Chat with Jerry Crasnick
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
Hi everybody, It's great weather for a duck. Let's see if we can actually get some games in this week. Time for the chat to begin.
True or False: The American League wild card will come from the Central Division.
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Doug, False. I still think it will come from the East, even though that division looks more balanced than in recent years.
Ray Stinger Jr (Pittsburgh)
Hey Jerry! Once again the Bucs are below .500, so what else is new. Have you heard anything about which player Pittsburgh is leaning toward with the 1st pick in the MLB Draft?
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Ray, People who have a much better handle on the draft than me think it will come down to UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole, Virginia pitcher Danny Hultzen and Rice infielder Anthony Rendon. Personally, I'd like to see the Buccos take a pitcher.
Your evaluation of J.Turner for Mets! Does he have potential to stay at second or is just another experiment for the Mets?
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Ted, I've seen Justin Turner described through the years as a "baseball rat" -- the kind of guy who plays the game the right way and gets every ounce out of his baseball ability. At this point, the Mets have nothing to lose in giving him an extended look. Maybe he turns out to be a keeper.
John (Cincinnati, Oh)
Your take on the Reds-Cardinals blow up yesterday?
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
John, Well, obviously, Francisco Cordero wasn't trying to hit Pujols with that pitch. But those teams have so much baggage right now, little things are destined to explode into big things. As David Schoenfield mentioned in his blog today, the Reds and Cards might have the best rivalry in baseball going right now. It's strong enough that fireworks can erupt even when Tony La Russa isn't in the yard.
DEbbie Knoxville, Tn [via mobile]
Will the Braves make the playoffs this year?
Jerry Crasnick (1:07 PM)
Debbie, I picked them to win the World Series, so I guess I'll say yes. (Maybe it wasn't the greatest pick in the world, but I figured it was boring to pick the Red Sox or Phillies like everybody else).
Is there anything you have noticed about Jose Bautista that might lead you to believe he is taking PED's aside from his numbers ?
Jerry Crasnick (1:09 PM)
Chad, Call me naive, but I choose to give players the benefit of the doubt. If we're going to rip baseball because it didn't have testing -- and now MLB has testing and we're going to say, "Well, players can always find a way around the tests," that's not particularly fair, is it? I did a story on Jose Bautista last year and he told me flat out that he's never used performance enhancers. Is it too far-fetched to believe that the guy is a late bloomer and he's just really, really good?
Luke (south africa)
what do u think of eric hosmer's chances of being an all star within the next 3 years?
Jerry Crasnick (1:11 PM)
Luke, I think they're pretty good. He's not only a very talented kid, but a hard worker and has the right demeanor to be a star. I had a chance to talk to Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, and the Royals have done a really good job of picking talented kids and indoctinating them with a professional, team-first mindset. Long story short: I don't see Hosmer as a kid who's going to get carried away with himself anytime soon. He's the real deal
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Jerry, Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo look alot better this year. What has changed from 2010 to 2011?
Jerry Crasnick (1:12 PM)
Matthew, Look at Ryan Madson's numbers from recent years, and they're pretty darned impressive. Right now he can close without having to look over his shoulder. And he's a free agent after this season, so he's got the incentive of a big deal looming with the Phillies or somebody else. As for Bastardo, he has really, really good stuff. Sometimes all a kid like that needs is opportunity.
Jose Bautista, WOW! Thats all I can say
Jerry Crasnick (1:13 PM)
Rick, Well put. I'm not sure what else there is to say right now.
Joseph (Bozeman, MT)
Jerry,Are the issues with the Yankees greater than what we're seeing. I found Cashman's comments to be pretty unprofessional and unbecoming of a General Manager. The crowd response to Posada on Sunday seems to second that notion. Given Buster Olney's piece this morning, is there a chance that we see a real blowup between the players and the management?
Jerry Crasnick (1:15 PM)
Joseph, I haven't been around the Yankees, but it seems as if Cashman was trying to send a message with his comments. It would have been easy to just stay quiet and protect Posada. Maybe he's tired of protecting overpriced, aging players and doesn't want to set a precedent. You could say, "Well, Cashman is the guy who signed them to those big deals." But I'm sure there was some pressure from upstairs. At any rate, the underlying mood seems to be really tense there. I can see things going south in a hurry if they don't play well
Even with Hanley starting off slow, and Vazquez completely falling apart, the fish are two games behind the phillies and still second in the NL over all. Are you buying or selling?
