Hey everybody, I just got home after four days of scintillating ball in Detroit, and I'm headed to Philly for the game tonight. It's a tough gig, but somebody has to do it. Let's talk ball.
Any Idea what's up with Lincecum, his velocity has been dropping lately, I think he hit 89, 90 on his FB a couple of times yesterday. Or is it just a tired arm?
Luke, I don't doubt that Lincecum is a little arm weary. He's not a very big guy, and you're correct -- his gun readings were generally in the 89-92 range. I think his success is a tribute to what a resourceful pitcher he is. When you can drop a 73 mph curve on a hitter at any moment, a 92 mph fastball looks pretty good.
I'm having a hard time figuring out why some are saying Lincecum cinched his second Cy Young yesterday. Didn't Carpenter have an even better game than Lincecum yesterday? Wasn't Wainwright ahead of Lincecum already? It was a fine game to be sure but it was pretty much in line with what he's done all year. How could he have passed either of the Cardinals' duo?
Steve, I have an NL Cy Young vote this year, and it's torture trying to decide. I'm leaning toward Lincecum for a variety of reasons that can't adequately be explained here, but I'm sure it's going to be a tight three-way race. I certainly don't think Lincecum "passed" anybody yesterday. I haven't heard anyone suggest that.
Do you see the Dodgers going after a starting pitcher this off-season? Either via free-agency (Lackey), or a trade (Oswalt, Halladay, etc.)? Seems like they would dominate with Kershaw and another ace at the top of the rotation.
Mike, I'm sure Ned Colletti will dabble in the ace market, but Kershaw and Billingsley give the Dodgers a pretty nice young 1-2 punch. The Dodgers are always going to have success with turnaround guys or health-issue guys because of the ballpark (can you say Randy Wolf?), so I'm not sure they need to commit to $60 million-plus for another starter, but I wouldn't rule it out.
Hi Jerry. I work with an old buddy of yours Peter Ross! Do you think Joe Torre will be able to turn the Dodgers around in the playoffs? If it wasn't for Andre Eithier They would not be in the playoff race.
Jason, Wow, Peter Ross -- my old Munjoy Hill buddy. Give him my best regards. As for the Dodgers, it's pretty tough to judge how a team will fare based on how it's playing while sitting on a sizable lead in late September. I was always a big late season "momentum" guy until the Cardinals and Tigers threw that out the window in 2006. The Dodgers just need to clinch, and then they'll relax and start playing better.
What is up with Seattle not bringing up Josh Fields this year?
Roller, Some people in Seattle are saying that Josh Fields is paying for holding out for all of 2008. I'm not sure how true that is. But he didn't have a great year in Double-A ball, and then he suffered a strained oblique. He's scheduled to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, so that'll be a nice test for him.
Can the Panda get a little more respect for MVP? I know there's no chance he gets it with that guy in St. Louis, but seriously if it wasn't for him.....I don't even want to know what it would've been like with out the Panda.
Adam, KFP (yes, Kung Fu Panda) will appear in the 5-10 spots on an awful lot of ballots. You're right. He was a godsend for a team that had a brutal offense.
If Detroit is up by 1 game going into Sunday, do they still pitch Verlander or hold him for a potential playoff game with Minnesota?
Paul, There's no way Jim Leyland will hold back Verlander if the Tigers have a chance to clinch Sunday. I can virtually guarantee that.
The Rockies seemingly have a gap at third, where Ian Stewart has not stepped up, and Garett Akins has stepped down. Do they go after anyone this off season?
Josh, My sense is that Atkins is gone and Stewart stays. I think it's a bit of a reach to say he hasn't "stepped up." He's 24 years old and he has 25 homers and a .790 OPS for a postseason club. Yeah, he hit .229, but he'll be better than that next year. He's the guy there longterm.
You know I'm partial to El Hombre here in St. Louis, but I'm starting to wonder if Troy Tulowitzki doesn't deserve the MVP even more. His offensive numbers are worthy of consideration and when you add in that he's an excellent defender at a premium position...
Stan, What sacrilege! Tulo is great, but I've seen quite a few Rockies game, and he'll make his share of boneheaded baserunning mistakes out of overaggressiveness. And as great as he is, with the power and the defense at SS, he doesn't mean as much to that club as Pujols does to the Cardinals.
I thought Pujols was "The Machine"? Or is StL calling him El Hombre now? If that's the case - ESPN needs to remarket that Sportscenter commercial!!
KT, According to Baseball-Reference.com, it appears that The Machine, El Hombre, Prince Albert or Phat Albert (yes, Phat Albert) are all permissible.
Mr Crasnick, do you think Pujols could beat Bonds 7 MVP's
Juan, Since we're on the Pujols theme, let's stay with it. Interesting question. Pujols will be 30 starting next season and have three MVPs in his collection, so it's certainly possible. Here's the amazing part: In his first 8 seasons, he's only finished lower than once in the MVP balloting. That happened in 2007, when he finished ninth. So he's always going to be in the running. But with guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Hanley Ramirez out there, he's going to have some stiff competition each year. The final answer: I doubt he catches Barry.
