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)
Hi folks, In this week's Starting 9, I pay tribute to some players who've been bright spots for bad teams (some of them really, really bad teams). It's posted on the site now. Let's start the chat.
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Hey Jerry, are the Phillies the team to beat in the NL right now? They are playing really well lately
Jerry Crasnick (12:01 PM)
Matthew, Yep, they have to be considered the team to beat because the lineup and the Big Three of Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt. But I'd feel a lot better about them if Jimmy Rollins were healthy. I don't think he's going to be right the rest of the way.
James (toronto) [via mobile]
Kyle drabek starts tonight. You excited?
Jerry Crasnick (12:02 PM)
James, I sure am. It's always fun to see a highly regarded pitcher make his debut. And when he's the son of one of baseball's all-time gamers, that adds to the intrigue. Best of luck to Drabek in his debut.
Do you think the Reds will/should pick up Arroyo's 2011 option?
Jerry Crasnick (12:04 PM)
Jason, I know they don't have a ton of money there, but one year at $11 million seems pretty reasonable for Arroyo. He's about to post his sixth straight 200-inning season. There's a lot of value in that -- especially for a team with a young staff. Look at the numbers, and Arroyo and Barry Zito have had very similar seasons. Arroyo is a lot cheaper, and he's done it in a tougher home park.
If Adam Dunn had just played 1B his whole career, and spent that career in say Philadelphia, would he be considered an elite player? He compares favorably or better to Ryan Howard yet most writers would give Howard MVP love but not Dunn.
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Ryan, I've always found Adam Dunn to be a fascinating case study in perception. The guy is 30 years old, he has 351 career homers and a .381 on base percentage, but I don't think many people view him as a guy on the Hall of Fame track. He has a really good chance to be a 600-homer guy, and he's never had the crutch of being a DH in the American League. I don't know if it's because of the strikeouts, or because he's played primarily for losing teams. But he's a pretty darned good player. who doesn't get the love he deserves.
Stanley (Duluth, MN)
True or False: Jesse Crain is currently the Twins best relief pitcher. I say true.
Jerry Crasnick (12:09 PM)
Stanley, Jesse Crain has been lights out for about four months now. Keep in mind that he's a guy who had some significant shoulder problems in 2007. Sometimes it can take a pitcher a couple of years to come back from shoulder issues. Crain throws in the mid 90s, has four pitches and is good against lefties. He's been terrific.
I'm glad you gave Shin-Soo Choo some love in your Starting 9 this week. The guy is a beast but barely gets his due love.
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Tom, I didn't realize until I started combing through the numbers how brutal that Cleveland team has been offensively. They have all these formerly hyped prospects like Andy Marte and Matt LaPorta who haven't done anything. I'm amazed that teams ever throw Choo a strike.
Clay (Normal, IL)
Jerry, per ESPN's RPI page, the Cardinals' actual W-L record is 6 games worse than their expected W-L record. Is this due to underachieving or just bad luck? Thanks!
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Clay, Those Pythagorean variations can be due to a lot of things, from bad luck to bad managing decisions. The Cards are 18-22 in one-run games. I'm sure that hasn't helped. It appears they've underachieved because any team with Carpenter, Wainwright and Garcia in the rotation should be better. But they have a lot of dead spots in that lineup.
With the O's recent success...does this help them going into the offseason and next season or are they hurting their draft position?
Jerry Crasnick (12:15 PM)
Mike, The baseball draft isn't like the football draft, so that's a non-factor. Sometimes teams can get fooled by late-season surges, but I think the Orioles were much better than they showed in April, May, June and July. To me this late run of success can only be construed as a good thing, because Buck Showalter has restored some order there and they go into 2011 on an optimistic note. What's not to like about that?
Who do you have for NL MVP. Cy Young and ROY?
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
Rick, At this point, probably Votto, Halladay and Heyward. But that NL Rookie race is a total scrum. A lot could change in the next couple of weeks.
