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August 28, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:00 PM)

Hey guys, I'm heading to Philly to see Pedro vs. Hanson tonight. Is this a great job, or what? Let's talk baseball.

Roy (Detroit Area)

So far the Detroit Tigers two trade acquisitions, Washburn and Huff, have been disappointments. If they stay that way, will the Tigers win the central? If not, who will?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:02 PM)

Roy, Well, we're almost in September, and the White Sox and Twins aren't playing above .500, so I wonder if anybody is going to make a serious run at the Tigers. Washburn has had one very good start against KC and one OK one against the Angels. I think he'll pick it up in September once he gets acclimated. Tigers lead by 4 games, so they're in pretty good shape.

Roller (Kentucky)

Is Ron Washington the favorite for AL manager of the year?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:04 PM)

Roller, Ron Washington is certainly in the mix, but I'd still have to go with Mike Scioscia. Remember what he had to go through with all those pitching injuries and the emotional trauma of Nick Adenhart's death in the opening week. But if the Rangers make the postseason, Washington will get a bunch of votes.

scott (rvccrbl. md)

Whats wrong with Clay Buchholz??

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:05 PM)

Scott, I'm not sure if there's anything "wrong" with him. He's had five pretty good outings and three clunkers -- although that 27-to-23 strikeout to walk ratio isn't very good. He's not striking out nearly as many in Boston as he did in Pawtucket. Better hitters, I guess.

Jeremy B (Denver)

Jerry,Great stache. Regardless of whether the Rockies make the postseason, can they maintain this success for the next couple of years?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:07 PM)

Jeremy, Thanks for the 'stache comment. And no, I don't wear a hairpiece. I think the Rockies are well positioned for the next several years because they've produced so many players on the farm. Ubaldo Jimenez, Tulowitzki, Ian Stewart, etc. Dan O'Dowd deserves a lot of credit, and Jim Tracy deserves credit, but Bill Schmidt and the scouts have been the backbone of that team's roster building.

Austin (Des Moines, IA)

How can any sane person argue that Joe Mauer shouldn't be the MVP? He is leading the league in AVG, OBP, and SLG, and he is a catcher! Let me repeat: He. Is. A. Great. Defensive. Catcher. Also, for those promoting Texeira, look at Morneau--they are virtually the same player, yet Morneau can't hit pop-up HR in his home park.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:08 PM)

Austin, I hear ya. As long as the Twins can stay remotely in the race, I still think he wins it. Didn't we have the same argument with Albert Pujols last year?

scott (rvccrbl. md)

Do you think Alex Gordon will ever be an all star?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:09 PM)

Scott, He has a ways to go. As I mentioned in my Royals story this week, he's a hard worker. But he has some mechanical flaws in his week, and the Royals may not have helped him by rushing him. But it's way too soon to give up on the kid. I'll say this: If the Royals ever considered moving him, an awful lot of teams would be happy to take a shot on him rebounding.

Eli (Chicago)

Putting the Cy Young award aside, who's the best pitcher in baseball right now?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:10 PM)

Eli, I'll take Tim Lincecum. Anybody object to that?

Jason (NJ)

Since 2007 ended, John Lackey has not been a dominant pitcher and has had some arm injuries. Do you believe any team will offer him a contract anywhere near "Burnett" money this off-season or is he is more likely to get "Derek Lowe" money?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:12 PM)

Jason, I checked, and Lackey was 19-9 with a 3.01 ERA in 224 innings in 2007, so that seems pretty good to me. It's not a deep free agent class, so he'll get his money. One thing worth noting: Burnett signed for five years and $82.5M, and Lowe got four years and $60M, so we're not exactly talking about the difference between eating caviar and sleeping on the streets. They were both very generous contracts.

mike (pa)

are the phillies still safe with brad lidge closing or do they need to bring in maybe brett myers to help or maybe even madson, which didnt turn out to nice?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:14 PM)

Mike, Charlie Manuel is doing his best to maintain faith publicly in Lidge, but I have no doubt the Phillies would change horses in September if he keeps blowing saves. They've got Myers and Madson as Plans B and C, which is better than some other clubs. That's why a lot of people hate the whole closer obsession: Managers always have to be concerned about upsetting the "bullpen chemistry" and the closer's fragile "mindset." It's even worse in September.

scott (rvccrbl. md)

Jerry, Chris Perez has been flat out filthy for Cleveland, what are his chances to close there? Wood is signed through next yr, but is horrible.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:16 PM)

Scott, I'm sure the Indians would be happy with someone taking Kerry Wood's $10 million contract for next season and handing over the closer's job to Chris Perez or one of their other young guys. That expenditure was a very un-Cleveland-like thing from the beginning. The question is, how much money will the Indians have to pick up on Wood, and what can they get in return for him in trade? I don't have the answer to those questions.

jake (philly)

could pedro martinez be turned into a closer?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:17 PM)

Jake, He's a resourceful guy, but I'm not sure he has the stuff to close. Trevor Hoffman did, but how many guys are Trevor Hoffman?

