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 noon ET!
Jerry Crasnick (12:00 PM)
Hey folks, We have some more pivotal action coming up this weekend as the races keep getting hotter. It should be a lot of fun to watch. Let's start the chat.
Jerry, I'm a 46 year-old lifelong Pirates fan and I still can't convince myself that they will hold off the Nats for the wildcard spot. 20 years of losing will do that to you. Convince me that the 99% playoff chance is accurate. And when will the Nats lose another game?
Jerry Crasnick (12:02 PM)
Tim, Climb down off the ledge. The Pirates are going to make the playoffs. This is a nice, symbolic late run for the Nats, but it began too late to matter. The Nats still have three games left with the Braves and finish the season with a road trip to St. Louis and Arizona, so they're not going to be able to sustain this.
Do you see any Red Sox earning top-5 MVP consideration? They have the best record in baseball, but apart from Uehara and perhaps Papi, they haven't had any real standouts.
Jerry Crasnick (12:04 PM)
Tommy, You may be right. With Miggy, Chris Davis, Trout and Robby Cano (among others) having big seasons, the Red Sox probably won't place anyone in the top 5. They might sneak a guy or two into the top 10. I don't think Red Sox fans care too much about that in the end, do they?
Baseball question - who is more likely to have the better 2014 - Wacha or Gausman? How about long term?
Jerry Crasnick (12:05 PM)
Mitch, Based on this year, Wacha seems more ready to make a significant contribution in 2014. My Baseball America Prospect Handbooks say Gausman is a No. 2 and Wacha is more a mid-rotation guy, so I'm not quite sure about the longterm impact they'll have.
Dave (Kcmo )
Jerry do you think that the royals are a team that has a chance to be good for the long haul? Thanks for the great work.
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Dave, Well, James Shields has one more year left on his contract and Ervin Santana is a free agent this winter, so that has to temper the long-term outlook. They have a nice foundation of position players, but is there enough pitching to sustain a long-term run? I'm dubious about that at the moment.
David (Daytona Beach,Fla.)
Word is we might see D.Wright and Dom Brown next week. Your thoughts on that situation! Thanks
Jerry Crasnick (12:08 PM)
David, Yep, Dom Brown says his heel is close to 100 percent, and David Wright is running the bases and continues to make progress. Barring a setback, I suspect we'll see them both for 10 days or so to close out the season.
Does Derek Jeter come back next year and play SS or a different role? Can he get by Hornsby on the hits list before he ends his career?
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Todd, If it were anyone but Derek Jeter, I'd say no chance. He has a strong will and I'm sure he's determined to go out on his terms. That said, can anyone realistically expect him to play a competent big league shortstop at age 40 after missing an entire season? And I just can't envision a different role for him. Is he going to move to the outfield or third base at age 40 and risk embarrassing himself? I just can't see that.
You think Indians will make playoffs this year?
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Keith, The Indians have come up short in so many big series this season, I don't think they're going to get there. But with the cupcake sked they have the rest of the way (White Sox, Astros, Twins, etc), the door is open. They have no one to blame but themselves if they fail to make it.
G. Adams (parts unknown)
Who has the best beard in the majors?
Jerry Crasnick (12:13 PM)
G. Adams, Mike Napoli in the American League. Jayson (the Werewolf) Werth in the National.
Does it annoy you when a broadcaster says, "He's only a TRIPLE away from hitting for the cycle!"?
Jerry Crasnick (12:13 PM)
Marv, Yes, I do!
W. Middlebrooks (Boston)
I've got a .961 OPS with six homers and 16 RBIs since being recalled from Pawtucket. Is this the real me?
Jerry Crasnick (12:14 PM)
Wil, It's closer to the real you than the guy who was so bad for the first half of this season. It has to help that you're hitting in the middle of that lineup. Pitchers have to be exhausted by the time your spot in the order rolls around.
Despite the recent struggles, do you think the Rays will hold on to make the playoffs? And if they do, do you think they have what it takes to make a run to the World Series?
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
Patrick, I have a lot of respect for Joe Maddon and that franchise, but no, I don't think they're going to make it. They're last in the AL with 32 runs this month, and if Myers or Longoria aren't hitting, they can't win. Based on what I've seen lately, I also don't have much faith in Peralta or Rodney at the back end of the bullpen. The Rays and Orioles have left the door open for the Yankees, and I think they're both going to pay for it.
