Chat with Jerry Crasnick
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com baseball writer Jerry Crasnick will drop by to take your questions on the World Series.
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 3 p.m. ET!
Jerry Crasnick (3:00 PM)
Hi everybody, It's always a delight to be here in San Francisco. I might be the only writer who actually enjoyed covering games in Candlestick Park. Let's begin the chat.
Peter (Atlanta, GA)
Better story: the Giants free agent outfield or the Colby Lewis reclamation project?
Jerry Crasnick (3:01 PM)
Peter, I guess I'll go with the Giants outfield, if only because that whole story kept unfolding in stages. Plus, how much better does it get than Cody Ross revealing that his early career aspiration was to become a rodeo clown?
Is Buster Posey already the 2nd Best Catcher in MLB?
Jerry Crasnick (3:03 PM)
Patrick, Obviously Joe Mauer is No. 1, and I think you have to give Brian McCann a lot of respect for sustained excellence. But Posey's progression has been amazing. I've mentioned this before, but just compare him to Matt Wieters, who came up with a lot of hype and has struggled with the dual role of handling a pitching staff and being a main cog in the lineup. It's a really, really difficult thing for a young catcher to do -- especially for a contending team.
Is there any reason that Jeter cannot play as long as Vizquel? He keeps in great shape. Yet most writers have already doomed him. Why. I value your opinion
Jerry Crasnick (3:06 PM)
Max, Thanks for the note. I compare Jeter to guys like Barry Larkin and Ozzie Smith, who still looked young as they got older and stayed in great shape, but gradually lost a step or two each year. He just doesn't cover a heck of a lot of ground over there. Maybe the Yanks can get another year or two out of him at short, but eventually it has to end and he'll have to move to a different spot on the field. And you have to think Jeter is going to have a hard time with that.
Greg (Fort Worth)
What are the odds that Cliff Lee stays in Texas?
Jerry Crasnick (3:07 PM)
Greg, Just from talking to Chuck Greenberg, the new owner, I think the Rangers feel they have a very legitimate shot at Lee. They realize it's going to take a lot of money. Could the Rangers' push for Lee prompt the Yankees to go for a 6- or 7-year deal for a guy who's 32? Hey, anything is possible.
Who has a better year in 2011: Gordon Beckham or Pablo Sandoval?
Jerry Crasnick (3:09 PM)
Colin, I'm going to go with Beckham. I think he just encountered the whole sophomore adjustment thing. Sandoval, meanwhile, has some serious weight and plate approach issues that he has to address. We were talking about this last night: Wouldn't it be worth it for the Giants to hire a personal trainer for $100,000 and have him work with the Big Panda all season? I just don't know if Sandoval has it in him to stay in shape to the degree that he needs to.
Mike (San Diego)
Jerry, I'll be in a meeting when this chat starts. What are you thoughts on Alderson to the Mets? As a Phillie fan (and seeing what he did to the Padres) I'm downright giddy about this selection....they'll be interviewing again in 4 years when he has them completely in the dumps. Good luck Met fans!
Jerry Crasnick (3:11 PM)
Mike, It's an interesting choice. Sandy Alderson is one of the smartest guys in baseball. We'll see if Jeff Wilpon gives him the latitude to put his stamp on the organization, but Sandy comes to NY with a lot of credibility. I will say this: If things start slowly or Sandy begins clashing with Wilpon, it has the potential to get ugly in Flushing. But let's give him a chance.
Chris (Holmdel, NJ)
Jerry, do you find it somewhat ironic that the Phillies attempt to improve their team by replacing Cliff Lee with Roy Halladay turned out to be one of the reasons they didn't make it back to the series? As well as Halladay pitched, he couldn't match what Lee did in the 2009 or 2010 post season.
Jerry Crasnick (3:13 PM)
Chris, On the list of reasons why the Phillies aren't in the World Series, I'd rank Roy Halladay somewhere in the 20s or 30s. He didn't pitch as well as Lee has, but the Phillies are home now because of Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and their offense, not because of Halladay.
How likely is it that Javier Lopez gets World Series MVP?
Jerry Crasnick (3:13 PM)
Brandon, I think it's pretty high -- if his parents are doing the voting.
Andrew (Towson, md)
Chatting from class! If Lee gets a 6 or 7 year deal what do you think Sabathia will do regarding his opt out clause next year? He could become a free agent again at the age of 31 looking for another 6 or 7 year deal himself. What do you think about all that?
Jerry Crasnick (3:15 PM)
Andrew, Personally, I think any pitcher who opts out in the middle of a 7-year, $161 million deal is nuts. I just can't envision Sabathia ever doing something like that. Too much risk.
Joe (Green Bay) [via mobile]
Jerry, there are a lot of rumors swirling about Bobby Valentine becoming the next manager of the Brewers. Is that a good fit?