David (Belmont, California)

I certainly cannot see the Giants winning the division at this point, but it seems like they are also already out of the wild card race even though they're only three games out. Is there hope for my boys or has recent losses signaled that there will be no post season for any team in the bay?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:18 PM)

David, Calm down. They have a big series with the Rocks this week, and they still have Lincecum and Cain. Regardless of what happens, you can't complain about how this season has gone. If someone told you in March that the Giants would be in this spot in September, I think you would have taken it.

Jay ((Gary, IN))

Jerry, chemistry issues in Cub-land are well-publicized, but I wonder if to a lesser extent those same issues exist with the other team in Chicago due in part to the Rios acquisition and uncertainty surrounding Peavy's first start. Any thoughts?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:19 PM)

Jay, The White Sox have underachieved, as Kenny Williams recently pointed out, but they've pretty much done it all year, so I don't see how the Rios and Peavy acquisitions factor into it. If anything, they showed the Williams and ownership are trying to "go for it." That usually boosts the morale in the clubhouse.

Eamon (DC)

Papelbon and Lars Anderson for Mauer this offseason. Who blinks?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:21 PM)

Eamon, The Twins blink -- very hard. They already have Joe Nathan, who's better than Papelbon, and Lars Anderson is hitting below .250 in Double A ball. They'd get destroyed for making that trade.

Brian Ginn (Morehead City, North Carolina)

Jerry, Do you think the Adam Laroche trade for Casey Kotchman was smart?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:22 PM)

Brian, It was smart from Atlanta's end. The Braves had grown tired of Kotchman's lack of power, and LaRoche has an 1.187 OPS since joining the Braves. What's not to like from Atlanta's end? By the way, it's been a pretty nice year for GM Frank Wren.

todd (philly)

Jerry - I was just curious who "really" deserves more MVP credit - Texeira or someone like Michael Young - who has led his team and changed positions to boot. I feel like if they switched cities, the support would switch as well - your thoughts?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:24 PM)

Todd, I'm hearing a lot of Michael Young MVP love on this chat today, and that's where the groundswell of support usually begins for guys. Young will definitely get some votes. He's third among MLB third basemen in OPS behind Reynolds and Sandoval, and he's the acknowledged leader of that Texas team. But I still think Mauer is the man.

Mick (Chicago)

Why does Russell Martin have "J" MARTIN on the back of his uniform?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:26 PM)

Mick, The "J" stands for Jeanson, which I believe is his mother's maiden name. His full name is actually Russell Nathan Jeanson Coltrane Martin. Pretty cool, huh?

Greg (Va Beach)

You cannot underestimate the value that Teixeira has given on the defensive side of the ball with that porous Yankees infield. He has saved countless throwing errors from the other three.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:27 PM)

Greg, I hear ya. But it's definitely tough to weed through the traffic on a big market club like the Yankees. Tex has been great, but has he been more important than Jeter? I see some serious vote-splitting potential there.

Ed (Michigan)

With a strong september could Cabrera win the MVP?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:28 PM)

Ed, I don't see why not. He's the aircraft carrier for that team. I'm surprised that Cabrera hasn't gotten more attention nationally as a candidate.

Trey (Fort Worth)

ROY has to be Elvis in the AL right?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:29 PM)

Trey, As Jayson Stark wrote in his column yesterday, both ROY races are a jumbled mess. Andrus is in the mix with Romero, Niemann, Bailey, Reimold and a bunch of kids in the AL. We'll see how it shakes out in September.

Dan (Tampa)

Will Nick Markakis ever be a superstar player? It seems like he's been stuck in "very good" mode for 3 years now, which has netted him 0 all-star games

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:31 PM)

Dan, So far, I look at Markakis as a Paul O'Neill type player (the New York version). He's just very good and reliable year in and year out, and after a decade you look at the stats and say, "Holy cow, that guy is really good." The Orioles keep losing and Markakis barely says two words, so it hasn't helped his national profile. But baseball people know how good he is -- trust me.

