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, Happy Patriots Day. And for those of you who don't celebrate Patriots Day, hope you're having a better-than-average Monday. Let's take some questions.
Rick (Virginia Piedmont)
Jerry, has Rick Porcello figured it all out at the age of 25, or will he regress to form as the season goes on?
Jerry Crasnick (12:03 PM)
Hey Rick, I'm not sure you can say any pitcher has it "all figured out" (except for maybe Greg Maddux), but Porcello sure seems to be making the strides the Tigers envisioned for him. He's a smart kid, and it's hard to believe he wouldn't benefit from pitching in a rotation with guys like Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. He also seems to be more comfortable with an expanded array of pitches. I checked Fangraphs, and he's throwing his slider 15 percent of the time now compared to 6 percent last year. It's hard to grow up in the majors, but the Tigers are being rewarded for their patience with Porcello.
Hello Jerry, is Travis d'Arnaud ever going to start looking like the big time catching prospect he once was?
Jerry Crasnick (12:05 PM)
James, It's hard for me to say after 150 big-league at-bats. He's 25 years old, so it's time for him to take the next step. But I've found it's really tough for young catchers to embrace the responsibility of handling a staff while contributing at the plate as well. Even Yadier Molina needed time to make himself into a major offensive threat. It's way too early to give up on D'Arnaud as a hitter. But I'm sure the Mets are looking for a lot more than he's shown so far.
Do you think Moustakas' slow start is behind him or do you think this is going to be the same story for him year in and year out?
Jerry Crasnick (12:07 PM)
Mitch, I honestly don't know what to make of Moustakas. I talked to George Brett in spring training and he raved about Moustakas' new approach and said he's poised for a "breakout" year now that he's learned to take the outside pitch the opposite way. Then Moustakas was awful out of the gate. I still think he'll be OK once he strings together 3-4 good games. The Royals people say he has a penchant to be really tough on himself.
Brandon (Green Bay) [via mobile]
Can Ryan Braun win the MVP?
Jerry Crasnick (12:09 PM)
Brandon, Given the way he's viewed by the writers now, he'll have to be far and away the best player in the NL to be in the conversation for MVP. We're talking mega, monster numbers.
what did you make of Gomez's antics? This is starting to become a regular thing.
Jerry Crasnick (12:12 PM)
Dave, I sat down with Carlos Gomez for almost a half hour in conjunction with a story I wrote on him last week. I honestly think he's a great kid and has the best of intentions. But I personally like Nyjer Morgan as well, and he was one of baseball's quintessential lightning rods in Milwaukee. Some guys have a hard time cutting back on the emotions between the lines, and that's the way Gomez is built. I hope he gets a better handle on it soon, because people should be celebrating what a great player he is rather than talking about his penchant for getting into brawls.
Granderson went 0-6 yesterday, but was the game's hero. On a different note, he does have three warning track flyballs at Citi Field that most likely would have been out of Yankee Stadium. Is he really struggling, or have his numbers just been greatly padded by Yankee Stadium over the last couple of years?
Jerry Crasnick (12:13 PM)
Hey Ricky, Granderson is a streaky hitter anyway. He's switching leagues and trying to justify a pretty big contract as well. Throw in the adjustment to a new ballpark, and it's probably not a big surprise that he's having a rough first month.
Tom [via mobile]
do you think the tigers will still look to sign S Drew or go with Romine And Worth? Thank you
Jerry Crasnick (12:15 PM)
Tom, Knowing how desperate the Tigers are to win one for Mike Ilitch -- and how willing he is to spend $$ -- I have a hard time believing they're going to stick with Andrew Romine and Danny Worth at SS. I wouldn't be surprised to see them make a run at Drew after the draft passes and compensation is no longer an issue.
And what point do we drop the line about Heyward's high ceiling? He simply isn't that good. I've been there for 2 years but pundits keep talking about his potential. This is year 5 so I think it's safe to assume he is a brittle .260ish hitter w/ 20 HRs. Nice player and all but just another guy.
Jerry Crasnick (12:17 PM)
CC, Well, it was certainly telling when the Braves elected to give all that money to Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons rather than Heyward. Remember when he came in at the same time with Mike (now Giancarlo) Stanton and they were joined at the hip? It's really time for Heyward to have his breakthrough season. He's had injuries, but you're right: He's been around a while now.
Thoughts on the new blocking the plate rules so far?
