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, Sorry if anyone jumped on last week and found I wasn't chatting. I was making the long drive home from Cooperstown last Monday at this time. Anyway, let's take some questions.
Ed (Queens Village)
What must Angels do to overtake A's to win west?
Jerry Crasnick (12:02 PM)
Ed, They'll definitely need consistent starting pitching up and down the rotation. Tyler Skaggs' injury and C.J. Wilson's poor start over the weekend certainly weren't great signs. The Angels obviously have enough of a cushion to be the wild card team, but I think it's going to be tough for them to overtake Oakland.
Have the Mariners done enough at the trade deadline to win the 2nd wild card?
Jerry Crasnick (12:03 PM)
Cody, I thought Jack Z did OK given the lack of bats out there by adding Austin Jackson, Chris Denorfia and Kendrys Morales, but I still don't think that team has enough offense. I see them winning 83-85 games and finishing out of the wild card running.
Does Alex Anthopolous lose his job if the Jays don't make the playoffs?
Jerry Crasnick (12:04 PM)
Bill, I don't see him losing his job, but it would be a colossal disappointment if that team fails to make the playoffs this year.
So the Nationals have recalled Steven Souza, who has been destroying AAA all year and had a pretty fine AA season last year too. With Werth, Harper, and Span, there's nothing for him to do except ride the pine and fill in for the odd day when Werth and Harper need a rest. Is the thinking that a few ABs a week is better than rotting away at AAA? And do they see him as part of their next-year future, i.e., letting Span walk?
Jerry Crasnick (12:06 PM)
JP, Souza has had a great year in the minors, but he's a 25-year-old kid with almost 3,000 professional plate appearances, so I think he should be OK with coming off the bench and maybe starting a game or two a week. It's not as if he's an Oscar Tavares or Joc Pederson-mega prospect. Maybe he can help them win a game or two while replacing Nate McLouth.
The Phillies placed Antonio Bastardo, A.J. Burnett, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Howard and Kyle Kendrick on waivers. Who goes where, if anyone?
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Chris, You're going to be seeing this all month. Everybody will be shipping guys through waivers. Of that group, Bastardo seems like the best bet to get traded, if only because so many teams are still trolling for bullpen help.
Very dissapointed in the way my Cards handled the trades...letting the players find out they were traded thru twitter and such instead of a courtesy phone call. How much egg is on their faces for such a low class move?
Jerry Crasnick (12:09 PM)
Hey Kardfan, I think this is about the nature of modern media rather than a lack of class on the part of the Cardinals. Information flies around very quickly these days. I seriously doubt that John Mozeliak planned for it to happen that way.
Do you think Tulo is the Yankees shortstop next year? I think we deserve him
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Bill, Entitled much? Seriously, I do think the Rockies will entertain trade proposals for Tulo this winter. But they'll be looking for a boatload of prospects. It will be interesting to see how much clubs are willing to give up. As great a player as Tulo is, you have to think his injury history is going to lower the price a little.
Jesse (Los Angeles, CA.)
Yeah the Dodgers have the best record in the NL, but they didn't help themselves before the trade deadline. The back end of the roation is a hole, and the bullpen is a bigger hole.Are Joc and the other prospects really worth hanging onto?
Jerry Crasnick (12:13 PM)
Jesse, When you see what the Rays got for Price, you have to wonder whether the Dodgers couldn't have come up with a comparable package even without raiding the farm system too deeply. But obviously Ned Colletti thought he'd have to dig too deeply. As for your prospects question, it's a no-win answering that one. If Joc Pederson turns out to be a star, he was worth hanging onto. If he turns out to be the next Matt La Porta or Andy Marte, then they should have moved him. I hate to sound flip, but that's the way it works with prospect deals. We won't know the answer for 3-4 years.
Will the Pirates make the playoffs?
Jerry Crasnick (12:15 PM)
Truman, My colleague David Schoenfield picked them today to win the NL Central because of the way Liriano is pitching and Cole's pending return. I'm not that confident. I have that finishing just outside the playoffs, but my track record for predictions is pretty horrific.
Are we ready for pitching machines (that don't require Tommy John) in MLB?
