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 (12:00 PM)
Hey folks, Hope you and your loved ones had a great Mother's Day and enjoyed the NFL draft. Let's talk some baseball.
Jerry- Is there ANYTHING the Phillies can do about the poo-poo platter they're calling a bullpen? Not only are they blowing games, they're making Hamels throw 133 pitches a few weeks after coming back from a sore shoulder.
Jerry Crasnick (12:02 PM)
Greg, Funny, but Buster Olney and I just discussed this on the Podcast. Other than Papelbon, Mike Adams and Jake Diekman, Ryne Sandberg doesn't appear to have anyone he's comfortable using in a tight situation. Problem is, a lot of other teams have bullpen issues too, so you don't just go out there and trade for an arm in May. The Phillies did just promote Kenny Giles, who throws over 100 mph, to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. If he shows anything there, he won't be in Triple-A for long.
After 17 games in Yankee Stadium, Ellsbury only has one home run. No big deal, right?
Jerry Crasnick (12:03 PM)
Matt, He's hitting oover .300 with 10 steals and a lot of doubles, so he's fine. The Yankees have a lot bigger problems than Jacoby Ellsbury's home run output.
Is it crazy to think Nolan Arenado can have a better season than Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre or David Wright? Both with the glove and bat.
Jerry Crasnick (12:05 PM)
Andres, I did an interview with Arenado in spring training, and he talked about being determined to show that he can be a two-way player. The glove speaks for itself. I'm not ready to say he'll have a better year than the other guys you mentioned. But playing 81 games in Coors Field and hitting in that lineup will allow him to put up some pretty nice numbers.
I love coming here and reading all the chats because I love the insight you writers give. I'm seeing a pattern though. It's very rare that you guys take Orioles questions. I know I ask a few every week and they never get answered. So give me a good reason to keep coming back.
Jerry Crasnick (12:06 PM)
Jay, If there's a pattern, it's not intentional. Feel free to send an O's question along and I'll take a stab at it.
Jerry, Do you see the Miami Marlins as a threat to win the NL East? I got to say they have tried this recipe before, and have won the world series. I really like the Marlins young pitching. Can the Marlins young hitters hit enough on the road to get past the Nationals and Braves?
Jerry Crasnick (12:09 PM)
Michael, I still think the Nationals will win that division once they get their lineup back together and have a chance to develop some stability. I also picked the Braves as an NL wild card, although I have to admit I'm concerned about that offense. But the Marlins sure are fun. I talked to a scout that I respect the other day, and he predicted, "The Marlins are going to finish second in that division because of the young pitching." Not 100 percent sold yet, but I thought they would be a sleeper. And if Stanton stays healthy, he'll be in the MVP mix.
At what point do you stop saying small sample size and say, "This guy is really having a great/terrible year!"
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Tom, Some people think the quarter pole is a great time to assess, and we're just about there. But there have been a lot of cases where guys are buried at the All-Star break and salvage their seasons with strong second halves.
Mike P (Greater Kc Metro)
The royals are considering sending down Moustakas as a roster move to help the depleted bullpen. If this does come through... what can we expect out of him when he gets back seeing as how he has a volatile psyche as it is...
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Mike, I've been in the "give him time and he'll come out of it" camp, but we're 5 weeks into the season and he has what, 15 hits? I think it might be a good thing for him to go to Triple-A and try to work out his issues with no pressure. Hopefully, he will return in a much better frame of mind. Because whatever the Royals are doing now simply isn't working.
We know why Coors field gives the Rockies an advantage, but what is it about the Marlins park that gives them such a home field advantage?
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
Doug, Well, if you ask the Braves people, they think there's something fishy going on and they're stealing signs or engaging in some other shenanigans. I've yet to find someone who's on board with that opinion. But the numbers are startling, given that Marlins Park isn't exactly a hitter's nirvana.
Is 2B for the Braves a Pastornicky/Pena platoon for the foreseeable future? Uggla will be released soon (one can only hope).
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
CC, Maybe they're hoping that a few days off and a few sessions in the cage with Greg Walker and Scott Fletcher can help Uggla get back on track, but I'm sensing the patience has pretty much run dry and things aren't going to get any better with him there. I know $23-24 million is a lot to swallow, but we've probably reached the point where Uggla and the Braves need to part company.
Mike (New York)
For this season, are the Mets more likely to use their AAA phenoms (Syndergaard, Montero) as starters and trade for bullpen arms, or not trade at all and use those guys out of the pen?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Mike, It sounds as if the Mets plan to promote Montero soon and let him get his feet wet in the bullpen before transitioning him to the rotation if need be. Syndergaard is very young and just got to Triple-A, so I think they're more inclined to take their time with him. Either way, both guys should be a big piece of the picture next season. The Mets have a chance to run a very impressive young staff out there.
Jamie Garcia looks to be returning soon! What happens to T.Lyons and can Garcia even last for rest of 2014?
Jerry Crasnick (12:21 PM)
EJ, From the way Shelby Miller has been pitching, it seems entirely possible that the Cardinals would send him to Triple-A Memphis for a refresher course when Garcia is ready to return. We'll see.
