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 12:15 p.m. ET!
Jerry Crasnick (12:18 PM)
Hi guys, Sorry the chat started late today. It's going to be a quick one. Let's get started.
Scott (Sioux Falls, SD)
Question on the Giants' lineup (or lack thereof)... Any chance they sign or trade anybody? Also, Aubrey Huff said he'd play right field if the Giants wanted to bring Posey up to play 1st. I like that move. What do you think? Any chance?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Scott, It was nice of Aubrey Huff to volunteer to play right field, but he hasn't played the position regularly since 2005 -- and he wasn't particularly good then. I think you'll see Posey up sometime in June, but it would be nice if Bruce Bochy could commit to playing him five or six times a week. Bochy definitely likes his veterans.
Cueto has been great-o! If he keeps this up, His WHIP and ERA will have gone down for the third consecutive year. And he seems to fare well against left-handed hitters. What are the baseball people saying? Could this be a breakout year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:21 PM)
Jem, I remember that Jorge Arangure of ESPN wrote a feature about Cueto in the spring, and the feeling was that he might be ready to take a big step forward this year. The same goes for Homer Bailey. The Reds think some of his early problems came because he was inadvertently tipping his pitches. At any rate, the Reds' pitching has been great lately, and that bodes well for them hanging around in the NL Central.
Tim (York, PA) [via mobile]
Good afternoon. What are your thoughts on Dave Trembley? It seems like most Os fans are just waiting for him to be fired, but he has been playing with one of the worst possible hands since he took the job. Woud he be a good manager for a good team and will somebody else give him a shot if he is fired?
Jerry Crasnick (12:23 PM)
Tim, I like Dave Trembley. Unfortunately, I think he suffers from the same "he never played in the majors" syndrome that has made life difficult for Trey Hillman, Fredi Gonzalez and some other guys. Does Dave make some curious decisions at times? Sure. But it's not his fault that Mike Gonzalez was a disaster early and Brian Roberts got hurt.
Did you see the play Elvis made on Torii Hunter Tuesday night? Incredible! That defense, plus 50 steals, plus a 400 obp. What would he be worth on the free agent market? In trade?
Jerry Crasnick (12:24 PM)
S, It's pretty much a rhetorical question, because he's not going anywhere. Elvis is a Rajon Rondo type on the ballfield -- he makes the guys around him better.
Jerry, teams always seem to be looking for more pitching, so what is zach duke's trade value right now and do you think the pirates will trade him this year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:25 PM)
Matt, At some point, the revolving door has to stop turning in Pittsburgh. Zach Duke is probably a No. 3 or 4 starter, but I think he's going to be a good, reliable pitcher longterm, and it would be nice to see the Pirates lock him up. I'm not sure if the package they can get back in return for him is equal to his value for that club. (At least, when he's pitching well).
Sanford, Cedar Rapids, IA [via mobile]
Jerry, with the Cubs recent wins at the end of games, is it a sign that pitching is improving and the hitters are coming into their own? Or is it just the Cardiac Cubs being themselves again?
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Sanford, Until Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez start producing more consistently in the middle of the order, that team is just going to muddle along. But I have to think Rudy Jaramillo is working on the problem day and night. Unfortunately, once they start clicking, some of their other hitters will go in the tank. I don't see the Cubs finishing any higher than third in the Central.
Jayson Werth....any chance of the phillies keeping him next year? and how? is there any way he takes a long term contract that is loaded on the back-end? (enabling them to eventually rid of ibanez contract and put that money towards werth)?
Jerry Crasnick (12:29 PM)
Tom, They'd like to keep him, and he'd love to stay. But they have a ton of money locked up in Howard, Utley, Halladay & Co., and they're going to have to worry about Jimmy Rollins pretty soon. With Domonic Brown on the horizon, that lessens the urgency to keep him. But since Brown is left-handed, losing Werth would create a huge RH power void in the order. We'll see how creative GM Ruben Amaro Jr. can get.
Johnny Hazeltine (Las Vegas)
Is the NL East race about to come to an abrupt ending, or can the Braves (who have survived a 9-game losing streak) make some noise?
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Johnny, The Phillies' bullpen issues should give other teams some hope to hang around for a while. But the Braves are definitely a puzzle. Chipper, obviously, is a huge key for that team. If his career is winding down, that's a mega-blow to them. If he can return to 75-80 percent of what he was two years ago, they've got enough pitching to stick around.
Pat [via mobile]
Both Kelly Johnson and Alex Gonzalez strike me as middle infielders with fluky starts. Any chance either of them keep up their early performances? 30 HRs from either?
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Pat, No way I see 30 bombs for those guys. But Alex Gonzalez did hit 18 and 23 in back to back seasons with Florida 6 or 7 years ago, so this little power surge isn't exactly a bolt from the blue. Remember a couple of years ago when JJ Hardy hit a ton of HRs early, then went homer-less for like two months? If either one of these guys tops 20, that's a pretty good year.
Mike (Long Island)
Hypothetical: Lowell gets released by the Sox, could the Yanks pick him up to add to the DH/ Bench mix, especially since Johnson has already gone under the knife? One of the most underrated parts of those late 90's championship teams were their deep benches, sporting the likes of Raines, Strawberry, and Davis.
Jerry Crasnick (12:34 PM)
Mike, I was just thinking about the Yankees' bench last night when I saw Joe Girardi run out Juan Miranda, Ramiro Pena and those guys. The Yankees could use a veteran bat, and Lowell is a great team player. If the Sox ever dumped him, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Yankees sniff around on him.
