Chat with Jerry Crasnick
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, 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 Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Jerry Crasnick (2:00 PM)
Hey everybody, We have our big Moneyball package up on the site today -- for folks who aren't tired of the topic. I saw the movie last week, and it really is an entertaining flick. Worth checking out. Let's begin the chat.
Joe (Las Vegas)
Jerry, with their schedule, the Yankees have a lot to say about the wild card. Who do you think they would want in to give them a better chance to get to the series?
Jerry Crasnick (2:02 PM)
Joe, As Russell Martin's comments showed, I'm sure there's a segment in the Yankees clubhouse that would take considerable joy in seeing the Red Sox cough up this wild card lead. But as the Yankees showed by taking 3 of 4 from Tampa, it doesn't have any effect on the field. To be honest, I think players are a lot less concerned with who they'll face in the first round than fans and reporters are. If you're going to win the Series, you have to beat everyone eventually.
Jerry Crasnick (2:02 PM)
News flash: The Arizona Diamondbacks just acquired lefty pitcher Mike Zagurski from the Phillies. I figured I'd squeeze that one in before the next question.
does justin verlander have chance at mvp
Jerry Crasnick (2:03 PM)
Paul, Yes. That's about as succinctly as I can put it.
Everyone here in Charm City, thinks that we aren't going to sign Prince Fielder. But everyone in the media says that this is the best place for him. A lot of people think we have big $$ ...that's total BS..we signed Albert Belle before the huge $75 million per year MASN TV deal. We need to get rid of Vlad and he could fit in the DH cuz he's cuz he's got more fat on him then a Wendy's Triple Baconator!! Realistically, no BS, where is he going?
Jerry Crasnick (2:06 PM)
Mark, I don't really see Baltimore as a fit for Prince. The O's could use him, but sinking $150 plus million into a first base/DH type is not the best use of longterm resources for that club. The usual suspects mentioned for Prince are the Nats and Mariners, and last week Jayson Stark threw out the Marlins and Dodgers as potential stealth spenders this winter. I've maintained all along that there's no reason the Brewers shouldn't be a strong candidate to maintain Prince -- they're drawing 3 million fans again this year -- but I'm clearly in the minority on that one.
JT (Hot Springs, SD)
While I'm sure there's no clear "frontrunner" with the season still going, who do you believe will end up being the next Cubs GM? And what do you do with Soriano and Zambrano?
Jerry Crasnick (2:07 PM)
JT, I just have a hard time believing that Billy Beane, Andrew Friedman, Theo Epstein or Brian Cashman are going to leave their teams for Chicago. To me, that leaves Josh Byrnes, Rick Hahn and Ned Colletti among the top possibilities. Or Tom Ricketts could go with a lesser known assistant GM type. But I don't think that's gonna happen.
Steve (Arlington, VA)
How do you think the Rangers will fare in the playoffs? I actually like this years team better than last year
Jerry Crasnick (2:09 PM)
Steve, I like the Rangers, too. Their rotation has held up quite nicely, they have an incredibly deep bullpen, and that team has a lot of confidence going in after last year's deep run. They might (and I emphasize might) be my AL pick to get to the World Series.
Jerry, do you think the braves will trade or release D.lowe in the offseason?
Jerry Crasnick (2:10 PM)
Jim, They'd love to trade him, but I believe he has $16 million left on his deal for 2012. They'll be required to pick up an awful lot of that to make a deal happen.
Donny (massena ny)
Can the Braves hold on and win the wild card?
Jerry Crasnick (2:11 PM)
Donny, I think both the Braves and Red Sox are going to hang on down the stretch. It's awfully tough for the chasing team (Tampa, St. Louis, etc) to keep winning every single day under that kind of pressure without a misstep. We just saw that yesterday with St. Louis' bullpen meltdown against the Mets. A 2-game cushion can seem pretty sizeable with only six games remaining.
BTW, what do you think our record will be next year in the AL East with the Triple Baconator and without him?
Jerry Crasnick (2:12 PM)
Mark, By the way, when I first saw an email related to the Orioles and the "Triple Baconator," I thought they might be re-signing Sidney Ponson.
How many steps backward have the Reds taken this season?
Jerry Crasnick (2:14 PM)
James, Very disappointing club. I've talked to some people, and that wasn't a very focused club this season. Brandon Phillips has had a nice year, but he seems awfully worried about his contract situation. And the pitching never quite jelled. I don't think they're as bad as they played this year. With a few moves in the offseason, I think they can contend next season. But they have to upgrade the starting pitching.
Jerry -- what are some of the Tigers biggest concerns headed into the post season. Thanks!
Jerry Crasnick (2:15 PM)
Shawn, As weird as this sounds, everyone assumes that Justin Verlander's postseason starts are just automatic victories. Say he pitches in the ALDS opener and loses 2-1. I have to think that clubhouse could get awfully tight. No offense to Doug Fister and Max Scherzer.
