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 everybody. What a week ahead of us, starting with the Rays-Rangers game tonight in Arlington. It's going to get crazy soon. Let's start the chat.
Alex (Albany , NY)
What will the dodgers outfield look like in the braves series or until Eithier is back , and are they in trouble because of the absence of Matt Kemp ?
Jerry Crasnick (12:01 PM)
Alex, They'd love to have Ethier back for the Atlanta series, but that's starting to look like a longshot. The best guess right now is that Skip Schumaker will be playing center field. Not the best option, but it's better than putting Puig out there. Kemp's loss could hurt more defensively than offensively.
Who will start for TB if they play Wed? For TX?
Jerry Crasnick (12:03 PM)
Doug, I think the Rays would go with Alex Cobb. That sets up nicely for them, since he's been their best pitcher of late. Ron Washington will probably go with Matt Garza, although Alexi Ogando would also be on full rest. Ogando could be a handy guy to have around over the next few days because of his experience in the bullpen.
Matt (Nothern VA)
I look forward to everyone at ESPN (save Karabell) picking against Atlanta every round of the postseason. Come on...The Dodgers have two elite pitchers pitchers and one very good one. That's it. Who, in there their lineup, would you take over Freddie Freeman? How about Jason Heyward? Justin Upton? Brian McCann? Atlanta is a consistently better and deeper team that plays in a tougher division. Braves in 4.
Jerry Crasnick (12:05 PM)
Hey Matt, That's the thing: The Dodgers have two elite pitchers and a very good one. Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran have the ability to pitch very well in October, but Atlanta's rotation doesn't quite stack up with LA's. I think that's the main reason why most people will be going with the Dodgers.
Ken (Palo Alto)
Justin Masterson: Tribe 2013 playoff run :: Tim Linceum: 2012 Giants playoff run?
Jerry Crasnick (12:06 PM)
Ken, He has the potential to be a big weapon out there, and he came along at just the right time given Chris Perez's struggles. I just have the hard time making that Masterson-Lincecum link yet, given that Cleveland could be one-and-done in the wild card. Get back to me in a week.
Matt (Mountain View, CA)
Jerry, Oakland's chances vs Detroit? Will this series be different than last years?
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Matt, Hey, it went down to the wire last year and Detroit barely squeaked by with Justin Verlander pitching at a much higher level than he is now. The A's have a very real chance to beat the Tigers and advance, particularly with Miguel Cabrera's power being sapped by that abdomen injury.
Jerry what are your thoughts on the Hunter Pence deal? What will this do to the price for Ellsbury and Choo?
Jerry Crasnick (12:08 PM)
Jeff, Most people I talked to were surprised that Hunter Pence got that much $$. I'm sure Scott Boras, the agent for both Ellsbury and Choo, was taking notes. The price for both those guys just went up.
Brian (Fort Wayne)
Why did SF give Pence so much money? Was he really going to get $18MM/year from anyone else?
Jerry Crasnick (12:10 PM)
Brian, A lot of people expected Pence to re-sign with the Giants, but I was thinking more 4 years and $56-60 million than 5 years and $90 million. At this point, I guess we should never be surprised when a guy gets a bigger deal than everyone is predicting for him.
Jerry, just to correct a meme I've been hearing all day today: "The Indians can't beat over-.500 teams." In reality, the Indians couldn't beat the Tigers, Red Sox and Yankees; they went a combined 6-27 against those teams, but went 30-27 against all their other over-.500 opponents. Of course, the road to the WS goes through Boston, and maybe Detroit as well, but I feel like people are selling the Tribe short by acting like they only beat weak teams.
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Steve, I give the Indians credit for the way they finished, but 6-27 is still 6-27. They absolutely clobbered the bottom feeders, and there's nothing wrong with that. But it has to make you wonder how they'll fare if they face Boston or Detroit in the postseason, since both of those teams wore them out during the regular season.
Who do you like tomorrow in Pittsburgh? I was very disappointed in how the Reds played over the weekend.
Jerry Crasnick (12:13 PM)
Alex, It's pretty tough to pick the Reds after the way they finished (and they were my preseason World Series pick). They look like a team that's going out there waiting for something bad to happen. That's not a good mindset to have approaching the playoffs.