Jerry, what are your thoughts on Corey Kluber?
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
BG, I've been pretty impressed with what I've seen from him this year. He has good control and he really competes. He's probably a 4-5 starter in the long run, but he has a chance to pitch a long time and make some $$ before he's done.
Stuart (Brooklyn, NY)
L'Shana Tova and all the best Jerry! Do the Yankees make the playoffs? Have an easy fast tomorrow!
Jerry Crasnick (12:19 PM)
Stuart, Happy New Year to you as well. After the way things have shaken out lately in the AL East, yes, I do think the Yankees are going to make the playoffs. Baltimore and Tampa both look fried to me. I think Kansas City and Cleveland are bigger threats to the Yankees than the other two AL East teams are.
Ryan Zimmerman's throwing issues have seem to have subsided after a shaky start. Think he stays long term (meaning 3-4 years) at 3B?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Matt, I wouldn't be surprised if the Nats move Zimmerman to first once Adam LaRoche's contract is up. The question is, does Anthony Rendon move to third or stay at second? Either way, the Nats are going to have an IF hole to address.
Dan (New York)
The AL Wild Card race is crazy, any chance Texas misses out?
Jerry Crasnick (12:21 PM)
Dan, The Rangers are going through a rough time right now, but I think they hang on. The AL East teams are going to spend the next two weeks beating up on each other. I think only one team other than Boston will make it from that division.
Do you see a Justin Mourneau return to MN after this season? That's what I've heard around the rumor mill.
Jerry Crasnick (12:23 PM)
Pat, Quite honestly, I have a hard time seeing that. Justin Morneau isn't the same player that he was during his MVP season in 2006. The Twins had a hard enough time cutting the cord once because of all that accrued sentiment. I can't see them bringing him back and having to do it all over again in a couple of years.
Zach (Merrimack NH)
With Jeter going to the DL, can the yankees replace him on the post season roster with Brenan Ryan, or is he still limited to the regular season?
Jerry Crasnick (12:24 PM)
Zach, I believe that Brendan Ryan will not be eligible for the postseason because he was acquired by the Yankees after August 31.
Jerry if can look into your crystal ball, which team that has struggled or disappointed this season has a turnaround next season and contends?
Jerry Crasnick (12:25 PM)
Mike, The Nationals are already beginning their turnaround, a little too late for this season. They have a strong young pitching rotation, and I can see Bryce Harper coming back healthy and having a monster season in 2014. He'll be very motivated.
Hey Jerry, the Mets have gone from having a glimmer of hope earlier this summer to being downright painful to watch. With that said, do you get the feeling that they are farther away from competing than they originally thought? They are going to have to buy or trade for a whole new offense!
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
James, Other than David Wright, that's pretty much correct. Travis d'Arnaud hasn't shown much at the plate, and Ike Davis' regression has really hurt. Sandy Alderson does have some money to play with, but it's a weak free agent crop, and I'm not sure how excited the Mets are about overpaying for a bat. They're still recovering from the Jason Bay contract.
Rich (Sun Valley ID)
Jerry, I played some baseball and I don't understand how analysts come up with rotation ranking designations such as you just did with Michael Wacha. Can you explain please?
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Rich, It's nothing scientific. But when you look at certain guys' stuff or body type (Verlander, Felix, etc)., it's easy to project them as No. 1s and 2s. Sneaky finesse guys tend to slot toward the back end, and the rest are in the middle. Occasionally you'll get a staff like Atlanta's with three No. 1s in Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz. That helps explain how the Braves won 14 straight division titles.
Neal (Montgomery Al)
Why did Rivera get a win yesterday and not a save?
Jerry Crasnick (12:33 PM)
Neal, We received an email from the crack ESPN Stats & Info department this morning explaining the decision. Basically, the official scorer has the discretion not to give a pitcher a victory when he's been "ineffective in a brief appearance." That was the Baltimore official scorer's determination with Robertson. He elected to give the win to Rivera instead.
Albrix (Jacksonville, FL)
Jerry, who do YOU think should win NL ROY?
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Albrix, I actually have a vote in the NL ROY race this year, so I'm going to be pondering it closely. Right now it's hard to look past Jose Fernandez, but it's been a great and deep crop, with Puig, Shelby Miller, Ryu, Teheran and Trevor Rosenthal among the pitchers have big debut seasons. I'll know better once I parse all the numbers (and talk to the local beat writers and broadcasters).