Do you think Ricketts and the unnamed GM will try to sell the fan base on a rebuilding project or is that division too winnable not to attempt competitiveness?
Jerry Crasnick (2:17 PM)
Matt, I would personally give strong consideration to blowing the thing up. Big market teams automatically assume that the fan base won't tolerate it. I think what fans really hate is knowing the team isn't very good and having the front office make patchwork moves under the guise of building a "contender." That's how you get in the situation the Orioles are in right now.
Stephen (Rancho Mirage, CA)
Outside of what is said publicly, how concerned do you think Ruben Amaro is about Howard and Utley's declining production? Utley is owed only $30 million over the next two years and contributes in other ways, but Howard's $125 million extension begins next year....OUCH.
Jerry Crasnick (2:19 PM)
Stephen, Everybody questioned that Ryan Howard deal when it first came out -- primarily because of the duration. Sluggers like that historically don't age well. As for Ruben Amaro, I think his sole focus at the moment is on October. He built that team to win this year, and they have an awful lot of slumping, banged up guys in the clubhouse with less than a week to go until the playoffs.
Between you and me (hey, I'm not gonna tell anyone if you won't), is Dusty Baker the right manager for that team? They just seemed to be going thru the motions. We won't even get into the loyalty to players well past their prime getting playing time. Let's say we discuss this, yeah? Thanks, Jerry.
Jerry Crasnick (2:21 PM)
James, I like Dusty better as a manager better than a lot of people do, because of his people skills and his communications skills. But this wasn't one of his better efforts this year. I know the starting pitching wasn't great, but I didn't see a whole lot of feistiness in the Reds this year. Fans who watched them day in and day out might have a better feel for what was missing than I do.
patrick throckmorton (winchester,va)
Is the reason the orioles have struggled the past 15 or 16 years is because of ownership ?
Jerry Crasnick (2:23 PM)
Patrick, When I wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago on the Orioles' disappointing season, fans came out of the woodwork to trace all the team's problems back to Peter Angelos. I'm not sure that's 100 percent fair. But he's the one common denominator through this decade-and-a-half stretch of uninspired baseball.
Jacob (Washington, DC)
Do you think the Phillies recent meltdown in the last 10 games is a huge red flag, or do you see them coming on like gangbusters once the playoffs start
Jerry Crasnick (2:25 PM)
Jacob, Well, they've been playing without Ryan Howard and Hunter Pence, and there was bound to be a letdown after that long charge to the division title. As long as Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels are pitching well, I still like their chances in the postseason. But I would definitely be concerned about Chase Utley. That guy is a force when he's healthy, and he's done next to nothing for almost two months now. I don't understand why he's still in there everyday in these meaningless games.
Matt Kemp (Chavez Ravine)
Can I win the NL MVP? Jayson Stark said in his chat that I am not on the same level as Ryan Braun for the NL MVP because he is performing in games that mean something. I am clearly the best player in the NL.Is the MVP simply an award for the best player on the best team? I am the best player......
Jerry Crasnick (2:26 PM)
Matt, You're the National League's answer to Jose Bautista -- the best player in the league playing for a team that's been out of contention for a while now. I think you deserve strong consideration for MVP, but I don't think you'll win it. Too many people define "Valuable" as playing for a team that's going to win something. Sorry, but that's just the way it works.
Thanks for the reply in regards to the Reds questions. Onto other matters now. Would you agree that what the Rays have been doing in the AL East is more impressive than what Billy Beane did with the A's in the early part of the decade? Sure, the Rays incorporate the ideas of Moneyball, but they are doing it in a much better division and with equally, if not more impressive results.
Jerry Crasnick (2:28 PM)
James, I can buy that. What Andrew Friedman, Joe Maddon and the Rays have done year in and year out is nothing short of extraordinary. I saw an interview with Billy Beane the other day, and even he mentioned Andrew as a guy he admires. Extremely difficult to be so competitive in that division with such limited resources. Now they just need somebody to make Jonah Keri's Tampa Bay Rays book into a movie ...
Do you think with a full season at the major league level we'll see 25 - 30 HR's from Kipnis?
Jerry Crasnick (2:30 PM)
Mark, It might take Kipnis a while to reach 30 jacks, but he definitely can be a consistent 20-homer plus guy. Plenty of bad speed and a very professional approach at the plate. He looks like the real thing.
Charles (San Jose)
So among teams going to win something Braun has a 6.9 fWAR, and Upton 6.7. Who's your choice?
Jerry Crasnick (2:34 PM)
Charles, Probably Braun. 70 points higher OPS, 10 more steals. Upton has also made a ton of errors in right field. I know the stats people pooh-pooh errors, but Upton has 13 E's in RF.
