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.
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Jerry Crasnick (12:00 PM)
Hey folks, We'd be remiss not to begin by passing along our condolences and our thoughts to Nick Adenhart's family and to everybody with the Angels organization. Let's get started.
Gannon Knoxville, TN
How does a club house keep it together and go out and play? Everyone knows one day is not long enough. And how do the Red Sox give their best against the Angels when they know the Angels thoughts are elsewhere? RIP Nick
Jerry Crasnick (12:01 PM)
Gannon, It's obviously going to be a challenge, but I think Mike Scioscia is equipped to handle this about as well as any manager. Everybody's mind is going to be wandering for a few days, I'm sure. But that is one great thing about baseball. The games keep coming, and it's a great way to keep your mind occupied while the real world keeps spinning.
What are your early World Series predictions?
Jerry Crasnick (12:03 PM)
Steiny, I picked Tampa Bay over the Cubs. I like Tampa's young legs and athleticism, and I like the Cubs' pitching depth. I can't say Troy Percival's performance yesterday made me feel great about the Rays' ability to close out a game, however. Percy has a lot of guts, but he's no Rivera or Paplebon at this stage of his career.
The Angels have got to be prepared when it becomes gametime
Jerry Crasnick (12:05 PM)
Cobi, We've seen it before in the case of the Cardinals with Josh Hancock, the Rockies with Daryl Kile, etc. Maybe the Angels will devote this season to Nick Adenhart and it will inspire them to perform to greater heights. But I can only imagine how difficult it's going to be to concentrate for a while.
Stephan Brooklyn NY [via mobile]
DO you think that the marlins can win the east over the phils and the mets
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Stephan, I never discount the Marlins. But the scouts I talked to in spring training had some concerns about the bullpen and the defense. And I don't think Emilio Bonifacio is going to hit .600 all season. They might play .500 behind that young staff and Hanley, but I don't think they have enough to win the NL East.
What do you think about the indians winning the central?
Jerry Crasnick (12:08 PM)
Mike, I picked Minnesota to win the AL Central, in large part because I had big time reservations about Cleveland's starting pitching. The Indians rank last in the majors after three games with a 10.88 staff ERA, so Cliff Lee, Fausto Carmona and Carl Pavano aren't exactly off to an encouraging start. On the plus side, Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner both appear to be swinging the bat well.
Jerry, are you aware of any MLB initiative on drunk driving? With all that's happened over the last few years - LaRussa, Josh Hancock, and now Nick Adenhart, and with MLB's influence, it would seem MLB is in a prime position to raise awareness and make some serious noise about the drunk driving issue. Maybe a partnership with MADD, something like that? Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Adam, Anything that raises awareness of drunk driving is obviously welcome. Poor Nick Adenhart never had a chance. I think that's what's so frustrating. I tell my kids never to get in a car with someone who has been drinking. But you never have any control over the guy in the other car who's been drinking.
Greg (Chicago, IL)
Where do you think Frank Catalanotto will end up? His leftie/rightie splits are good enough that he could act as part of a platoon or a pinch-hitter against RHPs and his stats were actually better AWAY from Arlington last year than in it. Do you think a team like the White Sox or Mets will pick him up? It seems like he would have been a more logical choice than Gary Sheffield for the latter.
Jerry Crasnick (12:13 PM)
Greg, Catalanotto and Geoff Jenkins both seemed like potential fits for Florida, but that possibility ended when the Marlins picked up Ross Gload. I saw that Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe lobbied for the Red Sox to bring in Catalanotto, but apparently Boston isn't interested. I think Catalanotto would be a good fit for a club like that -- a contender that needs a professional bat off the bench.
Tom (SF, CA)
Jerry, what do you think of the emerging Royals? Is Davies for real, or is it a mirage? If they can get Butler and Aviles hitting then can they be dangerous?
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
Tom, I like what the Royals have done, but I'll be more sold when I see how Sidney Ponson and Horacio Ramirez fare against the Yankees this weekend. Davies was very good in September and he was great in his first start this season, so there's reason to hope he's ready for a breakthrough. I don't see the Royals playing any better than .500, but that would still be a huge step forward if it happens.