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
Jim, Sometimes I watch Clayton Kershaw pitch and I'm convinced that he's a machine.
Do the Braves need to make some changes on the bench? As in manger and coaches
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
Tim, The Braves are a mess right now, but they've shown they're a streaky team and they can just as easily reel off 7 out of 8. If they don't make the playoffs this year, I think you'll see some changes. But this funk will have to go on a while longer for some people to get whacked.
Blake (York, PA)
Do you think the Orioles have what it takes to hang on and win the AL East? And do you see them making any noise in the playoffs?
Jerry Crasnick (12:18 PM)
Blake, I do think they'll win the division, yes. But it's hard for me to see them making a deep run in October when you stack up their starting pitching with what Oakland and Detroit will be running out there.
Daniel Murphy leads the NL in hits. His defense is bad and he doesn't walk a ton, but do you think his value is overlooked at all?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Chris, I think that's a fair assessment. Murphy isn't pretty in the field, but he's a reliable guy who goes out there every day and churns out hits. He's no Jose Altuve, but he's a pretty good player.
Derek [via mobile]
Hows your view on the A's? Great pitching, great coach, great GM, I do think they are still one big/reliable bat away from being a ws champin? Any chance they get one in aug?
Jerry Crasnick (12:21 PM)
Derek, I do think there's a chance the Cespedes departure hurts them. You look at their lineup now, and a big chunk was taken out of the middle. I'm not sure what's out there for them to acquire in August. They don't have much left in the way of tradable prospects. I guess they could make a run at Marlon Byrd or Alex Rios, but they might be tapped out as far as impact trades.
sol [via mobile]
Willl the royals be a threat to the tigers
Jerry Crasnick (12:23 PM)
Sol, I don't think so. They needed a bat at the deadline. Not only did they fail to acquire it, but now Hosmer is hurt. I just don't think they have enough offense to go the distance.
Mike Ho (Hong Kong)
Hello Jerry, do you think this is a one year aberration for the Rangers or are they beginning to decline?
Jerry Crasnick (12:25 PM)
Mike, It's an aberration in the sense that you couldn't possibly have expected them to overcome such a rash of injuries. I believed they've used more than 30 pitchers this season and are likely to use 40 before they're done. If they start next season with Prince Fielder, Jurickson Profar, Derek Holland and some of those guys healthy and ready to go, they'll be significantly better. Problem is, that's a killer division.
Is BJ really this bad? Or do the Braves just make mediocre hitters really bad?
Jerry Crasnick (12:26 PM)
Tim, He's still hitting around .210, which is significantly better than he was last year at this time. I think B.J. tries and cares a lot more than people give him credit for. But he's a mess right now, and the Braves don't do themselves any favors by hitting him high up in the order. I wouldn't be surprised to see Emilio Bonifacio start to get some ABs in center.
Mr. Crasnick... were there any non-trades at the deadline that surprised you?
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Bobo, I really was surprised that the Phillies didn't do anything. But I can see Ruben Amaro moving a guy or two in August.
Jeff (Mclean, VA)
Any thoughts on what Tanner Roark is doing? Do people around baseball think he can keep this up? At this point he has to be one of the 3-4 Nats postseason starters..
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Jeff, I like to look at strikeout-to-walk ratio. Roark's is 103-to-29. That's pretty good. From what I've seen on TV, he's also the bulldog-y type. Very competitive. Obviously, the Nationals still have to make the playoffs to worry about their rotation. It's not going to be easy for Roark to slip in there ahead of Strasburg, Zimmerman or Fister. Gio has probably been the team's worst starter lately, but he's got a track record and that probably helps his cause. It's all speculative at this point anyway.
Haha, on cue, Murphy with a 2-run homer!
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Are Strasburg and Harper the most overrated players in MLB? Neither are performing well compared to other young players.
Jerry Crasnick (12:32 PM)
Lee, I think we need to remember that Bryce Harper is still 21 years old. And while Strasburg has been up and down, he leads the NL in strikeouts. Let's all take a deep breath and let them continue to mature and deal with the inevitable struggles in the big leagues.
