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, Happy Monday. I appreciate all the Donald Sterling questions, but this is a baseball-only chat. Please address any and all Sterling- or NBA-related questions to the ESPN hoop writers. With that out of the way, let's talk some baseball.
Alex (Mobile, AL)
The Mets success has been all about their bullpen. The last three years, Mets bullpens have been awful (22nd in ERA in 2013 and 29th the two years before that). This year, the bullpen has been outstanding in the games they win. In most of the games they've lost, it's because the bullpen blows a lead. This team has had very solid starting pitching for a few years, but the bullpen has never supported them. With guys like Dice-k, Farnsworth, and Valverde, I don't really see their success continuing all season.
Jerry Crasnick (12:03 PM)
Alex, I understand what you're saying, but the Mets' success this year has been built primarily on the starting rotation. The bullpen ranks 13th in the NL in ERA and 14th in batting average against, so how good are those guys? I agree that it's hard to have much faith in the veterans you mentioned.
Japan [via mobile]
Hi Jerry, always read your. You probably know by now that I am a big fan of the M's. But honestly speaking, do you think there's any reason to believe that they would be different this year? Is there light at the end of the tunnle?
Jerry Crasnick (12:06 PM)
Japan, I've said this a million times, but the Mariners will go as far as the young bats take them (Robbie Cano notwithstanding). Kyle Seager is the real deal, but I have to wonder if kids like Ackley, Smoak and Saunders are ever going to develop the consistency and make the requisite adjustments to take the next step. Until that happens, I think the M's are going to have trouble being more than a .500 team.
Are you surprised by the Nationals starter Tanner Roark? He has been phenomenal, and it all goes back to last season. His career numbers: 86.1 innings, 9-1 1.98 ERA, 66 Ks, .218 BAA, and a 1.01 WHIP. I saw an article that said his numbers are by far better than Strasburg in his first 86 innings in the MLB. What took him so long to develop?
Jerry Crasnick (12:08 PM)
Frederick, He was a 25th round pick out of Illinois-Champaign Urbana, so no one ever predicted stardom for Roark. I think it was just a matter of kicking around the minors, figuring out what did and didn't work and developing confidence in himself. He throws four pitches and he's a competitor. Matt Williams compared him with John Burkett over the weekend. Sounds like a pretty good comp to me.
Roger (Laguna Beach)
Hello Jerry! Abreu, wow, just wow! From what I have read, he is a pretty smart hitter, and makes adjustments during at bats/games. Do you really think he can sustain this for the entire season, or will pitchers figure him out? Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (12:09 PM)
Roger, Buster Olney and I discussed Abreu on the podcast this morning. He's crushing balls on the outer half and getting eaten alive on balls inside -- which was the rap against him when he signed. I'd like to see him go around the league a couple of times before I get overly euphoric. But he has great power and he's a hard worker who has an idea how to hit. So far, so good.
Wayne (MA) [via mobile]
What, if any, value does Mike Carp have? Are the Red Sox just going to release him once Nava turns it around? Thanks!
Jerry Crasnick (12:11 PM)
Wayne, Carp had a lot of value last year when he slugged over .500. He's a solid guy who can give you power off the bench and play some 1B and the outfield. I wouldn't expect him to carry my team. Let's put it this way: I don't think Mike Carp and his performance over 30 or so ABs are the reason why the Red Sox are muddling around near .500.
A guy in my league just made this obscure trade with the commissioner: he gave Longoria and received Blackman! Is this an extreme case of "sell high"? This needs to be vetoed right!?! Please make sense of this!
Jerry Crasnick (12:13 PM)
Roy, Your commissioner needs to be investigated. Charlie Blackmon has been a great early story, but I think I would rather have Evan Longoria.
Thoughts on sending Wong to AAA and the call up of Grichuk?
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
Justin, Not too surprising, given that Peter Bourjos hasn't hit a lick so far and Wong was slumping since a decent early week. I went out on a limb and picked Wong as my preseason NL ROY because I figured he was destined to get a ton of ABs. Can I get a do-over? (Although I suspect he'll be back at some point this season).
