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 time to talk some baseball as we sweat out the All-Star Final Man votes. There's nothing more exciting than watching Steve Delabar trying to fend off Koji Uehara, Tanner Scheppers, Joaquin Benoit and David Robertson. Let's take some questions.
Jerry, it looks like the Nats are finally clicking. Do you see them catching and eventually passing the Braves to win the NL East?
Jerry Crasnick (12:02 PM)
Jeremy, I wouldn't get too excited over the Nats pounding on Milwaukee and San Diego. That said, I do think this team is poised to take off soon. Getting Bryce Harper back was huge, and the track records show that they're a better offensive team than they've shown so far. If the Upton brothers don't turn it around in the second half, I can see Washington passing the Braves.
Why does everyone assume that the Giants will be buyers at the trade deadline? Given their lack of depth, maybe its time to get younger?
Jerry Crasnick (12:05 PM)
Hey Jeremiah, I don't think it's in Brian Sabean's DNA to pull the plug until it's absolutely clear that the Giants can't contend. And that division is still wide open enough that there's still time for the Giants to figure it out. They get such great fan support that I think Sabean feels an obligation to explore every possible avenue to improve the club. Whether that changes three weeks from now, we'll see.
Andre (Tallahassee, FL)
Which all star starter do you feel is the least deserving?
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Andre, Probably Bryce Harper, given all the time he missed. In the AL, you can make a case that JJ Hardy was a reach at shortstop because of that low OBP. But he hits with power, he's a steady defender, and he means an awful lot to that Orioles club with his quiet consistency. He's been an unheralded guy for a while, and I'm glad to see him getting some ASG love.
Steve Delabar has 9 screws and a few plates in his right arm. He was out of baseball 3 years ago. Robocop strikes out 13.5/9IP and he also stopped Clarence Boddicker from taking over the free world. He has to go to the ASG.
Jerry Crasnick (12:08 PM)
Greg, I hear you. Delabar has some terrific numbers, along with several other middle relievers. I'm just not sure how captivating that AL Final Man vote is to people other than middle relief aficionados.
evan disena (willow spring)
Do you think that the pirates, with how well they are doing, will go to the playoffs and go far or will they fall out before the playoffs again?
Jerry Crasnick (12:11 PM)
Evan, The peripheral numbers say the Pirates starting pitching is destined to regress and their lack of offense will eventually catch up to them. But we said the same thing about the Orioles last year, and they hung in all the way to the playoffs. I do think it's incumbent upon Neal Huntington to make a deal or two to give that team a lift at the deadline -- whether it's a right field bat, some bullpen depth, or something to beef up the roster.
As a Mets fan, I want to see what Flores can do. What could the Mets get for Murphy?
Jerry Crasnick (12:13 PM)
Alan, Murphy is a professional, line drive hitter. But he's not a great on base guy. He's a 6-8 homer, 10-steal player, and he's average defensively at best. He's also on the verge of getting more expensive. Sorry, but I just don't see anyone surrendering more than an average prospect for him.
Do middle relief aficionado's even exist Jerry? if so, i feel bad for them.
Jerry Crasnick (12:13 PM)
Greg, Someone in Major League Baseball must be, or we wouldn't see that AL Final Man contingent.
Jerry your opinion of Pettibone of Phils. Seems to have settled in with Phils rotation now.
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
David, The kid has poise and pitchability, but I think he peaks as a reliable middle of the rotation or fourth starter. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Which current minor leaguer has the best chance of being a MLB all-star next year? D'arnaud because hitting catchers are so rare?
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
Mitch, It's hard to project D'Arnaud as an All-Star, simply because he's had such a tough time staying healthy in the minors. I would go with Oscar Taveras of the Cardinals because he just rakes. Christian Yelich of the Marlins is another young hitter with All-Star caliber tools, but he's still awfully young. (Although next year is a little soon to project anyone in the minors right now as an All-Star).
Ed (Queens Village)
Which player playing in Sunday Futures Game has chance to be a star?
