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 noon ET!
Jerry Crasnick (12:00 PM)
Hey folks, I can't provide anything as entertaining as the Bob Kraft-Vladimir Putin Super Bowl ring story, but I'll do my best to answer any and all baseball questions. Let's start the chat.
What kind of stats can we expect of Wil Myers?
Jerry Crasnick (12:01 PM)
Hey Steve, Longterm, I think we're looking at a .280, 30-homer, 100-RBI type bat. I talked to one scout who said, "He's not going to be a slam dunk All-Star every year, but he'll make some All-Star teams during his career." I'm thinking maybe a right-handed hitting Jay Bruce, with a little higher OBP. That's not bad at all.
Jerry what are you expecting out of Wheeler's debut tomorrow?
Jerry Crasnick (12:03 PM)
Money, The one thing I keep hearing is how confident Wheeler is, so I don't think he'll be fazed at all by the big league stage. And after pitching in the PCL, in Vegas, he's been tested already this season. I think he'll acquit himself nicely.
Jerry, where do you see Carlos Beltran playing next season? With Taveras waiting in the wings, I can't see the cards bringing him back.
Jerry Crasnick (12:06 PM)
Zack, Good question. Beltran has been in the NL for a decade, so I think he would prefer to stay there -- unless he's ready to DH more. And teams like the Braves, D-backs, Dodgers and Nats already have a bunch of outfielders. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking more about teams like the Reds (if they don't bring back Choo), the Pirates or Phillies. But I'm just spitballing ideas here. I'm sure he'll also be signing a short-term deal, which will help his appeal.
Did you see Josh Donaldson coming? Can he keep this up all year?Thanks for your time.
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Kirk, I really didn't see Donaldson coming, although he was very good after the All-Star break last year. If he maintains his patient approach at the plate, I think he can keep it up. He also plays with a lot of intensity, so Bob Melvin needs to keep an eye on him and rest him periodically whether he likes it or not.
Jerry, how much longer are the Nats going to keep the gopher ball machine Haren in the rotation before cutting their losses? He's clearly lost it and its practically an automatic loss when he pitches. Are they staying with him because of the $13 mil he makes or sheer stubbornness?
Jerry Crasnick (12:08 PM)
Jeremy, I'm sure Davey Johnson is sticking with Haren as long as he can, because he's a veteran and the Nats hope he can figure it out. What's the No. 1 alternative -- Ross Ohlendorf? As shaky as Haren has been, he's not the biggest problem with that team. They just can't score any runs.
Heard any concerns about Beachy's minor setback? You believe it's only a minor thing? Thanks
Jerry Crasnick (12:09 PM)
David, The Braves are saying it's just a minor setback, but Beachy still isn't even a year removed from his TJ surgery. I have my doubts about him coming back and making a huge contribution this year. He'll be better next spring.
John (Providence, RI)
Do you think there will come a time, when a pitcher wears some type of protective helmet on the mound?
Jerry Crasnick (12:11 PM)
John, I think we're talking about more of a lightweight protective insert than an actual helmet. As I mentioned in my Alex Cobb piece the other day, you don't want a piece of equipment that causes more problems than it solves. From what I've been told, pitchers aren't very enthusiastic about the headgear they've seen so far.
Rich (Sun Valley, ID)
The only thing worth looking forward to on Monday is on the air! Jerry, the Cardinal rotation seems to be coming back to Earth. I think Westbrook will be fine as will Lynn, but Lyons struggled again yesterday and the Marlins of all teams broke their remarkable 14 straight non-series loss streak. They have obviously been stretching out Carlos Martinez at AAA-is he the heir apparent to that rotation slot? Many thanks for your quality work....
Jerry Crasnick (12:13 PM)
Hey Rich, Hope all is well in Sun Valley. If the No. 5 starter is the Cardinals' biggest concern, they should be OK. They seem inclined to let the young kids progress in Memphis and look at the hot hand or just try organizational guys to fill that hole. Martinez obviously has a much higher upside than that long-term.