John (US of A)
Screw feel good stories. No other team has dealt with the injuries and still been as beastly as the Phillies. How can Uncle Cholly not get manager of the year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
John, I admire what Charlie Manuel has done between all those injuries, but there's no way he's beating out Bud Black for NL Manager of the Year -- unless the Padres completely implode down the stretch.
Should we really be comparing anyone's production/salary ratio to Barry Zito? That's like comparing a director's salary and box office to anything by M. Night Shyamalan.
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Mike, Yeah, I get the point. But at least Zito goes out there every fifth day and keeps the Giants in the game. Would you like more for $18M a year? Sure. But at least he's been able to stay off the DL and keep pitching.
Jerry, what's the national take on Carlos Ruiz? Or at least your view. Philly media talks him up as one of the best all around catchers in the game. What do you think?
Jerry Crasnick (12:21 PM)
JJ, He doesn't hit with a lot of pop, but he does a nice job handling the staff, puts the ball in play and delivers some big hits. I talked to a scout who saw him in the minors and figured he'd be a big league backup at best. Ruiz is one of those guys who grows on you the more you see him.
Don't the Giants have to suck it up while Torres is out and play Ross in center and Guillen in right? Having Rowand out there is like giving up at least 5 outs a night, if you count the pitcher's spot, which has been more productive than Rowand this year.
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Eddie, That's certainly an option. All those people (like me) who made fun of the Giants for hoarding outfielders aren't laughing so much anymore.
Jerry, last night Pettite pitched in the AA championship series for Trenton. Is that fair?
Jerry Crasnick (12:23 PM)
Mike, I didn't realize it was the title game. But I noticed that Chris Young pitched for Lake Elsinore in the Cal League playoffs the other day. It doesn't seem very equitable to me. But apparently there's no rule against it.
Simon (San Antonio)
Why has the AL Cy Young discussion revolved solely (it seems) around Sabathia and Felix? Hasn't David Price had as good or better a season than Sabathia?
Jerry Crasnick (12:25 PM)
Simon, I think David Price's workload hurts his cause. He's 15th in the AL with 186 IP. The Rays have monitored his outings pretty closely. That's going to help him in October, but it hurts his Cy Young case.
Mike (San Diego)
Don't worry. All of us Padre fans are still laughing at the Giants for hoarding outfielders because they might have to start Jose Guillen and Cody Ross.
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Mike, No offense to Chris Denorfia, but I'm not sure if he's the second coming of Tony Gwynn.
Speaking of MOY, what about Gardenhire in the AL? It seems like this guy finishes second in the voting every single year. This year he's had to deal with injuties to Nathan, Morneau, Hardy, Hudson, and the Twins haven't missed a beat. Time to give him some love?
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
Isaac, I could live with that. Ron Washington might get some MOY love because the Rangers haven't been a contender in so long, but the Twins had a much tougher road to the playoffs than the Rangers did.
Jerry, the modern stat guys (like Neyer) keep saying that Hamels is basically the same pitcher he's always been and that he was just unklucky last year... but I'm finding that hard to believe. He LOOKS so much better this year and he's regained velocity on his FB. What are your thoughts? Better or luckier?
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Bob, I was at a Phillies game a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn't help but notice that Hamels was consistently popping the FB at 93-94 mph. He really ramped up the conditioning and the preparation this year, and it shows. Take last night, when he threw 120-plus pitches on a very hot night in Florida. I also think he's benefited from having Roy Halladay in the same clubhouse. Halladay's work ethic can't help but rub off on a young pitcher.
Take it from a guy who saw Denorfia and Aaron Cunningham regularly over the past few seasons in the PCL....they actually make Rowand, Ross, and Guillen resemble the Pirates outfield of the early 90s.
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Eddie, Hey, you said it, I didn't.
Mike (San Diego)
I guess I should clarify...I wasn't saying that the Giants playing Ross and Guillen means the Padres offense is anything less than mediocre, but after losing what seemed like an insurmountable lead in the division, we're grasping straws down here.
