Chat with Jerry Crasnick
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at noon ET!
Jerry Crasnick (12:00 PM)
Hey folks, I have a new chat time on Wednesdays now to coincide with my "Starting 9" column. This week's piece is on MLB teams with revolving-door positions that they have a hard time filling. Let's start the chat.
gonna make it out to target field this year? its a thing of beauty......
Jerry Crasnick (12:02 PM)
Kozz, My man Jim Caple, who covered the Twins for many years, was at Target Field for the opener. I was part of a media tour of the place during the postseason last year courtesy of Jerry Bell and Dave St. Peter of the Twins. It was very impressive. Lots of glass and limestone (right?) rather than the traditional brick look. A very cool park.
Jerry, Hoffman blew back to back saves over the weekend. Cause for concern?
Jerry Crasnick (12:04 PM)
J., Trevor Hoffman turns 43 in October, so there has to be a little concern. But he only pitched 4 innings in spring training, so it's conceivable he still has some kinks to work out. I think he'll be OK. But at this stage of his career, Ken Macha really has to take care of him and make sure he conserves all his bullets.
Who would have thought that the Tigers batters would step up and the Tigers starters would be struggling so badly.
Jerry Crasnick (12:06 PM)
Ron, Despite the Tigers' strong early run, they have some concerns. No. 1, they've been beating up on the Royals and Indians. No. 2, the starters aren't giving them any innings. At this rate, Ryan Perry, Fu Te Ni & Co. might not make it until August. On a positive note, Magglio Ordonez really looks good. And Austin Jackson is hanging in there so far.
WILL JUAN CASTRO CUT THE MUSTARD FOR PHILS WHILE J-ROLL ON DL, IM SICK ABOUT THIS
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Derek, Relax. The last time Rollins went on the DL for an extended period, the Phillies went 16-12 with Eric Bruntlett at shortstop. As long as Castro can catch the ball -- which is his strength -- Charlie Manuel's lineup can absorb the loss of Rollins. They need to shut him down and take care of this injury so it doesn't linger.
Yamen (West Lafayette, IN)
Manager in the hotter seat :Trey Hillman or Dave Trembley?
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Yamen, Dave Trembley. And it's unfortunate, because I really like the guy and that bullpen is killing that team. But my sense is that it was touch-and-go before the Orioles picked up Trembley's option this season, and Andy MacPhail wouldn't mind bringing in his "guy." Royals GM Dayton Moore is under contract through 2014, and he already has his guy -- Trey Hillman.
Josh S. (Philadelphia)
Are u worried about cole hamels after 2 shaky starts, let alone against the nationals?
Jerry Crasnick (12:11 PM)
Josh, I wouldn't be concerned. His velocity is holding up OK, and he has 11 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings. Two starts in April is a pretty small sample size.
Jennifer (Covington, KY)
Is Mike Leake the real deal?
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Jennifer, Everybody said that Leake was very advanced coming out of college. I'm still not a big advocate of starting a kid in the big leagues without any minor league seasoning. What happens if he gets cuffed around 3-4 times, which is inevitable? It's awfully tough working out your problems in the major leagues.
My friends and I were discussing "baseball towns" today. What do you think of San Francisco as a "baseball town" compared to St Louis, Boston, Etc? Thanks!
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
Bill, Giants fans sure are passionate when someone takes a swipe at Barry Bonds, or Pablo Sandoval fails to make the All-Star team, or the Dodgers come to the Bay Area. San Francisco seems like a fine baseball town to me.
Was impressed with Jaimie Garcia last week, do you think he can give the cards 25-30 starts?
Jerry Crasnick (12:15 PM)
Taylor, When I passed through Jupiter for spring training, everybody was raving about Jaime Garcia. He was Baseball America's No. 2 prospect in the Cardinals system, so I think he'll be fine in the No. 5 spot. With Wainwright, Carpenter (if he gets things together), Lohse and Penny in front of him, he's got a comfortable little niche thee.
What are your throughts on the recent comments from Orlando Hudson? Sounds to me like a guy who is bitter because each of the last 2 winters he has not been able to land a multi-year contract, no?
