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, Let's take some baseball questions on this sunny Monday in September. Please try to keep the athletic-supporter adjusting to a minimum.
Adam (Charlotte, NC)
Hi Jerry, based on remaining schedules, who do you think ends up with best record in NL? Who do you think is the toughest matchup for the Nats in the first round, Pirates, Brewers, Giants?
Jerry Crasnick (12:03 PM)
Hey Adam, The schedules for the Nats and Dodgers are pretty much a wash. Washington plays six games vs. the Marlins, who won't have Stanton, so that might be enough to push the Nats over the edge. The Dodgers have six games left against the Rockies, but you never know what impact three games in Coors Field will have on a pitching staff.
MetsFaithful5 (Syracuse) [via mobile]
Is Jacob deGrom the leader for NL ROY? His numbers are very solid for a rookie pitcher, especially for one who isn't throwing 95 plus. And have you talked to any scouts or baseball people who think he can continue pitching like a 2? Or is this mets luck and he'll end up "blowing" out.
Jerry Crasnick (12:04 PM)
MetsFaithful, I have an NL Rookie of the Year vote, and things gradually seem to be swinging toward DeGrom. Billy Hamilton was the obvious frontrunner, but he's wearing down and having a bad finish. If he hits .250 with a .290 OBP, that's going to open the door for DeGrom.
What can Boston do next year to contend and can the Orioles go all the way (Displaced Boston fan whose blood is turning slightly orange)
Jerry Crasnick (12:06 PM)
Hilal, I'm starting to think the Orioles might have a chance. Their starting pitching has been really good, even though people don't seem to have much respect for the group overall. The Davis suspension could really hurt, though. As for the Sox, they've already added Cespedes and Castillo, and they're going to spend money on a starter or two in the offseason. Lester, Shields, whomever.
Hey Jerry, was wondering what possible penalties Papelbon and/or the umpire may face after that incident Sunday. Also, are there any comparable situations in recent MLB past? I don't recall an umpire ever pushing a player like that.
Jerry Crasnick (12:08 PM)
Jack, I checked with the commissioner's office today and they're looking into it, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a suspension and/or fine for Papelbon. Joe West will probably also get something, although MLB doesn't make umpire punishments public. I'm sure others can recall an umpire making contact with a player. Doesn't happen very often. Cowboy Joe claims he was just pushing him aside to get back on the field.
Can the Pirates hold on to that last spot?
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Hey Jim, I saw them last week in Philly. They have a really upbeat vibe surrounding that team. I think they'll make the playoffs, and they could make some noise in October.
Jon (Seattle, WA)
Certainly a shame what happened to G. Stanton and hope he has a speedy recovery. Do you think he's lost the MVP? Assuming Kershaw doesn't pitch clunkers in his final two starts, seems like he's got it.
Jerry Crasnick (12:11 PM)
Jon, Yes, the sentiment seemed to be shifting toward Kershaw anyway. McCutchen, Josh Harrison, Posey and some other guys will get some MVP love, but now that Stanton is out, I think it's going to Kershaw.
Marco Esquandolas (Los Angeles)
I may be jinxing them by typing this, but how possible do you think it is for a Beltway/I-95 World Series between the Nats and O's? It seems like the under the radar moves acquiring Asdrubal Cabrera and Andrew Miller, respectively, have helped quite a bit, too.
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Marco, It's impossible to predict what will happen in three rounds, but I think there's a chance. Ultimately, though, I think the loss of Wieters, Machado and Chris Davis (for 8 postseason games) will be too much for the O's to overcome. The Nats, to me, have the most well-rounded team in the NL.
Wouldn.t the Yankees be wise and writ off the next two years, no 1 or 3 free agents will help them, this will get them through rid of their bad contracts by 20156,and they will have a better stocked minor league system.
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
Stosh, That sounds great in theory, but the Yankees just don't have it in their DNA to "write off" a couple of seasons. They don't have a great farm system and they're stuck with some bad contracts, and that's a recipe for going 83-79 for a few years.
Tyler Smith (Atlanta, Ga)
This is the second time in four years that the Braves have had a giant collapse at the end of the season. You to pin that on Gonzalez right? He seems unable to motivate his players. At this point, he and Wren have to go this offseason, right?
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
Tyler, There's been such an anti-Fredi backlash in Atlanta, I think it's going to be a hard sell for the Braves to keep him now that they're almost certain to miss the playoffs. But they'll have to sit down and make that call in October. I personally don't think Frank Wren is going anywhere. The Uggla and BJ contracts were disasters, obviously, but that team still has a chance to be good next year with a few moves.