Eric (Pittsburgh, PA)
How worried should Yankee fans be about that offense moving forward? With Tex recently reinjuring that wrist, Vernon Wells coming back to earth, and having to play Hafner/Overbay/Nix fulltime?
Jerry Crasnick (12:15 PM)
Eric, It's probably more a case of "realistic" than concerned. How much can you really expect to get out of Wells, Hafner, Overbay and company? The Yankees need the "A team" to come back, as Brian Cashman calls it, and those guys are too aging or infirm to count on, as well. There's a reason why lots of people picked the Yanks to finish out of the playoff running this season.
Jerry it seems whoever get's the chance at Dodger's closing role takes a hit! Do Dodgers give Jansen some rope here to succeed before trying another approach?
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
Shaun, Yeah, I think Jansen will get plenty of rope. He has a 49-to-6 strikeout to walk ratio, and he has the best stuff out there in that pen. He's the guy for the foreseeable future (not that it matters much to the Dodgers' postseason hopes).
Kirk (Las Vegas)
Gerritt Cole's looked pretty good so far, but why do you think he's had such trouble striking people out? Isn't that a cause for concern?
Jerry Crasnick (12:18 PM)
Hey Kirk, He throws very hard and has an excellent changeup, but his breaking stuff is still a work in progress. I also talked to a scout last week who said he lacks deception and that hitters seem to see the ball coming out of his hand. He throws 96-100, which helps, but most MLB hitters can catch up to a heater if they get a good look at it.
Jerry, what do you think of Gerrit Cole's first 2 starts?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
John, Just so my last comment doesn't come across as overly negative, I'm impressed with what I've seen from Cole in his first two starts. He looks like a really competitive kid who's handling the pressure well. He has all the tools to be a front of the rotation guy. It's just tough to apply the finishing touches on this big a stage.
Hey Jerry, do you think the Mets should trade Dan Murphy & Bobby Parnell at the deadline? Based on this season, it looks like the Mets are years away from contending, and they would seem to have the most value of anyone on the major league roster.
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Dan, I don't think the Mets are in a position to turn up their nose at any trade scenario, unless it involves Matt Harvey or Zack Wheeler. (And they're not going to trade David Wright).
Chris (San Diego )
Is this run by the Padres legitimate? I'm hesitant to say yes because of their troubles on the road.
Jerry Crasnick (12:24 PM)
Chris, Bud Black and Darren Balsley do an amazing job with the pitching there, but I'm not sold that a rotation of Marquis, Volquez, Cashner, Richard and Stults is going to hold up all season. That said, Chase Headley is hitting .221 and they haven't gotten much out of Yasmani Grandal, and they're at .500. I don't think they'll make the playoffs, but they look like they'll be competitive and hang around a while.
Follow up on the Gerrit Cole questions,you said "He throws 96-100, which helps, but most MLB hitters can catch up to a heater if they get a good look at it." But in yesterday's game the Dodgers only had 1 or 2 well struck hits. All of the other hits were jam shots and infield hits.
Jerry Crasnick (12:25 PM)
John, I think that's more a reference to the fact that he only has 3 strikeouts in his two starts. With that kind of fastball, you'd think he would have more.
Ken (Palo Alto)
Tribe just finished a really tough stretch but they are still at .500 and eventually the schedule gets easier. Should Tribe fans be encouraged to believe or should we expect another collapse of epic proportions?
Jerry Crasnick (12:26 PM)
Ken, I think we're seeing that the Indians can be competitive against the average teams, but they don't have quite what it takes against the AL iron. Can they win 81-85 games? Sure, if the starting pitching holds up. But I don't think they're a playoff club.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Jerry, Which is the best division in MLB - NL West, where the last place team is 5 games out or AL Central, where the last place team is 7.5 out?