Jerry Crasnick (3:17 PM)
Joe, We've been busy with the World Series coverage, and the Valentine-Brewers stuff just began trickling out yesterday and today. Bobby V is a brilliant baseball guy and he's going to help stoke fan interest, so I would be on board with that. The Brewers have some issues, but the NL Central is sufficiently-bunched, talent-wise, that they have a chance to be competitive. It's not a lost cause there. I think it could work.
Jon (Des Moines)
Hi Jerry, always enjoy your insights. What do you think Minnesota does this offseason? Do they bring Jim Thome back after his successful campaign in which he claimed it was one of his most enjoyable seasons? And have they finally found the answer in Valencia at 3B? Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (3:19 PM)
Jon, I think Valencia showed enough in 300 ABS for Ron Gardenhire to pencil him in as the third baseman next year. Like a lot of young hitters, he needs to work on his plate discipline. I don't see why they wouldn't be interested in bringing Thome back. He was a monster this year, he doesn't come with that high a price tag, and the other players on the team love the guy.
Hi Jerry, where do you stand on the Giants' DH situation once the series move to Texas? Panda? Burrell? Is there any upgrade by DHing Huff and putting Ishikawa at 1st? Looking forward to a great series!
Jerry Crasnick (3:21 PM)
Dwight, Burrell would seem like a good fit at DH, since he always has the potential to pop one and they do a lot of breath-holding when he's in LF. Pablo Sandoval also has DH written all over him, but he's been so shaky this year, they probably have better options.
shane new York [via mobile]
Is cliff lee a hall of famer?
Jerry Crasnick (3:23 PM)
Shane, Just for fun, I looked up Cliff Lee's closest career comparables on baseball-reference.com. You know who came up? Denny Neagle and Mark Mulder. Lee has a 102-61 career record, but he has a lot of work ahead of him to generate discussion as a Hall of Fame candidate.
Who is seems to be the looser team, Rangers or Giants?
Jerry Crasnick (3:24 PM)
Bill, That's a tough one. They're both extremely loose. When you've got Brian Wilson on one team and C.J. Wilson on the other team, it's hard to imagine being much looser than that.
What do you make of the Giants offense consistently hitting all star pitching. This year they beat Halladay multiple times, broke up Johnsons streak of quality starts, and put 10 runs up on Jimenez in 1 inning. Cliff Lee is not much different than those guys, is he?
Jerry Crasnick (3:26 PM)
Dominic, The Giants sort of defy explanation. They'll hit home runs, but they don't steal bases, go first to third very well or do the little "manufacturing" type things you think are necessary against an elite pitcher. All I can say is, I've seen every one of Cliff Lee's starts this postseason, and it's hard to imagine (other than Lincecum's 14-k effort against Atlanta or Roy Halladay's no-hitter against Cincinnati) that a starting pitcher could be any more dominant. As Reds pitching coach Bryan Price told me, "It's like watching a video game."
Ryan (Jonesboro, AR)
Jerry, I know the Giants are good at low scoring games...however, when the Rangers score, they usually score more than just a run or two. How do you see the Rangers bats vs. the elite Giants' pitching?
Jerry Crasnick (3:28 PM)
Ryan, I really think Elvis Andrus is a key in this series. If he can get on 2-3 times in a game, it changes the whole tenor of things for the Rangers. He can distract the opposing pitcher and create all sorts of chaos. The kid is in the middle of everything. If he gets on, it makes Young, Hamilton and everyone behind him better.
Will Hamilton get the "Bonds" treament in this series?
Jerry Crasnick (3:29 PM)
Bill, I don't think so. Lincecum and Cain have such great stuff, they don't have to pitch around any one hitter. And Sanchez and Bumgarner are lefties, so why would they intentionally walk Hamilton? I think the Giants pitch to him for the most part.
Stephen (San Jose)
Jerry, do you think that there is some bias involved in the predictions for the World Series? Yes, the Rangers are a great team and they did beat the Rays and Yankees, but the Giants haven't been picked to win one series and yet they were never behind in games won in either the DS or the LCS. Plus, the Rays had a no hitter and a perfect game thrown against them, and the Yankees were a pretty streaky team with not as good of pitching as what the Giants have.
Jerry Crasnick (3:31 PM)
Stephen, I don't think there's any bias. It's just that the Giants aren't the type of team you're gonna love at first glance. They've got a lot of players who are motivated because they've endured setbacks and been cast off by other organizations. Remember, nobody liked the Dodgers vs. Oakland in 1988, and look what happened there. The Giants really do remind you of that L.A. club.
James (Whitby) [via mobile]
Hi Jerry, as Jays fan I am very excited about the future of this team. AA looks to be an executive of the year in the making and seemed to due his due diligence in hiring John Farell. What can you tell me about him and is it possble they make the playsoff next year?