Alex Maffesoli (Chicago)
what the chances Jose Abreu wins Rookie of the Year
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
Alex, On the other hand, I did pick Jose Abreu as my preseason AL ROY, assuming he'd hit about .260 with 25-30 bombs. My guess is that's still where he's going to wind up, despite this ridiculous April.
Ed (Queens Village)
What type of reception does Cano get in return to Bronx?
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
Ed, I think he'll get a pretty nice reception. There was some strain when he left, but it's not as if he signed with Boston for $240 million. Are Yankees fans that outraged that he signed with Seattle?
Oscar Taveras (Memphis, TN)
Am I going to see any time in the Big Show soon, or will any of my Redbirds teammates get the call before me?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Oscar, Well, as you've seen, Randal Grichuk already got the call. But I saw that you're hitting .360 so far with Memphis. Keep that up and you'll be making a pretty strong case for yourself. The Cardinals also like Stephen Piscotty, so they have multiple outfield options in case of injury. I don't think Matt Holliday or Allen Craig are going anywhere.
We know Carp isn't the problem but what is the Red Sox issues and can and will they be fixed?
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Shawn, It's a bunch of things. Buchholz and Doubront both have ERAs over 6.00, and they haven't gotten much offense out of Sizemore or Jackie Bradley. But that team has a lot of faith, and I think Ben Cherington is in position to make moves at the deadline if necessary because they didn't spend much during the offseason. No one else is running away with the AL East, so they have time to figure things out.
Alex (Mobile, AL)
What I am trying to say, is the Mets' bullpen is outstanding ONLY when they win. They've been awful in some of their games too, which is why their ERA doesn't look good. Their starting pitching is of course their biggest strength by far, but they only go 6 or 7 innings, and with the Mets' offense struggling, their bullpen has to be stellar to win. The bullpen is the biggest variable in determining their success.
Jerry Crasnick (12:23 PM)
Yep, I hear ya. Thanks for the follow.
What do you think about those Cleveland indians so far this year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:26 PM)
Jack, Just muddling along. When Michael Brantley leads the team with 4 HRs, you know they have a power void. And while Kluber and McAllister have been pretty good, the rest of the rotation hasn't blown anybody away. Masterson is very up and down. I just have a hard time seeing them coming close to last year, when they beat up on all those bad teams to make the playoffs.
2 outs in the bottom of the ninth, bases are loaded and your down a run...Jerry, which current player do you want at the plate?
Jerry Crasnick (12:26 PM)
Mitch, I would be perfectly happy putting my team's fate in Miguel Cabrera's capable hands.
After watching Tanaka pitch last night it seems like batters are not going after his sinker as much as in prior games. Do you believe teams are finally starting to figure him out and getting less aggressive?
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
Kyle, I watched some of last night's game and saw Mike Trout, who's very selective, swing at the first pitch and single to left field. If I'm at the plate against Tanaka, I'm hacking at the first decent pitch I see. You don't want to be down 0-2 or 1-2 against that splitter.
Martin (New York, NY)
I, as well as many Yankees fans I'm sure, will shower Cano with some Bronx boos tomorrow.
Jerry Crasnick (12:29 PM)
Martin, I'm sure you will. But I wonder if they'll be as vociferous as the ones that Phillies fans reserved for Jayson Werth when he returned as a member of the Nationals. Shane Victorino left Philly for the Red Sox, and he got a standing O when he came back to Citizens Bank Park. It's all relative.
Bob( Baltimore) [via mobile]
Will the orioles be able to compete in the AL East with the yankees?
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Hey Bob, I'm not sure if it's the Yankees they'll ultimately have to compete with. That said, the Chris Davis injury will hurt if he's out for an extended period. And I'm just not sold that Tillman, Chen, Norris, Gonzalez and Jimenez is a playoff-caliber rotation. I think they're an 83-85 win team, maybe.
Do you see the Nationals turning it around?
Jerry Crasnick (12:32 PM)
Joey, They have the talent, but they've had some bad luck with the injuries to Harper and Zimmerman, and they sure have kicked the ball around defensively. That team has talent, but something seems to be missing, and I'm not sure the change from Davey Johnson to Matt Williams remedied it.