Will Girardi get your MOY vote?
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Mick, It really depends on how the wild card race goes. Terry Francona is also solidly in the mix. And John Farrell just might blow everyone away. Let's not forget that the Red Sox won 69 games a year ago, and not too many people were picking them to win the AL East way back in spring training.
Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)
What is your prediction for the World Series? Are the Dodgers the favorite at this point?
Jerry Crasnick (12:37 PM)
Mike, The Dodgers are the favorites in the NL, and Boston is the favorite in the AL. We'll see if that changes with events, injuries, etc., over the next couple of weeks. The Dodgers better hope this Hanley Ramirez hammy is just a temporary blip and nothing major.
Drew (Thorndale PA)
Jerry, when do you think the Phillies will be in contention again? I miss our star studded rotation!!!
Jerry Crasnick (12:38 PM)
Drew, Unfortunately for Phillies fans, I think they're set up to be a .500-caliber team for the foreseeable future. If Ryan Howard comes back and hits 50 HRS next year, that could change.
Dan Uggla. Is he starting at 2B in playoffs? Or left off the roster?
Jerry Crasnick (12:39 PM)
Tim, I can't see the Braves leaving Uggla off the postseason roster entirely. But Fredi Gonzalez has some hard choices to make with both Uggla and B.J. Upton.
Jerry is this the beginning of the end for the Giants or was this season an off year and they get back to their winning ways in 2014?
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Tim, Brian Sabean and his group are always hard to discount, but the Giants have some tough questions in the offseason. They still have Posey, Cain, Bumgarner and Sandoval, to name a few, and that's a strong foundation. But they face big decisions on Pence and Lincecum. And they'll have a lot to contend with given the talent and payroll in Los Angeles.
Magdee (Chicago, IL)
Thoughts on Matt Adams? Everyday First Baseman?
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Magdee, I'd sure like to see what he can do with 500-550 at-bats. He should be able to hit 30-35 homers in his sleep. It seems to me that Carlos Beltran's short-term future will have a big impact on Adams and his opportunities.
Colin (Vail, CO)
Jerry, die-hard A's fan here. In your honest opinion, are we a legitimate contender to represent the AL in the World Series? My gut is telling me we're Promised Land bound the way our offense/pitching is peaking right now. Thoughts?
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Colin, That A's team has something special going on. Last year I thought it might be flukey, but they're legit. If they don't make a deep run this year, people in Oakland will have legitimate cause to be disappointed.
Danny (Oakland Hills)
Is Mark Trumbo a beardless, tall version of Mike Napoli?
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Danny, Actually, Mike Napoli is a hairier, stockier version of Mark Trumbo.
Very discouraged White Sox fan here. Is there any hope for this team and is Rick Hahn the right guy to fix a terrible farm system?
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Ike, They're a mess right now, and it's going to take a while, but Rick Hahn is a sharp guy. They can turn it around, but it's going to take at least a couple of years given the lack of talent in the pipeline. White Sox fans -- like Cubs fans -- are about to learn the importance of patience.
Jerry any word on when Mets will shut down Wheeler for season?
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Ethan, From what I'm seeing and reading, Wheeler has at least a couple more starts left. It's September 13 now. Maybe he sits out his final start, but that appears to be it.
H. Pence (San Francisco, CA)
Hi Jerry. Where will I be next season?
Jerry Crasnick (12:49 PM)
Hunter, I think you wind up back in San Fran. If the Giants let you go, they're just going to have to plunge into the market and sign another power-hitting outfielder. Why not just keep the guy they already know?
Jerry, I haven't seen a lot of Andrelton Simmons and was wondering if he's as legit on defense as so many claim?
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Jason, He's extraordinary. I talked to Fredi Gonzalez about him when the Braves were in Philly last week. "People always ask me what's the best play I've seen him make," Fredi said. "I tell them, 'The next one."'
Charles (San Jose)
Who are the Diamondbacks going to run off this winter for not being part of the Gibson cult of personality?
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Charles, Who's left to run off?
Is Andrew McCutchen the NL MVP?