Trey (Fort Worth)

Jerry,Thanks for doing the chat. Please tell me that Neftali Feliz isn't groomed to be the closer, if he can do it and he seems that he can with that effortless delivery why not let the guy start?? It just seems that it is much easier to find a great closer than a starter, and you could book 85% of his starts down as wins if he pitches like he has in this short litmus test. Is it just me, or does this guy have the best stuff we have seen in quite some time?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:33 PM)

Trey, That's an internal call the Rangers have to make. From people I've talked to, the scouting community is split on Feliz. Some people think he's a starter, and some think his command of his secondary pitches comes and goes if you ask him to go 6 or 7 innings every night. If he's a shutdown closer for $450,000 next year, that's not so bad.

Jason (Indianapolis)

Jerry - A lot of people are talking about Milton Bradley right now. But the one person we haven't heard much out of is Jim Hendry. What does he do with Bradley during the winter? Trade him (and who would want him)? Cut him (and would the Ricketts family flush the remaining $20M down the toilet)?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:35 PM)

Jason, At this point, I think the Cubs just wish Milton would keep his mouth shut and the season would fade away. I assume they'd rather pick up a big chunk of his contract and trade him than just release him. Either way, it's hard to see this arrangement in Chicago ever working.

Chris (Staten Island, NY)

Jerry, Jason Stark reported that the Yankees aren't going to make a run at Matt Holiday because they don't want to block Austin Jackson. This makes no sense since Jackson is a very good defensive centerfielder who's bat projects much better in CF than in a corner. In addition, I don't think anyone believes Melky or Brett Gardner are long term answers in CF. With $40 million coming of the payroll, Holliday would seem a perfect replacement for Damon, who really should be just a DH at this time anyway. What do you think?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:37 PM)

Chris, At some point, the Yankees are going to ramp up the building from within rather than give out $100 million contract each winter. They have huge longterm obligations to A-Rod, Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett, and they also have Jeter's situation on the horizon. I'm not sure if there's room even in the Yankees' expansive budget for Matt Holliday.

SprungOnSports (Long Island)

Garrett Jones should definitely be the NL ROY this year. Your thoughts?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:38 PM)

Sprung, This is essentially a carbon copy of my AL ROY answer. Jones is one of a number of players in the conversation. It's hard to overlook J.A. Happ and Tommy Hanson if they keep pitching the way they have.

sean epstein (Pittsburgh pa)

Jerry, don't know if you got to see any of the Phillies Pirates series the last few days but it was a classic. Great pitching, outstanding defense and dramatic late game home runs each night....and my Buccos win two of three! Kinda reminded me of the old and great 70's and 80's rivalries. Am I wrong, or is it a crime that these two traditional in state rivals are not in the same division?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:39 PM)

Sean, Hey, there's no law that say the Pirates can't make it to the postseason and play the Phillies in October. On second thought, maybe there is a law ...

Brian Ginn (Morehead City, North Carolina)

Jerry, all year long we've heard all the Manny talk in L.A, but do you think Andre Ethier is the Dodger's MVP?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:41 PM)

Brian, I remember at the All-Star break, people were saying that O-Dog and Blake were the Dodgers' MVPs. Ethier has been on fire in August, so maybe he's the guy now. He's sure had a lot of moments to remember this summer. As long as the Dodgers win the West, I don't think Joe Torre cares who the MVP is.

Jason (NJ)

If you were Doug Melvin, would you trade Prince Fielder for young pitching this coming off-season?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:42 PM)

Jason, It's hard to say what Doug Melvin will do this off-season. The Brewers could stand to acquire 2 or 3 good young pitchers, and Melvin has always been adept at those kind of deals. But Prince is such a big part of that team's offense, it's tough to envision the Milwaukee lineup without him in the middle of it.

david (new york city) [via mobile]

The mets are in desperate need of change they need a LF C and a 1b personally I wouldn't mind seeing Delgado back but what is out there and who do you think the mets will target ?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:43 PM)

David, It's not a great winter for free agent first basemen or catchers, unless you're partial to Russell Branyan or Bengie Molina. The pickings are deeper in the outfield, with Jason Bay, Holliday, Vlad Guerrero, Abreu, etc. That seems to me like the area the Mets would be best served to target.