Jerry Crasnick (12:27 PM)
Hey Rich, The AL East is still pretty good, with four of five clubs sporting a positive run differential. But the NL West might be the most intriguing from top to bottom.
Jerry, what does the future hold for Tim Lincecum? Is he going to be better served in the bullpen going forward or does someone give him a shot as a starter to try and turn it around?
Jerry Crasnick (12:29 PM)
Alex, Lincecum seems comfortable pitching in relief, and gets more out of his stuff in that role. Problem is, he's going on the free agent market this winter, and it's tough to come off a $20 million deal and market yourself as a reliever. I suspect that his future will be determined more by how prospective suitors view him. They'll help determine his role.
Ken (Palo Alto)
But they took 2 out of 3 from both Texas and Washington, and they should have swept the Nats and they faced the Nat's top three starters while doing it. So maybe you are underestimating them a bit?
Jerry Crasnick (12:30 PM)
Ken, Texas has been struggling offensively without Kinsler and Moreland, and Washington has been terrible offensively all season, so I'm not quite sold.
Jerry, Baltimore has been plugging holes in the rotation for over a year, do you see them making a splash for a top end pitcher? If so, who might that be?
Jerry Crasnick (12:32 PM)
Mike, Jayson Stark quoted Ruben Amaro saying that he would prefer not to trade Cliff Lee, and Jake Peavy is injured. Do the Orioles make a run at Matt Garza or Yovani Gallardo? Those guys would help, but I'm not sure there's as big a splash out there to be made as Baltimore fans would prefer.
Jerry, do you think that Brian Sabean is an great GM? Its hard to argue with two world series rings... but seems like he has also made some pretty terrible moves too (such as trading Wheeler, zito contract, etc. etc.)
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Jeremiah, You can quibble with any GM's decisions. But if my team's general manager has provided two titles in three years, in this day and age, I'd be perfectly happy to kiss his (World Series) rings.
Tim (New York)
Jerry, How do you not have the NL Central as the best division? The top 3 teams in winning percentage are in the NL Central!! How is it not the best division?
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Tim, Yes, the NL Central should be mentioned in the discussion. But the Cubs are still in building mode, the Brewers are a disappointment this year, and let's wait another month or so on the Pirates before rendering definitive judgment on them.
Matt (Santa Barbara)
Over/under 2 Athletics in the All-Star game? In my mind there are 3-4 guys who could make an argument (Crisp, Donaldson, Colon, Balfour)
Jerry Crasnick (12:37 PM)
Matt, Jed Lowrie is also having a nice season. Balfour is probably the best bet to make it, and Colon will be in the discussion. I think it's going to be tough for Donaldson with Cabrera, Machado, Longoria and Beltre at third base.
Do you think Torii Hunter is a future Hall of Famer?
Jerry Crasnick (12:38 PM)
Jimmy, Torii Hunter is one of my favorite players in ball, but his top comps on Baseball-reference.com are Fred Lynn, Bobby Bonilla and Ruben Sierra. He's not quite there.
if the Tigers find a way to shore up their bullpen, where do you think that'd put them in MLB overall?
Jerry Crasnick (12:39 PM)
Ben, I picked them as the AL World Series team, and I still think they're the AL favorites. Dave Dombrowski still needs to address the bullpen, but he'll figure out something. (Whether that means Jonathan Papelbon or one of 10 other scenarios, I couldn't tell you right now).
Matthew (Pennsburg, PA)
Hi Jerry, what do you make of Cliff Lee's comments last week, saying he wants to play in Philadelphia, but he wants to play for a winner.
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Matthew, He signed on expecting to pitch alongside Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels and make another couple of World Series runs, and it's not turning out that way. So he's clearly frustrated. I don't think he's reached the stage of "completely disenchanted" yet, but he might be open to trade scenarios if Ruben Amaro decides to pull the plug.
Jimmy Fingers (Other country in North America(not Mex))
Blue Jays are coming on look out, how about some analysis? They playoff bound?