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Mike, We're just having a little fun. As for the Pads, you should be walking with a little extra spring in your step after the last couple of games. Bud Black and the boys really responded to the pressure going into Colorado.
Is ESPN not covering the financial coverup in MLB?
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Africa, Are you talking about the revenue-sharing figures and the $$ that the Marlins and other teams pocketed? The AP did a great job unveiling those figures, and MLB was none too happy about it. I'm not sure what's left to be covered.
Going off your Starting 9...what are the odds the Braves use some of their minor league starting pitching depth to get Joakim Soria to replace Wagner this offseason?
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Josh, If the Braves are going to trade any of their young pitching depth, I would think it would be for a young RH bat -- not a closer. But with the Dayton Moore-Atlanta connection, there's always an assumption that those two franchises are going to be talking.
Ernie (New York, NY)
Fun fact about Trenton's rotation during the playoffs:Betances, Warren, Banuelos and Brackman combined: 23.1 IP, 11 H, 0 R, 7 BB, 27 SOPettitte: 9 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 8 SOLet's not act like the only reason Trenton is winning is because of Pettitte
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Ernie, Thanks for the Trenton update. Let's see how soon some of those young arms graduate to the Bronx.
Ryan (San Diego)
Do you think the Padres should give Chris Young any starts down the stretch here or stick with the rotation they have now with Stauffer and Luebke?
Jerry Crasnick (12:37 PM)
Ryan, If the Padres think Chris Young is ready, given his pedigree, they might consider throwing him in there for a start. But Luebke has done a nice job since his arrival from the minors. They've tried to get some extra spacing for Latos, Richard and the young kids who might be a little gassed at this point.
Mr Crasnick, as far as you can tell is there at least an attemp to reconcilliate the stand that "old school" guys like mr. Joe Morgan have with the "modern stats" against the way some other espn writers have?I believe a roundtable tv show (a special at least) would be great.Thanks
Jerry Crasnick (12:39 PM)
Francisco, I don't know if you're ever going to reconcile the old school vs. the new-age viewpoints. I love watching the arguments play out -- as we're seeing with the Felix vs. CC Cy Young debate. It's pretty fascinating, I think.
Who would you rather have as your rotation in, say, 2012: Cain, Lincecum, Bumgarner, Wheeler, Zito or Volquez, Cueto, Bailey, Leake, Wood? I think they're pretty even, which is amazing, given the kind of starting pitching we Reds fans have had to suffer with for the past 40 years.
Jerry Crasnick (12:40 PM)
AJ, The Reds are putting together a nice group, but I'm not sure anyone from that Cincinnati list (with the possible exception of Volquez) has the ace potential of a Zito, Cain or even Bumgarner. I'd take the Giants guys.
Bruce Bochy has to be the NL MOY for this reason: He has been stuck with Edgar Renteria, Aaron Rowand, and Barry Zito all season, yet his team legitimately has a chance to make the playoffs. Find another team with three bigger stiffs getting significant playing time, and you might have a legitimate challenger for the award.
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Ted, A lot of it is based on pre-season expectations. Some people gave the Giants a chance based on their pitching, but nobody figured San Diego would be contending for a postseason spot. Hence, Bud Black is the clear frontrunner.
Mike (San Diego)
If you had to predict which of the teams in your Starting 9 column would be the next to win a divison, who would be your pick?
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Mike, Good question. Probably Arizona, because the D-backs play in such a wide open division, and they have some premium talent with Upton, Reynolds, Drew, etc.
I assume you meant the ace potential of Lincecum... not Zito
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Nick, Thanks for the correction. Sometimes I type faster than my brain processes information.
How do you think the Marlins will do next season with Stanton and Morrison on the team for a full year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:45 PM)
Tyler, Scouts I've talked to really love the Marlins young hitters. Stanton is going to be a monster, and Logan Morrison's plate discipline is incredible. And I haven't even mentioned Hanley, Uggla and some of their other guys. They need to keep Johnson and Nolasco healthy and find some bullpen pieces, but that team has a lot of potential.