Are you a believer in the Cubs' FO? I'm trying to stay positive, but it's tough to see the L's rise and the payroll decline.
Jerry Crasnick (12:40 PM)
Hey Jeremy, Sorry about the delay. I got knocked offline there for a few minutes.
Jerry Crasnick (12:42 PM)
As for your question, I think Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are very smart guys, and I admire them for going about this the right way rather than trying for quick fixes. But I honestly can't tell you that the Cubs' young kids are going to be world beaters and that team is going to be a contender in 2-3 years. But Cubs fans have no other choice than to wait and see if it will pan out under the current regime.
Talk to me about yordano ventura. Do you think we're seeing the real yordi or is it just Sss?
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Christian, Let's put it this way: When you start with a fastball of 102 mph-plus, you have a lot of margin for error. If he learns to command his secondary stuff, he has a chance to be special. If not, he's still a heck of a lot of fun to watch.
ricky powell athens ga [via mobile]
How will the hot corner hold up for atlanta the rest of the season
Jerry Crasnick (12:45 PM)
Ricky, Chris Johnson hasn't been great so far, but he's an adequate fit for that team. Freeman, Justin Upton and Heyward are supposed to be their main guys. For some reason, Fredi Gonzalez seems to like having Johnson bat cleanup. If he's hitting seventh, he should give you a solid .280 with 10-15 homers. That should be good enough.
Jesse (Los Angeles, CA)
Not sure if I should be bothered that the Dodgers are 14-12, or satisfied that they're 14-12. They're not playing with much passion right now, and it's frustrating.
Jerry Crasnick (12:47 PM)
Jesse, Losing Kershaw certainly hasn't helped. That's also a team with a ton of talent, and I get the sense they believe they can just turn it on when they feel like it, and go on a tear the way they did last year. Who's to say they won't?
Jerry, I realize it's early, but the Reds seem flat, particularly offensively. Do you see them improving things with the present team or do they need to consider a change somewhere?
Jerry Crasnick (12:49 PM)
AJ, This isn't the first time I've gotten that feeling with that club. They've been together a while and maybe it's time to change up the mix a little bit. Maybe Billy Hamilton will be the missing ingredient. He hasn't buried himself yet, so maybe he can keep progressing and have more of an impact moving forward. Getting Aroldis Chapman back could also help. Can you think of two more exciting players on the same roster than Hamilton and Chapman?
Hey Jerry, could the Giants actually pull off the miracle and win the NL West? Their bullpen has been spot on and I feel like they are a 5th starter away from being a real force (enter Jeff Samardjiza).
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Marc, I never think of it as a miracle when that team wins. It's a very tight, motivated, confident group, and you know they're going to pitch. Vogelsong's performance yesterday was certainly uplifting.
Hello Jerry! Which team do you think has the longest lineup in the majors? Before the Chris Davis injury, I would have said Baltimore. Truly terrifying.
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Andrew, Baltimore's is right up there. Anybody else have any thoughts on that question?
wHATS THE RECORD FOR THE BOSTON RED SOX
Jerry Crasnick (12:52 PM)
They're 12-14, Jack. I thought I'd save you the trouble of looking it up.
Joe A (Chesapeake)
I saw the ball get away from Richards last night, think he could have used some pine tar?
Jerry Crasnick (12:52 PM)
Joe, Pitchers can always use a good glob of pine tar. They just need to put it somewhere other than their necks.
If the Mets continue to hang around, do you think they'll call up the young power arms for the bullpen once the FA clock date ends? At some point, you gotta try to win and worry about paying your young players later, right?
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Mitch, Are you talking about, say, Syndergaard? I don't think they'd mess with him. Not sure about the other prospects in the system.
Well it sure aint the Astros!!!I get calling up George Springer but why bat him 4th? Shouldn't he be batting towards the bottom for a while until he figures it all out?
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
John, I agree with you on that one. Just a hunch, but I think that directive might be coming from upstairs rather being a Bo Porter decision. If it were me, I'd let him acclimate at 6th or 7th and wait until he gets comfortable before hitting him cleanup.