Wayne (Belleville, ON)
The blue jays have really impressed to start the year. Do you expect them to be in the hunt this year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:15 PM)
Wayne, I like what Adam Lind and Travis Snider bring to that lineup, but there's just not enough starting pitching after Roy Halladay -- especially in that division.
Speaking of Percival, why isn't Madden going with Balfour, the clear stud of that bullpen.
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
Gray, Percival looked very good in spring training, and he finds a way to get by even though he's now throwing in the 89-91 range. Plus, Balfour records a lot of valuable outs with strikeouts in the 7th and 8th. Before the year is through, I wouldn't be surprised to see three or four different guys recording saves for the Rays.
Cyrus (Oakland, CA)
Are the young arms of Anderson, Cahill, Outman and Gio Gonzalez enough to win the A's and AL West Title?
Jerry Crasnick (12:19 PM)
Cyrus, Given all the Angels' problems -- the pitching injuries and the Adenhart tragedy -- that division could turn out to be pretty wide open. But young pitchers are destined to go through some growing pains, and there's too much youth for me in that Oakland rotation. If the Rangers can hang around until Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz are ready, I wouldn't be surprised to see Texas hang around a while.;
Can the Reds challenge the Cubs at all this year? Votto and Bruce are studs and the pitching staff should be one of the best in the NL.
Jerry Crasnick (12:21 PM)
Jason, Like a lot of people, I picked the Reds as my NL darkhorse team this year. They're not good enough to hang with the Cubs unless Harang, Volquez, Cueto and Arroyo pitch out of their minds. But you have to love the direction that organization is headed in.
Chris (Traverse City, Michigan)
Jerry, what have you heard about Dontrelle Willis and what should the Tigers do with him?
Jerry Crasnick (12:23 PM)
Chris, The last I heard, Dontrelle was on the DL with an anxiety related disorder. I think the Tigers would love to just stow him there and try to collect insurance on his contract. The chances of him pitching this season and making any kind of contribution seem increasingly more remote. It's a sad story, since he's so great for the game when he's pitching well.
Is there anyone more valuable to his team than Mauer is to the Twins?
Jerry Crasnick (12:24 PM)
Mo, We'll find out over the next few weeks. In his Rumblings column this week, Jayson Stark made note of how many wins that Mauer brings to the Twins. Other than Albert Pujols in St. Louis, it's hard for me to think of many other guys who are more indispensable to their clubs than Mauer.
Derek Chicago IL
Are Reynolds and Upton of the D-Backs nothing more then platoon players at this time?
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Derek, Justin Upton is a future star, but he's still awfully young and it's going to take some time before he hits his peak. Just be patient. Mark Reynolds has his pluses, but the strikeouts and errors tend to outweigh them at times. I don't know that Reynolds is a platoon player; he strikes out against both lefties and righties, doesn't he?
Brent (Dallas, TX)
Why are the ESPN "experts" so obsessed with the A's & Angels? Heck Tim K. gets asked a question about the NL East and he gets all giggly and talks about the A's. There is another team and I think they are in Texas. Is this another example like last year when I am sure all of yall picked the Rays???? I understand that you have to earn respect but come on. This team is in the same situation as the As but better. Rangers offense is miles ahead of the A's and the Rangers have that young pitching just like the A's. I am confused?????
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
Brent, As I mentioned earlier, I really like what the Rangers are doing. I picked them as my AL darkhorse team this season. That lineup is scary, and it'll be even better if Rudy Jaramillo can turn Andruw Jones back around. That said, the starting pitching is very questionable at the moment. So what else is new in Texas?
I'd say Chipper is more important to his club than Mauer.
Jerry Crasnick (12:29 PM)
Jason, Chipper is a huge cog in that Atlanta offense. But when you consider what Mauer does behind the plate in nurturing that young Twins' staff, I think he's more valuable to his club.
I'm still hearing rumors of a Cubs - Peavy deal. Is that still alive or just a pipe dream?
Jerry Crasnick (12:32 PM)
Jack, When I was in spring training, I heard that the Cubs' pursuit of Peavy hinges on what the new owner, Tom Ricketts, wants to do. So it's sort of in limbo at the moment. I'm sure the Peavy rumors will pick up in June when the trade deadline gets closer.