Jerry Crasnick (12:18 PM)
Ed, I'm looking forward to seeing Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton of the Twins. Two years from now, they might be the new Mauer and Morneau.
Do you hink Hason Kipnis was a good choice for the All-star game?
Jerry Crasnick (12:18 PM)
Scars, I'm not so sure about Hason. But his twin brother Jason was definitely a good choice.
Jerry, I am watching the White Sox continue to struggle and now seeing their most valuable trade chips on the DL. Will there be a market for Peavy and Crain at the end of the month or are the Sox now destined to make minor moves that will bring little or no value back?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Paul, The injuries really hit at an inopportune time for Rick Hahn. It all depends on how quickly those guys can progress and return to pitch well. In addition, Alex Rios has also fallen off the map lately. He had a .643 OPS in June. He's a streaky guy, so that puts a crimp in his market as well.
Hi Jerry! You think Gregg will be traded and Strop,Russell or B.Parker as closer(or just committee here)?
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
EJ, Yes, I expect Gregg to be traded, although I expect more teams to view him as setup depth rather than a back-of-the-bullpen savior. The Cubs have nothing to lose, so they can audition several young guys in the closer role. What's the downside?
Did you find Strasburg's ASG omission a bit odd? I know his "record" is pedestrian, but his peripheral stats look all-star to me.
Jerry Crasnick (12:23 PM)
Matt, Six of us submitted All-Star ballots for ESPN.com Friday, and I was the only one to include Strasburg on my NL team. He's third in the NL in ERA and striking out more than a batter an inning, so I think he's deserving. But apparently a lot of people don't share that opinion.
Kevin (Orlando/Tampa Bay)
Where is the irony that Jim Leyland plunks Zobrist and then picks him for the AS team?
Jerry Crasnick (12:26 PM)
Kevin, Ben Zobrist is a respected guy around the game and a hard guy to dislike, so I wouldn't make too much of that little incident. Strictly on merit, I think several guys were more deserving of an All-Star bid. But Leyland apparently felt Zobrist's versatility might come in handy. Even Zobrist admitted that he was shocked by his inclusion. I would have preferred to see Longoria make it and Leyland move Manny Machado to short if necessary.
Dylan (Tamaqua, PA)
Jerry,What are the chances Phillies listen on Hamels if they decide to sell? He could bring back the most prospects.
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Dylan, I just don't see it. Hamels still has about $130 million left on his deal (I believe) and he has a limited no trade clause. And he's young enough that Ruben Amaro still views him as a key piece moving forward. The Phils have so many other potential trade chips (Utley, Michael Young, Papelbon, Delmon Young, even Cliff Lee), Hamels is pretty far down the list.
Kevin (Orlando/Tampa Bay)
The pundits said James Loney couldn't keep up the pace in April....May.....June....It is now July and he is 317/370/473 and has been a pleasant surprise of consistency for the Rays. Well.....? Can he keep it up?
Jerry Crasnick (12:29 PM)
Kevin, Loney has a .339 BABIP, which suggests he might regress a bit. But you can't overestimate what a great job Joe Maddon and his staff do in bringing new players into that environment and making them feel comfortable. The Rays are also going to give him his share of days off against tough lefties who might put a crimp in that production. He's been a nice pickup for them.
So what team do you believe the cubs trade garza too? And what do you think that package would consist off? Thanks. I really hope a couple top 100 guys or at least 1 player in the top 20
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Jerry, Matt Garza is bound to be attractive to teams like the Rangers, Red Sox and Giants that might be looking for another starter. But keep in mind the impact of MLB's new rules. A team that trades for him can't give him a qualifying offer and collect a draft pick as compensation. That's going to put a dent in the talent haul the Cubs can expect in return for him.
Derek (work) [via mobile]
Do you think Dom Brown will continue to grow into a superstar everyone projected a few years ago?
