Chat with Jerry Crasnick
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com baseball writer Jerry Crasnick will drop by to take your questions as spring training is in full swing. He recently wrote about the Brewers' powerful duo of Fielder and Braun.
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 Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Jerry Crasnick (2:01 PM)
Hi everybody, I'm at the Cubs-Diamondbacks game in Mesa today. Looking forward to seeing Starlin Castro play. I'll try to squeeze in as many questions as I can. Let's get started.
Joel Gutzmer (Whitewater, WI)
What kind of vibes are you getting about the Brew Crew this year Jerry?
Jerry Crasnick (2:03 PM)
Joel, It's an interesting camp. They actually have some starting pitching depth now that they've signed Randy Wolf and Doug Davis. You always expect the Brewers to score runs, but we still need to learn the answer to several questions: Can Rickie Weeks stay healthy? How much can they get out of Carlos Gomez in center? And who's going to play third base? It should be an intriguing spring for them.
Chose one of the below:1) Mike Cameron for 2 years at $7.5M per2) Johnny Damon for 1 year at $8M3) Jermaine Dye for 1 year at roughly $3MCan someone please say that Theo made another terrible deal (see: Lugo, Julio; Renteria, Edgar)?
Jerry Crasnick (2:05 PM)
Travis, Mike Cameron still gives you above average defense, and the same can't be said for the other two guys. I think you're also engaging in a little 20/20 hindsight. When the Sox signed Cameron way back in December, who knew that Johnny Damon was still going to be out there begging for a job in February?
Jeff Cook (Pine Island, MN)
What would be potential landing spots for Braun and/or Fielder if they were to leave Wisconsin?
Jerry Crasnick (2:08 PM)
Jeff, Buster Olney recently made an interesting observation on Fielder. With Mark Teixeira a Yankee, Ike Davis in the pipeline for the Mets, Kendry Morales an Angel, etc., a lot of teams that might usually be Prince Fielder shoppers might not be in the market for him. I'm sure Scott Boras will still find plenty of interest for a 27-28 year old 50 home run guy. As for Braun, he's under contract through 2015. He's not going anywhere.
Jerry, is Ervin Santana a #1 starter? He looked like it in 2008, but he struggled in 2009 because of an injury. It sure seems like the Angels see him as a potential ace, but does Jerry Crasnick see him as an ace?
Jerry Crasnick (2:10 PM)
Chet, Good question. He had some elbow problems last year and his velocity was down 2-3 mph. I'm actually working on a story on the Angels' rotation, and they're really trying to get away from that "staff ace" talk now that Lackey is gone. With Weaver, Kazmir, Santana, Pineiro and Saunders, they have one of the most balanced rotations around.
Do you think Halladays spring training debut is a sign of what's to come for the phillies?
Jerry Crasnick (2:11 PM)
Jason, I wouldn't get too overwhelmed by 24 pitches, but there's no reason to think Roy Halladay won't be a prime Cy Young contender this season. Let's face it: He won't be seeing any DHes this year and he's out of the AL East, so that can only benefit his numbers. He's one of the best 5-6 pitchers in baseball when he's healthy.
Mike (San Diego)
Doesn't it seem like the Western division races might be the most interesting this year? In the AL, I think you could make a case for any of the teams finishing in 1st, 2nd 3rd, or 4th and everyone but the Padres should be competitive in the NL.
Jerry Crasnick (2:14 PM)
Mike, The Western Divisions are definitely interesting, but I'm not so sold on the NL yet. The Giants have way too many low-OBP guys to score runs. I don't like much of what the Dodgers did in the offseason, and the Diamondbacks have to be concerned if Brandon Webb doesn't fully bounce back from his shoulder problems. There are a lot of "ifs" in the NL West.
Jeah, Jerry Crasnick, Jeah? Who is the most overrated team going into the year? Thanks!
Jerry Crasnick (2:17 PM)
Jeah, I don't know if "overrated" applies, but it remains to be seen if the Mariners can score enough runs without the addition of a big bopper in the middle of the order. And we'll see if Milton Bradley drags down that clubhouse. Arizona, for me, is a real mystery. They've upgraded the lineup, but Webb is a huge key for them. They could go either way depending on his health.
Daniel (Reno, NV)
Why is media down on the Dodgers this year? I mean they lost Randy Wolf and Orlando Hudson. Is Kuroda, Kershaw, Billingsley, Padilla that bad?
Jerry Crasnick (2:18 PM)
Daniel, It's not that bad. But Kershaw is still very young, Kuroda is unpredictable, we don't know which Billingsley we're going to see, and I would hate to be too reliant on Vicente Padilla. Look at some of the other rotations in the NL, and I just don't know if that rotation stacks up.
john(south carolina) [via mobile]
Once beltran returns to the lineup, if the mets can stay healthy do they have a realistic shot to contend at all? Or should the go about trying to rebuild around santana,wright, and bay?
Jerry Crasnick (2:20 PM)
John, I've been strictly in Arizona, so I'm a little out of touch with the buzz in Port St. Lucie. But where the Mets are concerned, it's going to come down to the starting pitching. Is Santana all the way back, and what are they going to get from Oliver Perez, John Maine and Mike Pelfrey behind him? It's one thing to have questions in the No. 5 spot. When you have questions in the 2-3-4 spots in the rotation, that really makes things difficult to predict.
Who has a better baseball team the Chicago Cubs or The Chicago WhiteSox
Jerry Crasnick (2:22 PM)
Shawn, I have a pretty good feeling about the White Sox this year because of that Peavy-Buehrle-Danks-Floyd-Garcia rotation. They also have a better, deeper bullpen than the Cubs. I wish the Sox had done a little more to upgrade the DH spot, but if I had to pick a Chicago team right now, it would be the Sox.
