Chat with Jerry Crasnick
Jerry 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 in your questions now and join Jerry in The Show on Friday at noon ET!
Jerry Crasnick (12:00 PM)
Hey guys, I'm in LA for the big Diamondbacks-Dodgers series. Should be fun. Let's commence the chat.
Tanner (Saint Paul, MN)
Jerry, Whats wrong with the Twins?
Jerry Crasnick (12:02 PM)
Tanner, Boy, they suffered about as many demoralizing losses as you can suffer on this road trip. But they're still kicking. The White Sox have really done them a favor by not playing better and opening up a little more space. I picked the Twins and I'm sticking with it -- although they can't afford to have Joe Nathan blow any more games down the stretch.
Jerry, Will I be back to my old self next year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:04 PM)
Aaron, You've pitched better in your last three starts, which is a good sign. I figured you must be injured to be this bad. How else can those 31 HR balls be explained? I think after a winter of rest and reflection, you come back much stronger next season.
how do you see this big weekend series between mets phils pannign out? I say phils sweep!
Jerry Crasnick (12:06 PM)
Martin, Sorry, but I don't see it. The Mets have Pelfrey, Pedro and Santana pitching, and there's no way the Phillies beat all three of those guys. The Phils just need to win two, and based on the way they've been playing lately, that's pretty optimistic. I think the Mets smell it this year, and they're motivated to open up some space and stop all the "collapse" talk that's a remnant from last season.
Joe (Kansas City)
Is Mike Aviles really a stud or is this going to be a one hit wonder?
Jerry Crasnick (12:08 PM)
Joe, Mike Aviles hit almost .300 in the minors, so people always liked his bat. The question was whether he could get the job done defensively at short -- he's not real pretty over there. He's hitting .334 with an OPS+ of 123. Pretty good for a guy who signed for a $1,000 bonus. I don't know if the word "stud" applies. But he's a bona fide major leaguer. And his name could very well appear on a few Rookie of the Year ballots.
Matt (Altoona, PA)
Love your work Jerry! What is the latest on the Pedro ALvarez fiasco? Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Matt, My understanding is that the Alvarez grievance will proceed as scheduled next Wednesday. Meanwhile, the kid is getting bashed in the Pittsburgh papers even though he's never played a game. I think this is one of the hazards of being a Scott Boras client; you risk getting labeled because of all the brinksmanship and hardball tactics. It's too bad for the kid. But nobody forced him to pick Boras as his "advisor."
Hey Jerry...what are your thoughts on Houston making a nice playoff run here at the end? Their schedule is very favorable from here on out.
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Brad, I think it's a case of too little, too late. Sometimes late runs like this can be a bad thing, because a team deludes itself into thinking it's better than it really is. The Astros still need to do some work on the pitching front this winter.
Jerry--What's your Rx for the Tigers in 2009?
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
Milt, They need to get younger, shore up the defense and find some answers to their pitching issues, obviously. It's interesting that Jim Leyland is making a pitch for a contract extension. He seems sort of disengaged this year (or maybe "sour" is a better word). But he has too much pride to go out on a note this bad.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
Assuming Milwaukee wins the wild card, what's your take on giving the MVP award to CC Sabathia? His impact has been incredible.
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
Sprung, This might make me sound like a purist or something, but I'm disinclined to give the MVP award to a starting pitcher, period, much less a guy who joins a team in late June and might only make 17 or 18 starts. That just seems sort of insulting or dismissive to guys like Albert Pujols or David Wright who grind it out all season and carry their clubs through 162 games. So while CC is great and inspirational, I can't see giving him the MVP award.
Steve (Planfield, IL)
How do you see Alexia Ramirez next yr. He has terrible walk total, will that catch up to him?
Jerry Crasnick (12:19 PM)
Steve, Heck, Alexei Ramirez's OBP is .324, so you could argue that it's caught up to him already this year. Plate discipline is a funny thing. Jose Reyes improved his. Jeff Francoeur tried to improve his and went backward. I suspect Ramirez will always be a free swinger with a relatively low on base percentage. But his other attributes will help make up for it.
What will the Sox do about catcher next year? I'm guessing they'll try to bring back Tek with a one-year deal, but would they let him walk away if someone offeed him more?
Jerry Crasnick (12:21 PM)
Steve, The Red Sox don't have a lot of other options, but I certainly don't see Scott Boras and Varitek settling for a one-year contract. Two years, maybe. I bet they'll work it out. If not, maybe the Sox can swing a deal for a guy like Texas' Gerald Laird.
Tim Lund (Detroit Lakes, MN)
Jerry-What will it take for Ron Gardenhire to win manager of the year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:21 PM)
Tim, That ship has sailed, as they say. Joe Maddon of the Rays is free to clear a spot on his mantel.
Dan ( Mass)
HOW ABOUT A RED SOX QUESTION???? When Lowell and Drew and Beckett coming back ( hopefully healthy) is there any team better suited for the playoffs? Their lineup can change drastically from night to night without losing anything- gotta be the fav- right?