Hot stove league is starting. Besides a new manager with an ability to inspire young players, what do you believe the Nationals should do? I struggle to say they need anything other than lefties out of bullpen and big bench bat or two that make contact - they still got 4 strong young pitchers with Detwiler returning - no reason not to stay with Haren other than money and holding a young minor league arm back - thoughts
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
PJ, I assume the Nationals are looking at it the same way given that they finished so strong. Look at the construction of their roster and there are a ton of key young players (Harper, Strasburg, Zimmermann, Desmond, Gio et al) and big ticket contract guys like Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. I see more tweaks than a major overhaul. The managerial decision is the biggest one they'll face in the offseason. I keep hearing Matt Williams' name on that front.
Do Price or Stanton get traded this offseason?
Jerry Crasnick (12:16 PM)
Dave, My guess is no, because the price would be so exorbitant. But that doesn't mean the rumors won't start percolating after the World Series.
Jerry, I was hoping ou had some insight into John Lackey's contract. I believe he under contract next year for around 16M, and because he missed a whole season due to injury, there is a club option of about $500K for 2015. A very reasonable 2 year 17M deal for the way he's pitched this year. I was wondering, if he gets raded, would his new team have the option for that $500K year or is that only for the Sox? ould be a pretty good trading chip if he was a 2 years for about 17M. Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (12:18 PM)
Mike, Yep, but those same contract considerations also make him valuable to the Red Sox. Unless he's blocking a couple of young starters who can give them 200 innings, there's no great rush for them to move him that I can see. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. (Cliche alert).
Bob (San Diego)
Hey Jerry, which playoff team has the best rotation? who has the best lineup? best bullpen?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Bob, Good question. Best rotation to me is the Tigers in the American League and the Dodgers in the National. Best lineup is Boston. There are a lot of good bullpens out there. Atlanta's, obviously, with Kimbrel at the end.
Now that the season is over, which team was the biggest disappointment in your mind? Giants, Angels, Blue Jays are 3 that come to mind.
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Fred, I would have to rate them Angels #1 and Blue Jays #2, but Washington might be the biggest disappointment of all given the preseason hype. I'm not so sure the Giants are a huge disappointment given that they've won 2 of the last 3 World Series and it would have been tough for them to maintain that level of pitching excellence again. Phillies were also a big disappointment.
Will B (Bozeman, MT)
sorry jerry but you are wrong on the best lineup, best lineup is the cardinals, even without craig, and especially when beltran morphs into postseason hulk beltran
Jerry Crasnick (12:23 PM)
Will, The Cardinals do have an excellent lineup. But I think the loss of Craig will hurt, and they hit .330 or thereabouts with runners in scoring position during the regular season. Can they maintain anything close to that in October?
Jerry, in your opinion, should Chris Perez even be on the Indians playoff roster? He seems to have lost all confidence, and what's the point of keeping a guy who you can't trust in anything but a blowout? Better to have a Matt Carson or Jose Ramirez for pinch-running/defense, right?
Jerry Crasnick (12:25 PM)
Steve, I'm sure we'll get a better feel for the Chris Perez situation today or maybe tomorrow. But you're right: He's just taking a roster spot up now, because there's no way they can pitch them in a high leverage situation. And what's the point of keeping a mopup guy who can only throw 20-25 pitches? It's not as if he's going to be able to transition to long relief.
Is MLB going to do anything about the embarrassment that is the Astros? Not only do they become the first team to have the worst record 3 years in a row but their obvious strategy to tank is impacting the playoffs. Rangers went 17-2 against them this season. Having them in your division is the gift that keeps on giving.
Jerry Crasnick (12:26 PM)
Ivan, Yes, we've heard quite a bit about that of late, with good reason. But I will say the Astros aren't going to be that big an embarrassment for long, with kids like Appel, Correa and George Springer in their system.
Bob (San Diego)
Hey Jerry, Thanks for doing these great chats. Who does MLB want to see in the Series for $$ purposes and ratings?