Alex (Eau Claire, WI)
How about some love for Casey McGehee? I think without the question he is the MVP for the Brewers so far and maybe ony behind Ethier in the National League.
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Alex, He's been tremendous, no doubt. Ryan Braun is the key cog in that lineup, but McGehee is starting to prove that big rookie season wasn't a fluke.
Rick (South Orange)
If you had one game to win and could choose any pitcher in the MLB to start for you, who would you take?
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Rick, Great question. After seeing Roy Halladay's intensity and between starts preparation, I think I'd have to go with him. It doesn't matter whether it's spring training or a pennant race -- that guy is going to leave everything he has out on the mound.
David Wright is a basket case. What is going on?
Jerry Crasnick (12:38 PM)
Nick, I'm not around that team enough to know. But one of the NY writers told me that Wright isn't nearly as gregarious and outgoing in the clubhouse as he used to be. He carried a huge burden trying to be the leader of that team -- and the resident standup guy -- in the toughest baseball market of all. Losing, especially losing in New York, can progressively wear you down if you're not careful.
Matt (New Jersey)
Jerry, random, but remember Mark Mulder? Talk about obscurity. Hey, at least Zito and Hudson are still trotting out there every 5th day, pitching well.
Jerry Crasnick (12:39 PM)
Matt, Mark Mulder tried to make a comeback, but those shoulder injuries are tough to recover from. Just ask Jason Schmidt.
Kristin (San Diego)
Do you have an idea when Carlos Santana will be called up?
Jerry Crasnick (12:40 PM)
Kristin, The conventional wisdom is that most of the young minor league hotshots will be called up in early June, because that postpones their first salary arbitration hearing by a year. I think Carlos Santana falls in that category. The Indians aren't going anywhere, anyway, so they can afford to wait.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
Any concerns with Halladay throwing a CG just about every other start?
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Cosmo, I don't have a problem with complete games, but 132 pitches is a pretty full day's work. Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee might want to keep a close eye on him the next time out.
Dan (Washington, DC)
Is it not Longoria and Zimmerman and then everyone else at 3B?
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Dan, They're right up there, but Alex Rodriguez is closing in on 600 career home runs, David Wright has a nice resume, and Mark Reynolds had a huge year in 2009 before coming back to earth a little bit this year. I'll take Longoria as my No. 1 guy, but it's not exactly man against boys.
Where did brennan bosch come from? This kid can hit
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Matt, He's a former third round pick from the University of California. He has a lot of power, but he also has some holes, and I would expect American League pitchers to try to exploit them very soon. He was rated the No. 25 prospect in Detroit's system by Baseball America, so he's definitely surprised some people.
Robert (Madison, WI)
Will the Andruw Jones signing prove to be one of the bargains of the offseason? So far he looks good -- quite a change from the player he was with the Dodgers 2 years ago.
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Robert, For $500,000, he's definitely been a good sign for the White Sox. He showed up in better shape this spring, and it helped him get off to a strong start. But he's tailed off a bit lately. Even if he hits .260 with 18-20 HRs, the White Sox got their money's worth.
Kung Fu Panda (San Fran)
If I lost 20 lbs would my production come back?
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Kung Fu, I turned on the game last night and saw you hitting .284, and you're still swinging at everything. When you were hitting .350, you were "portly" and "lovable." Now that you're below .300, I guess people just think you're fat.
I agree the revolving door in Pittsburgh has to stop sometime, but with the drafting of Tony Sanchez, Ryan Doumit's days in Pittsburgh seem numbered. Wouldn't it make sense to move him this year, a few years before free agency, and get a lot more value from him? The Pirates got little for Bay, Wilson, and Sanchez bc they were going to be free agents and the Pirates had no leverage.
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Mike, Doumit is a guy that I can see them moving. He has a decent bat. But he'd be a lot more valuable if he were even an average defensive catcher. A lot of teams think he's a DH, and that doesn't do much for his value.
Kyle (Fort Lauderdale)
Hanley for Mad Bum, B Posey, Z Wheeler and another prospect, who says no?
Jerry Crasnick (12:52 PM)
Kyle, The Giants say no -- they'd be bankrupting their farm system. But I felt compelled to post this question, just because I love the nickname "Mad Bum."
Chris (Erie, PA)
Hey Jerry, I was just wondering if there are any good veteran relievers either available as a free agent or on the trading block for the Cubs to pick up
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Chris, Think about it: The teamss most inclined to trade relievers are already out of contention. Teams like Baltimore, Arizona and Kansas City. One of the reasons they're losing is that they have lousy bullpens. So there's not much to cherrypick there. I'm sure you'll see the usual names like Bobby Jenks, Scott Downs and Jason Frasor as we get closer to the deadline and the White Sox and Blue Jays are out of it.
Jerry.. how important do you think it is for managers in baseball to have played at the professional level? How much does it help?
Jerry Crasnick (12:55 PM)
Daniel, The professional level, or the major league level? Jim Leyland and Tony La Russa weren't much as players, and it certainly hasn't hurt their managerial careers? Personally, I think Hanley Ramirez made himself sound like a nitwit when he hauled out that line in discussing Fredi Gonzalez.
What the heck is going on with the southsiders? We have NO offense. Do you think Kenny will blow this team up and start rebuilding?
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
Chris, They never envisioned getting this little out of Gordon Beckham and Carlos Quentin. But outside of John Danks, the starting pitching hasn't been that great, either. This team was supposed to rely on its starting pitching, and Floyd, Peavy and those guys haven't performed up to expectations.
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
Thanks for the emails, everybody. Sorry it was a short chat this week. Let's do it again next week.