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 everybody, That World Cup game was tremendous. Congrats to the US squad. Let's talk some baseball now. My Starting 9 just went up on the site. It's on "All-Star representatives from losing teams." Let's get rolling.
Rich (Hailey, ID)
Hi Jerry-many thanks for the chat. I have an Albert Pujols question... for years, he has had the best strike zone discipline in the majors. This year is is swinging at over 25% of pitches out of the strike zone. He also seems to be swinging for the fences every time-that gorgeous line drive swing has a clear upper-cut. How come? Does this have anything to do with Holliday or advancing age? The guy has no greater fan than myself, but he doesn't look like the Albert of old. Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (12:02 PM)
Hi Rich, Thanks for the observant post. I checked on FanGraphs, and Albert is swinging at almost 29 percent of pitches outside the strike zone. That's extremely high for him. He's also seeing more junk than ever -- changeups, breaking balls, etc. Even though he's the "Machine," I'm sure it's hard for him to maintain that ultra-disciplined approach every day. But I suspect the numbers will more accurately reflect his career norms as the season progresses.
What do you think the braves will do with Kenshin Kawakami? Trade him, send him down, release him, or send him to the bullpen.
Jerry Crasnick (12:04 PM)
Camilo, Kawakami has about $10 million still owed him for the rest of this season and 2011, so that pretty much rules out releasing him. And no one is going to trade for him unless the Braves pick up a significant chunk of change. I think he's the kind of guy who can be reasonably effective as a long reliever-swing man type. Granted, he's a little expensive for that. But I think he goes to the pen as a long man.
Do you buy into Texas being a contender to win the AL or do you believe they aren't as good as the 3 teams in the AL East?
Jerry Crasnick (12:05 PM)
Jason, I like what the Rangers are doing, but I don't think a team with a rotation headed by Colby Lewis and CJ Wilson is quite on a par with the AL East clubs. That said, the lineup sure looks formidable when both Josh Hamilton and Vlad Guerrero are hitting. For me, the Rangers are a year or two away from being an elite club.
Todd (Arlington, VA)
There's a lot of talk in DC about the possibilities of Strasburg and the all star game. Five years ago I would have said no-way, but since the home field advantage is in play I think he should defintely be a strong consderation. Looking at this first three starts, he's definitely one of the top 5-10 pitchers in the National League. If I were Charles Manual I would likely pick him if he continues to pitch like he has so far...Your thoughts? Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Todd, This is a great question, and there's a lot of talk going around about it. I respect the opinions of people who want to see Strasburg in the All-Star Games, but after three starts? If he goes, that means Mat Latos, Jaime Garcia or some other young pitcher who's been doing it all year stays home. It just seems very inequitable to me.
Russ (Santa Maria, CA)
Enjoyed your Starting 9 article, Jerry and I agree: I also like seeing all teams represented! Of the teams you've listed, which do you see being closest to contending in the near--or not so near--future?
Jerry Crasnick (12:08 PM)
Russ, Of all the clubs mentioned, Washington has probably made the greatest strides in the past year.
Hey, do you see the Cardinals making a trade before the deadline?
Jerry Crasnick (12:09 PM)
Jacob, I can see John Mozeliak going out and trying to add a bullpen piece. But with the money they have tied up in Matt Holliday and the dough they're going to shell out on Albert Pujols, it's hard to see the Redbirds making a big-ticket deadline acquisition.
Assuming Beltran comes back the first day after the break and can play CF at a "Cit Field" level, how would you handle the playing time of Francouer and Pagan in RF? 50-50 split?
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Jason, I don't think the Mets are sold that Beltran can be a 7- or even a 6-day a week center field option in the second half, so Pagan will rotate among all three outfield positions. Jerry Manuel is going to be thankful for the depth if the Mets are still contending in the second half.
Do you think Fredi Gonzalez is a potential successor to Bobby Cox, or do you see an internal replacement a la Terry Pendleton?