Jerry Crasnick (12:28 PM)
Bob, Baseball would probably love a Red Sox-Dodgers series for TV ratings. Personally speaking (and I'm being honest about this), reporters just like good stories. I would get an enormous kick out of covering a Pirates-Indians World Series, although I'm not sure how riveted America would be by that prospect. Oakland is a fun team to cover. So are Tampa Bay and Atlanta. I just want to see close series and entertaining baseball.
When the Royals start next season, do you buy Ervin Santana staying on the team? If not, do you think Ventura, Zimmer or both replace him in the rotation?
Jerry Crasnick (12:29 PM)
Rick, The KC people I've spoken with don't seem very optimistic about retaining Ervin Santana. This might be his one big shot at chasing a lucrative free agent deal, and he's going to test the market. That'll probably drive the price beyond the Royals' comfort level. KC is going to have to strike gold with a young pitcher or two in the system to maintain this momentum they're building.
Jerry, although the Reds looked uninterested over the last four games, stastically how realistic is it for the Pirates to be able to beat the Reds in 4 straight?
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Tom, Statistically it's not great, but the odds don't measure the vibe in a team's clubhouse. The Reds just don't seem as if they're in a very good place right now. But if they go into Pittsburgh and win, that could obviously change the dynamic in a hurry.
Tyler Smith (Atlanta, GA)
Dan Uggla was the worst hitter and defensive second baseman in the league and has lost his starting job two seasons in a row. Do the Braves enter 2014 with him penciled into the everyday lineup again? Or do they make a move in the offseason?
Jerry Crasnick (12:32 PM)
Tyler, The Braves have to figure out what they're doing with both BJ Upton and Dan Uggla this offseason. Atlanta doesn't have enough $$ to just give up on those guys and swallow the cost of their contracts. But if they're going to trade BJ Upton, they'd probably have to pick up most of the $60 million they still owe him. Not a pleasant situation for Frank Wren & Co.
Will B (Bozeman)
So the cubs file Sveum? that seems really unfair considering the front office gutted the roster and gave him nothing to work with, and this is coming from a cards fan!
Jerry Crasnick (12:34 PM)
Will B, I think it's because kids like Rizzo and Starlin Castro failed to progress this season. Sveum needed to keep developing the young talent on the roster while the Cubs build toward the future. When the manager loses touch with young players, you know who's going to get whacked, right? It's not the players.
Tony the J (Decatur, IL)
Do the Cardinals try for David Price this winter? They have plenty to trade, I think. Thanks.
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Tony, With Wainwright in the rotation followed by Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha and Joe Kelly, the Cardinals are awash in young, affordable pitching. They might try to add a veteran innings eater, but I don't see John Mozeliak making a play for Price.
Brian (Fort Wayne)
Isn't the market for Cano very small since most clubs are done giving out 30+ yr old's 10 yr deals?
Jerry Crasnick (12:37 PM)
Brian, That appears to be the case. Cano and his new rep, Jay-Z, have also sent out strong signals that he wants to stay in NY because of the marketing opportunities. That undercuts his leverage as far as I can see. If other teams know he's just using them to push the Yankees to raise their offer, how inclined will other clubs be to jump into the bidding?
Joel (Washington, DC)
Re Tom in Cincy's question: if the Reds beat the Pirates it will be because Cueto outpitches Liriano, which is certainly possible. Games won in a row has nothing to do with it. The Pirates won four in a row against the Cardinals at PNC earlier this season.
Jerry Crasnick (12:38 PM)
Joel, Yep, that's really what it comes down to -- that day's starting pitcher. Johnny Cueto is good enough to pitch a gem under ordinary circumstances, but it's a lot to ask given that he spent most of this season on the DL.
Any of the young guys the Twins rolled out at SP this year have any upside? Or are they all destined to be back of the rotation guys?
Jerry Crasnick (12:39 PM)
Matt, Minnesota's pitching is a mess. They need Vance Worley to come back next year, and kids like Trevor May and Alex Meyer to show something. I can't see any front-of-the-rotation options on that roster as things stand right now.
