)
Currently tired of doing statistics PhD research, hence the volume of questions I've sent today. Has there ever been a patchwork potential playoff rotation like the O's?
Jerry Crasnick (1:15 PM)
Stephen, I can't think of one off the top of my head. We've seen top-heavy rotations with a clear ace and a bunch of No. 4-5 starters. But the Orioles seem to run out a To Be Determined every few days. It's just amazing.
Amid his struggles, do you think Vogelsong is tipping his pitches? He threw a high and inside fastball to the pitcher yesterday, and he hit it like a fat pitch down the middle.
Jerry Crasnick (1:17 PM)
Brian, I haven't watched film of him, so I couldn't tell you. I know Matt Moore has struggled at times in Tampa and some people have suggested that he's tipping his pitches. Personally, I think that's a little too easy an explanation. Vogelsong surprised a lot of people by coming out of nowhere to pitch so well. It was probably unrealistic to think he wouldn't struggle eventually.
How about props to Omar Vizquel if he can hold on for 2 more hits to pass Babe Ruth? Who would have seen that coming at the beginnning of his career?
Jerry Crasnick (1:18 PM)
Todd, I'm higher on Omar Vizque's Hall of Fame candidacy than a lot of the stat-head crowd. But I'm not sure how many times we'll hear him mentioned in the same sentence with Babe Ruth. Props to him if he passes the Babe.
GM of the year....Washington's Mike Rizzo, right?
Jerry Crasnick (1:18 PM)
Jack, I gotta think Dan Duquette of the Orioles will be pretty prominent in the conversation.
Dexter (Scottsdale, AZ)
HI Jerry, word in AZ is Justin Upton will be traded this offseason, and the local sports radio thinks it will be to Texas for Andrus and pieces. What do you think about that possibilty, and the market for Upton?
Jerry Crasnick (1:21 PM)
Dexter, I'm in the school that thinks the D-backs will seriously explore a deal for Justin Upton this offseason. His name has been bandied around twice already, and I think the D-backs are ready to move in a different direction. Texas seems like a great fit, and with Jurickson Profar ready, Andrus would be a big chip the Rangers can include in a deal. So I think that's reasonable speculation.
Speaking of the Royals, why would they willing to stick with Francoeur when it is all but obvious that Wil Myers is ready to step in?
Jerry Crasnick (1:22 PM)
Patrick, Wil Myers isn't on the 40-man roster (and doesn't have to be protected in the Rule 5 draft this winter), so I don't think the Royals saw much point in calling him up and starting his service- time clock this season. But rest assured he'll be at the top of their plans in the spring. The kid has nothing left to accomplish in the minors.
Do you see the Red Sox being a player of BJ Upton as a replaement for Jacoby Ellsbury or would this be a bad fit for player and team like Carl Crawford?
Jerry Crasnick (1:24 PM)
Mike, As I mentioned in my story Saturday, B.J. Upton is a good kid and he plays harder than the scouts give him credit for. But he's also sensitive, and I don't think he's the type of guy who wants to be scrutinized day-in and day-out the way the media does it in Boston. In short, I don't think he's a great fit for that market.
Tim Irvin (Los Angeles, CA USA)
Jerry, while channel surfing amongst NCAA Football, the NFL, and MLB games this weekend I was struck by the contrasting levels of African-American participation between the sports. How serious is MLB's inititive to re-introduce African American athletes to the sport of baseball? Thanks for your thoughts...
Jerry Crasnick (1:26 PM)
Tim, MLB has been dealing with this issue for a while now. There are a lot of factors at play. If college baseball can increase its scholarships in coming years, that would help. Also, you wonder if more African-American athletes who play football might be starting to consider baseball more seriously because of the concussion crisis in the NFL. It's on MLB's radar, but I believe the level of African-American participation has been stuck around 8-9 percent.
Sox fan here, please no BJ Upton!
Jerry Crasnick (1:27 PM)
Upton struck out four times in four ABs in a huge game in NY yesterday. I can only imagine how the Boston media would have reacted if he had done that for the Red Sox.
Jerry, I'm talking about next year. It looks like Francoeur will not be traded or released to make room for Myers. Every indication seems to be that RF is Francoeur's next season. I'd rather have an outfield of Gordon, Cain, and Myers than Gordon, Cain, and Francoeur
Jerry Crasnick (1:29 PM)
Patrick, The Royals have to be conscious of fan reaction and season ticket sales. There's no way I can see them burying Wil Myers in the minors again next spring because they owe Jeff Francoeur $6.5M. It's a long winter. Dayton Moore will think of something.
With 2 more hits, Omar Vizquel will pass Babe Ruth on the all time hit list. May indeed happen in the Bronx this week. Can we finally put the "who's a better hitter, Omar or The Babe" argument to bed?