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Darren, First of all, I'd just like to say that I think Fredi Gonzalez got the shaft. He led a team with a $36 million payroll to 85 wins last year, and it's not his fault that Florida's bullpen has a 5-13 record and a 4.67 ERA. As for your Braves question, Fredi will be right near the top of the list of candidates to succeed Bobby Cox. From everything I've seen, he was very highly-thought of during his years in the Braves' organization.
Do you think the Phillies will try to go after Oswalt
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
Mikey, I'm sure the Phils would love to have Oswalt, but they don't have enough money in the budget, and they took a bite out of their prospect stockpile with the Halladay trade. I just don't see it happening.
Jerry, the Mets players have been asking the front office to deal for an ace to get them to that next level. Do you think that Omar Minaya will do so?
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
Ryan, The Mets will obviously look at guys like Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt or Fausto Carmona, but they're not going to do the deal if it means giving up Jennry Mejia or Ike Davis in return. I think they're more inclined to deal for a Jake Westbrook-type who can give them innings and rotation depth, and won't require such a high price in return. That's what my gut tells me.
Troy Glaus comeback player or what? He been the best signing of the offseason by far! Do you see the Braves trying to resign him for 1 or 2 years?
Jerry Crasnick (12:18 PM)
Pappi, Troy Glaus was a terrific pickup for Frank Wren, but I don't think he'll be signing any one-year deals this winter. Two at a minimum, and he'd probably like three. Glaus has really enhanced his appeal by putting up such great numbers in a platform year. There's not much RH power on the market next winter.
Jerry-Do you think the White Sox resurgence is due to their playing weaker NL teams, or can they keep up this pace and make the playoffs?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Matt, We all thought they'd pitch better than they did in April and May. I do think they've loaded up against some weak competition (as the Tigers, Mets and some other clubs did in interleague play). I'm not sold on the Sox' offense yet. But at the very least, they've quieted talk of a big July selloff. And relations between Kenny and Ozzie are no doubt more harmonious these days.
I hate to say this as a Philly Fan, But Martin Prado deserves to start the Allstar game over Chase..... What do you think? There's no way Prado gets left off this team right?
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Alex, Chase Utley has 2.4 million votes -- more than any NL player except Albert Pujols -- so he'll be starting at second base for the NL in Anaheim. Martin Prado deserves to go as a backup. But if Charlie Manuel gets stuck, maybe he'll have to take Kelly Johnson as Arizona's rep at the All-Star Game. It's possible (unfortunately) that Prado might get squeezed.
Jerry B. (Atlanta)
Chipper has shown some improvement over the past 6-7 games getting alot of hits. Think Chipper can bounce back and re-invent himself and hit like in 2008 with less power?
Jerry Crasnick (12:24 PM)
Jerry B., Maybe Chipper took some of the pressure off (and gave himself a little kick in the behind) by speculating that this might be his final season. I don't think he has enough left in the tank to be the 2008 version, but a reasonable facsimile might be enough to get Atlanta to the postseason if McCann heats up and Glaus and Prado continue to produce.
Jerry:There's been a ton written about the Royals being involved in trades this year but to me it seems much a do about nothing since the available talent won't offer much in return. What can they really expect in return for David DeJesus?
Jerry Crasnick (12:25 PM)
Keith, I was told that the offers the Royals have gotten for David DeJesus don't even make it worth their while to trade him. He's a productive player and he's only going to make about $6M next year, so I don't think they feel any compelling urge to run out and deal him.
I know that the majority of relievers that make the all-star team are closers but what about Aurthur Rhodes. With an ERA of 0.28 do you think he deserves some consideration?
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Neal, Arthur Rhodes is definitely deserving. He's been terrific, and he's an uplifting story. But Luke Gregerson, Evan Meek and a bunch of other middle relief-setup types are having wonderful years, too. When you look at the tremendous depth of starting pitching in the NL, I think one of these guys makes the NL squad, at most. And maybe they all stay home.
Jerry, how much self respect does a person have to swallow to take a job as the manager of the Marlins? Jeffrey Loria fired Joe Girardi the same year he was voted Manager of the Year! Loria doesn't put any money into the team, then blames it all on his manager. What a disgrace, and it keeps happening.