I know I'm a biased Braves fan, but I have to admit: every time someone makes an excuse for a team's poor play by saying that they've "had injuries", I laugh out loud about it.
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Ben, Yes, good point. The Braves had more reason than any club to lay down and feel sorry for themselves this season. On the other hand, the injuries to Medlen and Beachy at least happened early enough for Frank Wren to take action. If those guys went down in April, he wouldn't have had the luxury of going out and signing Ervin Santana.
Brain (San Diego)
One thing about the whole pine tar incident I don't get is why are batters allowed to use it to get a better grip on the bat but pitchers can't use it for a better grip on the ball? Seems a bit one sided to me.
Jerry Crasnick (12:58 PM)
Brain (Brian?). A lot of pitchers would agree with you. I've been working on a story on pitchers and pine tar. And despite what Doc Gooden, Gaylord Perry and others have said, most pitchers seem to use it for a better grip. For what it's worth, I've been told that catchers and infielders also use pine tar. And remember Jay Buhner with that huge slab of pine tar on his uniform pants?
Anything to worry about with Mark Appel being sent back to extended Spring Training?
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
John, The Astros have said no, but the decision seemed a little odd to me. I'd honestly have to look into it further to have an opinion worth sharing.
When do the Braves say enough is enough with Uggla and call up Tommy La Stella? Hes batting near .400 and has only struck out 4 times all season.
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
Adam, Probably when they're able to find a team that will take Uggla and assume some of his salary. Good luck with that.
Chris White (Atlanta)
The league could pre-treat the balls with a saddle soap type of compound that would raise the grain after the tumble treatment they get, your thoughts Jerry?
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Chris, When I talked to Joe Torre over the weekend, he mentioned how the balls in Japan are more "tacky." Maybe baseball can find a universal application or a way to treat the balls to make them less slick (besides Mississipi mud). At any rate, I don't expect this issue to be addressed until the offseason at the earliest. That's what Bud Selig said.
will Washington do good with bryce harper on the DL
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Otto, I assume we'll be seeing more of Nate McLouth and Tyler Moore.
Jesse (Taylorville, NC)
I think Mike Carp would be a great addition to the Angels. They have had a lot of success with fish ..."Trout and Salmon"
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
I can live with that.
Jerry, is it reasonable to have high hopes for this White Sox team? It has been a pretty tough schedule to open the season, and they have managed to be .500. What do you think shapes out ROS for this team? Thanks!!
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Roger, I just don't think they can sustain this type of production. They're absolutely crushing the ball and they're 13-13. The rotation is shaky at the back end and the bullpen needs work. That said, it's a much more entertaining group to watch. Like a lot of people in baseball, I really like what Rick Hahn is doing there.
What do you think of the new "interpretation" of the transfer rule? And what is the "why" behind this change?
Jerry Crasnick (1:07 PM)
Jackson, MLB basically acknowledged that this was turning into a fiasco. Umpires (in large part because of replay) had begun overthinking the situation. Contrary to what people have said, the rule never "changed." I think it was wise of Bud Selig and MLB just to go back to square one. I honestly don't anticipate many problems with this moving forward.
What do you believe the future holds for Curtis Granderson?
Jerry Crasnick (1:08 PM)
Ross, Once he relaxes, I think he'll be OK. As I've mentioned previously, he's changing leagues and trying to justify the Mets' big expenditure in him. Maybe Granderson is only a .230 hitter (with 25-30 HRs). But that's 100 points higher than he's hitting right now.
Everybody loves a strikeout, but how important is it for pitchers with dynamic fastballs to pitch to some contact? Wheeler has such great "stuff" but seems to try and be a little too perfect and ends up walking a few more batters than he should be.
Jerry Crasnick (1:10 PM)
Sagar, I think a lot of young pitchers become more comfortable trying to induce what Tim Lincecum calls "crappy contact" as they get older. Striking out 12 batters in a game is great. But it's not quite as good when you're throwing 110 pitches in five innings. Wheeler, like other young pitchers, should get a better handle on that with time.
Jerry Crasnick (1:11 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everyone. Looking forward to the big Sonny Gray-Yu Darvish matchup tonight. Let's do it again next Monday.