Jerry Crasnick (1:29 PM)
Greg, I'm with you. Thanks for the chuckle.
How important is this Tigers White Sox game today
Jerry Crasnick (1:30 PM)
Brent, It's monumental for the Tigers, especially given the emotional downer of that loss against Cleveland yesterday.
Stephen (Blacksburg, VA)
Will we ever here the end of the O's negative run differential, considering they are 27-14 with a +40 differential since August 1st?
Jerry Crasnick (1:31 PM)
Stephen, Probably not. But at least the run diff is only mentioned in passing in stories now, rather than being front and center in every Orioles related piece.
Shawn (East Lansing)
Unbelievable, just when we had snatched victory from the clutches of defeat, leave it to Valverde to squander another game (how is that now???). I find it inexcuseable to lose to one of the worst teams in baseball (at least during the second half of the season). I feel like everyone's head is going to implode when we dont make the playoffs.
Jerry Crasnick (1:32 PM)
Shawn, Hey, Wait and see how things work out in that makeup game. Just wondering: Don't heads usually explode after a crushing loss to the Indians, rather than implode?
Billy Beane clearly is the GM of the year!!!
Jerry Crasnick (1:33 PM)
Rod, Hey, he has to be in the conversation as well. Maybe we should put Billy and Bob Melvin in a steel cage with Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter. Whichever GM-manager tag team comes out collects the hardware.
Not saying he should win, but do you think Kris Medlen will get some Cy Young votes? He's been one of the best pitchers in baseball since he moved to the rotation. The Braves handled him a lot better than the Nationals did with Strasburg.
Jerry Crasnick (1:35 PM)
Chris, Kris Medlen has been amazing, but he only has 117 innings. Maybe he snags a 5th place vote from someone, but too many starters have made major contributions since April for Medlen to be a serious Cy contender.
Um Jerry... Braun was NOT absolved. He got off on a technicality. That's like saying OJ didn't do it b/c the jury found him not guilty.
Jerry Crasnick (1:38 PM)
CC, Maybe "absolved" wasn't the best choice of words. But I'm also not ready to embrace the "technicality" thing 100 percent either. Something went wrong during the collection process and we'll never know precisely what happened. I'm just willing to cut the guy some slack -- and not assume that he was guilty without definitive proof.
As much as MLB likes talking about expanding the playoffs and giving more teams hope, it seems to me that we still have only 4 ?true? playoff spots with the 2 wild card teams playing an elimination game to get into the ?true? playoffs. Don?t you think there is something inherently wrong with a system in which a (projected) 93-win like Atlanta is forced to play a ?winner takes all? game against an 85-win team like Saint Louis or LA? Isn?t the idea to have the best teams in the playoffs? I don?t see this new playoff system being conducive to that
Jerry Crasnick (1:40 PM)
Luis, One wild card team gets slighted because it would have headed straight to a best-of-five playoff. The other is ecstatic because it would have gone home. It's not a perfect system. But baseball was going to have a hard time squeezing in three games this year. As it stands, any extra tiebreakers or weather problems are going to throw the schedule into complete chaos. Let's wait and see how things work out before passing judgment on it.
Isn't a team like the O's poorly constructed for a one game playoff?
Jerry Crasnick (1:42 PM)
David, They don't have a Justin Verlander-David Price-like ace to throw out there in a one-game playoff. But I was in Baltimore for the Rays series last week, and the one message I got was that this Orioles team doesn't mind doing things unconventionally. The more people tell them how bad they are, the better they play.
Are the Braves peaking at the right time or are they getting hot too early?
Jerry Crasnick (1:44 PM)
David, They needed to play well this month to erase the hangover from last September and secure a wild card berth, so there's no way they got hot "too early." I will say they have to be encouraged by the way Medlen and Minor have pitched. Fredi Gonzalez has the makings of a nice postseason rotation there if this keeps up.
easdrobert (Miami, Fl)
Great job as usual. Who do you see the Marlins going after? Is Chase Headley going to be available?
Jerry Crasnick (1:45 PM)
Easdrobert, The Marlins need to have a serious sitdown in the offseason and determine if they're coming or going. As for Chase Headley, I think the Padres will keep him. They've quietly had a nice resurgence in the second half, and he's a big part of that club.
Jerry: Do the Orioles and Swingin' A's get the two AL WC slots?
Jerry Crasnick (1:46 PM)
Rick, It sure looks like it. The Angels and Rays have all but played themselves out of it in the past week, and I think the AL Central runnerup is too far behind at this point. The A's have a killer road trip upcoming, but if they can play .500, they should be OK.
Re: the Braun "technicality" -- chain of evidence may be a technical issue, but it's not like misfiled paperwork. The nature of the issue is that it can produce bad samples. If the technicality is one that calls in to question the validity of the only evidence against you, it is irresponsible to treat Braun as guilty. And if he was cheating, apparently the steroids were sapping his power...