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Dave, I'm with you. True, Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller have done very little. But look at young players like Chris Coghlan, Gaby Sanchez and even Cody Ross who've shown tremendous improvement in Florida. I kept hearing that Fredi Gonzalez was in trouble, and I never understood why. Jeffrey Loria seems to be operating under some strange idea that he has a championship-caliber team in Miami. He needs a wakeup call: They're not that good.
Good thing the Orioles fired Trembley, they've really turned it around since then ... oh wait. Jerry, what can the Orioles do to fix this? Anything? Give an Orioles fan some hope!
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Morgan, You can file the Orioles under "hopeless" at the moment, but at least the manager search will be fun to watch. And Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters and some of the young pitchers have a chance to be very good players over the long haul. The cupboard isn't completely bare there.
OK, so a friend and myself were debating: What gives the Twins the best odds of getting out of the first round of the playoffs (and into it, for that matter): an ace pitcher like Lee or a real 3B like Lowell? And what would you put as the odds of either of those happening? Odds of both?
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Henry, I think the one thing the Twins are lacking is a dominant, front of the rotation starter. Cliff Lee is that guy. Traditionally, the Twins have been hesitant to trade prospects for short-term help. But now that they're in a new ballpark and they have such a terrific lineup, maybe Bill Smith will be more aggressive at the deadline. I still think they're more likely to add a power reliever than a starter.
Do the Rays need to make a change in their rotation? Wade Davis has been awful. Do they stay with him, bring up Hellickson, or possibly trade for a starter?
Jerry Crasnick (12:34 PM)
Bob, Last I checked, Jeremy Hellickson was ready for the big time, so I don't see any reason why the Rays would make a deal. If they're going to make a change in the rotation, I think Option A would be to call up Hellickson from Triple-A.
What about fredi gonazalez to toronto to replace cito after this year
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Wayne, Geez, between the Braves speculation and now (thanks to you) Toronto speculation, getting fired might turn out to be the best thing that could ever happen to Fredi Gonzalez. Joe Girardi didn't stay unemployed long after leaving Florida, and Gonzalez shouldn't have trouble finding another managing job. Getting canned by Jeff Loria is considered a badge of honor in the business.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Colby Lewis should be in the All Star Game. Do you agree?
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Blake, I haven't done an exact head-count, but I would have no problem with Colby Lewis making the All-Star team.
Jason (Nashville, TN)
Obviously, Cliff Lee will be selected to the All-Star team. But Jason Vargas definitely deserves to go, as well. Could we possibly see two starters from the worst team in the AL make the squad?
Jerry Crasnick (12:38 PM)
Jason, I think it'll be tough for two Mariners to go. Cliff Lee might suffer from having missed the first month, but a 67-to-4 strikeout to walk ratio is awfully tough to overlook.
What is your take on the all-star game meaning home field? To me, it's crazy. Just give it to the team with the best record. Is that too simple to work?
Jerry Crasnick (12:40 PM)
RJ, My problem with the home field thing is, there are too many elements to selecting the team that scream "exhibition." If you're going to have a representative from all 30 clubs and let the fans pick the "Final Man" in a popularity contest, then try to make sure everybody plays, it doesn't exactly foster a "win at all costs" mentality. MLB is really conflicted on what the All-Star Game means.
Who is likely to have a better second half Justin Upton or Matt Kemp?
Jerry Crasnick (12:40 PM)
Tyler, They're both great players, but Justin Upton really seems ready to take flight, from what I've seen lately.
Dont you mean the Twins need ANOTHER dominant from of the rotation starter? Liriano has been the 2nd best pitcher in the AL.... to Lee of course.
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Neal, David Price, Clay Buchholz, Andy Pettitte and Jon Lester might object to your characterization. You make a good point that Francisco Liriano has been outstanding in April, May and June. But are the Twins ready to go to October with full confidence that he's a shutdown postseason guy? I think it's a little too early to assume that.
Did Jason in Nashville really say that Seattle was the worst team in the AL? We are deeply offended
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Baltimore, Thanks for weighing in. We know how much you treasure that designation, and we wouldn't want to deprive you of your moment in the sun.