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Nick, Yeah, I think so. Paul Goldschmidt has probably had the best season, but the voters aren't going to go for him given where Arizona will finish in the standings. McCutchen's numbers aren't overwhelming. But the Pirates are a great story, and he's their best player. I think he's the guy.
Stephen (Duluth, Ga)
Hi Jerry, I hope all is well. I see and totally understand all the talk of how the Braves fared against elite starting pitching. I would also like to see how the other playoff teams have fared against elite starters as well. I would assume numbers may be similar. We shall see. I really enjoy your work.
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Thanks, Stephen. A lot of Braves fans were upset when I wrote that story talking about their flaws and how they might be tough to overcome in the postseason. But I was basically expressing the sentiment of a lot of scouts and people in the industry. You make a good point that most teams don't fare well against elite pitching. But the Braves have so many big strikeout guys with holes, they're easier to pitch than a lot of lineups.
Hello Mr.Crasnick, hope you are well. It sure has been a disappointing season(as usual) for the M's. It is really getting old and it's hard to see who the real keepers are on this team. I always hoped that Smoak and Ackley would figure it out, and they have for short stints. But do you think they are building on? Thanks for your insight.
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Tak, Smoak is having an OK season, but Ackley continues to be a disappointment, and I'm not sure how much hope there is long-term for Jesus Montero. The Mariners can try to cobble together an offense, but if the young guys (other than Kyle Seager) don't produce more, it's hard to see them taking a big step forward in that division.
Luke (Newcastle, Australia)
G'day Jerry, what do you think the solution is to the Braves offseason catcher problems? They've found themselves in a very delicate situation, given Gattis's poor defence, Christian Bethancourt's poor offence, and Brian Mccan's potential contract
Jerry Crasnick (12:58 PM)
Luke, I checked, and Christian Bethancourt has 12 homers and a .436 slugging percentage in Double-A as a 21-year-old. That doesn't seem too bad to me. He's a defensive wiz, so if he can come close to that kind of production in the big leagues, he'll be fine. I do think the chances are good that Brian McCann signs with an AL team this offseason, so the Braves will be turning over the catching position in 2014.
Lorenzo (Hialeah, FL)
I believe the Marlin's have one of the best scouting & farm systems in baseball. Look at their young players. What are your thoughts on this
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
Lorenzo, Let's put it this way. With Jose Fernandez, Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison, Adeiny Echevarria, Yelich and some of their other young talent -- along with a miniscule payroll -- the Marlins are in a good position to take a big step forward in the next couple of years. I'd much rather be in their situation than, say, Toronto's.
Ken (Palo Alto)
Mainly the Indians have come up small against the Detroit Tigers - with an occasional flop to a contender thrown in here and there. But against all above .500 teams not named the Detroit Tigers, the Indians are almost a .500 team. It's their epic failure against Detroit that has really sunk them.
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Hey Ken, They did well against the AL West clubs, but they're 2-12 against Boston and the Yankees as well. So it's not only Detroit.
Martin (New York, NY)
Not that I'm complaining because I'm a Yankees fan, but how on earth does Jim Johnson still have the closer's job?
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
Martin, I'm sure a lot of Orioles fans are asking the same question. Jim Johnson is a standup guy and he competes. But at this point, everybody on that team has to be antsy when he enters a game with a late lead. The same applies to Fernando Rodney in Tampa Bay. I wouldn't have much faith in either of those guys down the stretch.
What does you AL MVP ballot look like and why?
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Joseph, I don't have an MVP ballot for real. But I think Miguel Cabrera would have to be at the top for what he's meant to that Detroit team all season. Mike Trout will get some support and Chris Davis will as well, I'm sure.
Is Freddie Freeman a top 3 MVP or even the winner?
Jerry Crasnick (1:05 PM)
Tim, He's in the top four or five, but I don't see Freeman as NL MVP.
Rich (Sun Valley ID)
Jerry, the Cards will resign Beltran. They have the cash, and Taveras will have to begin the season at AA due to his injuries this year, Just sayin'......
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Yep, Rich. Taveras' injury issues did put a new slant on Beltran's status. The question is, how much money will he want, and is he willing to accept a reduced role in a year or two? Also, Beltran might be chasing a Hall of Fame spot soon. I think he's going to at least consider AL teams, where he'll have an opportunity to DH as well as play the outfield.
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Thanks for the great questions, everybody. It was fun. Let's do it again soon.