Fred (Austin, TX)
Why trade for Zagurski now? He can not help Oct and there is not much in his record to indicate any long term value
Jerry Crasnick (2:35 PM)
Fred, Not sure about the timing, but Kevin Towers has always had a great feel for putting together a bullpen. Maybe he thinks Zagurski has a chance to be a decent situational lefty.
Hey Jerry, really quick, Dodgers' have a chance of having a triple crown hitter & pitcher in the same year. Has that ever happened
Jerry Crasnick (2:36 PM)
Will, You should have tossed out that question on the Jayson Stark chat! Seriously, since there hasn't been a Triple Crown-winning hitter since the 1960s -- and pitchers who lead the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts are rare -- I doubt we've ever seen that combination before.
All this WAR business is a joke. It is nothing more than a statistical analysis hypothesis that has no effective means of proving. Mathematics is an exact science, with the exception of statistics which usually have a +/- margin of error associated with it based on sample sizes.
Jerry Crasnick (2:38 PM)
Mike, I'm not a stat-head, but I see some value in WAR. That said, I'm very skeptical of WAR applied defensively. You're relying on video scouts watching games to input the information. I've just seen too many weird, inexplicable things (Russell Branyan rated as a better first baseman than Mark Teixeira) to trust it completely.
The Sane Madman (Nation of Greats) [via mobile]
How much of a...well...FOOL is Mike Quade for playing the likes of Jeff Baker faithfully to get as many wins he can in a disasterous season which was over in April basically? I've never seen such stupidity in my life. And can you tell Ricketts to hire Ben Cherington and move that clown Kenney out of the position of president and possibly bring in, you know, an actually baseball person? As you can tell, I'm disgusted with what's been going on with my team, more so because I called this exact nonsense after the 2008 playoff debacle when we simply had to win all our home games to reach the WS.
Jerry Crasnick (2:41 PM)
Dear Sane, I sense some anger in your post. Hey, if you're Mike Quade and you don't know how long you're going to be around, it's hard not to try and pad the win total. Tom Ricketts really does need to make a good GM hire to devise a long-term plan for that organization. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt as he contemplates his options.
Do you think Montero is going to be the DH/back-up catcher next year for the Yankees, or will he be the full-time DH, maybe playing firstbase twice a month?
Jerry Crasnick (2:42 PM)
Jim, The Yankees have so many aging, big money position players, I don't think Joe Girardi has room to give Montero 140 games at DH. He has to divvy ABs up among A-Rod, Teixeira, Jeter and the rest of the group. But if he's innovative enough, he can find plenty of ABs for Montero between DH, catcher and maybe a little first base here and there.
The Toronto Blue Jays are a frustrating team to cheer for. They seemingly are continually on the brink of taking the next step but never seem able to. Will 2012 by "the year" the Jays take this much talked about next step, or are Jays fans going to be perpetually mired in obscurity in the A.L. East?
Jerry Crasnick (2:44 PM)
Bill, Have faith. Alex Anthopoulos is doing a terrific job there, and he has a great supporting cast in the front office with Tony LaCava and the other Jays scouts. Unfortunately, I still don't think the Jays have enough pitching to contend in that division in 2012. But 2013? It could happen.
Jerry the Nats are finishing strong, do you see real pieces to the puzzle on the team right now in the young ones? (Peacock, Milone, Matheus, H.Rod, Desi, Espi, Ramos) Not forgetting Morse, Both Zimms, Stras etc
Jerry Crasnick (2:46 PM)
Bernie, I went down there for a couple of games against the Phillies, and there's a real positive vibe swirling around the Nats right now. You stick Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler in that rotation with some of their other young pieces, and they have reason to be optmistic. And sometime next year, you're going to start hearing about Bryce Harper. That's a franchise on the move.
The sane madman should be highly grateful that he does not have to watch Jim Tracy "Manage" the rockies on a daily basis!
Jerry Crasnick (2:46 PM)
Mike, If you've been watching the Rockies all summer long distance from West Virginia, you must be a glutton for punishment. Hang in there, buddy.
If the Braves and/or the Red Sox do manage to limp into the playoffs, sucking wind. Does the near total collapse of both affect their chances or is it rather the various deficiencies both have developed leading to those collapses, that will end in an early exit for both?
Jerry Crasnick (2:48 PM)
Kyle, I think it's the deficiencies, obviously. If the Red Sox hadn't lost Buchholz to injury and the Braves hadn't lost Hanson and Jurrjens, they probably wouldn't be in this position. I still think both clubs will hang on, but they really do need to play better baseball in the next week, or the mood isn't going to be too upbeat entering the playoffs.