Jerry Crasnick (1:47 PM)
Hey Rick, Thanks for explaining that more cogently and succinctly than I ever could.
Jerry Crasnick (1:47 PM)
I'm not sure if I buy into the "sapping his power" part, though.
Do you believe in the Orioles yet? There are STILL writers that don't believe in them because of the run differential.
Jerry Crasnick (1:48 PM)
Justin, I appreciate it when a team comes along in this day and age and keeps doing things to defy the statistical projections. Isn't that what makes baseball so much fun?
Forget this year, how much in trouble are the Dodgers next year if BOTH Kershaw (at least until May) and Billingsley (all 2013) have significant injuries? Options? No team with Capuano as ace is winning ANYTHING
Jerry Crasnick (1:49 PM)
Jeff, It throws a major crimp into their long-term planning. I guess they'll just have to go out and give $140 million to Zack Greinke now.
Jerry, who would your AL OF gold glovers be if the season ended today? Seems like there are a lot of options. Just curious as an A's fan who thinks Reddick should be the biggest lock of the bunch.
Jerry Crasnick (1:50 PM)
Eric, I couldn't tell you the Gold Glovers off the top of my head. But I will say I love watching Reddick play. He's aggressive in the outfield, he's got a terrific arm and he really plays with a competitive edge. I thought he should have made the All-Star team, personally.
Mark Trumbo, has he ben pressing or is he being exposed all over again? Quite sad.
Jerry Crasnick (1:52 PM)
BK, Trumbo is a big guy with huge power and some holes in his swing. You go around the league a couple of times and teams are going to adjust to you. My knee-jerk assumption is that he hasn't done a good enough job adjusting back.
I feel bad for the pirates, anyway they can get it going again and steal that last wildcard spot.
Jerry Crasnick (1:53 PM)
Tarek, I don't think so. But the Cardinals and Dodgers have been bad enough that they still have some reason to hope. They're lucky they still have a degree of control over their situation.
If your Dusty Baker, do you split up Cueto and Latos with Arroyo between them in the postseason?
Jerry Crasnick (1:54 PM)
Stan, It would make some sense if you want to give teams a different look and mess with their timing. Of bigger concern: Can Johnny Cueto get it together over the next two weeks? He's looked a tad fatigued lately.
Mike (Long Island)
As much as I like new statistical measurements for player performance, I think we should disregard the new defensive metrics when they all too often produce such divergent findings. Clearly, they are based upon very different assumptions and variables. Even the WAR statistics aren't this far apart.
Jerry Crasnick (1:56 PM)
Mike, The new defensive metrics fluctuate too wildly for me. But I've been told you have to look at them over a longer period of time to place much stock in them. I expect we'll see defensive evaluations continue to get better with time.
Hi Jerry. Big time Reds fan here. But I'm also objective. While the Reds have amassed a lot of wins this season, I dunno, man, I just don't get the warm fuzzy feelings when it comes to post season play. Is this justified?
Jerry Crasnick (1:57 PM)
Michael, It just depends on the starting pitching. Cueto and Latos can be dominant, but how are they going to perform on the big stage in October? And you'd obviously like to see Aroldis Chapman at top form. They're lucky they have a cushion so they can back off him.
billy (vegas) [via mobile]
If the braves cant resign bourn, would they be able to get fowler in a trade with colorado. seems like the braves could trade some pitching.
Jerry Crasnick (1:58 PM)
Billy, Dexter Fowler just replaced Scott Boras with a new agent, Casey Close, which would seem to be a sign that he'd like to sign a longterm deal with the Rockies. So I wouldn't count on that one happening.
Jeff (San Diego)
Didn't see this coming, but will Zito be a post-season starter?
Jerry Crasnick (2:00 PM)
Jeff, That 99-to-65 K-to-BB ratio is nothing special, but he's 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in September. I think he's at least earned the right to be considered for a postseason spot. And with Vogelsong struggling, I don't see how Bruce Bochy can rule it out.
Russ (Cape Porpoise, ME)
As much as I'd like to see him out there, and acknowledging I have no medical background, I get a queasy feeling about Chris Carpenter starting barely 2 months after a surgery drastic enough to involve removing a rib bone, for God's sake.
Jerry Crasnick (2:01 PM)
Russ, When I hear stuff like this, it makes me laugh when people say baseball players aren't tough like other professional athletes.
Todd Frazier the future at 3b for the Reds?
Jerry Crasnick (2:02 PM)
Chris, That would seem to be the best long-term fit for him with Scott Rolen getting closer to the end, yes.
Jerry Crasnick (2:02 PM)
Thanks for the emails, everybody. It was fun. It should be another exciting week in MLB as we get closer to the playoffs. Let's talk again next week.