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
Jason, It's a sensitive topic, obviously. But I just don't see the racism angle here. Orlando Hudson has had a hard time the last couple of years because he wanted a big multi year deal and teams just don't give them out to second basemen very often. And Jermaine Dye could have had the same $3 million deal that Xavier Nady signed with Chicago. I think it's more about a player's expectations than a racial issue.
Ray A. (San Francisco, CA)
Do you think Giants reliever Sergio Romo could be a future closer? I don't know how much you have seen of him, but his stuff is really really good right now.
Jerry Crasnick (12:19 PM)
Ray, Sergio Romo has a great strikeout to walk ratio, and (I looked this up), lefties have hit .147 against him in the big leagues. If he stays healthy, he could grow into a closer's job eventually. It might not be in San Francisco, but if he keeps pitching the way he's pitching, he'll be awfully valuable in the seventh and eighth innings.
Jurrjens!? One more start like the last until we start hearing about his shoulder again?
Jerry Crasnick (12:21 PM)
Andrew, I talked to a scout who said Jair Jurrjens didn't look like himself in his first start, either. The Braves can say what they want. But given that scare early in spring training, you have to wonder if he's healthy. It's reflected in his lack of command as much as his velocity.
JERRY, W/J-ROLL ON DL. ARE PHILS BETTER OFF MOVING POLANCO W/300 GAMES PLUS PLAYING SS IN MLB, AND DOBBS AT THIRD,IT ALSO KEEPS DOBBS SHARP FOR SEASON
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Derek, As to this question, no way. Polanco hasn't sniffed the shortstop position in nine years. That would be a total knee-jerk, panic move.
James Ermilio (Boston)
Hi Mr. Crasnick, love your stuff.On the ESPN BBTN video from which this chat was linked, Bobby Valentine called Lance Berkman "the greatest switch-hitter to ever play the game statistically". Is this as inaccurate as it sounds? I feel like he's ignoring Mickey Mantle, Eddy Murray, Chipper Jones, and so many others. Am I wrong here?
Jerry Crasnick (12:24 PM)
James, I saw that clip, and I don't think Bobby V. was quite that emphatic: He just threw it out there. That said, Berkman ranks 16th all-time in Major League Baseball with a .967 OPS. That's better than Willie Mays, A-Rod and a bunch of other guys. I wouldn't put him ahead of Mickey Mantle (and probably Eddie Murray, because of his longevity). But Berkman and Chipper aren't far behind those guys.
What can the Mets do to improve their pitching? They have nothing in their farm systems, and Minaya seems like he won't budge on the idea of a trade or a signing. I can't bear to see Johan and Maine to go back to back combined 13 runs again
Jerry Crasnick (12:26 PM)
Marc, When you're worried about Johan and you don't even mention Oliver Perez, things really must be grim. I'm not sure what more can be said about the Mets' pitching at this point. I think Pelfrey is ready to take a step forward this year, but John Maine really doesn't look right to me. He used to throw hard, and he's lucky if he hits 90 now. That was ugly last night at Coors.
guinness (NY, NY)
Is there any way to fix the Mets this season?!? Other than the bullpen, they've looked awful!
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Guinness, That's the other thing. When Jerry Manuel comes out and says they looked "unprepared," it sounds as if he has a death wish. I saw Reyes bobble a ball last night and a catchable fly ball land between Pagan and Bay. That team seems distracted or something.
Jerry, love your starting 9 columns, always such interesting topics. The Yankees left field situation over the past few years has been a kind of revolving door: damon attempting to play there, nady getting injured and call ups filing in and gardner there now. I was just wondering with Crawford hitting the market this offseason, how interested would the Yankees be in getting him to solve their LF issues? If not him, anyone else you could see playing there on an every day basis for a few years?
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Erick, Yes, I have to think the Yankees are one of many teams that are very, very interested in Carl Crawford. Crawford is almost a freak of nature as a fast, base-stealing, disruptive, triples-producing machine in LF. Teams are going to be lining up for him when he hits the open market. And I'm sure the Yanks will be right in the mix.
Jerry can you give me your true feelings on Cantu? He has had his injury concerns, but when healthy the guy can absolutely rake! Is he the guy the fish want behind hanley, or his is just a stopgap for someone younger?
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Mendel, The Marlins have Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton as long-term middle of the order options. Right now Cantu seems like a perfect fit for that lineup. The guy is reasonably priced for the production he gives you, and he always could hit.