Dan (Catonsville, MD)
Hey Jerry, what is your opinion of Jonathan Schoop? Is he ready to be an everyday 2b?
Jerry Crasnick (12:24 PM)
Dan, He has 32 strikeouts and 2 walks in 30 games this season, so he's still learning the strike zone, obviously. You would prefer to have that happen in the minors rather than the big leagues. But he's athletic and has some power, so I think he has a chance to be a solid big league middle infielder. We'll see how mentally tough he is taking his lumps in the majors.
Jerry is A.heaney's promotion to Marlins hinging on performance of J.Turner?
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
Will, That seems about right, given that Fernandez, Alvarez, Koehler and Eovaldi have all been very solid. Heaney has been pitching great in Jacksonville, so I suspect he'll have a shot to join the Marlins sometime in the second half as long as he can stay healthy.
It seems like we can ask this question every season - but do the Rockies have enough pitching to contend? If Justin Morneau has truly been reborn, and Arenado and Blackmon don't slow down, that offense is pretty incredible...
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Carl, Hey, feel free to dream. It's a long season for pitchers in Coors, and eventually the hitters come back to earth to an extent. I know things have changed somewhat with the humidor. But I covered teams with Dante Bichette, Larry Walker, Ellis Burks et al, and they didn't win. The Rockies just face some challenges that are always difficult to overcome.
Jesse (Los Angeles, CA)
Other than Zack Grienke, the Dodgers have been flat. The highest payroll in baseball, and we have Chone Figgens on the roster? Unacceptable. Give me some reason to believe they will turn this arround.
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Jesse, All I can say is, we heard a lot of the same things last year and they suddenly went on this amazing 42-8 streak, or whatever the heck it was. The talent is there, but they sure can be a mystery team at times.
What about our old friend Ryan Madson. When will he be ready to pitch? Maybe he could help the Phillies bullpen.
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
CK, That's another mystery to me. Ryan Madson had an impressive audition in early February, and I know he was on the Phillies' radar. But things cooled and he didn't wind up signing with Philly or anybody else. Too bad -- I thought he was worth a shot. I know he put a lot of time and effort into his rehab from elbow problems.
Is Yordano Ventura for real, or given his relatively small stature is he a Tommy John surgery waiting to happen?
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Doug, People are always going to be concerned about undersized right-handed pitchers who throw in the upper 90s because of the level of effort involved. Ventura clearly has the stuff, and he's going to be even better once he gets more consistent with his secondary stuff. As we've seen in the past, you can never predict who will or won't be a candidate for arm trouble. Hey, Pedro Martinez, Tim Hudson, Roy Oswalt and Greg Maddux were all "short" pitchers who had nice careers.
Why did so many teams miss on Jose Abreu? Looks like Rick Hahn and the White Sox really know what they were doing.
Jerry Crasnick (12:37 PM)
Gary, I'm not sure it's a question of "missing" on Abreu as being unwilling to pay the price for him. Keep in mind that the White Sox committed $68 million over 6 years. That's $26 million more than the Dodgers paid Yasiel Puig. There were some scouts who questioned Abreu's ability to catch up to the inside fastball. It sure hasn't hurt him so far.
Hey Jerry,With Matt Wieters going down - which team is the favorite in the AL East?
Jerry Crasnick (12:39 PM)
Garrett, Given Tampa's injuries, I'm starting to think Boston is the favorite. The Red Sox are sort of muddling along, but their bullpen is solid, Napoli is really their only regular who's hit to their potential, and I can see Ben Cherington making some moves in July to upgrade the roster. They have the cash to do it.
BJ Upton and Dan Uggla are regulars, and the Braves are in first place. How is this possible?
Jerry Crasnick (12:40 PM)
Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm getting the sense that fans in Atlanta aren't that thrilled with B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla.
With the Cubs minor league system flush with offensive prospects, and not much pitching, why does it seem a forgone conclusion that they will trade Samardzija? He's pitching like a #1 starter right now, which is exactly what the Cubs need.
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Phil, In accordance with the long-term plan, that seems like the smartest course of action to me. I'll be surprised if Samardzija isn't moved at the deadline.
Andrew Z. (Struthers, OH)
Can you explain why Terry Francona continues to insert Carlos Santana in the cleanup spot despite hitting .148?
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Andrew, Obviously he's hoping that Santana can work his way out of this funk, but it's time for him to hit in a less conspicuous spot. But I will say that he doesn't have a lot of great options, particularly with Swisher hitting .200 and Kipnis on the DL. That's not a great Cleveland lineup.
C.Anderson pitched well over weekend for DBacks! He stay for awhile or back to Minors soon? Thanks,Jerry!
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Hey Shaun, I haven't checked to see if they have anyone coming off the DL, but I would think Chase Anderson's first outing entitles him to another one or two. The Diamondbacks are finally starting to play better, so I think they'll be inclined to stick with anything that works.
Building off of the Abreu question, does the success of Abreu and Puig now cause GM's to over pay for Cuban talent going forward?