Bill (Indiana)

hey jerry, I know its a longshot, but can Ricketts just dump Soriano ala Rios? and is there a gm out there who would take a chance on him?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:45 PM)

Bill, Soriano has $90 million due him over the next five years. I think the Cubs have as soon a chance of dumping him as the Blue Jays do of getting rid of Vernon Wells' salary. (i.e., it's a tremendous longshot)

jake (philly)

Jerry, Cole Hamels last start was encouraging right? He had a start like that against the dodgers in July but it didnt last. Will it last this time?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:47 PM)

Jake, I'd say eight innings of shutout ball was "encouraging." We'll see if it takes. At the moment, I think Hamels ranks second on the Phils' list of concerns behind Brad Lidge. A fairly distant second.

George (NY)

How about a trade of Soriano for Wells? Maybe a change of scenary will help them both plus Fonzi can DH in the AL.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:48 PM)

George, I kind of like that one. Nice job of thinking "outside the box."

Gray (Chicago)

Jerry, how come an amateur like myself was able to see befoe the Cubs signed Milton Bradley that he was an awful fit in the NL with his attitude but a seasoned GM like Jim Hendry could not? It was the most obvious bad idea of the offseason.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:50 PM)

Gray, My biggest concern was whether Bradley could stay healthy, but his .401 slugging percentage and ongoing personal drama have certainly outweighed anything else. I'm not sure what to say at this point: Jim Hendry would love to have a do-over on this one.

Joe (Tampa)

Jerry, I expect Holiday will re up in St. Louis. The Glaus money comes off the books and covers most of whatever Holiday will sign for. Keeping him keeps Albert happy too.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:51 PM)

Joe, I guess Matt Holliday came out and expressed his interest in returning to St. Louis during a radio interview. That move would seem to violate every tenet in the Scott Boras Free Agent Playbook. Should be fascinating to watch this unfold over the next few months.

Bryan (Montclair, NJ)

Jerry, do you really think the Mets will spend? After not shelling out $$$ in the draft and the Madoff scandal, could they just stand pat?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:52 PM)

Bryan, Well, they have Delgado and Putz, among others, coming off the books. I find it hard to believe, after this disastrous a season, in a new ballpark, that the Wilpons won't try to generate some positive news on the free agent market this winter.

Andrew (Pontiac, MI)

Does Reimold, Hernandez, Erbe, and Snyder get you Adrian Gonzalez?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:53 PM)

Andrew, Not for me. There's no way the Orioles would get Adrian Gonzalez without throwing Tillman, Matusz or Arrieta into the deal.

DJ (Chicago)

Why aren't the Chisox taking as much heat as the Cubbies? The Sox have nearly blown a perfect chance to take the AL Central.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:54 PM)

D.J. -- Maybe because they won a World Series in 2005, and the Cubs have to go back to 1908? Just saying ...

Brandon (LA)

Mr Stache' How about Kendry Morales. Could he really become a 300 40 hr 120 RBI Guy?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:56 PM)

Brandon, He has 27 homers and 85 RBIs this year with five weeks to go, so he's pretty close right now. By the way -- this isn't Brandon Wood, is it?

Mike (St. Louis)

Jerry - Are you ready to jump on the Cardinals bandwagon and enjoy the ride to the WS?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:58 PM)

Mike, The Phillies will be very tough if they can iron out their bullpen concerns, the Dodgers were the best team in the league for much of this season, and the Rockies are 54-28 under Jim Tracy. I like the Cardinals, but I'm not ready to jump on anybody's bandwagon just yet.

mike (queens)

"I find it hard to believe, after this disastrous a season, in a new ballpark, that the Wilpons won't try to generate some positive news on the free agent market this winter."---- You obviously dont pay attention to the Mets. This is team that adds 2 and 2 and gets 3. They almost always do things the wrong way

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:59 PM)

Mike, Yeah, but a lot of Mets fans and media types were praising them last winter when they went out and got K-Rod and Putz to solidify the bullpen. People sure have short memories.

Johnny (SF, CA)

Jerry - Who blinks first Cubs or Giants. Aaron Rowand for Milton Bradley str8 up?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:00 PM)

Johnny, The Giants blink -- almost as hard as the Twins did with the Mauer deal. Aaron Rowand has more money due him, but I can't see Brian Sabean injecting Bradley into that mix.

Charles Grodin (In the hearts of Americans)

What happens to Vlad Guerrero after this season.. Angels deal for 6 mil a year for 3 years?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:02 PM)

Charles, I'm not sure about the price, but it's nice to see that Vlad Guerrero has put himself back on the free agent map. If it's not the Angels, I think it has to be an AL team, just so he can DH.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:02 PM)

Thanks for the emails, everybody. Let's do it again next week.