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, It's a great day here where I live. Let's talk some ball as we start the week.
Hi Jerry, What is wrong with the Reds this year? Any ideas on what player they should target?
Jerry Crasnick (12:02 PM)
William, It's amazing to think the Reds are 28th in the majors in runs scored. But Bruce has been out for a while, Joey Votto sure doesn't appear to be healthy, and Todd Frazier might be the only one of their regulars who's performing to expectations. I'm going to say this a lot on this chat, I'm sure, but I don't see a big bat they can just go out and acquire. A lot of teams are having offensive problems this season.
Jean Claude (Vermont)
Have the Braves given up on Uggla?
Jerry Crasnick (12:04 PM)
Jean Claude, He has 18 at-bats in May. I just think they've grown tired of waiting for him to work out his problems. As I've said before, a change of scenery might be the best thing for him. But he has $23M or so left on his contract, and they're going to have to pick up just about all of that to move him. Good luck with that.
Rob Hawk (Akron, OH)
Are the Tigers resigned to going the entire year with the meek hitting SS they currently have, or is Stephen Drew a realistic option come June?
Jerry Crasnick (12:05 PM)
Rob Hawk, We haven't heard much Stephen Drew to the Tigers speculation lately, but I'll bet it picks up if he's still out there after the draft and compensation is no longer an issue. He'd be a great fit for that team, and as everybody knows, Scott Boras has a longstanding relationship with Mike Ilitch and the Tigers.
Any chance the dodgers trade hanley and move dee back to ss and call up alex gurrero?
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Derrick, I just checked and Alex Guerrero is really tearing it up offensively in Triple A. But apparently he still needs work defensively. Maybe a Guerrero-Gordon DP combination could be in the works for 2015. But the Dodgers are built to win now, and I'd be shocked if they move Hanley this year. They'd have to totally collapse for something like that to happen.
Help me out Jerry because I'm not seeing it. What do the Cards see in Garcia? I see a soft tossing lefty who gives up too many homers..
Jerry Crasnick (12:09 PM)
Kardfan, I checked on this as well. Jaime Garcia has never given up more than 15 homers in a year, so that's not his problem. "Soft tossing" isn't the issue, either. The problem is they simply can't count on him, because when they do, he's probably going to get hurt. That's what his history says.
WEEI is reporting that the Red Sox are exploring trade options at third base. Do you think this would be a lower profile stop gap or do you see anyone as potentially available that would be considered a "bigger chip"
Jerry Crasnick (12:11 PM)
Matt, I'm seeing a bunch of names thrown around (Pablo Sandoval, Adrian Beltre, Chase Headley et al), but the Giants are a serious contender, so they would need something that would help them immediately. That one doesn't add up to me. And both Sandoval and Headley are both struggling this year, anyway. Hey, it's only May. I can't remember the last time I've seen a significant trade in May -- if ever.
Can Washington tread water until Harper gets back?
Jerry Crasnick (12:13 PM)
Hey Jim, It's not only Bryce Harper. It's Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche, and now Gio Gonzalez has shoulder problems as well. That teams is just muddling along. But the way the NL East is shaking out, they don't need to tear it up to contend. If they can hang around .500, they have a chance to put together a run the way they did last year, when they tore it up in August and September.
Someone might to inform Matheny that four consecutive games for your closer doesn't work. Neither does batting a .220 hitter at cleanup. Unyielding stubbornness isn't a good managerial trait.
Jerry Crasnick (12:13 PM)
Joe, I'll pass that along in case Mike stops by today.
Ed (Queens Village)
Who gets fired first Towers or Gibson?
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
Ed, I think this question was in the queue before Tony La Russa got hired, but I just wanted to address it. Seems to me that the La Russa hiring buys some time for Towers and Kirk Gibson (although maybe a little less time for Gibson). I get the sense Ken Kendrick, Derrick Hall and the AZ people want this to work with the current group, but the La Russa addition was a clear sign that they needed a fresh voice. It'll be interesting to see how everyone there co-exists.