I don't know if you can answer this, but what happened to Rob Neyer? He no longer appears on the blog list.
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Joe, Rob Neyer has his very own niche on the page carved out to the left of the other bloggers. It's called "SweetSpot." Congrats on that, Rob.
Corey (Spring Valley, IL)
Hey Jerry, As a rather optimistic Cardinals fan, I really like the lineup Tony has to put on the field this year. I am also feeling particularly good after seeing what Carp did yesterday on the mound. Care to comment on how far you think the redbirds can go this year, and if you think Carpenter can stay healthy and put up ace-like numbers for the Cards?
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Corey, Chris Carpenter is an amazing guy, and he's proven in the past that he has the work ethic and the fortitude to come back from injuries. If he's close to what he was, he obviously makes a huge difference for that team. With a healthy, productive Carpenter, the Cardinals are a threat to win the Central, and at the very least, a wild card contender. But it's hard for me to say that he's all the way back based on one great start.
Darryl Kile was with the Cards when he passed away in the Chicago Hotel room, i believe it was Joe Girardi who came out and told either the team or the crowd what happened.
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Joe, You're right. Sorry I misstated that earlier. Thanks for the correction.
Chris (Kalamazoo, MI)
What happened with the Tigers? How did they come from World Series contenders to the mess they are now in a matter of months?
Jerry Crasnick (12:38 PM)
Chris, A lot of bad bets on fading veterans and pitchers who couldn't live up to their contracts. Dontrelle Willis, Gary Sheffield, Nate Robertson and Edgar Renteria, to name a few. The Tigers seemed to get old and adopt a "win now" mentality just as baseball embraced younger lineups and an emphasis on fresh legs. Oh well. At least Miguel Cabrera appears to be giving them their money's worth.
Alex (Knoxville, TN)
I know it?s early, but the Red Sox lineup looks to me like it needs a middle of the order bat. They have the ammunition to get just about anyone, who do you think will be available that fits the bill?
Jerry Crasnick (12:40 PM)
Alex, We'll see. There's a decent chance Matt Holliday will be out there in July. But I really can't see Theo Epstein giving up 2 or 3 great prospects for a rental. The Red Sox just don't do it that way anymore. Maybe they'll call up Lars Anderson from the minors at some point if they need a pick me up.
Jerry, what do you honestly think will happen with Sheffield and the mets this year? Will he be a productive and happy part-timer? If so, it really deepens the Mets bench, which was pretty weak last year.
Jerry Crasnick (12:42 PM)
James, You never know with Sheffield. I think he's a pretty decent guy in the clubhouse, contrary to the popular perception. A lot depends on how Murphy and Church are hitting, and whether the Mets are winning. If things don't work out with Sheffield, the Mets don't have any money invested, so there's really no risk.
With all the extra outfielders will the Nat's make a trade and get any value back. Also please tell me they are going to draft Strasburg and pay him whatever Boras wants.
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Jeff, I'm not sure how much value Milledge, Kearns, Nick Johnson and those other guys really have as trade chips. As for Strasburg, they're going to have an awfully hard time selling it to the fans if they refuse to draft him because of money.
Can Gallardo be the Ace of the Brewer's staff this year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Josh, He better be, if they have any plans on sticking around in the NL Central. If he's healthy, I don't see why he can't be a front of the rotation guy.
Jake (San Diego)
Any idea who Adenhart's better friends were on the Angels?
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Jake, I don't know for sure, but I spoke with Brandon Wood yesterday, and they were extremely tight. And Adenhart was an usher in Salt Lake outfielder Brad Coon's wedding during the offseason. Let's put it this way: He had no shortage of friends in the clubhouse.
Great to have you back jerry! What do you think happens with Jeter as it's becoming obvious to everyone now he just can't be at SS very much longer and they're logjammed everywhere else...
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Jimbo, That's a heck of a good question. For all the praise that Jeter receives as a "team guy," he seems awfully sensitive about moving off shortstop. I suspect this will come to a head when his contract runs out in 2010. If they're going to bring him back, it can't possibly be to play shortstop at age 37.