Jerry Crasnick (12:18 PM)
Drew, I think they're just as confusing as the transfer rule, and we're going to have a mega-blowup soon over a controversial play at the plate. It's just a matter of time.
Out of the 5 Yankees starters, I would have pegged Nova to be the safest bet to stay healthy all year (Sabathia & Kuroda old and a lot of innings, Tanaka adjusting to different rest, or Pineda with his injury history). Considering the likelihood that the rest of the rotation stays healthy is slim to none, do you think the Yankees are in a bit of trouble?
Jerry Crasnick (12:20 PM)
Bryan, Yes, I think Yankees fans have reason to be concerned for all the reasons you listed above. On top of that, I expect them to encounter more injury issues in the infield that are going to test the organizational depth. I see a DL visit or two in Brian Roberts' future at some point this season. And I'm skeptical that Jeter and Teixeira can hold up all year, as well.
Jesse (Chavez Ravine, CA)
Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier are struggling at the plate, while Joc Pederson is killing it in the minors. Do we see a starting outfield of Pederson, Kemp and Puig before the end of the season?
Jerry Crasnick (12:22 PM)
Jesse, It's going to take more than 3 weeks for something that momentous to happen. Like it or not, Crawford and Ethier are signed to really big contracts. Unless they're traded, they're going to keep getting chances to produce.
Heyward has had injury problems. The Braves have also changed up what he is to the team also many times. A 3 hitter, a 5 hitter, lead off hitter, # 2 hitter. Between injuries and lineup changes, he just has not had a chance to get comfortable.
Jerry Crasnick (12:24 PM)
Tim, I can understand that to a point. But he's been around since 2010 and he's shown flashes, and he clearly has the talent. I just think it's time for him to take the next step. I'm not saying it won't happen this season.
Mike (Boston Strong) [via mobile]
Follow up on Stephen Drew; Why dont the Tigers just bite the bullet on the draft pick? Its a little nose+face=spite at this point waiting until june, no?
Jerry Crasnick (12:26 PM)
Mike, Scott Boras has been trying to sell teams on the idea of a multiyear deal for Drew. I'm not sure if Detroit or any other club would commit to that. I also think the Tigers are committed to exhausting all their other options before they take the plunge on Drew or try to make a trade for a shortstop. It's been 15 games. That's a little early to say they've exhausted their options.
Jerry - what's your take on this Puig story? From what I've gathered there could be some safety issues with him?
Jerry Crasnick (12:29 PM)
Ryan, It's a fascinating story. Yes, it appears there are safety issues because the shadowy figures who got him out of Cuba expect to be paid for their efforts, and if that doesn't happen, there could be consequences. After reading those stories, I could sympathize more with Puig given the ordeal he had to endure to make it to the US. But he also came across as opportunistic because of allegations that he informed on others to advance his own agenda. Long story short: None of us can relate to what it's like to be a ballplayer trying to escape Cuba.
The Phillies have no reason whatsoever to hold on to Clifton. What sort of haul could we get for him from Boston or another big market team that could take on his salary?
Jerry Crasnick (12:31 PM)
Drew, If the Phillies move Lee, it should be part of an overall revamp to shed salary and go young. Feel free to call GM Ruben Amaro Jr. stubborn or delusional for resisting that approach, but I don't think he's close to that point yet.
Jeremy [via mobile]
Jerry, do you think Matt Williams yanking Harper was a message to Bryce or to the team? I'd find it hard to see him pulling something similar with Jason Werth or Ian Desmond...
Jerry Crasnick (12:32 PM)
Jeremy, I think it was just Williams' way of jumping on something obvious to reinforce his message to the team: Run every ball out hard, or you're going to be benched. If Jayson Werth jogs down the line tonight, I would expect Williams to do the same thing.
Hamels makes his debut against the Dodgers Wednesday! How do you think he does?
Jerry Crasnick (12:34 PM)
Drew, I imagine he won't go very deep into the game, but he'll be OK. If it's not a warm night, that's a good park to get settled in. You can make a few mistakes with location and get away with them. I think he'll give them five or six creditable innings.
If Harang keeps this up will he have some trade value to pitching hungry teams? One Minor gets back of course
Jerry Crasnick (12:35 PM)
Hey Adam, The Braves have enough depth issues that I don't see them turning around and trading Harang that quickly. They'll ride him as long as they can. One thing I noticed today: Harang has a batting average on balls in play of .143. Anybody think he can keep that up all season?
Julio (Kansas City)
Are the Royals a legitimate playoff contender?