Do you see Phillies going on a firesale come July (Byrd, Burnett, Lee, Rollins, Utley, Kendrick) ?
Jerry Crasnick (12:18 PM)
Chris, It's hard to tell. Ruben Amaro, Dave Montgomery and the folks in Philly have been resistant to that in the past. If the Phillies can hang around .500 and be within 5-6 games in a very mediocre NL East, I think they're less likely to back up the truck. Quite honestly, it might be better long-term if they're 12-14 games out and they have to confront the future and make some hard decisions. Right now I think they're just deluding themselves to think they're a contending club.
Clarence (Sioux City)
Are the general offensive woes this year mostly attributable to the increase in shifts, or something else? If it's the former, do you see a correction coming as players adjust?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Clarence, I think the shifts are part of it. I also think the emphasis on home runs and increased strikeouts are a factor. So many hitters are incapable of putting the ball in play now, and have no two-strike approach. I'm sure I sound like a "get off my lawn" guy when I say that, but it's tiresome to watch.
Will the Rays turn it around or is this year lost?
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Doug, Joe Maddon has a way of maintaining the equilibrium when his team appears to be in a downward spiral, but I have to admit I'm not optimistic about the Rays. There's too much instability at the back end of that rotation for a team that relies on pitching and defense. But as I've already mentioned, the AL East is so mediocre this year, it's hard to fall out of the race completely.
When is Billy Hamilton going to learn the value of drag bunting, slap hitting and taking a walk? He's just .256 BA with a .293 OBP despite all that speed...
Jerry Crasnick (12:24 PM)
Doug, When I talked to Don Long and Eric Davis in spring training, they said Hamilton is stronger than people think, and they wanted him to concentrate on hitting line drives and balls in the gaps. The bunting and slapping the ball on the ground need to be a complement to that. I honestly don't think Billy Hamilton is the problem there in Cincinnati. If he can hit .260 with an OBP above .300, that's about what people were hoping for at the start of the season.
Hey Jerry, are the Rangers done this year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:26 PM)
Keanu, I don't know if they're "done," but eventually all those injuries and problems with the rotation take their toll. It's hard to see them putting together a sustained run.
Clarence (Sioux City)
Brad Miller: overhyped, overmatched, or just needs more time? M's desperately need someone other than Cano to put the bat on the ball.
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
Clarence, I talked to a bunch of scouts who really like that kid and think he's going to hit in the big leagues. Maybe he needs a refresher course in Triple-A. I don't understand why teams think it's going to crush a kid's confidence to go back to the minors. Some kids need that. It's a way for them to hit the "reset" button and get their games together with less pressure.
Jesse (Chavez Ravine, CA.)
I'm a little concerned about Kershaw at the point. He's had a couple of rough outings since his return from the DL, and he didnt exactly have a solid spring. Do you get the sense that something me be wrong physically?
Jerry Crasnick (12:29 PM)
Jesse, Anytime Clayton Kershaw gets shelled, I wonder if he's healthy. But I don't have any special insight into whether there's a problem with him at the moment.
Combining two questions- How about Hanley back to the Red Sox, and move him to 3rd?
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Greg, Interesting thought, but I don't see the Red Sox trading a bunch of kids for a rental player. That doesn't seem to be their style. That said, Ben Cherington will probably try to do something to upgrade the offense if they're still muddling along in July.
with all the injuries the Ranger have had, wouldn't it ne prudent for them just to ride the year out rather than trade their minor league talent? half of their starting line up and 4/5 of their rotation is injured... cant replace them all...
Jerry Crasnick (12:32 PM)
Bill, You make a great point. Sometimes a team encounters so many obstacles, the front office has to say to itself, "Maybe this isn't our year." A general manager can only patch so many holes. Jon Daniels and his group are forward-looking enough that I'm sure they've looked at this thing from every conceivable angle.
Hey Jer, a Mets fan here, can you tell me why the Mets keep touting their young pitchers but yet are resistent to trade a couple for a proven power bat ....