Jerry Crasnick (12:42 PM)
Jimmy, I think they put themselves in too deep a hole. They have a lot of teams to climb over yet.
Jerry, is there any chance Puig gets an all star game nod?
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Heath, I've seen this suggested, but I'm not buying it. I don't like the idea of giving the shaft to guys who are more deserving because one phenom has captured the imagination of baseball for two weeks. That's no knock against Puig, who's terrific. It's more a fairness issue.
Hey Jerry, I have a reporting question: how do you all (you, Buster, Schoenfield etc.) choose which games to watch on a given night? Are you typically focusing on one particular game or watching several?
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Jeremy, Great question. If I'm not at the park, I start out with whatever TV game catches my fancy. And I love to watch prospects make their debuts (Gerrit Cole, Zack Wheeler, Wil Myers, etc). Then I just channel-surf as the night progresses. Thank god for the MLB Extra Innings package. It's like oxygen for baseball fans.
If you had to pick the top three pitchers in the American League right now, who would they be?
Jerry Crasnick (12:47 PM)
Jimmy, Yikes, that's a tough one. I can never exclude Justin Verlander from the conversation. But Chris Sale, Hisashi Iwakuma, King Felix and Yu Darvish are all having amazing seasons. Sorry, that's five.
Hi Jerry, time to DFA Carlos Marmol?
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Matt, I'm not sure. But based on my reader responses, I'm not sure if there's a player in baseball now who angers his team's fan base more on a consistent basis. It might be worth it for the Cubs to keep Marmol around just to take the pressure off the other 24 guys.
Hello Jerry - what do you think of the suspensions coming out of the Dodgers/Diamondbacks brawl?
Jerry Crasnick (12:49 PM)
Andrew, I had a hard time keeping everything straight amid all that pushing and shoving. I do think MLB was justified in giving Ian Kennedy 10 games -- which is more than the garden variety discipline -- because that second pitch was right at Zack Greinke's head.
Tim (Kansas City)
What are your thoughts on the Kansas City Royals? Do you think we have a shot at a wild card? Hitting might be coming around finally!!!
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Tim, It's so weird: Two weeks ago everyone on the chat was saying Ned Yost should be fired. Now Royals fans are all fired up. I did talk to a scout the other day who said that team is "legit" and has a chance to challenge Detroit. People really like their rotation and the bullpen, and Eric Hosmer seems to be responding to George Brett. That's a great sign. I wouldn't count them out as a playoff contender.
Puig an All-Star? Come on. it's been 2 weeks! C Gomez, C Gonzalez, Hunter Pence! G Parra, S Choo, D Fowler, S Marte, D Brown more deserving.. just to name a few. Come on now.
Jerry Crasnick (12:52 PM)
JJ, That's my point exactly. Puig is creating a lot of excitement in baseball circles and he has star-quality talent. But making him an All-Star after two weeks seems way too gimmicky for my tastes.
Jerry, I saw "Man of Steel" yesterday, and at one point, the man was wearing a Royals t-shirt. Forshadowing?
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Rick, Hmm .. could be. Was it Rob Neyer or Rany Jazayerli? (SP)
Why is everyone so hateful on the mets celebrating a walk off home run? Yes the team is bad, but let them enjoy a big when they can... every team does it
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Micah, I didn't see the hate, but I agree with you. If anything, bad teams have more reason to celebrate walk-off wins than teams that do it all the time.
Charley (South Bend)
What do you think of Rick Porcello's improvements so far? Take away his one bad start in LA, his ERA's at a 3.26. Do you think he can keep it up all year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Charley, We've been waiting for things to click in with Porcello for several years. The kid was talented enough to be a first-round pick, and he's always had the physical skills to be good. Kudos to the Tigers for hanging onto him while the trade speculation was running rampant. It looks as if he's starting to "get" it.
