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 noon ET!
Jerry Crasnick (12:01 PM)
Hey folks, Great to be here on this sunny Monday. Let's talk some baseball.
Jeremy (DC) [via mobile]
Jerry, even before Zimmerman's broken thumb he was again struggling to make throws to first. How can the Nats be considered any kind of contender with a third baseman that can't throw? Is there legitimate concern in the Nats organization that he may never be the same again?
Jerry Crasnick (12:03 PM)
Jeremy, I think there's more going on with Zimmerman than he or the Nationals will acknowledge. He appears to have some kind of mental block with throwing, and that's a tough thing for a player and an organization to deal with. He's a great player and a big part of that franchise, and the consensus is that he'll probably be best served moving to first base relatively soon. Whether that will help with his throwing issues, I can't say for certain.
Salvatore (Chicago )
Is Conor Gillaspie for real, or will he eventually get replaced by Matt Davidson?
Jerry Crasnick (12:05 PM)
Salvatore, Conor Gillaspie is an intriguing guy. He doesn't have big power, but he's got a lot of hittability. If he's for real, it's a good problem for the White Sox to have. A lot of people think Matt Davidson is better suited to being a DH over the long haul, anyway.
Kevin (Louisville, Ky)
How much improvement in Ervin Santana's numbers do you think there will be with his move to the NL? Could he be a dark horse candidate for NL Cy Young?
Jerry Crasnick (12:06 PM)
Kevin, It's way too early to engage in that kind of speculation, but I know the Braves were very excited after they signed him. It usually helps a pitcher going from the AL to the NL, obviously. I'm going to the Phillies-Braves game tonight, so I'm looking forward to seeing what Santana has got.
I like the concept of instant replay and using technology to correct important calls but from watching a lot of games so far it seems that any close plays managers are challenging the call. In my opinion it is slowing down the game. Your thoughts?
Jerry Crasnick (12:09 PM)
Bill, I did a story on this last week. The average delay was 2 minutes, 17 seconds per review. That's not much longer than the time a manager would be out there arguing. (It's just a lot more boring to watch). The big issue is getting the calls right. And despite some hiccups (i.e, Matt Williams and John Farrell over the weekend), I think the system is doing what it was intended to do. It will improve with changes and modifications over time.
Phillies Phan (Philadelphia)
A lot of Chase Utley HOF buzz lately pointing to that fact that with a decent season he will pass Jackie Robinson for the 9th highest WAR among 2B in HOF. Is he a HOF'er?
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Phillies Phan, There would be no doubt if he had remained healthy, but he's 35 years old and he only has 1,430 career hits. I know "counting stats" aren't the be-all and end-all. But he still has a lot of work to do.
Jerry (King of Prussia)
Struggling with SP, who do you prefer for rest of season? Erasmo Ramirez or Tommy Milone?
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Jerry, I'd go with Tommy Milone, who's sort of a poor man's Tom Glavine. Curt Young does a great, unsung job with that Oakland staff (just look at Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chavez so far this season). Milone is in a great environment for pitching, and I think he'll be a contributor to that Oakland staff.
Jake (Waunakee, WI)
What is your take on the Brewers so far? Everyone seems to think they will tumble off but am I one of the few who think they have the pieces to make a good run into October?
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
Jake, I hate to sound like a cliche machine, but if Matt Garza and Kyle Lohse pitch well, there's no reason they can't hang around a while. The starting pitching needs to log a lot more innings to keep the pressure off that pen. But they're strong up the middle, they've got a nice middle of the order combo in Braun and Aramis, and Carlos Gomez seems ready to take his game to another level. They're not as good as they've played so far, but there's no reason they can't hang around a while.
I know its early but arent the Braves the obvious favorite to win the NL East?
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
Adam, This weekend's euphoria notwithstanding, that's a stretch. The Nationals still have the most talent in that division. But I did pick the Braves as one of my NL wild cards. If Dan Uggla and BJ Upton can get straightened out, they'll be even better. But that's a pretty iffy proposition right now.
Is Kirk Gibson in danger of being fired?
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
Frank, I would hope D-backs management has a little more patience. But if it's 2-3 weeks or a month from now and they're still playing like this, Gibby's seat will be getting extremely warm.
Adam from Phoenix misspelled Barves.
Jerry Crasnick (12:18 PM)
I love that -- Barves.
Jerry, I'm in agreement with your thoughts on the replay system. That said, MLB saying they didn't have the angle on Saturday that the rest of the world had doesn't pass the smell test. It looked like that crew wasn't going to admit its own error.
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Joe, As John Farrell pointed out, the issues have been more with human error than the replay system and the way it's designed. It's certainly frustrating when you design a system to eliminate that kind of thing and it still happens. I just think we all have a tendency to focus on the 2-3 percent of the time when the system messes up and ignore the majority of times when it remedies a mistake.
Will Aaron Hicks ever hit MLB pitching?