Rich (Sun Valley ID)
Thanks for the first and best chat of the week. Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch wrote a pretty blazing snap-the-hell-out-of-it piece on the Cardinals this morning, in which he blasted what he sees as the "button down" complacent attitude of the team. He noted the significant shift in wins since the trades, and noted the Joe Buck statement about the "team" being upset about Taveras replacing Craig in RF thus: "A group of hitters who have spent most of the season in a trance, stroking ground ball after ground ball ? with the Cardinals scoring fewer runs than all but one MLB team ? don?t like the way a rookie goes about his craft? Really?" What say you?
Jerry Crasnick (12:34 PM)
Hey Rich, Bernie is close to the team and I'm sure that's the vibe he's picked up on. I think John Mozeliak also alluded to the fact that the Cardinals might have needed a wakeup call. Sometimes trades can serve a dual purpose. We'll see how the Craig-Kelly-Lackey deal affects the Redbirds.
Mike Trout - he's pretty good.
Jerry Crasnick (12:34 PM)
Thanks, Josh. I concur.
John (Los Angeles)
With the recent struggles of Ethier and Crawford, do you think the Dodgers will finally call up Joc Pederson anytime soon?
Jerry Crasnick (12:37 PM)
Hey John, Just from a distance, it's starting to look like more of a realistic possibility to me. Ethier is hitting .243 with 4 homers, and Crawford has a .606 OPS. It's not as if they'd have cause to sulk if they lose some ABs. But the Dodgers have played better lately and they lead the Giants by 2 1/2 games. So they might have the luxury of waiting until September to call up Joc.
Jerry, any update on Rusney Castillo, I saw where he cancelled his Mariners workout?
Jerry Crasnick (12:37 PM)
Ryan, I do not, but I planned on checking on him this week. If I hear anything new, I'll put it out there.
JP (Columbus, OH)
Jerry - frustrated Reds fan here. Bob Castelini is reportedly a very competitive and stubborn guy. He refuses to become a "seller" even when it's clear that it could be the best move for the team. He also refuses to spend money on free agents. So he refuses to sell, and he refuses to buy. How would you suggest I organize a non-violent overthrow of Reds ownership?
Jerry Crasnick (12:40 PM)
J.P., By not buying tickets or going to games? The thing is, the Reds are hamstrung now because they made huge investments in Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, and now they apparently don't have the latitude to make other moves. I have to agree with you that they're a puzzling, somewhat exasperating team to watch. They might have benefited from Walt Jocketty doing something dramatic at the deadline just to shake things up. But that time has passed.
I understand the "need" to play Ryan Howard as long as he is on the roster, but why continue to bat him cleanup? He looked utterly lost in the Washington series.
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Jay, If this comes as any consolation, nobody looks more lost than BJ Upton, and he spends most of his time batting second.
Hey Jerry. Hope all is well. I thought that the trade deadline was very exciting. I know the Yankees have Michael Pineda coming back and maybe Mashahiro Tanaka but do you see the Yankees making another move maybe trying to claim Joquin Benoit of the Padres and or maybe trying to add another starting pitcher or maybe getting another bat for the lineup like Adam Dunn from the White Sox?
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
David, Brian Cashman is always looking to upgrade. But Benoit is signed for next year and the Padres would probably ask for a lot. I don't really see Adam Dunn as a fit given what the Yankees already have. The Prado-Headley-Drew additions have helped reshape that lineup. Given the weak competition for the wild card, I'm starting to wonder if the Yankees might not have enough.
Jerry, as a Braves' fan, I can tell you that BJ spends most of his time batting leadoff, not 2nd. And somehow, typing that out made it even more depressing.
Jerry Crasnick (12:45 PM)
Brandon, Sorry about that. I did see a note that he hasn't hit 7th or 8th this season, which was amazing to me. Is that correct?
What's your take on Jackie Bradley? Will his bat come around as he figures out the league, or is this what we should expect moving forward?
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
David, I watched John Kruk break down his hitting mechanics last night, and he's really a mess. They're giving him every opportunity. But he needs to do something over the next two months to show he's more than a Tony Gwynn Jr. type -- a speedy, good defender who's a career fifth outfielder.