Jerry Crasnick (12:24 PM)
Dan, One good thing about winning two World Series in four years -- it frees you from the usual sense of panic and allows you to prepare for the postseason by resting guys and allowing them to get healthy. Some people might consider the Angels the favorites, but when it gets to October, the Red Sox will be awfully tough to beat. I don't think any team has as big a home field advantage as they do at Fenway Park.
Are the Cubs doomed?
Jerry Crasnick (12:24 PM)
Jon, Geez, way to be optimistic.
Jerry, appreciate your time and effort, whats the odds on Lincecum winning the CY young?
Jerry Crasnick (12:26 PM)
Scott, I think if the voters really pay attention and look at all the numbers, his chances are pretty good. I've wondered this before: Shouldn't a guy who puts up a very good record on a very bad team receive even more consideration for the Cy Young Award? It's the old Steve Carlton principle at work.
Eric (San Diego)
The AL MVP has to be Sizemore right? He has a .910 OPS, is 35/39 in stolen base attempts, has hit 31 home runs, and plays gold glove caliber CF.
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
Eric, Grady Sizemore will be in the mix, but right or wrong, he's going to suffer from the fact the Indians were afterthoughts by July. At this point, it looks as if it will come down to Quentin and Pedroia. Whichever guy closes stronger will win.
Nick (Chicago, IL)
Your thoughts on Zambrano and Harden? Are the Cubs in trouble? Will they be 3 and out again this post season?
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Nick, Wow, a lot of defeatism on the part of Cubs fans. Look, it isn't an optimal situation, but better to have it happen now with a playoff spot in the bag than in the final week when they're fighting for a postseason spot. The news on Zambrano wasn't nearly as bad as they feared, and we all knew that Harden was going to require some extra maintenance. Plus, Dempster and Lilly are eminently capable of going out there and winning games in October. Relax, Cubbies fans.
Vince (formerly FL now Cali)
HOW ABOUT A RAYS QUESTION?!? What are their chances of being caught by season's end? how does the shoulder of Upton, wrist of Longoria, and leg of Percival effect their Oct chances?
Jerry Crasnick (12:32 PM)
Vince (not Vince Naimoli, right?). They're in the playoffs, so you don't have to worry about that. Longoria is getting close, Percival is back, and Wheeler has done a good job closing games. Their October chances are going to hinge on how Kazmir, Shields, Garza and the young pitchers perform on a big stage, and we won't know until we get there in October.
HOW ABOUT A KANSAS CITY ROYALS QUESTION?!?!?!! just kidding.
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Matthew, Good one. By the way, we already answered a Mike Aviles question.
Hey Jerry, how good will the Twins be when they open their new park in 2010? I know it's 2 years from now but their youngsters have been really impressive. Span, Casilla, Gomez, Young, all the starting pitchers, and neshek will be back as well. Is a world series appearance setting expectations too high? Thanks Jerry, these chats make work so much more enjoyable!
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Zac, Well, the losses of Hunter and Santana and the influx of young players seems to indicate that they're aiming toward 2010. The timetable just happened to get pushed up this summer. You didn't even mention Mauer, Morneau and Francisco Liriano. So yeah, I'd say the future looks pretty bright in Minnesota. The question is, when they do move into the new park, will they dabble in free agency to make that acquisition or two that might help put them over the top?
Gerry (Seattle, WA)
Hey Jerry, I asked Jim Callis who he thought the best hitting and pitching prospects he'd ever seen were, and he said Alex Rodriguez and Mark Prior. What about you? Ever seen anyone any better?
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Gerry, Depends on how far back you want me to go. But I'd say Ken Griffey Jr. and Dwight Gooden certainly belong in the conversation.
Nate (Lima, OH)
Are the Indians going to trade Garko or Shoppach this offseason? I would prefer it be Garko and play Victor at first next year.
Jerry Crasnick (12:38 PM)
Nate, Ryan Garko doesn't have much trade value at this point, and the Indians see Shoppach as a guy who can help spring Victor to play some first base or DH. I don't see Shoppach going anywhere, unless they're overwhelmed. And if Garko is traded, it won't be much of a news maker.
HOW ABOUT A BRAVES QUESTION? do they sign any of the big FA's this offseason to stay out of last place next season? Thanks
Jerry Crasnick (12:39 PM)
Steve, Before the Braves jump into the free agent market, they have a lot of internal questions to answer. Which if any of the aging pitchers are they bringing back? Do they consider trading Kelly Johnson or Jeff Francoeur? I think Frank Wren and the front office people are realistic enough to know that they're not just one big-splash free agent signing away from turning this thing around.
Do you see Jerry Manuel getting Manager of the Year (assuming the Mets make the playoffs) or will he be subjected to the same type of rules that CC could face when it comes to the Cy Young?
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Kevin, Interesting question. I was just thinking about that before the chat. At the risk of appearing inconsistent, yes, I think Manuel would be a strong Manager of the Year candidate if the Mets win the NL East. Tony La Russa looked like the early favorite. But with the Cardinals slipping, that doesn't appear likely now.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
HOW 'BOUT A MUSTACHE QUESTION? When are you getting rid of it? You look like a 70's hockey player.