Are you at all concerned with Madison Bumgarner's drop in velocity and do you think he's good enough right now to be the Giants #5 starter?
Jerry Crasnick (2:23 PM)
Adam, I'm not sure about the velocity drop, but if it were me, I'd stick Todd Wellemeyer in the fifth spot and let Bumgarner get a little more time in the minors. But every time I've been to Scottsdale, I keep hearing Bumgarner as the frontrunner for the No. 5 spot. The kid is still awfully young.
Is 89-92 wins too optimistic for the Twins, or is that reachable?
Jerry Crasnick (2:25 PM)
Ben, I think that's eminently reachable now that they've added Hardy and Hudson as their DP combination. I'm also hearing that Delmon Young has dropped a bunch of weight and seems really committed this season. They need Kevin Slowey to come back strong from his injury, but I'd expect the Twins to be very good again.
Jason (St Louis)
You're kidding, right? Have you seen Todd Wellemeyer pitch? I'd rather run Kip Wells out there.
Jerry Crasnick (2:27 PM)
Jason, Well, he did stink last year, but he was decent enough a couple of years ago. Let's see how he looks before anointing Bumgarner as the No. 5 guy. Just sayin' ...
Steve (Middletown, CT)
Hey Jerry, I'm of the opinion that Chase Utley will continue his current level of performance for another 3 or 4 years and will eventually deserve enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. Assuming he maintains his high level of performance do you think the voters will site his poor finishes in the MVP Award voting as a reason not to vote him in? Do you think it could hurt him that Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard have both earned MVPs thus giving the impression that Utley wasn't even the best player on his own team nevermind one of the best in the league?
Jerry Crasnick (2:29 PM)
Steve, You're overthinking this. Utley is an elite offensive and defensive second baseman, one of the best baserunners in the game and the picture of professionalism. Provided he keeps this up for the next 5-6 years, he'll be an extremely strong candidate for Cooperstown.
Jerry, give me a reason to be optimistic about my Blue Jays this year and down the road...please.
Jerry Crasnick (2:30 PM)
Brad, Alex Anthopoulos has continuously expressed a desire to build through scouting and player development, and the Jays have backed it up by beefing up their scouting department this winter. Plus, they've also developed a pretty good group of young arms. It's always tough to compete in the AL East, but they have a plan and they seem to be doing things the right way.
Jordan (San Jose)
Which side are you on Jerry: Fielder with the walk-off celebration, Zito plunking him with the first pitch, or neither side? what's your philosophy in baseball's unwritten on-the-field ethics code?
Jerry Crasnick (2:32 PM)
Jordan, I like Prince Fielder. He plays every day, plays hard and has nothing to apologize for on that score. That said, his "bowling pin" celebration was over the top, and he had to expect that he might get plunked. The whole thing yesterday was handled the right way: Fielder took his 84 mph fastball in the back, kept his mouth shut and took first base, and Zito earned some points with his teammates. And now it's history.
With Cameron and Billy Hall on board, do you think the Red Sox are moving towards guys that know how to do the little things instead of waiting around for the home run?
Jerry Crasnick (2:35 PM)
Joe, The Red Sox are going more with a pitching-and-defense philosophy, but I'm not sure I would cite Cameron and Bill Hall as the best examples of that mindset. Cameron might hit 25 HRs, but he'll strike out 150 times, and he's not exactly the classic example of a situation hitter. And Bill Hall hasn't done much for a while now. They're both good guys in the clubhouse and very professional, for what that's worth
What are the chances the Braves can put together a playoff run for Bobby's last year?
Jerry Crasnick (2:36 PM)
Clay, If the starting pitching holds up, Troy Glaus' body holds up, Chipper hits more like the Chipper of old and Jason Heyward is everything people are billing him to be, it could be a fun swan song for Bobby Cox.
Paul (Madison, WI)
Jerry, how strong do you feel the Cubs bullpen will be this year?
Jerry Crasnick (2:39 PM)
Paul, The Cubs bullpen looks very questionable to me. Marmol is the team's fourth Opening Day closer in four years, and they're counting on Angel Guzman and John Grabow in front of him. Is that reason to feel confident? Not in my eyes. A lot has to go right for the Chicago bullpen to be good.
Andrei (New York)
Jerry, purely hypothetical question. What rocks baseball more? A Jeter PED story or a Pujols PED story?
Jerry Crasnick (2:41 PM)
Andrei, Wow -- that's some question. Personally, I would say a Jeter PED story. I'm not casting any aspersions on Pujols, but he's at least had to deal with the inevitable whispers. You've never heard a hint of a trace of a whisper on Jeter. I had a GM last year tell me, "If it came out that Jeter was on steriods, that's it. I'd be through with baseball." I think a lot of people feel that way.
Jerry Crasnick (2:41 PM)
Just time for one more -- game starts in 20 minutes.
Being a Brewer fan, I'm going to find it tough seeing Ben Sheets face the Crew today in spring training. What is your forecast for this year for the former ace?
Jerry Crasnick (2:43 PM)
Cody, Even if Ben Sheets comes back strong, I think the A's would be ecstatic if he can provide 170-180 innings. And if it's July and they're out of the race and he has 10 wins and 120 innings in the bank, they'll probably try to trade him anyway -- a la Matt Holliday last season.
Jerry Crasnick (2:44 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everybody. Sorry I couldn't get to more. Let's do it again soon.