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 folks, It's overcast in Baltimore, but I think we'll be OK for tonight's Yankees-Orioles tilt. I won't be able to go a full hour today, but let's squeeze in as many questions as we can in 30-40 minutes.
Danny E (DC)
Why oh why would anyone bunt with two on and no out when you're trailing by a run? There's no way Davey Johnson called for this right? It had to be my decision.
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Danny, According to the stories I've seen from the game, Davey Johnson called for the bunt. Out of character, but it worked. I was at the O's game last night and Buck Showalter also called for a bunt in a situation where he might not normally do it. Sometimes managers have to be flexible and go with their gut, I guess.
How did Matusz go from his awful 2011 to being used in major bullpen situations?
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
Alex, You never know why some young pitchers adjust to the bullpen so well. It's easier to concentrate, focus and throw strikes in one inning bursts, and they can let it all hang out rather than trying to conserve energy for 100 pitches. Matusz has certainly made a great transition to the pen, but I can still see him getting another crack or two at starting during his career. He's still young yet.
chriss (wpb, fl)
Do you think the Braves take Maholm's extention?
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Chris, Yes, I think the Braves will exercise Paul Maholm's $6.5 million extension. He's a solid lefty who can give them 180 innings with a 3.50 ERA or thereabouts. That's a pretty good return for the cost.
With the Rays needing hitters and the Royals needing pitching, Shields or Hellickson for either 1B-Hosmer or C-Perez.Who says no?
Jerry Crasnick (1:05 PM)
Steve, I don't know how Andrew Friedman feels, but there's no way I see Dayton Moore parting with either Hosmer or Perez. The Royals still think Hosmer will be a star once he puts this year behind him, and Perez is a 22-year-old kid who gives them stability at a position that's very difficult to fill.
Flemming (Copenhagen, Denmark)
It may have worked, but that doesn't mean Johnson shouldn't be taken to task for calling for the bunt. It was outrageous.
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Flemming, Whatever. I tend to defer to guys like Johnson and Showalter because they usually know what they're doing. If it doesn't work, they know they're going to take the heat for it.
Giants = done, right?
Jerry Crasnick (1:08 PM)
Erich, Pretty darned close to it. The Reds are awfully difficult to contain in that ballpark, and now they can smell it. Plus, Jayson Stark and I both picked the Giants to win that series. (Jayson picked San Francisco to win it all). That pretty much guarantees a Cincinnati victory.
Jason (St Louis)
Tigers are starting to look like the team to beat in the AL. What do you think?
Jerry Crasnick (1:09 PM)
Jason, I picked them as my World Series winner, so I'm on board -- although the Yankees could be tough if Sabathia, Pettitte and Kuroda all pitch well. And after watching the A's and Orioles all year, I'm not ready to write them off until they're officially eliminated. Too much karma.
What is it with Ron Washington and his tendency to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory
Jerry Crasnick (1:10 PM)
Kirk, The Rangers ran into some hot SF pitching in 2010, and last year they would have won if Neftali Feliz could have sealed the deal. This year they just ran out of gas. I think managers get too much blame when things go wrong -- especially in the postseason.
Bren (Pearl River, NY)
If the Wild Card is meant to be punished by this new format, why do they get days off between both the play-in game and the division series?
Jerry Crasnick (1:12 PM)
Bren, I think it was largely for travel purposes. If the Orioles had been forced to play the Yankees in a divisional tiebreaker, then play the wild card game, then have to travel to Oakland for the first round, that's an awfully quick turnaround. And hey, you have to build a day or two off into the schedule just in case of inclement weather.
Bob (Exton, PA)
Considering the shocking/dissapointing end to the Rangers' season, I would think that they be extremely motivated to add a top of the rotation starter. Cliff Lee is still that....starting with Mike Olt, what type of package could the Phillies command for Lee? Love to keep him in Phila, but it is time to be realistic about the Phillies chances in 2013 and 2014. Olt and a couple of other assets would be a good start to the rebuild.
Jerry Crasnick (1:14 PM)
Bob, Jon Daniels and his crew have a lot on their plate this winter -- starting with Josh Hamilton. Let's keep in mind that the Rangers didn't exactly tear it up offensively for long stretches. If they decide they need an injection of youth, we might see Jurickson Profar, Leonys Martin and Olt all in the mix very soon. I don't think the Phillies are interested in trading Lee, anyway. They want to keep the Big Three together for another run next year.
Jason (St Louis)
Jon Jay and Trever Rosenthal for Elvis Andrus. What do you think?
Jerry Crasnick (1:14 PM)
Jason, Sorry, I don't see that happening.