Jerry Crasnick (1:16 PM)
Mendel, They have some nice pieces there, and Larry Beinfest and his group did a good job of shoring up the bullpen in the offseason. I still think the Marlins are a little short of a playoff team. But I can see them winning 85 games again and hanging around a good long while.
Title Starved Fan (CLE)
Can the Tribe keep this up? Their young pitching has been great!
Jerry Crasnick (1:18 PM)
Title Starved, It'll be interesting to see how they handle some adversity. Grady Sizemore is on the DL now, so that's a bit of a blow. The biggest advantage they have is that the division is pretty underwhelming. It looks as if the Tigers might be their main threat because of the starting pitching. Long-term, I still see the Indians as an 80-85 win team. But who knows in that division?
Morlock (Jordan, MN)
I know, it's too early. But, who could the Twins get for someone like Michael Cuddyer in a deadline trade?
Jerry Crasnick (1:20 PM)
Morlock, Cuddyer is such a versatile guy and so great for clubhouse chemistry in Minnesota, I think he's more valuable to the Twins than anybody else. Maybe they could get a pretty good prospect for him at the deadline. But he better start swinging the bat better than he has the first six weeks. He's got 7 RBIs.
Jerry do you think Correia and J.McDonald will have decent years or will they start to falter as season wears on?
Jerry Crasnick (1:21 PM)
Logan, James McDonald has a 6.20 ERA and Correia has gotten hit hard in three of his last five starts. They both have the stuff to pitch very good games, but I'm not sure either guy can sustain it over the entire season.
Do you think Jon Lackey is the 2011 version of the Dice-K situation? Good the first year in town then just a waste of alot of money or do you feel he is worth the cash and will turn it around in boston after a slow start
Jerry Crasnick (1:23 PM)
Shawn, Lackey had a 4.40 ERA last year and gave up 233 hits, so I'm not even sure if he was such a good fit in 2010. I see him as more of a middle-of-the-rotation guy who capitalized on some great timing to land a great deal. Whatever he gives them this year, I don't think it's going to be worth $80 million-plus over the long haul.
As regards Bautista, "Is it too far-fetched to believe that the guy is a late bloomer and he's just really, really good?"It really really is.
Jerry Crasnick (1:25 PM)
Neil, I did a story on Bautista a year ago, and Mickey White, the scout who drafted him, said he always had this type of power in the low minors. I know it's fashionable to be cynical, but I refuse to discount the possibility out of hand simply out of cynicism.
Jerry, isn't John Lackey dealing with some personal issues regarding the health of his wife? Maybe we all should remember these guys are human.
Jerry Crasnick (1:27 PM)
Jon, That may well be the case, and if so, you're right. These guys are human and issues at home can weigh on them. I'm still not sure if Lackey was a great fit for Boston, though. He really had a comfort zone in Anaheim, and I think his stuff played better in the AL West than it does against some of those lineups in the East.
A.Rizzo and Belt! Do you see a time table for promotion and how would they perform once called up?
Jerry Crasnick (1:30 PM)
Jake, Anthony Rizzo is tearing up the PCL, but he's 21 years old and only has about 1,200 at-bats in the minors, so I think he'd benefit from some more time and seasoning. As for Belt, he showed in spring training that he's really good -- and the Giants could use an offensive lift. But the way that team pitches, maybe they can get by with the status quo for a while and give him more time as well. Both guys have a chance to be impact players in the big leagues.
Jerry, have you heard any 'rumors' about the Royals bringing up any of their pitching prospects? Duffy or Montgomery come to mind. Duffy is dealing down in Triple-A, and I think the Royals would be a better team with him running out there every 5 days rather than Davies. Plus, the bringing up of Hosmer signals a change.......right? Right?
Jerry Crasnick (1:32 PM)
Frank, From what I hear, the next Royals callup will most likely be a pitcher. But they already started Hosmer's clock and probably cost themselves a year of arbitration by bringing him up so early. I suspect they'll wait until the "Super 2" date passes before they bring up Montgomery or Duffy. Then again, who knows what the next labor agreement will bring in that area?
Is M Wieters already the best defensive catcher in the AL? Impossible to run on, calls great game, gives great target,etc.