Tak, Japan [via mobile]
Hello Mr.Crasnick, enjoy your chats. In light of the recent article about GM Z of the Ms, what is your honest take on it? Do you buy all the things being said, or is he being overly criticized? Thanks for your time sir.
Jerry Crasnick (12:49 PM)
Hey Tak, I'm sure there was some merit in what opposing execs said about Jack Z, but you can critique every GM's style and come up with something that somebody doesn't like. I do have a hard time buying the notion that he was slowing down the trade deadline activity with his indecisiveness. As we saw, a lot of stuff happened July 31 -- and the Mariners were part of it.
Im pretty sure BJ did hit that low in the lineup when Heyward was still leading off
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Hey Adam, Just to be factually correct, B.J. has 151 plate appearances in the leadoff spot this year and 252 PA in the No. 2 hole.
Thoughts on Seattle's tall right Chris Young being someone Boston might target in off season to offer some experience as their young pitching matures.
Jerry Crasnick (12:52 PM)
Matt, Chris Young is a great guy and he's had a nice resurgence in Seattle, but I don't think his flyball style would translate very well to Fenway Park. He needs to pitch in a more spacious yard.
Re: BJ Upton in the 2-hole. I obviously had selective amnesia. Lol
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
No problem to folks who mixed up where B.J. has hit. Wherever they've put him, it's been a grind.
Surprised Colon didn't get moved?
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Ryan, Not particularly. He's still making $10 million last year, and I think teams are concerned about his staying power this year. He didn't help the perception with a lousy outing his last time out.
Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)
Pedro Alvarez won't be in Pittsburgh for the long term, everyone accepts that. But do the Pirates sell low this offseason, or ride out some more of the 2 years they'll still control him for?
Jerry Crasnick (12:55 PM)
Suburban, Some people think they'll shop him this offseason. I can see that. But it's obviously not an optimal time, given his shaky defense and his power dropoff.
Jerry, there were rumors about Rollins to the A's, do you see J-Roll getting through waivers & maybe waiving his no-trade to play for his hometown?
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Ryan, I checked on Rollins and Utley a lot before the trade deadline and I was told they're not going anywhere. You would think the Bay Area would be attractive to both guys, given that Rollins is from there and Utley lives there now in the offseason. But I've gotten no sense it will happen with either guy.
B Mand (Sarasota, FL)
Do you think the mediocrity of the AL east this season is an aberration, or do you see it being similar again next season?
Jerry Crasnick (12:58 PM)
B Mand, I think it's an aberration. But I also think it's going to be tougher for Tampa Bay to keep playing at the same level that it has in recent years. The Rays' subpar drafts are going to start to catch up to them.
With big league clubs obviously reluctant to deal top prospects, is the new trade market target young, cost-controllable, MLB talent like what the Rays got? A top prospect may have a higher ceiling than a Drew Smily, for example, but Smily has a more solid floor in that we know Smily is a decent MLB rotation starter...
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
TJ, These trends change, but that appears to be the case with guys like Smyly, Allen Craig and Austin Jackson getting moved this year. I do think a lot of teams overvalue their prospects and the price of acquisition is simply too high.
Cubs took 2/3 from the Dodgers, late playoff push? All kidding aside, how long till Soler and/or Baez come up?
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
Dave, There was a lot of buzz on those guys recently, and it came and went. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cubs bring up a prospect or two in September to give them a jump start for next season.
Kris Bryant - September callup?
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Josh, I do believe that Theo Epstein has already publicly ruled that out. So unless he's changed his mind, it's not going to happen.
It seems like you could ask 5 different "experts" about the Cards, Red Sox trade and get 5 different answers...what was your opinion?
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
CardsFan, I liked the Red Sox' return. Allen Craig is a better hitter than he's shown this year, and Joe Kelly is an athletic guy who plugs into the rotation at a reasonable cost. But keep in mind that Lackey will be pitching for $500K next year, so the price was going to be higher than normal. If he can add a little spark to that team and help them get to a World Series, they'll be ecstatic.
What is sadder: Nori Aoki at DH for Sunday's game or the fact that the Royals are still in the WC hunt?
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
This isn't Billy Butler, is it?
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everybody. It was a fun and fast hour. Let's do it again soon.