Jason (St Louis)
What is up with AJ Burnett? Is he hurt or something? He's never been a low era low whip guy but he's not even getting strikeouts now. At this point he is seriously hurting the Yanks every time he steps on the mound.
Jerry Crasnick (12:45 PM)
Jason, I watched the Yanks-Diamondbacks game the other night, and Chris Singleton and Aaron Boone were saying Burnett looks free and easy, and doesn't appear to be hurt. Maybe this Jorge Posada thing has gotten in his head and become some kind of mental block. But provided he's healthy, his stuff is too good for him to be this bad.
I noticed on SC that they were going to talk about the latest with the Oswalt trade then they took the tab out and didn't talk about it. Is there anything new?
Jerry Crasnick (12:47 PM)
Kyle, Not that I know of. As I mention in my Starting 9 today, Oswalt has about $26M still owed him on his contract. He's pitching great and has a full no-trade clause, and Drayton McLane is going to want the sun, moon and stars for him in return. Personally, I think it's going to be a difficult deal for Ed Wade to pull off.
John (Sleepy Eye, MN)
Since Delmon Young has awaken, do you see a possibility that in lieu of a trade the Twins might put Cuddyer at 3B so then Kubel and Thome could be in the everyday line-up?
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
John, Michael Cuddyer is a real gamer and willing to play anywhere, but I don't think the Twins regard him as an everyday third baseman. They tried that once, and they found he's a better offensive player when he's in right field.
Thoughts on Michael Young breaking the Rangers all time hit record and his chances at making the HOF one day?
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Allyson, Michael Young is 33 years old and has about 1,750 career hits. If you look at bb-reference.com, his closest career comparison is Barry Larkin. Young probably would have been a stronger H of F candidate if he kept putting up those numbers at shortstop: It'll be tougher for him at third base. But I wouldn't rule him out as a candidate if he can keep cranking out 200 hits a season.
How do you snub, the NL's hits/Avg leader, he has the most 3 hit games in majors, Highest Leadoff OBP, And throw in what he has done for the Braves this 1st half, which is what the All star game is about. Fan Voting is bad...
Jerry Crasnick (12:52 PM)
Alex, I think Martin Prado will make it. But you never know how things will shake out with this hodgepodge of fan, player and manager voting. Someone is destined to get snubbed.
Patrick (Washington DC)
Everyone is acting like Lincecum is having a rocky year yet he is 8-2 with a 2.86 ERA. What gives?
Jerry Crasnick (12:52 PM)
Patrick, He's raised the bar awfully high. I guess that's a good thing.
Can't argue with Carmona in your article, but Shin Soo Choo deserves at least an honorable mention, no? He's been fantastic at the top of the order this season!
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
MDJ, Choo is having a very nice, productive year, but the Indians are only going to send one player to Anaheim, and everyone in Cleveland thinks it'll be Carmona. For what it's worth, Austin Kearns has also been a great bargain pickup for the Tribe.
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
I just have time for one more. Thanks again for coming on the chat, everybody.
jonathan (lawrence ks)
Thanks for the chat Jerry. My question is who do you think they Yankees look for at the deadline? I'm dead set that they need another power bat and have a big hole at DH. If Arod/Tex/Jeter/Granderson were playing to their career averages they'd be playing .800 baseball, (obviously having Garnder/Cervelli/and maybe Swisher over producing helps but they need a bat. I know the usual suspects, Konerko, Berkman etc. I want to know a few dark horse candidates that can be a real impact i.e. not Wigginton. Thanks again.
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Jonathan, I know you'd like to see a big splash acquisition, but consider that the Yankees have scored a ton of runs without A-Rod and Teixeira doing a whole lot. Brian Cashman was so firm at holding the line below $200 million that the Yankees signed Randy Winn rather than Johnny Damon, so I'm not so sure they're going to change course, run out and acquire a high profile bat now. A nice, veteran bench piece wouldn't be so bad.
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
Thanks again, everybody. Let's do it again next week.