Bob J. (Anaheim, CA)
Jerry as a fan of the Halos, I just wanted to say your article on Nick was wonderful.
Jerry Crasnick (12:49 PM)
Thanks, Bob. The more I dug into his past, the more respect I had for the kid. He was a very good student, very respectful and classy. It just rips your heart out.
Im really pumped about the O's offense this year.. Cant wait to see weieters. My question is if O's had pitching would you put them in contention?
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Joe, It depends on what kind of pitching. Right now they have one starter, Jeremy Guthrie, who might give an opposing team pause entering a series. The good news is, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and Jake Arrieta are on the horizon, so help is on the way.
Steve (SF, CA)
What do you think the Giants' chances are this season. Obviously they have the pitching, and their bats looked good in the opening series against the Brewers. They won't hit a ton of homeruns, but will be improved from last season. Do you think they could make the playoffs?
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Steve, I think the Dodgers and Diamondbacks would have to fall on their faces for San Francisco to have a chance. The Giants have some reasons for optimism with that starting rotation. Aaron Rowand and Bengie Molina are pros, but there's a lot of pressure on them in the middle of that lineup. And we'll see what happens to Pablo Sandoval once teams stop throwing him any strikes.
Greg (St. Charles)
How underrated is Josh Johnson? I see him as a CY Young candidate this year.
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Greg, A lot of scouts were gushing over Josh Johnson in spring training this year, but they were also very high on Ricky Nolasco and Chris Volstad. That's a heck of an exciting top 3 for the Fish.
I was glad to see an articel on Adam Jones Center fielder for the Orioles.. Where would you rank the Orioles outfield among the rest of MLB'S Outfields?
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Joe, I'm not sure where they'd rank, off the top of my head. But I'll tell you this: Adam Jones is going to be terrific. Dave Trembley told me on Opening Day to watch out for the kid this year -- that he's become much more patient at the plate. Then Jones went 3 for 3 with two walks against the Yankees. He has the entire package. Personally, I'd love to see an outfield of Markakis, Jones and Felix Pie. Talk about athletic.
How patient do you see Yankees fans being with Texiera? Shouldn't he hold a press conference or something to tell them he's only quite good up to the all-star break, then explodes?
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
Mark, Shouldn't Yankees fans be knowledgable enough to realize that the guy is a slow starter? It's only been written about a thousand times.
Alex (Knoxville, TN)
How about the Rangers, any chance they find enough pitching to go along with that great lineup to make a playoff push? Teagarden for Bucholz sounding better?
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
Alex, As I mentioned earlier, I think the Rangers will look internally for pitching help this season. As for Teagarden for Buchholz, don't count on it. That ship has sailed, as they say.
Steve (Fresno, CA)
Jerry, Matt Kemp has looked pretty good so far this year. Is he finally ready to "break-out"?
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
Steve, I wouldn't be surprised. Kemp was a basketball guy, and I don't think he had quite the grounding in baseball that some players do. We heard a lot last year about Manny Ramirez taking Kemp under his wing and teaching him about hitting. It'll be interesting to see if Manny can rub off on Kemp in a positive way this season.
Is Cole Hamels' start tonight, and the reading on the radar gun, the most important moment for the Philies chances perhaps this entire first half?
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
David, There were concerns about Hamels' velocity in spring training, and he threw a lot of innings last year, but I wouldn't go into panic mode if he fails to be lights out in his debut. It's a long year, and the Phillies have to monitor Hamels closely so they can get the 200 innings they'll need from him this season.
Ben (Tempe, AZ)
Rowand bats 7th. Hardly middle of the lineup.
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Ben, He hit 3rd, 4th and 5th for a total of more than 500 at bats last season, so I'd be pretty surprised if he doesn't spend some time in the run producing spots again this year. Wouldn't you?
Joe Torre (LA)
I hope we don't end up with Matty being Manny outside of hitting.
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Joe, "Matty being Manny" -- I hope for Kemp's sake that doesn't become his personal signature line.
Jerry Crasnick (1:07 PM)
Thanks for the emails, everybody. It was fun. Looking forward to the baseball this weekend. And make sure to root for my alma mater, the Boston University Terriers, in the NCAA puck finals in Washington.
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