Jason (St Louis)
Why can't Texeira hit in the spring? He is killing me in fantasy right now. It makes no sense to me.
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Jason, Just an observation, but I asked Teixeira about this once, and he talked about how it's tough to maintain two swings as a switch=hitter. I think it just takes him a while to get his stroke working from both sides of the plate. But his track record says he will. And then watch out.
MR (St. Paul)
About your Starting 9 today, how about third base for the Twins? Since Corey Koskie left, everyone from Nick Punto to Mike Lamb to Tony Batista has played it.
Jerry Crasnick (12:34 PM)
MR, I mentioned the Twins third base situation in passing in the lead. You may recall that they also took a flyer on Joe Crede. The thing is, they haven't spent a whole lot of money on the position. Not like the Red Sox spending big on Renteria and Lugo.
Mike (San Diego)
Jerry, has anything happened in the first week that makes you rethink some of your pre-season predictions? So far it seems like the teams that were supposed to be good are good and the teams that were supposed to stink stink.
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Mike, I probably whiffed picking the White Sox over the Twins in the AL Central. Chicago is going to have trouble scoring runs, and Minnesota could be really good. I think I overestimated the impact of Joe Nathan's loss and the move from the Metrodome to Target Field. The Twins were 141 games over .500 at their old park from 2000 thru 2009. I still don't think they'll have the same home field advantage at Target Field.
I was thinking #10 could have been Giants RFs. Since 2000 they've had Ellis Burks, Armando Rios, Reggie Sanders, Jose Cruz Jr., Michael Tucker and Randy Winn. Not to mention this year they are rotating between John Bowker, Nate Schierholtz and Andres Torres.
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Adam, That's another good one. Thanks for sending it along.
What's your impression of Roy Halladay with the Phils so far this season? I feel he's done well overall, but can't match up with the likes of Tim Lincecum, and (hopefully) Ubaldo Jiminez.
Jerry Crasnick (12:37 PM)
Zach, I have nothing but good things to say about Tim Lincecum and Ubaldo Jimenez. But you need to watch some baseball east of the Mississippi River, my friend.
Alan ((Champaign, IL))
Carpenter has given up 5 hrs in 2 starts, vs. 7 all of last year. Is this a fluke, or should the Cards start dusting off his spot in the trainer's room?
Jerry Crasnick (12:39 PM)
Alan, I saw Tony LaRussa brush off the question during the Sunday night game. But given Carpenter's history, there has to be at least some mild concern. He wasn't very good in spring training, either. Carpenter just doesn't get hit like that when he's right. Is he 100 percent now? I have no idea. But a couple more clunkers, and a lot of people will be asking that question.
Jerry, what's going on with Nate Mclouth? Is he still playing hurt? I'm kind of surprised to see him batting 8th. Bobby has had Melky hitting lead off and he has looked terrible in that role. They both seem to be batting out of postion and maybe that's one the problems. What have you heard?
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Ryan, McLouth started 1 for 38 in spring training, then dug himself out near the end, but he's been battling some hamstring problems. I think Bobby Cox just wants to let him work out his issues without the pressure of being at the top of the order. If he gets rolling, the Braves can always move him up.
Another position that a team has had some trouble filling is catcher for the Rangers? Since Pudge left the first time they have been searching for someone and still are.
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Andy, Good point, but it's amazing to hear. Wasn't it a couple of years ago that the Rangers were considered stacked in catching with Saltalamacchia, Laird, and Teagarden and Max Ramirez in the minors? I guess they embody the phrase, "You can never have enough catching."
Jason (St Louis)
Do you think given another season or two, Jorge De La Rosa will be a better pitcher than Ubaldo Jimenez? Both are excellent I know so I was just wondering your opinion? The Rockies have come a long way from Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle regardless.
Jerry Crasnick (12:45 PM)
Jason, De La Rosa is emerging in his late 20s as a force, but Jimenez is the guy in Colorado. And he's only 26, I believe. Stuff-wise, those two guys could be very formidable in October, when the bat speed is slower. I liked that Colorado team in spring training, and I still like them to make a deep run.
How did you miss the Cardinals' 2nd base problems in your starting 9 column? Skip Schumaker is the first repeater at the position this century. Its a running joke here in St. Louis.