Jerry Crasnick (12:42 PM)
Cosmo, Always good to field a 'stache question. My wife and kids like it, so I'm keeping it. I've also added a goatee (with a little too much gray, unfortunately), in an effort to combat that '70s NHL look.
Fred (Long Island)
Hey Jerry, I know this is a big hypothetical question but do you think if the Indians had held on to CC this season that they could of possibly been pulled in the race with the White Sox and Twins? Lee and CC (plus Carmona) would look pretty powerful heading into the playoffs.
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Fred, No, I think it was time for a clean break. The Indians were too far behind, they didn't have much hope of re-signing CC, and they needed to start looking to the future. Mark Shapiro got a big-time hitter in Matt LaPorta, so he did OK.
Question about replay -- did MLB install new cameras or do they use TV feeds for reviews?
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Joe, My understanding is that they use the home and road TV feeds (whatever is available), and the reviews are based on that.
This may be better suited for a column, but if you were to make the ultimate infield right now, who would it be?
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Jeff, Great question. Geez, I guess you could do worse than Albert Pujols at first, Chase Utley at second, Hanley Ramirez at SS and A-Rod or David Wright at third. Heck, you or I could manage a team with that infield to a World Series.
big baby (NJ)
How is Zambrano's injury a surprise? His throwing mechanics have been digusting since the All-star Game. Did nobody notice that he was short-arming the ball? Really?
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Big Baby, I haven't seen Carlos Zambrano pitch much, so I wouldn't be able to comment on his mechanics. But people have been suggesting for two or three years now that Zambrano (like Dontrelle Willis) was destined to break down because of his big workload at a young age, and it hasn't happened yet.
what if that infeild had the texas rangers pitching staff?
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Tom, Good point. Maybe a wild card berth?
Is Dustin Pedroia your A.L Mvp?
Jerry Crasnick (12:49 PM)
Josiah, He's right in the mix. He's going to lead the AL in runs, hits and maybe batting, and he had a .635 slugging percentage in August. And the Red Sox really needed him this year, with the injuries to Ortiz, Lowell and Drew and the departure of Manny.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
Do you think the Indians "push" can be a bad thing like you are claiming the Astro's "push" can be bad? I'd hate to see Shapiro do nothing again as with Carmona and Lee the only stable starters coming back, an infield with question marks just about everywhere and a bullpen that's a mess...it'd be nice to see some changes.
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Chris, One good thing about Cleveland's late run: It's allowed guys like Sin Soo Choo, Ben Francisco and Kelly Shoppach to assert themselves. If they're as good as they looked this season, it was a welcome opportunity for them to grow. If their performances were a mirage, well, that's a different story.
Is the weakest crop of AL MVP candidates ever?
Jerry Crasnick (12:52 PM)
Eddie, One man's weak is another man's compelling. But yeah, with apologies to Keith Law and the Grady Sizemore devotees, I don't think there's a guy out there who jumps out and grabs you by the throat.
Ryan Howard can't possibly win the MVP with that batting average.... right? Please tell me it ain't gonna happen.
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Chris, It ain't gonna happen.
Michael (Toronto, ON)
Do you think Travis Snider has what it takes to make an impact for the Jays next season? Two games don't make a career, but he's got a ton of potential.
Jerry Crasnick (12:55 PM)
Michael, Snider is 20 years old, he tore it up in the minors, and he's been a Baseball America darling for a couple of years now. So yeah, he has the potential to make an impact for a long time.
Jeff, whats your opinion of AJ Burnett? I think his walks have been high this year, but they haven't been that high in the past. And his other peripherals are great. Would the Yanks be wise to go after him instead of bringing back Pettitte or Moose?
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Dave, It's the same old story with AJ Burnett. Tremendous stuff, and at least he's been able to stay healthy this season. But you always pursue him with the caveat that he might disappoint you. I really think he would be better suited temperamentally to, say, Baltimore than New York. But that's just me.
Would Pujols not winning MVP show the true ineptitude of the writers that vote? Pendleton winning was one thing, because Bonds struck a negative personal chord with most of those guys. But, if Pujols doesn't win, it truly shows that the average guy on his couch is more qualfied to cast a ballot.
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
Eddie, Maybe I'm being inconsistent here, because I'd probably vote for Pujols for MVP (in large part because of that .460 OBP) while I'm not so sure about Sizemore. Unlike some media critics, I assume that baseball writers who see 162 games are smart enough to make reasonably prudent calls. For what it's worth, I don't vote on any awards, so I don't have to worry about it.
Hey Jerry. You mentioned that Alexei Ramirez's OBP was never going to be very high, but his other attributes make up for it (don't let KLaw here you say that). Doesn't that sort of sum up a player like Garret Anderson's career?
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Mitch, I've always thought that plate discipline, unlike the ability to run fast or throw hard, is a skill that a player can develop. Some guys do and some don't. Haven't Jose Reyes, Carl Crawford and others been able to improve on that front and made themselves better players as a result?
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Thanks for the emails, everybody. Should be a fun slate of games this weekend. Let's do it again next week.