Brian (Fishers, IN)
So, even if the Royals get only a second wild-card slot--or worse, just barely miss out on the playoffs--have Moore and Yost done enough this season to save their jobs?
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
Brian, Dayton Moore isn't going anywhere. And unless the Royals totally collapse over the next two weeks, I don't think Ned is going anywhere, either. Just my opinion.
2 questions...1 What is the status of Wacha? 2 If the Playoffs started today we would play the Dodgers, how would you see that series playing out? Thanks
Jerry Crasnick (12:19 PM)
Kardfan, We've reached the point where Wacha's health is still iffy and there are two weeks left in the regular season. I wouldn't count on him for much. That would be one entertaining series between the Dodgers and Redbirds. I'd lean toward LA because of Kershaw and Greinke, but it would be nice if Ryu were healthy as well.
Hi Jerry, love the chats! It's been a long year as a Phillies fan but that was to be expected. However, I have been extremely impressed with Kenny Giles and for the most part the Phillies bullpen. Anyways, I read earlier today that Sandberg said a move to first base for Utley would eliminate wear and tear. If the Phillies were somehow able to trade Howard and move Utley to first, do you take a look at Asche moving to LF with Franco at third? Maybe find a change of scenery trade for Dom Brown?
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Martin, A Phillies fan in Toronto? Cool. As you point out, Sandberg floated the idea of Utley moving to first. But that's contingent on them moving Howard. If they're willing to eat enough of Howard's contract, I think they might be able to spin him to an AL team as a DH. They'd also love to trade Brown. That leaves LF as a potential landing spot for Asche. And it appears they might also look at him at 2B. I like Asche. He's not great, but he's a professional kid and I think he can be a decent player.
Hi Jerry. I'm only 25 so my whole life has revolved around the yankees being good and in the playoffs. When I look at the future I am nervous. It seems like they are locked in to all of the same guys for years to come. Can you give me some reason for hope in the next few years?
Jerry Crasnick (12:23 PM)
Ronnie, The Yankees will always have resources, and they're willing to spend to put a winner on the field. And if Tanaka comes back, that will be a huge positive. I just think they're stuck in this cycle of mediocrity right now. Not to depress you, but I don't see any 100-plus seasons on the horizon. They'll need more help from the farm system.
If Sale ends up with a sub-2:00 ERA does that catch enough BBWAA eyes to overcome Hernandez's name recognition in the Cy Young race?
Jerry Crasnick (12:24 PM)
Joe, Chris Sale has been amazing. But when I checked the other day, Felix had a 40-50 inning edge over him. I just think that's too much for Sale to overcome. Not to mention that Corey Kluber might be having the second best season by an AL starter this year.
Ed (Queens Village)
I know this will never happen. 10th inning each team gets one inning to win game then 11th inning on sudden death. Good idea or bad idea?
Jerry Crasnick (12:25 PM)
Bad idea. (Appreciate the effort, though)
Seis (El Pueblo, partes desconocidas)
Good afternoon, Jerry. After trading Jake Marisnik, the Marlins seem to have committed to Ozuna in center field. Does he have the defensive chops to stay there, or do you think they'll be looking for a new CF as soon as Stanton is dealt?
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
Seis, With Yelich and Ozuna in the outfield, the Marlins are probably just looking for the best available young outfielder they can get who's cost-controlled and fits their long-range plan. They have some flexibility. It's quite encouraging how good that young outfield trio was before Stanton went down with his injury.
Re: Innings difference.Sale is within 0.5 fWAR and 0.3 bWAR of Hernandez. He's basically a good start away from pulling even. He's made up the innings gap, at least on paper.
Jerry Crasnick (12:29 PM)
Joe, I understand that, but I still think workload matters. If you're going to be totally equitable about the impact on the team, don't you need to look at the performance of the guys who filled Sale's spot in the rotation during the starts he missed?
Hey Jerry, thanks for the chat. Curious to get your take on McGehee losing his cool against Fiers last week. I get that he just watched their best player go down, but the fact that the 2 HBP's were strikes should be enough proof that Fiers didn't do it on purpose.
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Jason, I talked to Casey McGehee about it the other night, and he said he was yelling at the umpires for calling those pitches strikes -- not at Fiers for hitting Stanton and Johnson. Fiers is a good guy who got caught in a bad situation. You could tell he was distraught. But the McGehee and the Marlins were devastated by that whole sequence as well. Just a tough deal all around.
Hi Jerry. Curious to get your take on Brian Cashman as a GM. He was not responsible for building the dynasty teams (even though he was the GM for them), and it seems like his many mistakes get nullifed by his checkbook. By that I mean that he can cut players making 8 figures a year (Soriano, Wells, etc) - a luxury that no other team has. For that team to have that payroll and miss the playoffs two years in a row, and have a very mediocre looking future... I mean, doesn't he have to be on the hot seat??