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Marcus, I think they'd like to build their team like the Giants did, with a passable offense and a strong nucleus of starters centered around Harvey, Wheeler and Syndergaard. It's taking a while to play out, but that's the longer-term gameplan.
Brian (Fort Wayne)
If another Detroit player wins MVP this year, that would make 4 straight years. Has any team ever done that?
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Brian, Great question. I could look this up if I weren't on the chat right now. But if anyone out there has any input, feel free to pass it along. (Although Cabrera won 2 straight MVPs, and I assume you're thinking of him as a candidate to win it again). That would be very special in itself.
Tyler (Temecula, CA)
What do you make of the Angels recent success? Do you think they have what it takes to catch the A's?
Jerry Crasnick (12:37 PM)
Tyler, I saw the Angels last week when they passed through Philly, and several guys told me the atmosphere is very positive in the clubhouse this year. To me, Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs have made a ton of difference with that club. It's much easier for Mike Scioscia to navigate the schedule with 4 solid starters rather than 2. I picked the Angels to win the AL West this season. That might have been overly optimistic, given how good Oakland is, but they're definitely a legit wild card contender.
Some people are suggesting the Rockies build a Green Monster-like wall to keep more balls in the yard. Great idea, if it's shaped like the mountain in the Rockies' logo. Think it could happen? Great quirk when a flyball clears when of the lower peaks.
Jerry Crasnick (12:39 PM)
Hey Greg, I worked in Denver covering the Rockies for years, and I heard that idea (or something similar) kicked around quite a bit. It's a fun discussion, but we're talking about a major change to the ballpark. I'm not sure how logistically feasible that is. (And if you're the Rockies and Coors gives you a home field advantage, why would you want to change?)
Pretty disgraceful "umpiring" by Jerry Layne ejecting Scott Kazmir. And to add insult to injury, the umps "cheated" the A's out of a homerun for the second year in a row based on instant replay. Fortunately, the A's hitters are on fire.
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Harry, I wasn't a fan of the Kazmir move, either. That pitch looked like a strike, and it wasn't as if Kazmir stood out there like a mad man waving his arms. No reason for Jerry Layne to kick him out there, even if the rules say you're not supposed to beef about balls and strikes.
Jose Abreu or Tanaka, who wins Rookie of the Year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Sean, It's shaping up to be a great race, although this DL visit for Abreu probably puts Tanaka in the lead right now. Neither guy is the classic "rookie," with both of them being older and having far more experience than your typical kid just up from Triple-A ball.
Do you have any insight on possible replacements for the commissioner? What will be his/her biggest agenda items to start? Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Otto, The big question, to me, is whether they stay in-house with someone like Rob Manfred, Tim Brosnan or Bob Bowman, or go with a captain-of-industry type of someone outside baseball. As Bill DeWitt said last week, they've really just begun the search process, so we're all just guessing right now. The biggest item on the agenda will be the next labor deal, with the current agreement expiring in 2016.
How optimistic are you about the Orioles starting pitching the rest of the year? They have decent numbers and a handful of guys coming later this year to help if need be, but will it be strong enough to get them to the postseason?
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Kevin, It might be enough to get them to the postseason, with the AL East being such a jumble, but I just don't think they're equipped to make a deep October run with that group, unless the light bulb clicks off for Ubaldo Jimenez and Chris Tillman goes on a tear.
If you had to bet right now, would you bet that Jose Abreu ends up being the best Abreu in MLB history?
Jerry Crasnick (12:47 PM)
Greg, Bobby Abreu has had a pretty darned good career, and Jose is 27 years old. So I might actually have to go with Bobby. Am I missing a prominent Abreu?
Adam (Montreal) [via mobile]
Hi Jerry. At this point who would you say has the worst starting pitching in the AL East? Who has the best?
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Adam, Wow. The Yankees starting pitching is hanging by a thread. I would typically say that Tampa's starting pitching is the best, but not how because of injury. Boston's rotation is probably best equipped to put together an extended run.
How long before the Cubs move Jeff Samardzija? I don't think his value can get much better, do you?