So you dont think the 24 yr old Cueto has ace potential???
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Tim, We'll see with Cueto and Bailey. But I wouldn't put them ahead of the Giants guys just yet.
It's a sad baseball season for my Cubbies, but is it wrong for me to delight in the Cubs squashing the Cardinals' fading playoff hopes?
Jerry Crasnick (12:47 PM)
David, Hey, if you enjoy reveling in someone else's despair, far be it from me to tell you not to.
Simon (San Antonio)
Thoughts on AL ROY? Feliz over AJax?
Jerry Crasnick (12:49 PM)
Simon, As I've mentioned previously, I'm leaning toward Jackson just because I value the everyday player over the closer. But it's a close call.
U would put Bumgarner ahead of Cueto???
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Tim, I would. The kid is 21 years old and pitching in a pennant race, and it doesn't even faze him. That's no knock on Cueto.
Daniel Hudson. Is this guy for real?
Jerry Crasnick (12:52 PM)
RJ, He's for real. Just check out this K/BB ratio. I'm not sure if he's a No. 2 or a No. 3. But he's got a lot of poise and a plus FB and changeup. The White Sox probably did him a favor shipping him to the NL West.
If Morneau is cleared to resume playing soon what can the Twins realistically expect from him?
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Charlie, A concussion isn't anything like a broken hand or a pulled hamstring. One problem is, he would need some ABs to get his timing back, and the minor league seasons are over. But if the Twins are far enough ahead that it doesn't matter, he can just do his rehab in the big leagues.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
David Murphy looks like a .290 25HR 100RBI player if he played everyday. Do you Expect the Rangers to go with Hamilton CF Murphy at LF and Cruz RF during the playoffs?
Jerry Crasnick (12:55 PM)
Blake, I wouldn't be so quick to assume that Josh Hamilton is going to be ready by the playoffs. Some baseball people think this is a 6-8 week injury, so he might not be completely right again this season. Even if he plays in October, you wonder how much he can produce if his ribs kill him on every swing.
Blake (Hudson, WI)
Twins number three playoff starter, Duensing or Blackburn?
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Blake, Duensing, I guess. But when you look at some of the other rotations, the Twins are going to be challenged to go deep into October.
Joey Votto (Cincinnati, OH)
will the reds and I go deep into the playoffs? If not whats going to stop us?
Jerry Crasnick (12:58 PM)
Joey, I'm not super confident in your rotation or in Francisco Cordero at the back end of the bullpen. And I'm not sure if it's his hand injury or what, but Brandon Phillips hasn't hit for a while now.
Kevin (Amherst, MA)
Is it wrong of me to still have faith in this season for the Red Sox? They've been playing some good baseball and they still face the yanks 6 times.
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
Kevin, I think the Red Sox are done as far as a playoff team. But it's all relative: They might go 90-72, and New England fans will act like it's the end of the world. Hey, they should try to imagine what life is like for Indians, Pirates and Royals fans. Those folks really know how to suffer.
Jerry, how about some AL East questions or are you only enamored by NL Central's 100k fans.
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Nathan, Are you as pleasant a person as you appear to be on this chat?
Showalter has the O's playing 10 games over .500, is it just Showalter or were these guys just an unlucky bunch before hand?
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
Jay, He's brought a sense of expectation there that those players needed. I think they had gotten comfortable with losing, and Showalter raised the bar. The talent on that team was a lot better than 50-110, or whatever they were on a pace to finish. They still have a major challenge competing in the AL East, but look at the Blue Jays. They're going to finish with a pretty nice season.
What's the market look like for Jason Werth? Do the Phils have a chance to sign him and should they and maybe look at options for Raul or Victorino?
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Billy, If the Phillies haven't signed Jayson Werth by now, I don't think they're going to sign him. He's the big RH outfield bat, so I he'll have a pretty brisk market this offseason.
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everybody. Let's do it again next week.