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Harry, Brian Cashman is a bright guy and very well respected in the industry. But you're right that he should take some heat for failing to make the playoffs. Just a couple of things to consider: 1) When the Yankees spend $150M or $200M on a free agent, I don't think the GM is the only one signing off on the decision; and 2) some of their problems are attributable to a lack of talent on the farm. Is that entirely the GM's fault?
Hey Jerry, last week Sandy Alderson all but intimated that the Mets are sticking with the same payroll they had the past few years. Can they really compete with the Nationals next year when the Nats have the same amount of young talent, and spend almost $50 million more on the team than the Mets do?
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Dan, It won't be easy. But if Matt Harvey comes back to full form, they could have a very dynamic young staff. It remains to be seen if Sandy and his group can add the necessary offense with the $$ available. Of course, they could always move in the fences again ...
Hey Jerry, Do the A's offensive problems run deeper than Cespedes departure? Seems like Moss and the catcher trio have really cooled down in the 2nd half.
Jerry Crasnick (12:37 PM)
AJ, I asked a media friend about the A's offensive dropoff, and the person said the team's offensive slump was 40 percent-Cespedes related and 60 percent slump-and-injury related. Sounds about right to me. Moss, Norris and some of those guys hit over their heads in the first half and were due for some second half regression.
Um, that's what looking at WAR metrics does! 219 innings of Hernandez has been either 0.3 (using ERA) or 0.5 (using FIP) wins better than 163 innings of Sale plus 46 innings of a replacement-level pitcher. It's very possible that Sale will draw even or even go past Hernandez in the next few starts. (The reason that Sale has made up the difference, incidentally, is that he's been a bit better than Hernandez on a per-inning basis in a much more hitter-friendly environment.(
Jerry Crasnick (12:39 PM)
Joe, Does WAR factor in whether Sales' "replacement level" substitute actually pitched well or completely stunk? Sorry, but when I cast my ballot for an award, I prefer to base it on what actually happened. I appreciate your persistence, though.
How do you think the OF/1B logjam - Napoli, Nava, Victorino, Castillo, Cespedes, Bradley, Betts, Bradley, Craig - shake out next year? That's nine guys for probably six spots (3 OFs, 1B and 2 bench guys)...
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Steve, You listed Jackie Bradley twice, so I only see 8 names here. Based on Victorino's injuries this year, Craig's disappointing season and the growth pains incurred by Bradley and Betts, I don't think the Red Sox need to worry about having too many options.
I'm sure the Cubs will go forward with Renteria as thie manager next season but is he just a place holder for another high profile manager? Francona?
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Gary, Rick Renteria fit the mold of what Theo and Jed were looking for right now as a developmental manager. They'll have to make the call on whether he's the guy to take that team over the top as the Cubs continue to improve. But we're still not close to that point, so it's all speculative.
Battlecat l.a, ca [via mobile]
Are the angeles ws bound?
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Battlecat, As great as the Angels have been, I hard a tough time seeing a rotation of Jered Weaver, CJ Wilson, Matt Shoemaker and Hector Santiago cutting a swath through the AL and getting to the World Series. I just think the Garret Richards injury will come back and bite them eventually.
Replacement level varies park to park, but it generally equates to an ERA around 5.60 or 5.70.Thanks for responding, btw.
Jerry Crasnick (12:47 PM)
No problem. Didn't mean to sound combative. I just think a guy who's in there for 220 innings gets an edge over a guy who throws 170-180. Felix has pitched for a surprise contender and he has to go out there every fifth day lugging around that pressure and those expectations. Sale is great. But to me, there's no debate Felix is the man.
Rob (Lime Rock, CT)
Despite the record I think the future is bright for the White Sox. Would going after Russell Martin and Melky Cabrera make sense in your opinion? Thanks!
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Rob, The White Sox have some pieces in place. Not sure about Melky, but I think Russell Martin would be a great fit for the White Sox, Cubs, Dodgers and several other teams.
Seis (El Pueblo, partes descondidas)
Hola Jerry, I just wanted to point out that the growing pains that Betts has incurred are probably pretty minimal. His .808 OPS is second on the club behind Ortiz. They need to find a place for him next year, don't they?
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Seis, Yep, you're correct that Betts has done a nice job. But it's only 40 games, and look at the struggles incurred by young kids ranging from Bryce Harper to Manny Machado to Gregory Polanco this year. That said, the Sox didn't bring him up to get all this experience to send him back to Triple-A next year. They'll have to find a spot for him, and it's not going to be at second base with Pedroia back.