I don't get all this Verlander MVP stuff. Cabrera is the 2nd best hitter in the AL having an awesome year. And he doesn't even get a mention. All I hear is Granderson, Bautista, Verlander and whatever Red Sox player that's on a hot streak. Why is there so little love for one of the best hitters in the game?
Jerry Crasnick (2:51 PM)
Jack, Miguel Cabrera is such a talented, consistent producer, I think people take his offense for granted -- and to be honest, he didn't help his reputation any with all the DUI-related business in the spring. And he's gotten a lot of help this year from Victor, Peralta, Avila & Co. But you're right: His name deserves to be somewhere in the MVP discussion. I think he finishes somewhere between 6th and 8th.
Jeff (Oak hill Ala)
Jerry with the Braves abundance of pitching do they move JJ this winter?
Jerry Crasnick (2:52 PM)
Jeff, They do have an abundance of pitching, but I think it would be tough given his injury problems this season. They would definitely be selling low on the guy.
Jeff (Oak hill Ala)
Jerry, who is the smartest baseball player in the game today?
Jerry Crasnick (2:53 PM)
Jeff, Great question. Ross Ohlendorf of the Pirates, a Princeton grad, gets mentioned a lot. But I would probably vote for A's reliever Craig Breslow, who studied molecular biophysics at Yale. Think that's a big topic of discussion in the A's bullpen each night?
How is it that playing half of the season in pitcher friendly Dodger Stadium supposedly hurts Kershaw's Cy Young chances, and yet it doesn't help Kemp's mvp chances. While playing in hitter friendly Miller Park with Fielder batting behind him doesn't hurt Braun?
Jerry Crasnick (2:55 PM)
Awards, I don't have a great, pithy answer for these questions, but they're legitimate points. These are definitely things that the astute Hall of Fame-Cy Young voter needs to take into consideration. (For what it's worth, I don't have a vote in either of those two categories this year).
Matt (St. Paul)
I know the "Twins Way" isn't to do a lot of firing...but how hot are the seats for Gardenhire and Smith after a disheartening season?
Jerry Crasnick (2:57 PM)
Matt, I don't think they're hot. Gardy's seat isn't even warm. And Bill Smith gave those big contracts to Mauer and Morneau with the backing of everybody in the organization. Nobody complained about the deals at the time, but the Twins were unfortunate that the health of both players went south. The Twins have a lot of work to do this winter, but I think they're going to write this off as just a horrible mess of a year.
Blue Jays (Backer)
Keith Law answered a question yesterday of jays next acquisition as naturally Logan Morrison (makes sense). Can he play a passable LF? Ceiling? and what would it take to acquire him?
Jerry Crasnick (2:59 PM)
Blue Jays Backer, Morrison fits the profile, but now that Alex Anthopoulos has plucked Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus from their previous employers, I think Toronto would have plenty of competition for him if the Marlins put him on the block. I think he's good enough in left field if he has an OBP close to .400 -- and to me, he's that kind of hitter. He really knows how to work an at-bat.
Steven (Orange County)
Why doesnt Matt Kemp get the attention he deserves in the national media, i would guess if one of the Yankees or Red Sox had a triple crown player like Matt Kemp they would have a trple crown daily watch and up to minute updates.
Jerry Crasnick (3:00 PM)
Steven, I just wrote a big piece on Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw that ran on ESPN.com for an entire day last week. I don't think Kemp is suffering from a lack of pub on ESPN or any other outlet.
Give Peace (A Chance)
Jerry, The difference in WAR between Ellsbury and Granderson is all you need to see how much WAR values its most unreliable element, defense. They have almost identical OBPs and Granderson has about 40 more points in SLG, but Ellsbuy has much higher WAR. Notably, the last time Ellsbury played a full year, most metrics rated Granderson an excellent defender and Ellsbury below average.
Jerry Crasnick (3:02 PM)
Give, That's my problem. There are just too many inexplicable variations from year to year. For several years we hear how much Derek Jeter stinks at shortstop. Then when everybody buys into that proposition, the advanced metrics say, "Wait a minute, he's not so bad." I just have a hard time coming to grips with that.
Connor (Los Angeles)
Does C.J. Wilson end up with the Rangers again next year? Losing cliff lee was like losing a hired gun, but would losing C.J. really hurt the Rangers prospects at taking the division next season?
Jerry Crasnick (3:04 PM)
Connor, I'm sure the Rangers will make a serious run at C.J. But given the lack of depth on the free agent starting market, they'll have plenty of competition. But he likes it there, and I'm sure the opportunity to keep working with Mike Maddux is a nice reason to consider staying in Texas. Ultimately, I'm sure it will depend on how crazy teams are about throwing big wads of cash at him. Isn't that always the case?
Jerry Crasnick (3:05 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everybody. I'm looking forward to a wild few days of baseball heading into the postseason. Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.