Jerry Crasnick (12:36 PM)
Julio, I picked them as an AL wild card, so I believe they can get there. The offense needs to pick it up, though. They've scored 60 runs so far this season. That's not going to cut it.
Derrick (Garden City)
Jerry, what do you think of Martin Perez of the Rangers? Is his early success sustainable?
Jerry Crasnick (12:40 PM)
Hey Derrick, I always look at BABIP and walk-to-strikeout ratio when I try to assess whether a pitcher is a mirage. Perez has 20 strikeouts and only 7 walks, which is pretty good. He also has a BABIP of .295, which tells me he hasn't been incredibly lucky so far. I don't think he's 1.86-ERA caliber good, but it looks as if the guy has turned to corner and can be a solid middle of the rotation starter.
John (Los Angeles)
Gomez, Puig, and Harper each make the same questionable play at the same time. For Gomez, it's his "antics." For Puig, it's his "attitude." But for Harper, it's his "hustle and youthful exuberance." Please, people, enough.
Jerry Crasnick (12:43 PM)
John, I see where you're going with this, and I know that racial and ethnic stereotypes can be factors in the way players are perceived. I will say that Harper and Gomez both seem to be guys who are liked and respected in the clubhouse, while Puig's teammates in LA have had a harder time getting through to him. Obviously, as I've said before, you or I can't relate to what he went through leaving Cuba. I just think it's best to stay away from the stereotypes and try to treat every player as an individual.
Rob (State College)
Hey Jerry - MVP or no, do you think that Braun's performance to date indicates that his thumb problems are likely to be a relatively small issue over the course of the season? Given that it's not an injury that's expected to worsen with use but rather a physical issue that needs to be adjusted to, perhaps he'll be just fine. What's your take? Thanks!
Jerry Crasnick (12:44 PM)
Hey Rob, I was there the night that Braun hit the three home runs, and he said the longer a player deals with an injury, the more he learns to compensate. Surgery clearly isn't an option for him, so he's going to have to figure it out. It looks as if he's on the right track.
Did the Mets trade the right 1B? Are you hearing who the PTBNL might be?
Jerry Crasnick (12:46 PM)
Hey Mitch, I think the Mets were always intrigued by Ike Davis' talent. But at some point the relationship grew stale and he stopped listening to what they were offering, and it was time to cut the cord. It's just one of those "change of scenery" deals that happen sometimes. As for the PTBNL, I've seen some names kicking around, but I would only be guessing.
Joe (Green Bay)
I'm getting really tired of guys thinking they have to be "keepers of the code." Being a Brewers' fan, guys like Cole and McCann stick out to me, but I also remember the Jose Fernandez incident last year, along with the Bryce Harper beaning a couple of years ago. It's ridiculous outdated thought and it hurts baseball's popularity way more than a guy like Carlos Gomez showing emotion or admiring a big fly (whether it leaves the yard or not). Gomez was exactly right after the game yesterday. A lot of Pirates players "pimped" their hits, too. The Brewers didn't do anything about it, other than win 3 of 4 (6 of 7 on the season).
Jerry Crasnick (12:48 PM)
Hey Joe, Gomez did flip his bat, but I didn't think it was that over-the-top. This was a case where his reputation probably preceded him. There are probably better ways to take care of it than going over and getting in his face the way Gerrit Cole did. But things happen in the heat of the moment, and it's impossible to control that stuff.
What changed with the Astros in terms of calling up Springer? Was the situation misread by most pundits or did they get some sort of outside influence?
Jerry Crasnick (12:50 PM)
Jim, Who knows? There were reports that they offered him a multiyear deal and he turned it down, and that he and his agents were planning to file a grievance. I'm not sure if that played into the Astros' decision to bring him up. In hindsight, I really wonder if they wouldn't have been better served waiting until late May and getting an extra year of service time out of him. That offense is so bad, how much of a difference is Springer going to make?
Jerry, when did pitchers become so sensitive about their failures. Gomez could, or maybe should, have just run it out but it wasn't that extreme of an action when he flipped his bat. Pitchers can challenge hitters high and tight to send a message while hitters just take it? Cole instigated the incident and admitted afterward his actions got his teammate hurt. Hopefully Commish hands out punishment equally, something the umps failed to do yesterday.
Jerry Crasnick (12:51 PM)
Sean, Not to get all misty and nostalgic, but Nolan Ryan probably would have just planted one in Gomez's ribs the next time he came to the plate. The players would have taken care of it on the field and it would have been over with. I guess saying that probably makes me sound like a dinosaur.