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Sean, Let's put it this way: It sure doesn't hurt.
BJ is far from playing great. But fact is, there are many other Braves playing just as bad as BJ this year. He has put up decent number since the first series of the season, then Fredi changes the lineup.
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Tim, I saw a couple of Braves games last week and BJ does seem to be taking better swings since he got his glasses. He also gives them some defensive value and base stealing that Uggla doesn't provide. Hey, he's on a $75 million deal. And as tough as it's been for him, they're just not at the point where they can afford to give up on him and punt on that contract.
John (Cincinnati, Oh)
Is Joey Votto over rated?
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
John, Overpaid on a $225 million contract? Probably. But he's a four-time All-Star and a former MVP and one of the elite hitters in the game. He's just a very polarizing figure because he doesn't fit the profile of the "expand the zone" middle of the order hitter who'll do anything to drive in that run. As for his performance this season, I think he'll be fine. He's just off to an un-Votto-like start.
Jerry, agree with your comment on 620 this morning that it is time for the Rays to be concerned. Beyond the pitching injuries / issues the lineup vs LHP is a joke. Forsythe and Guyer don't even belong on the roster, let alone getting this amount of playing time. Maddon's stubborness is going to get him a last place finish this year.
Jerry Crasnick (12:52 PM)
Joe, This team is always going to be pitching and defense first, and the injuries to Moore, Cobb and Hellickson have really hurt (plus, Price being up and down and Chris Archer not pitching very well). The rest of the division hasn't been anything special, but as Evan Longoria said, they need to turn things around quickly.
jim va.beach [via mobile]
Jerry, do you think the yanks will try to trade for a starting pitcher now that cc is out? Thanks
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Jim, It's hard enough to trade for a quality starting pitcher, much less do it in May. They have to hope Pineda comes back and this time on the DL helps CC, and tread water with guys like David Phelps and Vidal Nuno. Not the greatest scenario in the world, but I don't see what other choice they have.
Let's talk about the first place Orioles!!! What are we going to do with Hunter as closer? He has only blown 2 saves and they ended winning both games but he is allowing way too many baserunners. What is the answer?
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Justin, I don't think they're going to bring back Jim Johnson. Maybe Buck Showalter cobbles things together with a combo of Hunter, Darren O'Day and Zack Britton. He's pretty smart at working a bullpen.
John (Cincinnati, Oh)
Is Kenley Jansen hurt? Very few clean innings this season.
Jerry Crasnick (12:58 PM)
John, He has 30 strikeouts in 17 innings, so his stuff can't be too bad. It's funny how so many of the questions we get on these chats involve frustration about closers. Have you checked out John Axford lately?
I think Reds fans get frustrated with Votto through no fault of his own. It's the mediocre lineup he's surrounded by that prevents them from scoring runs. I think fans unwisely get frustrated by seeing Votto defer to these inferior hitters by taking walks and giving them RBI opportunities. If he were in Detroit's lineup, nobody would have any problem whatsoever with his approach.
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
Well-said, Jeff. As great a hitter as Votto is, he's one of the most polarizing players around. The stat guys revere him, and the old-school types think he needs to be more RBI-conscious. I'm personally a fan of the guy. You can't please all the people all of the time.
solomon lava [via mobile]
Will the Pittsburgh pirates have a season like last year or a bust
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Solomon, It looks as if it might be a slog. They have some lineup issues outside of McCutchen and Neil Walker, and it's hard to expect the pitching and bullpen to carry them the way it did last season. But Cincinnati and St. Louis have done them a favor by playing so-so ball, and Milwaukee now appears to be coming back to the pack.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Jerry - Is the A.L. West the best division in baseball this year, with Oakland sitting in 1st and a 3 game lead over the Mariners, Angels & Rangers and with the exception of Houston the other 4 teams have a .514 winning percentage or better, your thoughts on this division ?
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Rich, The AL East is down this year, and Detroit is really the only formidable team in the Central, so your point about the West is well-taken. Keep in mind that the Rangers will be even better once they get their pitching in order, and Houston has a motherlode of talent in the minors and will be much more competitive in a couple of years.
Not defending A-Rod, but MLB was very shady in their obtaining stolen documents. Isn't A-Rod entitled to due process? Seems to me like he didn't get a fair shake
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Ryan, There were some troubling revelations in that Newsday story. I assume that Bud Selig will be questioned about that at the owners' meetings in New York this week. I do think MLB had to play some hardball in pursuing A-Rod and other PED users. But there's a line to be crossed, and you can certainly argue that baseball crossed it.
Power rankings has 3 of the top 10 from the NL West. Yet that division is never mentioned with the NL East or AL East as a "strong" division? Why?
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
John, "East Coast bias?" I kid. One thing worth noting is that the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, etc., have big resources and are traditionally very big spenders. But now the Angels and Rangers belong in that category as well. And the Mariners spent $240 million on Robinson Cano over the winter. So that has to be part of the equation.
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Thanks for the questions everybody. Let's do it again next week.