Frank Wren (Atlanta, GA)
So, I've said publicly that I won't be pursuing pitching this offseason. Is that a good decision? I don't have a #1-2 right now
Jerry Crasnick (1:15 PM)
Frank, You only have so much money to go around, and you'll have to find a way to replace both Chipper and (probably) Michael Bourn. You've got Medlen, Hudson, Minor and Maholm, and the kids in the minors still trying to make that final step. I think offense has to be the priority.
Will (Parkersburg, WV)
Brandon Phillips looks like the best player in the Postseason. Do you agree?
Jerry Crasnick (1:17 PM)
Will, I haven't broken it down roster by roster, but he's right up there. DatDudeBP loves the spotlight, and I think he's built to rise to the occasion when the stakes are high.
This is probably a really stupid question, but why is Wash playing in St Louis to start the serious?
Jerry Crasnick (1:18 PM)
Paul, The higher seeded team in the Division Series gets three games at home, but the sked was too tight to accommodate a 2-2-1 format, so they went with 2-3 this year. I would hope that changes in the future.
Tom (Leesburg, VA)
Why is MLB so late on announcing game times? would love to know what time the Nats game is on Wednesday. seriously, selig sucks. and the 2-3 format is crazy. but glad my nats won one game in STL
Jerry Crasnick (1:19 PM)
Tom, I think they have to wait to make sure the Yankees get that prime-time slot, just so we can sit through a rain delay and have the game drag on for four hours and get through at 12:30 a.m. Sorry -- Do I sound bitter?
Jason (St Louis)
Would the triple crown winner in Detroit be the best player in the playoffs?
Jerry Crasnick (1:20 PM)
Jason, From what I saw and heard yesterday, he seemed to be banging the ball around the yard with authority. No surprise there.
Through the 1st couple days of the postseason, which team has looked the most impressive to you?
Jerry Crasnick (1:21 PM)
Jason, I'm very impressed with the way the Reds rolled into San Francisco and pushed the Giants around -- especially after Johnny Cueto left Game 1 after throwing eight pitches. That's resilience right there.
asnyder230 (Washington, DC)
Speaking of bunts and deferring to Showalter, were you surprised Jones didn't bunt in the 9th with Hardy on 2nd? When the O's didn't score there, I wasn't feeling too good...
Jerry Crasnick (1:22 PM)
Asnyder, A few of the writers were discussing that in the press box as the sequence played out. I had no problem with Showalter letting Adam Jones swing away there. He's the Orioles' team MVP and biggest power threat. You have to let the Big Dog eat.
Sharif (Chicago, IL)
We all know that Detroit has starting pitching, especially if Scherzer is healthy. My concern is their bullpen and defense. I can't think of a team with a shaky bullpen and poor defense that won anything. Your thoughts after Detroit's first two games?
Jerry Crasnick (1:24 PM)
Sharif, I'm with you. That defense lets a lot of balls fall in, and Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde aren't exactly sure things at this point. Those are Achilles heels No. 1 and 1(a) for Jim Leyland's team.
All the nonsensical support of Sam Holbrook aside, MLB and Torre know that was a terrible call, right? I get the public spin but I at least hope they realize that was NOT an infield fly rule play. And how can Holbrook and Torre claim he made the call immediately? The tape shows the exact opposite!
Jerry Crasnick (1:25 PM)
CC, I agree. I thought it was a terrible call. Maybe Sam Holbrook was adjusting to a different angle out in left field, but there's no way that should have been called an infield fly 225 feet from home plate. Too many bad things can happen when infielders and outfielders are just a few feet from each other. It was just a bad call.
Rich (Sun Valley, ID)
Finally made it in 2012 to my favorite chat! Jerry, I would just like to remind the people who are writing off the Cardinals that this is pretty much the same team who lost game one of the 2011 NLDS to the Brewers, game one of the 2011 NLCS to the Phillies. For those who may have forgotten (like all the analysts who picked against them in every series, which if memory serves, included you, my friend) they won the World Series. In consistent elimination fashion.This team plays best with it's back to the wall. Write them off at your own risk, pilgrims!
Jerry Crasnick (1:27 PM)
Rich, Thanks for checking in from Idaho. Yes, I picked against the Cardinals (I had them losing to the Braves). Shows how valuable my opinion is. But I never feel comfortable writing off St. Louis. Too much tradition and pride in that organization.
Jason (St Louis)
But I think everyone outside Atlanta agrees that the Braves lost that game in the first six innings. They were as likely to see McCann hit in to a DP as anything else.
Jerry Crasnick (1:28 PM)
Jason, Yes, absolutely correct. If Chipper Jones had made an accurate throw on that DP ball, I think Atlanta would have won that game. That throw changed the entire tone of the game, and the Braves never recovered.
Scotty D. (Rochester, NY)
If the Red Sox want to pry away John Farrell from the Blue Jays, what kind and quanitity of players would it take? Seems like the Chisox dumping Ozzie for two marginal prospects is not really an apples-to-apples comparison in this situation.