Would people rather Cole hit Gomez with a 100 mph fastball, he said one word. Gomez is a player with emotion/passion? So Cole says one word and Gomez throws a tantrum like a six year old child. I guess that is playing with "passion".
Jerry Crasnick (12:53 PM)
Dave, I think even Cole said he regretted the incident because Travis Snider wound up getting slugged during the scrum. Ballplayers do things in the heat of the moment. When you have an incident like the one yesterday, nobody comes off looking great.
Excited about the Kyle Farnsworth era in NYC?
Jerry Crasnick (12:54 PM)
I see Syndergaard is getting roughed up in AAA. Any cause for concern?
Jerry Crasnick (12:56 PM)
Ryan, I just checked and Syndergaard is 2-2 with a 4.95 ERA in Las Vegas. That would probably place him among the top 5 pitchers in the PCL in ERA. (OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but you get the point. It's a notorious hitters' league).
Should the Braves be worried about their bullpen yet? Carpenter, Avilan, Walden have all been beaten around a little. Not worried about Kimbrel.......yet!
Jerry Crasnick (12:57 PM)
Adam, Personally, I would be a tad concerned about Kimbrel, given that he's been dealing with this soreness in his shoulder since spring training. That's what he told the writers last week in Philly. It's worth keeping an eye on, anyway.
Duff (Chicago, IL)
Can't we just be done with the unwritten rules? If you don;t want a batter to admire his home run then don;t serve him up a pitch to hit over the fence. The pitcher made a bad pitch, he should not be able to complain about anything. Same goes for Porter at Houston, if you don't want the player to bunt then don;t put the shift on. Stop complaining that your feelings are getting hurt. This is the MLB not little league.
Jerry Crasnick (12:59 PM)
Duff, I'm with you, for the most part. If you're a hitter and a pitcher buzzes you up and in, isn't hitting a line drive through the box the best way to retaliate?
Stephen (Granite City)
Hey Jerry, if you were the Padres GM, what would you be addressing first? We've been down for some time....
Jerry Crasnick (1:01 PM)
Stephen, I would probably do what Josh Byrnes has done, trying to stockpile young pitching to take advantage of Petco. They've just been crushed by so many injuries, it's been hard for the plan to come to fruition. I thought the Josh Johnson signing was right up their alley. It appears that one isn't going to work out, either.
Do you think people are being a little hard on the Reds so far in these rankings? The starters have held up their end besides a little rough BABIP luck for Bailey and the bullpen has done adequately having to move each guy up 3 spots due to injuries. As for the offense, Cozart and Hamilton have done nothing (not that either was expected to give much), but the rest of the guys have settled in and we seem to have improvedafter Price moved Votto up to the 2-hole. Whether that is due to the move or just coincidence, idk. But given the pitching injuries and the tough schedule, an 8-10 start certainly isn't the end of the world. Why do they seem to be ranked so low for a team that's been in the playoffs (does last year count) 2/3 of the last 4 years?
Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Hey Max, I wouldn't pay attention to power rankings too much. Just focus on the standings. The Reds have a pretty good club and they made a good choice in Bryan Price. Other than the Brewers and A's being hot early and the Diamondbacks being a disaster, most teams are hovering along in that middle ground so far.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Jerry - Heading into week four of the MLB season, who are the surprises and disappointments so far this season ?
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Rich, I'd have to say Aaron Harang, Alfredo Simon and Jesse Chavez head the list of surprise pitchers. I'm stunned to see the White Sox leading the AL in runs. And the Brewers are obviously a huge pleasant surprise early. Oakland, too, given the concerns about the team's pitching because of the injuries to Parker and Griffin.
Kevin (New York)
Seriously, Gomez' bat flip and beginning strut were really not bad at all. Cole was over in that area to back up anyway and what he said to Gomez wasn't bad either. It was Gomez reaction afterward that was immature and dangerous (swinging to hit with his helmet). And why Gomez deserves the fine and suspension, because THAT's the behavior that doesn't belong in any sport. Maldonato should get a big fine/suspension for throwing a sucker punch to Snider's head. Strutting, posing, jawing....part of the game. Violence is not.
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Hey Kevin, We should find out what MLB thinks -- which is the most important thing -- when the punishments are levied. I would expect Gomez, Maldonado and Snider to get suspensions, and a bunch of people to get fined.
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everybody. I enjoyed the chat. Let's do it again next week.