Jerry, Kevin Gausman has had some good and some bad outings. What's his ceiling / where do you project him in the rotation.
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
Hey Mike, I'm always cautious about christening someone as future "staff ace," but baseball people think Gausman is going to be a very good big leaguer. He just got knocked around in his first callup. If he's mentally strong enough, he'll get through it and be much better next time.
Jose Reyes beginning a rehab assignment this week it looks like, Jerry. Toronto is surging and although they dug a deep hole... just think how scary the lineup could look again in a week's time w/ Lind hitting, too.. Reyes, JoeyBats, Edwin, Lind..etc!
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
JJ, Hey, I picked them as a playoff team, so I'm not discounting the possibility. I just think it's going to be tough to climb back from 8 1/2 games out in that division. I wouldn't get too carried away over a five-game win streak.
Got any thoughts on JJ Hardy? For the last few years, he has to maybe be the most under appreciated infielder in the AL, though he is now the leading SS vote getter.
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
Jack, When you talk to Buck Showalter and the O's players, it's amazing how much respect they have for JJ Hardy and the way he plays the game. The only knock against him (and it's legit) is his poor on base percentage. But he gives you power, very reliable defense and lots of intangibles. He's an underappreciated guy.
Rangers just got destroyed in 4 straight at home. I'm starting to get worried Jerry. Should I be?
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Chris, The Rangers people think they'll turn it around eventually. They're just going through a rough stretch offensively with some of their big bats out of the lineup. I think they'll be OK.
The Pirates are a completely different team then last year. If you look at the pitching staff top to bottom they are one of the best in baseball. Right now only one of the starters from the opening day rotation are still in the rotation, Jeff Locke. AJ Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, and James McDonald are all on the DL. When you get AJ, and Wandy back the rotation (if healthy) looks like this -AJ, Wandy, Locke, Liriano, and Cole. And the BP is 7th in the league in era, and if the Pirates are winning going into the 8th the game is over. Melancon (1.05) and Grilli (0.88)have been unstoppable in the 8th and 9th. I know the offense is very suspect but they are improving, Cutch is getting hot and Pedro Alvarez is actually producing. Are you buying in yet?
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Hey Dom, I'm posting this email as a reward for your persistence (and a nod to your enthusiasm after two decades of losing). I'll let your note speak for itself.
Jimmy Fingers (Other country in North America(not Mex))
Jerry they have the best record in the AL since May 4, the Blue jays do so we are not carried away about a 5 game winning streak it is alot longer. 22 and 15 since then.
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
Hey Jimmy, As I mentioned, I picked them to make the postseason, so I'm not fighting you. For what it's worth, that team has had just about everything in the world go wrong. Adding Reyes to that lineup will be huge. His absence hurt them in a lot of ways.
jerry with Wacha/Gausman getting shots at starting, and then sent down, do you believe Mets will stick with Wheeler for remainder of season?
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Herm, I guess it depends on how well Wheeler pitches, obviously. Teams don't call up these prospects with the idea they're going to fail and require another trip to the minors. But you never know how a kid is going to react until he arrives.
Is it just me, or has the last few seasons worth of rookies been ridiculous? I can't remember the last time so many rookies came up fit right into a big league team.
Jerry Crasnick (1:05 PM)
We've seen some good ones, Brian. It has to make you very excited for the future of the game. Kids like Harper, Trout, Puig et al have star appeal as well as talent. Sometimes I wish baseball would do a better job of marketing them.
Speaking of the Orioles, how long can they keep rolling Ryan Flaherty out there with that sub .200 average and expect to remain in contention?
Jerry Crasnick (1:07 PM)
Jay, Ryan Flaherty is a fellow Portland, Mainer, so I have a hard time embracing that thought. It's my sentiment talking -- even though I went to Portland High School and he went to our arch-rival, Deering.
Jerry Crasnick (1:07 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everybody. Sorry I couldn't get to more. Let's do it again next week.