Jerry Crasnick (3:33 PM)
James, I think everybody sees the Jays as a team that's coming up in the world. I know some people are skeptical about the Farrell hire, because he's never managed and he's a former pitcher. But he's a really smart guy with a big-time presence. Given how well Bud Black has done in San Diego, I would hope it helps change the anti-pitcher bias in selecting managers.
Jason (St Louis)
Just FYI, HOF writer Rick Hummell picked the Giants in six.
Jerry Crasnick (3:34 PM)
Jason, Rick Hummell could very well be right. I picked the Rangers in 6, but the Giants seem to have a certain "mojo" that's difficult to explain right now.
Brian (Des Moines)
A lot is been made of the Phillies offense "sleeping" during the NLCS (You just alluded to it). But come on, how much of that can be attributed to the Giants rotation and how much of it sits on "Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and their offense"
Jerry Crasnick (3:35 PM)
Brian, Obviously, the Giants pitching had a lot to do with it. But I live right outside Philly and I saw that team a lot this year, and they were an up and down offensive club all season. Even Ruben Amaro Jr., the GM, basically said that they had a lousy approach at the plate in the postseason.
If Giants somehow beat Cliff Lee tonight, which team you think to win the World Series?
Jerry Crasnick (3:36 PM)
Danny, That's a huge momentum shifter, obviously. Cliff Lee has built up this aura of invincibility, and if the Giants can puncture that right off the top, the impact would almost be bigger than one game.
Colin (San Fran)
Do you thank that the Rangers are being over hyped now? When they where not even picked to make it out of the first round by the so called base ball experts.
Jerry Crasnick (3:38 PM)
Colin, I think a lot of people felt the Rangers had the potential to go deep into the postseason if two things happened: 1) Cliff Lee pitched like Cliff Lee, and not the guy who was dogged by back problems in August; and 2) Josh Hamilton was sufficiently recovered from his rib problems to put up big numbers in October. Obviously the answer to both those questions was a resounding "yes."
Jason (St Louis)
What would you put the over under at for people in the bay area dressed up as Brian Wilson for Halloween this weekend? 50,000? 100,000?
Jerry Crasnick (3:39 PM)
Jason, Great question. I saw him at media day yesterday, and the beard is getting thicker and darker every day. He might look like Sasquatch by Game 7.
Jim (Lincoln, NE)
Jerry, no offense to mlb, fox or espn, but if there are low ratings this year and they all lose money on the world series, isn't that reaping what you sow? After all, if you constantly put the Yanks and Sox on every National broadcast game, you can't suddenly expect the "casual" fan to care when two teams they haven't seen all year make the world series.
Jerry Crasnick (3:41 PM)
Jim, When the networks show the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers et all during the season, they're just responding to viewer demand: The marquee teams always outdraw small market clubs. It would be nice to think TV could cultivate legions of Rays viewers by airing more of their games, but I don't think it works that way. And as a footnote, Dallas and San Fran are not "small markets." They're very big markets.
Timothy Mojica (Ennis,TX)
After the World series is over do you think the Texas Rangers will try to sign more pitchers as dominate as Lee and wilison to add to the rotation next year? Also, how many more seasons do you think michael young will play with the rangers?.
Jerry Crasnick (3:44 PM)
Timothy, In general, the Rangers are committed to building from within. They've got Tommy Hunter ready to take a step forward, and Derek Holland can definitely be a nice starter in the big leagues. Plus, they've got Martin Perez and a bunch of other kids in the minors. Cliff Lee is a special case, but I don't see them as big-time free agent shoppers overall.
Love the series matchup, but my question is regarding Grienke. Any chance he ends up with Minnesota?
Jerry Crasnick (3:46 PM)
Adam, Boy, a lot of people are quick to have Zack Greinke headed elsewhere. If Dayton Moore hasn't traded Joakim Soria yet because he's set the talent bar too high for opposing clubs, you can believe it's going to be extremely high for Greinke. And for what it's worth, if the Royals do trade Greinke, I can't imagine they'd want to do it within the AL Central.
Jerry Crasnick (3:46 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everybody. I only have time for one more. Enjoy the Series.
Cliff Lee is obviously a great pitcher, but I think people forget that he is no spring chicken. I think whoever gives him a 6-7 year deal won't be too happy in years 5-7.
Jerry Crasnick (3:48 PM)
Jay, He's 32, so a deal like that would take him into his late 30s. For what it's worth, when I did the story talking to pitching coaches about Cliff Lee and his delivery, Bryan Price, Leo Mazzone and the those guys raved about his mechanics. He's very fluid and doesn't appear to put much strain on his arm. So they think Lee has a lot of shelf life. Six years? We shall see.