And who is your pick to represent the AL? LAA and BALT seem shaky on starting pitching, no? And OAK is going deeper this year just because of Samardzija? If DET makes it, aren't they the immediate pick to go to WS?
Jerry Crasnick (12:52 PM)
AJ, I'm not as concerned about the Orioles' starting pitching as the loss of three mainstay hitters with injury. As exasperating as the A's are, I think they have a chance to make a nice run in October. They just need to find a way to score 3 runs a game the rest of September.
Do you think the positive test and his offensive drop-off has made it less likely the O's will sign Chris Davis to a long-term contract or more likely, since his value has gone down?
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Andy, Great question. I'm going to Baltimore this week to see them play the Blue Jays. Maybe I'll run that one past Dan Duquette in the lunch room.
I would love to see Oakland v. Seattle in the Wild Card game. Assuming the rotations lined up, King Felix versus Lester would be awesome!
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Jesse, Yep. Think, we might see a few early sacrifice bunts in that game?
Does this deal get Stanton to the Mets? Wheeler, Syndegaard, Nimmo, Plawecki?
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Vince, Yikes. I would certainly think so.
Chris (Atlanta, Ga)
Do players spend too little time in minors, specifically AAA? If you look at a team like the Braves, most of their "star" players spent little to no time in AAA and those same players cannot make the most basic adjustments at the plate.
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
Chris, Depends on the player. I remember talking to Doug Melvin once, and he talked about how the Brewers wanted to give Lorenzo Cain like 3,000 plate appearances in the minors. Cain got a lot of seasoning, and he's turned into a pretty good MLB player. Buster Posey, on the other hand, had 750 minor league plate apps. It's not just AAA time. It's total time logged. Every jump through a system poses different challenges for a player.
NYY have been drawing cards into a bad hand for years. Here is a simple question - assuming no "no trade" clauses, how many guys could you trade and NOT have to eat money? Gardner, Prado (maybe) and the young guys. Who would you have to eat money - Tex, Arod, McCann, Beltran, Ellsbury, CC, Tanaka. And that doesn't include Kuroda, Ichiro and Jeter, who are gone.
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
Greg, And it's not as if the McCann, Ellsbury and Beltran signings are ancient history. They just spent about $250 million on those guys last winter. I won't include Tanaka, because he got hurt. No team -- even the Yankees -- can constantly succumb to the temptation to sign guys to huge free-agent deals. They just don't work out as a rule.
You have no idea how excited I would be if you asked Duquette that question. To be sure, were you just patronizing me with that response?
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
No patronizing. I'm not sure I'll see the Duke, but it was a valid question. (Of course, to get the full response, I might have to ask Scott Boras for his opinion as well).
As an Angel fan, I'd love to see King Felix beat the A's in the wild card game. Facing the Mariner's 2-4 in the rotation with home field advantage looks a lot like sweep material, if not at least a 2-1 advantage going into Felix's start.
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Michael, I'm sure it's quite liberating when your team has an 11-game lead and you can think ahead like that.
For those quick to write off the Yankees, keep in mind that they can sign Chris Young, who is apparenly a hall of famer now. Granted they have nowhere to play him when Gardner, Ellsbury, and Beltran are all healthy, but still....
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Good point, Jeff.
Stuart (Brooklyn, NY)
I know you're a baseball guy, but here's a concern. Football is a three-hour game, but is so much more exciting and compelling than watching a baseball game unless you're there at the stadium. When baseball games a delayed by batters getting ready or the pitcher meeting with the catcher, it's snooze time. Then in the 7th and 8th innings, managers use five pitchers to get three hitters out. At home, I've switched stations only to miss the end of the game, not intentional, because I forgot to change back, whereas football keeps a fan compelled for the entire game because there's always action. I've been a baseball fan since Mel Stottlemyre anchored the Yankee staff, a very long time, but I can't sit through a baseball game at home anymore. The Commissioner better do something to speed it up. Jerry, there's lots of sports fans out there who say football has started, do they really play baseball in October? I'll watch a Sunday night football game over a World Series game any day, because all you have to do is watch the last two or three innings of a baseball game. Thoughts?
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Stuart, That's a very long question, but a thoughtful one, so I thought I'd post it. Suffice to say that pace of game is something MLB needs to look into. I don't think it's as huge a problem as some people make it out to be. But it should be on the agenda.
Brent (St. Paul)
Jerry, Have you ever been to the Negro Leagues Museum in KC? It's fantastic.
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
Brent, I went about 20 years ago, but I'm sure it's changed a lot since then. If Ned Yost and the Royals can cooperate, maybe I'll make another pass in October.
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everybody. I have to run. Let's do it again next week.