Jerry Crasnick (1:33 PM)
Eric, The writers in Baltimore tell me that he's terrific in those areas. He's got a cannon and really knows how to work with a staff. Even if his offense doesn't turn out to be as good as advertised, those attributes make him a huge asset moving forward.
Jeff Winger (LA)
Zack Britton for real?
Jerry Crasnick (1:34 PM)
Jeff, I don't see why not. Great presence and maturity for a 23-year-old. Ball really sinks, and he throws hard for a lefty. For what it's worth, the Baltimore people really like Jake Arrieta, too. The kid knows how to pitch and also has a lot of mound presence. Or maybe we should call it "chutzpah."
The White Sox have won three series out west. Do you think they've turned a corner?
Jerry Crasnick (1:36 PM)
Mike, They dug a pretty nice hole for themselves, but now that Adam Dunn and Alex Rios have their batting averages over .200, maybe that team can get on a roll. It's still early enough for them to climb back in it.
The Rays look very good. It seems like they are ever losing. Can they continue this success?
Jerry Crasnick (1:38 PM)
Ryan, They have a really good starting rotation and one of the best defenses in baseball. But I wonder how long Matt Joyce can keep this up, or whether teams are eventually stop going to pitch to Evan Longoria. And I just don't trust that bullpen in the end. But you gotta love Joe Maddon. That guy gets the absolute max out of his talent.
Hey Jerry, thanks for chattin'! The Phillies seem to have a lot of things to be worried about (inconsistent offense, bullpen held together by duct tape), yet they have the best record in baseball and are #1 in the ESPN power rankings. Do you think they are the best team in baseball? If not, who is?
Jerry Crasnick (1:40 PM)
John, If Chase Utley comes back and can play at 80-90 percent and the starting rotation stays healthy from start to finish, I'll take my chances with that club. But it appears that the Red Sox might be ready to go on a roll and fulfill their preseason expectations. And for what it's worth, the Phils have dropped four of six to the Bravos. But right now I'll take the Phils.
Speaking of looking good, how abou the Tigers? Is there a better starting pitching staff as of now (i know they still have issues with there bullpen).
Jerry Crasnick (1:41 PM)
Sally, That was the offseason plan -- run Verlander, Scherzer and Porcello out there and hope things could come together. Victor Martinez really makes a difference as Miguel Cabrera's wing man when he's in the lineup. But they need guys like Inge, Raburn and Austin Jackson to start contributing more. That might be the difference between a division title and a .500 record for that team.
donald (portland, tn) [via mobile]
we have seen the last of milton bradley.... right?
Jerry Crasnick (1:43 PM)
Donald, I have to think so. If Bradley's skills have declined and he can't contribute offensively, he doesn't offer you much. Is it worth the potential clubhouse distraction to bring in a guy who's a .220 hitter and can't play the field anymore? Too bad. I think Milton Bradley is a decent guy at heart. He just had too much personal baggage
Jesus behind the dish soon for the Yanks?
Jerry Crasnick (1:44 PM)
Rob, I've been hearing so much about this kid, I'd love to see him. He can really hit, but I have no idea if he can catch. He's probably a DH, which is why the Yankees are messing up his development by doling out all their DH at-bats to aging veterans like Posada.
Is it too soon to get excited about Ryan Vogelsong yet?
Jerry Crasnick (1:45 PM)
Rich, It's a heartwarming story whenever a guy who's 33 comes up and has an impact. But I don't know if I'd used the word "excited" in regards to Ryan Vogelsong. Tim Lincecum ... now there's a guy to get excited about.
Jose's fan club (Toronto)
I have watched a ton of Bautista the last number of years. The guy has not gotten any "bigger", like bonds. His first 12 homers were all to left field. He is an extreme "pull" hitter with excellent timing and batting eye (rarely swings at bad pitches) and has such a violent swing that balls fly. Face it people, its real and its fantassstic. Jose never had a chance at regular AB's till the jays. Finders Keepers. Question is: Who can the jays bring in to protect him?
Jerry Crasnick (1:47 PM)
Fan club, I hear ya. I don't think they have the coin to make a huge signing. And right now Adam Lind is doing quite well. So I don't see any big moves by Alex Anthopoulos there.
Jerry Crasnick (1:47 PM)
Guys, I have to hop on now to do a radio hit. Let's talk again next week. Thanks, Jerry