Larry Scantland (Arvada, CO)
How is ESPN going to cope with a post season that does not include the New York Yankees... they had the most appearances on ESPN this year... as the marketing arm for the Yankees will you be recruiting Yankee staff and management to comment on air... to fill the void that ESPN does not get to promote the Yankees...
Jerry Crasnick (12:40 PM)
Hi Larry, I think we'll get by. Thanks for the concern, though.
collinsville alabama [via mobile]
Will the red sox go al the way to w.s.
Jerry Crasnick (12:41 PM)
Collinsville, I suspect that the Red Sox will be favored by a lot of people. But they'll face a gauntlet to get there. Detroit's starting pitching is off-the-charts good. I wouldn't sleep on Oakland, and Texas really seems to have gotten a second wind. It's going to be a fun month in the AL.
Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)
Can the Dodgers still win the World Series without Kemp and Ethier?
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
Mike, It's going to increase the difficulty of winning 3 series if Skip Schumaker is their regular center fielder. Let's see what happens with Ethier. I'm sure they're hoping to get him back for the ALCS if he misses the Atlanta series. The Braves are going to prevent a big enough challenge as it is.
Hello Jerry, do you agree with the Mets' decision to bring Terry Collins back for two more years?
Jerry Crasnick (12:45 PM)
Dan, I do. Terry Collins has dealt with a lot of obstacles and done a very good job since he's joined the Mets. They finished third this year with 74 wins -- one more than the Phillies. I don't think Mets fans had a right to expect anything better than that.
wichita,kansas [via mobile]
Big question? How agressive will the Yankees be during the off season? and will Joe come back to manager, he kept the team on a winning record despite all the injuries and the A-Rod deal. Will Cano and the other big names be retained. And were or whagt players are they going to be hot after to help them be winners in 2014..charlie minshull-ford a die hard Yankee fan
Jerry Crasnick (12:47 PM)
Wichita, I talked to Buster Olney on the podcast this morning and he's skeptical about Girardi coming back to New York. I'm almost hesitant to say someone will leave the Yankees until it actually happens. I do think Cano will be back, but I doubt the Yankees are going to spend huge $$ on any other big names (at least until they figure out what's going on with Jeter).
Breaking News: Dale Sveum is out as Cubs manager. So there's a concrete answer for Will B in Bozeman.
Jerry Crasnick (12:47 PM)
Steve, Yes, I saw that. Theo and Jed will have to find a new skipper now for the Cubbies.
Who is an under the radar candidate for the Cubs job?
Jerry Crasnick (12:49 PM)
JB, Maybe a guy like Torey Lovullo, who is currently John Farrell's bench coach in Boston. He's a bright guy, able to handle young players and in tune with the new age metrics. That's one name that immediately comes to mind.
Jerry, to me Tim Lincecum's free agency is going to be really interesting to watch. This is a guy who turned down 100 million a few years ago and clearly is going to take a pay cut. Considering his performance over the last two years, he is clearly a risk long term. Does anyone other than the Giants make a serious play for him on a long term deal?
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Rob, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Giants make a big run at him before he even hits the open market. As we saw with Pence, they're willing to pay to keep guys when they're motivated. Once Timmy hits the market, all bets are off.
So....the Browns are in first place (tied, at least), the Pirates and Indians are in the playoffs, and the Steelers are 0-4. We're sure this isn't some strange fever dream/David Lynch movie?
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Steve, I hear you. As I've said before, this is like the sports equivalent to the Jerry Seinfeld Bizarro-World episode.
Girardi has to be positioning himself for the Cubs job. The Yankees are going to be a mess for a few years and if he leaves now he gets out before the ship sinks and he gets one that is on the rise in Chicago. How does this not happen?
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Rob, Yes, I forgot to mention Girardi. He obviously has a lot more star power. And the Chicago-Northwestern connection is an obvious one. I think it depends on two things: 1) How strong a presence do Epstein and Hoyer want in the dugout? and 2) how much $$ are they willing to spend? Even though Girardi would be coming home, he's not going to come cheaply.
What do you think about a Mike/Greg Maddux combo to the Cubs? thanks
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Josh, That's probably a reach, but it's an interesting thought.
Valentine is available. I'm sure he loves Chicago.
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
Amy, That's one I think we can safely rule out.