Jerry Crasnick (1:30 PM)
Scotty D., I like John Farrell and I think he's a capable manager with the people skills and communications skills to fare well in Boston. But to be honest, I'm not sure about the frenzy to hire him in Boston. Is he that much of a difference maker as a manager that the Red Sox should have to surrender a top prospect for him? I'm not sold on that idea.
After year one, does Theo and company's plan look like its headed in the right direction?
Jerry Crasnick (1:31 PM)
Paul, They have some good pieces in Rizzo, Castro and (probably) Samardzija. I think this season just substantiated how much ground they have to cover to be competitive. I admire them for sticking to the plan and doing it the right way rather than making marginal upgrades just to appease the fan base. It's going to take a while, and they're conceding that's the case.
I haven't heard a single fan here in ATL say that call cost us the game. It cost us a great chance to get back in the game. But we earned that loss so let's not act like Braves fans are whining.
Jerry Crasnick (1:32 PM)
CC, Well said. But that still doesn't erase the memory of all those beverage containers flying onto the field at the Ted.
Will Al Albuquerque's kiss wake up the A's? Showboating has no place in MLB.
Jerry Crasnick (1:34 PM)
Jeff, I think going back to Oakland and getting a good outing out of Brett Anderson is more likely to wake up the A's. They can generate a lot of excitement at that place, and I firmly believe they think they can come back. I just wish they'd take the tarp off the upper deck and let some more fans watch the proceedings.
Jon (Des Moines)
Is Gardenhire safe? Seems like he could handle the Boston atmosphere.. I've enjoyed his long tenure in Minnesota, but it seems like the Twins are at rock bottom right now.
Jerry Crasnick (1:35 PM)
Jon, There are no indications that Ron Gardenhire is nearing the end in Minnesota. They value continuity there, and Terry Ryan freely admits that the recent failings are an organizational-wide proposition. Gardenhire only has so much to work with right now.
Should the A's (and their fans) worry less about what Alberquerqe did and more about not striking out as much?
Jerry Crasnick (1:36 PM)
Tom, That would help too. But they've got a bunch of Matt Stairs disciples in that lineup. As Jonny Gomes says, they love to hack.
Scotty D. (Rochester, NY)
With Bobby V. out of Boston, who will get the job in Boston -- Farrell, Varitek, Alomar Jr., Sandberg or a darkhorse candidate? What does your gut tell you?
Jerry Crasnick (1:37 PM)
Scotty, I would still lean toward Farrell, in part because Boston is an awfully tough place to manage for the first time. Gordon Edes recently listed 15 possible candidates for the Red Sox job, so I assume Ben Cherington will do a pretty thorough search.
Whose performance is most disappointing so far? Giants? A's? Rangers?
Jerry Crasnick (1:38 PM)
Steve, I'll go with the Rangers, since they're sitting at home right now watching. The other two teams still have a fighting chance. (I give Oakland a much better chance than San Fran).
The Holbrook call was a perfect example of the LF umpire dying to make a call. When will these umpires realize people don't pay good money to watch them umpire?
Jerry Crasnick (1:40 PM)
David, Sam Holbrook has a reputation as a good umpire. But that wasn't the type of play where you could go back, check the replay and take a mulligan. I think his intentions were good. He just used bad judgement.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Yeah, Ben Cherington will conduct a thorough search...then Lucchino will override the decision and hire whomever gets better TV ratings. Can someone please buy this team?
Jerry Crasnick (1:41 PM)
Marc, Well, yeah, that's the other potential scenario in Boston.
Mike (San Diego)
The elephant in the room for the Rangers is Michael Young being an everyday player in the middle of their lineup. He got 650 plate appearances this year and was one of the worst players in baseball. I would argue that with better lineup construction, they wouldn't be sitting at home right now.
Jerry Crasnick (1:42 PM)
Mike, Yep, that's going to be an issue for them this offseason, no question. Michael Young is due to make $16M next season, and he's still a huge part of that clubhouse even though his production is in decline. It's always a challenge for teams dealing with star players who aren't producing the way they once did.
Jerry Crasnick (1:44 PM)
On another note, people were saying that Derek Jeter was "finished" a couple of years ago. Young might not be a $16 million player anymore, but he has a lot of pride and I still think he has something left in the tank. The question is, in what role? And if not with Texas, then who?
The Albuquerque kiss situation is way overblown, no? I like seeing some fun and humor in the game, personally.
Jerry Crasnick (1:45 PM)
Ryan, Yeah, I thought it was humorous in a bizarre sort of way. But it probably wasn't the brightest move in the world with the A's down 2-0 and looking for a spark. I'm sure that some of Al's teammates shared that sentiment with him during the flight to California.
Jerry Crasnick (1:45 PM)
Thanks for the emails, everybody. As I mentioned earlier, I have to duck out a little early today. Let's do it again next week.