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Gardy, I don't know if he's ever going to be a top-of-the order mainstay. But I still think he has enough ability to be a quality defender and an adequate hitter. Hicks barely has 300 big league at bats. He's still learning, and it's tough to learn in the big leagues. As a center fielder, he doesn't have to be a world beater at the plate.
Jerry, could you expand on your thoughts about Nats talent vs. "Barves" talent? The pitching leans heavily toward ATL based on results (injuries aside), and the combo of Freddie and Andrelton alone seems greater than anything on WAS's lineup. Are we still touting the potential of Bryce? Assuming Werth will carry them? Span?
Jerry Crasnick (12:25 PM)
John, The Braves have gotten a huge contribution from Aaron Harang so far. Is that going to continue? As I mentioned earlier, BJ Upton and Dan Uggla are huge factors for Atlanta. If they both hit .180, that's two major crimps in the Braves' lineup. As for Bryce, yep, we're still touting his potential. He's 21 years old, and he's an enormous talent.
d'Arnaud, Lagares, Duda, Tejada. Who has proven they belong in the big leagues?
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Mitch, They're all still in the process of proving it, although I feel pretty safe in saying Duda's power would give him a role on just about any roster. Lagares is an out-of-this-world defender and has made major strides at the plate. He's making a statement that he's a valuable regular, and Tejada and D'Arnaud haven't done that yet.
Jerry what are your thoughts on Pablo Sandovals contract demands? Considering his weight issues is it realistic that anyone would give home the five years he is asking for from the giants?
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Tim, The only way to find that out for sure is if he goes out on the open market. The Giants obviously have their concerns about his longterm durability. But if that original three-year, $40 report on their offer is correct, it's pretty light. Last I checked, Pablo was hitting about .170. If he wants to build some momentum and put some pressure on the Giants to get a deal done, he needs to stop worrying about his contract and start crushing the ball.
How long before the Crew trades Rickie Weeks?
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Ken, I'm sure they'd like to move him. But given his production and the size of his contract, I don't see a whole lot of interested parties out there.
Jerry - I respectfully disagree with you on replay. It's ridiculous that managers trot out to the field like snails and ask the umps where they are going for dinner while their own video guys look at the play and then signal if it's worth challenging. Plus, about 60% of plays aren't even reviewable. What's the point? The system is an absolute joke.
Jerry Crasnick (12:34 PM)
Ryan, Baseball did a study, and 86 percent of reviewable calls are either tag plays or force plays. So I don't buy your premise at all. I've heard it suggested that managers be removed from the process entirely, but I'm not sure it's a great idea to have someone in New York playing "god." As I said earlier, the system needs some tweaks. But I completely disagree that it's an "absolute joke."
Ray A. (San Francisco, CA)
Do you think the Diamondbacks will be calling up Archie Bradley before June's Super Two Date?
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Ray, I don't see it. If anything, the D-backs' terrible start has probably lessened the sense of urgency to call up Bradley. They're not going anywhere anyway, so why compound the bad start by frittering away an extra year of control with their best prospect? (Of course, the minute I say that, they'll probably call him up).
The only way Rickie Weeks gets traded is for Dan Uggla. period.
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Jason, Now, that would be a classic "change of scenery" deal.
Shawn Rollins (Gibsonia,PA)
With the ongoing financial struggles that the Athletics and Rays are having with their bad ballparks they play in, most likely will both franchises aim towards a relocation?
Jerry Crasnick (12:38 PM)
Shawn, As history has shown, MLB gives individual markets every opportunity to work out their issues before signing off on moves. But those are two clubs that really do have stadium problems that need to be addressed. Strangely enough, the Rays and A's mask those issues by finding a way to compete with limited resources. Maybe they should both go out and stink and lose 110 games a year. That will help ratchet up the debate a little.
hank (myrtle beach)
Sorry, but have to disagree on the nats-braves. Nats have a good rotation yes but santana/minor/teheren/wood/5th man is pretty damn good. Also they already have key position players out for extended periods from the get-go. Also Bryce Harper is 21, Heyward might be more primed for a huge breakout at 24 than him honestly. It just feels like for the past 2 years no matter what the braves do the media seems ready to proclaim the Nats perennial 100 game winners before they've shown it on the field.
Jerry Crasnick (12:40 PM)
Hank, I still would have felt better about their rotation if Medlen and Beachy hadn't gone down in spring training. But that's the beauty of a 162-game season: You have your opinion and I have mine, and we can see how things work out. If you're right, feel free to write back and remind me in late September.
john [via mobile]
why is everybody jumping on the band wagon of the brewers. wait till the end of the month after they play the cardinals 6 times and the pirates 4 more times in pitt. then you can decide. i think there trash.