Jim (Hamilton NJ)
Jerry,I am be in the minority on this issue but I absolutley hate this new wild card format. For starters the team with the best record in there division don't know who they are facing to prepare for them # 2 they can some how play a team they have met 19 times in the regular seasonand while the rest is nice the rust could be worse for teams who have now get 5 days of rest which I believe is too much. Also why is MLB and the networks being so secretive about what times the games are being played I would like to watch Fridays game if I know the time I can put in for time off but as it get closer to the day the chance of getting it off are slimmer and slimmer. Does MLB not know there fans are in school at work and living there life and if you would like to watch the games you could prepare your life accordingly.
Jerry Crasnick (12:55 PM)
Hey Jim, I don't have time to address all these points. But I wanted to post this because you obviously put a lot of time into it.
In other managerial news, Gardy gets a two-year extension. I'm sort of mixed on that. Obviously, Gardy can be a great manager and can take you to the playoffs, but this Twins team has a lot of building to do before they're a contender again. Is Gardy the best guy for that kind of rebuild?
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
Steve, Terry Ryan is a loyal guy, and he knows Gardy is a good manager when he has talent to work with. Let's face it: This Twins team was terrible, and now it's up to the front office to make some moves that will get them back on the right track. On a positive note, they do have Buxton and Sano on the way in the minors. Now it's all about pitching.
Has Brian Wilson shown enough to be someone's closer next season?
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
Frank, He's been good, but I'm not sure that 13 regular season innings are enough to give him a big-money deal and anoint him as your closer. Keep in mind that he's been through two Tommy John surgeries. Wilson also has to be in the right place to be successful. As you've probably seen by now, he's a guy who appears to like attention. (Euphemism alert).
Why is Alex Cobb so under-rated? He should be getting more recognition.
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Steve, You're right. Cobb has been terrific. He just doesn't get noticed because Price, Moore, Hellickson and company have gotten so much more attention. Let's put it this way: If the Rays get to the wild card game and Cobb pitches them into the ALDS, he'll raise his profile considerably.
With so much money coming off the books, do the Mets spend any of it for an OF? It would seem like they need to do something to satisfy the fans. Another year of really bad baseball without Harvey (most likely) is not going to sit well in NY.
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Mike, Yep, They definitely need to add a bat or two, so I expect them to dabble in the free agent market.
Roberto Mancini (Orlando)
Which teams are the most interested in Jose Dariel Abreu? And who would you say is the favorite?
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
Roberto, From all indications, Boston is quite interested in Abreu. I was told he's been working out at the Red Sox facility in the D.R. But Texas, the Mets, Pittsburgh, the Marlins and some other teams could also jump into the mix. That's a potentially big bat.
Ken (Palo Alto)
Somebody -- can't remember who -- predicted an 80 million dollar payday is coming for Ubaldo Jimenez. Do you buy that?
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Ken, That seems a bit extreme for me, considering where he was earlier this season. But I didn't think Hunter Pence would get $90M, either.
Is Brad Ausmus a legit candidate for the Cubs?
Jerry Crasnick (1:05 PM)
Colin, Smart guy and great people skills. I would have to think the Cubs want someone with more experience. But Ausmus is clearly going to be a major league manager someday if he so desires.
Barry Zito's job next season? Pitching in the majors or mowing his lawn counting his money?
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Mike, I don't know what Zito is thinking. He's a fascinating guy and he has a lot of interests outside baseball, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him hang it up and take it to the house. But I have no particular insight into his plans.
Rich (Sun Valley, ID)
Cards-Pirates in the NLDS. Make your call, Jerry-and thanks for a great year!
Jerry Crasnick (1:07 PM)
Hey Rich, I'll end this chat on a pleasant note (for you, at least), and pick the Redbirds. And hey, let's not just assume Pittsburgh will win the wild card game. Maybe Johnny Cueto will come up big for the Reds.
Jerry Crasnick (1:07 PM)
Thanks for the chat, everybody. I'm going to be covering the wild card game between the Indians and Rays or Rangers in Cleveland. Definitely looking forward to it. Have a great week and enjoy the playoffs.