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Derek, I'm really impressed with him. He has a real plan at the plate, and he's also made some significant strides in the outfield. Wally Joyner has been a huge help to him. I don't know if he'll be a "superstar," but it looks as if he'll be the center piece of that lineup for years to come.
Rick (Hamilton, VA)
Jerry: do you think Benoit can handle the closer duties for the Tigers, rod should they trade the farm for Papelbon?
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Rick, I don't sense a tremendous amount of enthusiasm in Detroit for the idea of acquiring Papelbon. I'm sure they'll ride the current arrangement to the end of month, then make a final assessment. I know it's a brief sample size, but so far Benoit appears capable of handling the role. (Certainly a lot better than Valverde did).
Marc (SF Giants Homer)
I've been trying every which way to get Bud Norris on the Giants. He's young, cheap, and controllable, and with Zito and Lincecum coming off the books, Giants will need SP. First, is he available? Second, what would it cost in prospects to get him? I was thinking Clayton Blackburn and Gary Brown.
Jerry Crasnick (12:37 PM)
Marc, I'm not sure which players the Giants would surrender in return, but Bud Norris fits the profile of what they're looking for. As you mentioned, with Lincecum and Zito hitting free agency, Brian Sabean needs a controllable pitcher that he can plug into that rotation behind Bumgarner and Cain. Norris is also a Northern Cal guy, right? (Not that that factors into the Giants' decision-making process any). But I'm sure he'd love the opportunity to pitch close to home.
Other than the Uptons picking it up, what can the Braves do to hold off the Nats? Thanks
Jerry Crasnick (12:39 PM)
Geoff, They also need Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward to pick it up and not revert to their early season slumps. That team has been too reliant on walks and home runs to score runs -- they need to get better at manufacturing runs. As for moves, I think the main items on Frank Wren's agenda are beefing up the bench and the bullpen.
Joe (Ney Work)
How do you feel about the Verlander ASG selection. Obviously, a pick based on prior years but should the ASG be about performance today (I will exclude the "honorary" selections for retiring HOFers)
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Joe, I'm a huge Justin Verlander fan, but I think a lot of pitchers were more deserving of making the All-Star team this year. (You have three Kansas City Royals alone in Santana, Shields and Greg Holland). I don't blame Jim Leyland for naming him, but unfortunately, that means some more deserving pitchers have to stay home.
If you start a team today, can it be justified to make anyone but Trout the number one pick?
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
George, Not in my book. We had our ESPN franchise draft last month and I had the No. 1 overall pick, and I used it to select Mike Trout.
Matt (Santa Barbara)
Obligatory rant about the A's being shafted in the All-Star Game.
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Matt, I hear ya. A lot of people talk about Josh Donaldson and Grant Balfour, but Jed Lowrie and Coco Crisp also belonged in the conversation. If the A's can use the All-Star slights as "we don't get any respect" motivation, maybe it will help fuel them in the second half.
We had a rough one versus the tigers this weekend. Anyway we can catch them?
Jerry Crasnick (12:45 PM)
Nate, I wish I could say yes, but the Indians have shown a troubling knack for coming up small against the iron of their schedule this season. (The Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers et al). Terry Francona is going to get the absolute most out of that team. But the Tigers simply have too much pitching and too much Miguel Cabrera not to win that division.
Mike (San Diego)
So the general public seems to think that Yasiel Puig should be in the All Star game. How come the same about Hanley Ramirez? Hanley's numbers in the last month are VERY similar to the numbers that Puig put up in June.
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Mike, Yes, I've heard that argument. In Puig's case, it obviously goes beyond the numbers. He has these amazing tools, an incredible energy and a back story that's captivated the baseball-watching public. Hanley Ramirez ... not so much.
Hey Jerry, do you think the Rangers need a SP like Garza or a bat like Alex Rios?
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Keanu, I think Jon Daniels is focusing more on the pitcher, even though Alexi Ogando is on the comeback trail and Colby Lewis could be back in August. But the Rangers are wary of giving up a lot for a rental like Garza. Like most clubs, they're looking for a primo pitcher they can control for a while. Good luck finding that.