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Gary, Problem is, there are only 3-4 really good teams (Detroit, Oakland and San Francisco, with Milwaukee also still 10 games over .500), and only 3-4 teams in full-scale "sell mode" (the Cubs, Astros and Arizona, although they could still go on a run). There's just no clarity, and it's way too early for a big trade like that. Other than Carlos Beltran that one year, I can't recall any significant moves that were made before July.
With a new commissioner coming soon, any chance we see teams being moved? Cities like Nashville, OKC, and even Montreal again would have strong fan bases that would outpace some poor performers today.
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Hey Rob, I'm not sure how much impact a new commissioner would have on something like that. Anti-trust regulations and a lot of other factors would weigh into it. I'm not sure how Nashville and OKC would support big-league ball, but I'm a big Montreal fan. I'd like to see that city get another look as a big-league venue.
Barry Bond won it 5 years in a row, does that count?Otherwise the Yankees did it twice, from 1954-'57 with Berra and Mantle and 1960-'63 with Maris, Mantle and Elston Howard.
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Thanks Troy, I just checked and Barry Bonds won the MVP four straight years from 2001-2004, not five.
NL rookie of the year to this point?
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Darren, Chris Owings of the D-backs leaps to mind for me, but I might be missing someone.
Oh, it was Kent the first year. I guess that would make it a 5 in a row for San Francisco.
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
Troy, Yep, Jeff Kent won the MVP while with the Giants in 2000.
How come Vegas is never considered for a Major League team?
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
Ralph, The former mayor there certainly tried hard. (I think it was the former mayor, right?). I'm not sure how much the gambling issue weighs into it, but I'm sure it was a factor. And MLB always wants to know if a city has the population base and the media market to support a team. Vegas crops up in conversation, but never seems to get much traction.
jake (Reno, NV.)
What do you think the Giants will do with Sandoval?
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Jake, They're winning with him struggling, so they have to luxury of giving him some time to pull out of this. If he continues to struggle, it will have ramifications for his free agency as well. They might wind up being able to re-sign him to a shorter, bargain deal if he doesn't snap out of it. But the guy does have a history. I think he'll get hot and go on a tear at some point.
How long do you like Joey Votto is sidelined for?
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Hey Russell, We should find out soon. They don't want to put him on the DL, but that might have to if this quad-knee thing hasn't improved in the last couple of days.
jake (Reno, NV.)
What would you do with Posey I know he likes to catch, but a longer, healthy and more productive career at 3rd looks like the better way to go?
Jerry Crasnick (1:05 PM)
Jake, That's always the big question with catchers. Yadi Molina is so good, the Cardinals had to keep him behind the plate. I think the Giants transition Posey to move him away from catching and extend his shelf life, but the benefits of having such a good offensive catcher are so pronounced, there's always a balance.
RE: Sandoval, he already has snapped out of it...
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Mark, Yes, you're correct. I just looked and he's 14-for-his-last 36. Still hitting only .220, but heading in the right direction. Thanks for pointing that out.
Brian (Gary, IN)
Is there any value for Gordon Beckham around the league? He seems so promising but never has panned out, a change of scenery might do him well.
Jerry Crasnick (1:08 PM)
Brian, I don't think you'd get more than a half-decent prospect for him. He's a .249 career hitter with a low on base percentage, and he's 27. Good energy player, but not the type of guy teams are going to give up a great deal for.
Could Buerhle (sp?) actually pull off a cy young?
Jerry Crasnick (1:08 PM)
Doug, It's going to be a challenge fending off all those guys in Detroit. Love Buehrle, though.
Benny (Atlantic City)
Have you seen any other homecomings similar to what Mike Trout received when he played in Philly last week? The stadium was electric.
Jerry Crasnick (1:09 PM)
Benny, Not many in a big market. All things being equal, I'm sure the Phillies wish the electricity were generated by their lineup rather than a visiting player. But they showed some positive signs against the Reds over the weekend.
Jerry Crasnick (1:10 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everybody. Let's do it again next week.