Jerry Crasnick (12:47 PM)
Steve, After someone sent me a note on that, I looked it up, and the Cardinals have had Vina, Bo Hart, Tony Womack, Grudzielanek, Aaron Miles, Adam Kennedy and Schumaker at second base. I didn't realize they'd had so much turnover. Thanks for pointing it out.
Paul (Albany, OR)
I sure was hoping a year in the Big Leagues and an offseason to review year one would significantly help out Clayton Kershaw, but I have some concerns. He wastes way too many pitches which in turn kills the bullpen. He had a seven run lead but could not get out of the sixth inning. You have to throw strikes to stay in the game. Allowing minimal hits is great, but stupid if you are walking so many. Is this too critical a thought pattern toward a young player? Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Paul, I just answered a comment from a reader asking about Jorge De La Rosa, a "stuff" lefty who's blossomed in his late 20s. Clayton Kershaw just turned 22 and he's four years out of high school, and he's supposed to be the lead dog for one of MLB's marquee franchises. I think that's an awful lot to hang on a kid. Give him time. If he stays healthy, he'll develop that consistency and be fine.
Eric (Hoboken, NJ)
PEOPLE WHO WRITE IN ALL CAPS DON'T DESERVE TO HAVE THEIR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Eric, Thanks for the style pointer. Keep that in mind, ESPN.com readers. AND HOW ARE THINGS IN HOBOKEN, ERIC?
Thoughts on Ricky Romero? That was a nice start last night, and if it wasn't for AJ's theatrics to generate an HBP, he might not have thrown that meatball from the stretch to blow up his no-hit bid.
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Sean, Ricky Romero -- all I can say is "wow." I know a lot of people have pointed this out, but do you remember all the grief the Jays got for drafting him ahead of Troy Tulowitzki? As for A.J.'s HBP, that was some quick thinking on his part. Was he even limping on the correct foot?
Brian (Rochester, NY)
Your thoughts on the Jays this year? Better than the 75 wins last year? Pitching (except for Frasor) seems pretty solid so far and the offence hasn't been bad either!
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Brian, The Jays do have some good young arms, and Vernon Wells' hot start is nice to see. But I'm stating the obvious when I say that fourth place is their ceiling. I imagine they have to be encouraged by the early performance (or lack thereof) by Baltimore's bullpen.
Jason (St Louis)
Colby Rasmus is looking real good this year. Is it too much to hope for a 25hr 90 rbi season in his second full year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:55 PM)
Jason, I'm not sure about the power numbers for Rasmus. But when I was in southeast Fla. in spring training, a couple of scouts told me (unsolicited) that he was primed for a breakout season. Should be fun to watch.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
Fading veteran players coupled with a lack of farm system talent makes things look bleak in Houston. Anything to be optimistic about for the Astros?
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
SprungOnSports, A rotation of Oswalt, Wandy, Brett Myers and young Bud Morris should be better than what they've run out there in recent years. They're playing without Lance Berkman, who's huge in the middle of that lineup. They faced a lot of great pitching early. And did I mention that they have a history as a great second half team? That's four reasons to get off the ledge.
You forgot Polanco, Paquette, Hector Luna, Ronnie Belliard and Grudz and the failed experiment of Junior Spivey. Each of them was "the guy" at second for a while.
Jerry Crasnick (12:58 PM)
Steve, Yikes. Cardinals second sackers are coming out of the woodwork. (Although I think I did mention Grudz).
Carlton (Reno, NV)
How do you think the Giants will finish out the season?
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
Carlton, I think their age, lack of defensive range and terrible OBP lineup will catch up to them eventually. But the pitching gives them a chance to finish second in the West behind the Rox. I'm not very excited about the Dodgers at this point, either.
Jason (St Louis)
When your starting shortstop is Yuniesky Betancourt, does it matter what your bullpen looks like? Clearly there are bigger problems in KC.
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
Jason, Poor Dayton Moore is never going to catch a break for that Yuniesky Betancourt acquisition, is he?
Steve (Blacksburg, VA)
Do you think Vlad can stay healthy and be an anchor in the Texas lineup all season?
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Steve, He looks revitalized so far. Playing in that lineup, in that ballpark, can only help him. He wouldn't be the first hitter to catch a second wind in Texas.
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Thanks for the responses, everybody. Let's do it again next week.
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