What's the difference between being "outrighted" "reassigned" designated"?
Jerry Crasnick (12:49 PM)
Kardfan, When a player is designated for assignment, a team has 10 days to trade or release him or send him to the minors. When a player has been outrighted, it means he has to clear waivers -- as opposed to an "option," when he can go straight to the minors without being exposed to waivers.
Do you see the Reds making any deadline deal upgrades?
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Jay, I think a lot of that depends on what happens with Johnny Cueto and Ryan Ludwick in their comebacks from injury. I'm sure Walt Jocketty and his staff are monitoring the rehabs closely.
The more I look at WAR, the more suspect I am of the metric. Miggy is having a season for the ages and Machado is almost equal. I understand Machado plays better D but not enough to make me indifferent between the two.
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Kim, I'm also a little dubious about WAR. I picked Starling Marte over Allen Craig for my NL All-Star squad because he crushes him in WAR (based largely on his superior defense). But I think we've gotten into the habit of slamming players too much for their WARs. Like Torii Hunter. Everyone is killing him for his mediocre WAR. But the guy is still hitting .309 with an OBP around .350. And you can't tell me that he's that much of a drag defensively, even at age 37.
Cerry Jrasnick (Los Angeles)
honestly...honestly. do you see Matt Kemp EVER returning to his MVP form?
Jerry Crasnick (12:55 PM)
Cerry, If Kemp gets his shoulder healthy, he can be an elite player again. But it's clear he's not 100 percent right. Shoulder injuries tend to linger and sap a player's power. That's obviously an issue with Kemp right now.
Alex (New York)
Phil Hughes for Dayan Viciedo? Could that trade work out?
Jerry Crasnick (12:55 PM)
Alex, I haven't seen this one rumored or mentioned anywhere. Other than a change of scenery for two players who haven't performed up to expectations, I'm not sure what it would accomplish. If anyone out there has any thoughts on it, feel free to send 'em along.
Any particular players you want to see in the HR derby this year? I think Encarnacion should/deserves an invite.
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
Frank, I was glad to see Encarnacion make the All-Star team. He's really resurrected his career in Toronto. As for Home Run derby participants, I'd love to see Chris Davis in there. He has effortless power to all fields, and he's been a monster in the first half, obviously.
How long do the Braves stick with BJ in the second half with the race tightening? At some point, you look past salaray and field the team that gives you the best shot to win right?
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
Mike, He's frustrated by his performance, and they're all frustrated watching him. But it's hard to pull the plug on a guy when he's in the first year of a five-year, $75 million deal. I think it'll be more of an issue if they go into a tailspin and fall behind the Nationals. As long as they're in first place, it gives BJ and hitting coach Greg Walker a little more time to try to figure things out.
Shouldn't the Cubs trade Samardzija. He's one year younger than Garza and is cost controlled through 2015. He'd bring a haul under those circumstances not to say he hasn't been put out there!
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
Diehardcub, The return for Samardzija would have to be so high that Theo and Jed can't say no. Because he's getting better every year and under club control makes him an extremely valuable commodity. The Cubs would have to get a mother lode of prospects in return to consider moving him.
I have always understood that BABIP for hitters is around 300. When I look at Matt Harvey I notice his BABIP is 265. Should I be prepared for some mean regression?
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Scott, Again, this is an area where I'm not sure that BABIP tells you everything. If a pitcher's stuff is so dominant that he induces a lot of awkward swings and weak contact, that's a little different than simply being lucky.
Any chance Cliff Lee gets to start the All-Star Game? He's quietly having a Cy Young caliber year.
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Max, That's not going to happen unless MLB makes a last-minute change and decides to play the game somewhere other than Citi Field (home of the Mets and Matt Harvey).
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everybody. I enjoyed it. If we don't chat again before the All-Star break, enjoy the HR Derby and the game!