Jerry Crasnick (12:42 PM)
John, "Trash" is a little harsh. I'm just not 100 percent sold on the rotation. Matt Garza's recent history doesn't suggest that he's going to make 33 starts and give them 200 innings, and some scouts think it's a rotation made up primarily of 3-4 starters. You're right on one thing, though: This is a big stretch for them coming up.
Thanks for you your response; curious about what you thought potential relocation sits would be for the A's, Rays. I heard that Orlando could be in play-where else?
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
John, Personally, I would love to see baseball return to Montreal. But that's primarily because I really like that city. I don't see Orlando at all. If Miami and Tampa support their teams half-heartedly, why would baseball fare any better in Orlando?
Alex (Miami, FL)
Does Dee Gordon finally earn 450+ AB's this year and steal 50SB. How do you feel about a Michael Morse bounceback (can you project numbers)?
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Alex, I'm not sold that Dee Gordon can get on base enough to steal 50 bags, but you have to like the progress he's shown so far. Morse was a nice pickup for the Giants. As always, the big question is whether he can stay in one piece. But history suggests he'll give them a slugging percentage in the .450 to .500 range.
Joe (Green Bay)
If the Brewers can stay healthy and get good pitching and hitting, they will be there at the end year. This holds true for the other 29 major league teams as well.
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Hey Joe, Do you really want to include the Astros in that statement? (Sorry, Astros)
What players around the league who are doing very well fall off to the point where we forget about their hot starts?
Jerry Crasnick (12:49 PM)
Hey Tim, Based on their track records, Emilio Bonifacio, Dee Gordon, Charlie Blackmon and Jason Kubel are among the hitters you think are due for some regression pretty soon. As for pitchers, I'm not sure what the deal is with Jesse Chavez and Alfredo Simon. But I have to say that I'm surprised.
Mike K (Washington DC)
How the heck do the Braves sweep the Nats and then drop below them in the Power Rankings? Oh and they're the only team to hang some losses on the Brewers too!
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Mike, I don't have any input in the Power Rankings, so that's one area I don't take any blame for. Rest assured that if the Braves continue to play well, they'll quickly rise through the Power Rankings. To be honest, I think Fredi Gonzalez is a lot more concerned with the NL East standings than the ESPN power rankings.
Don't forget about the Twins Jerry. I think they'd get beat by pretty good college and Triple A teams at this point.
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Thanks for mentioning the Twins, Matt.
Montreal would be a terrific choice. Orlando has a great baseball history, I mean terrific. Between Daytona Beach and Orlando is also one of the biggest baseball hotspots in the country, throw in negro league history, population growth, weather, and good fan support in other sports (compared to Miami and Tampa) with a nod to proximity to latin america??? What's NOT to like?
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
John, Sorry, despite the factors you mention, I'm not sold on Orlando. I've also experienced major traffic issues in that city. I mean, "Leave the hotel, go get a pizza and arrive back at the hotel an hour later" type of traffic issues. So that's another thing not to like.
Andrelton Simmons has been better at the plate so far this season. Is becoming more than just an elite defender into a more well-rounded and dangerous player, or do we chalk this up to SSS?
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Brandon, Simmons hit 17 homers last year, so this isn't exactly out of the blue. As you say, he's becoming a more well-rounded and dangerous player. That's about the best way I could put it.
Jason (Tulsa, OK)
How do you think Colby Lewis will pitch tonight after spending last season on the DL?
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
Jason, He's a resourceful guy. When I was in spring training, Jon Daniels talked about how Lewis pitched well in the postseason when he wasn't even healthy enough to bend over and tie his shoes. If he's healthy, he'll give them 6 innings of good pitching every time out. Nothing dazzling, but he's a tough competitor, and his teammates really like and respect what he brings.
Do you think Mark Buehrle's has a good shot at the HOF?
Jerry Crasnick (12:58 PM)
Ryan, He's had a very solid career, but his closest comps on Baseball-reference.com are Frank Viola and Jimmy Key. The writers all love Buehrle because he gets us home quickly. But he's not a Hall of Famer.
Did you know the Yankees are the only team in baseball who have ever had injuries?
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
Bryan, I'm not sure why, but I got a chuckle out of this comment.
Jerry, if we're talking relocation, how about these three places? Portland, Ore to me is a no brainer. Great weather, great fan support for other teams and a great city. Or how about another Texas team? Austin or San Antonio perhaps? Both great cities and would offer tremendous fan bases and great economic climates.
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
Hey Matt, I'm not sure those cities have the population base to support a big-league team. But they're all great towns. Thanks for adding them to the debate.
Michael (Smiths Station Alabama)
Jerry, good so see you back! Do you like the Atlanta Braves locking up the young players that they did? I think this is exciting times for the braves.
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Michael, I think fans had to appreciate them locking up so many young guys, especially since taxpayers are going to help them fund the new park in Cobb County. My big question is, what's going to happen with Jason Heyward? But that's a question for another day.
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everyone. I have to go now. Let's do it again next week.