Jerry, assuming the Tigers hold on, who is the best NL and AL team to NOT make the playoffs?
Scott, I'll go with Texas in the AL and Atlanta in the NL. If you go by run differential, it's Tampa Bay in the AL and Atlanta in the NL. By a mile. The Braves have a run differential of plus 100. To be honest, this wasn't Bobby Cox's best year.
The CY Young should be considered for the best pitcher in baseball. Joe Morgan said in a chat he'd pick CC because he has the most wins, I highly disagree. I think it comes down to this: If you had 1 game to win, who would you want on the mound and ERA. I say Halliday hands down. Think he'll get any consideration or is Greinke going to be the clear winner in your opinion?
Brian, Yeah, I might pick Halladay, too, if I had to win one game. But I don't think he's the Cy Young winner this year. I'd go with Greinke followed closely by Felix. Either one of those guys would be a solid choice.
Okay, what will be harder for Chicago to stomach in the mid-2010's - failing to get the Olympics, or Alfonso Soriano's contract?
Greg, Jim Hendry is one Chicagoan who would undoubtedly go with No. 2.
Will the Cubs roster look similar next year as it is this season, or will they make a move for a guy like Figgins?
Paul, Lou Piniella loves Figgins, and he would give the Cubs some versatility and speed they could really use. But those same attributes make Figgins attractive to a lot of clubs, including the Yankees. He's going to be one of the five most hotly pursued free agents this winter.
Jerry, will I get to 40 ?
Big Donkey, I think it's going to be tough. You only have three homers all month, you're banged up, and you'll be spending this weekend in Atlanta facing Lowe, Jurrjens and Hudson. That's an awful lot of sinkerballs. If you make it this weekend, you will certainly have earned it.
Gonna be a sad day when Bobby Cox leaves.
Roller, It certainly is, for all the baseball writers who are accustomed to going into Bobby Cox's office when the Braves are in town and listening to him talk ball. He's tremendous. On a positive note, he'll stay with the organization in an advisory capacity, and he'll be able to do the farewell tour in 2010. I can't imagine he'll enjoy all the attention very much.
Are the Rockies gonna sweep my Dodgers this weekend?
Benny, No, they're not going to sweep. Relax, big guy. Save all your anxiety for the postseason.
Mr. Crasnick please answer this unusual question: how bad are the baseball players regarding their finances ?thanks
Francisco, I'm not sure if I have a blanket statement for that, but when I talked to Darren Oliver about the Robert Allen Stanford mess last spring, he told me ballplayers don't have much time to monitor their money, so they tend to find someone they think they can trust and just hand it over. I'm sure that makes them susceptible to a lot of con artists.
Jerry, if someone doesn't post on Carpenter and his grand slam, 6 RBI day (surpassing Gibson on the Cardinal pitcher, single game RBI list) along with his 17-4, 2.2 ERA year I'll implode. He lifted the entire team out of a funk. Save me.
Rich, Consider yourself saved. It's funny. I did a Starting 9 this year on bad-hitting starting pitchers, and I gave some brief thought to Carpenter before leaving him off the list. He's never been much of a hitter. Wainwright is the guy who really rakes.
Jerry, do you have any idea where Felix's "King" nickname came from? Its been bugging me for a while...
Shane, I'm not sure about this, but I think it was one of the USS Mariner blog guys who gave him that name. (If I'm wrong and somebody knows the answer, feel free to set me straight).
Jerry, why don't baseball players have the time to manage their finances? They don't exactly put in 8 hours days. Is it more lack of education or disinterest?
Charles, For the same reason that rock musicians and Hollywood stars don't manage their own finances. Ballplayers have a very distinct skill set, and they're probably not real interested in monitoring Fed rate changes. Plus, the travel is so grueling during the season, I'm sure that's the last thing most ballplayers want to deal with in their spare time.
Jerry, has Rajai Davis earned a regular job in Oaklands outfield next yr? He has been awesome!
Yeah Yeah, I asked assistant GM David Forst about Davis for a story a couple of weeks ago, and Rajai has definitely earned a serious shot at a starting job next year. The A's have gone with a more speed, defense and pitching oriented look, and he fits quite well with that. Not sure he's a lock to start in 2010, but I see no reason why not.
Felix was given the "King" title by the USSM guys because of how dominant he was in the minors. They annointed him the next king of the Seattle rotation before he even sniffed the majors, that's how much potential he showed.
Mike, Thanks. It must be nice to be anointed "King" before you've even shown you're a prince. But the USS Mariner guys knew what they were talking about.
How worried should Phils fans be about Lee and even Hamels? With their bullpen issues, quality starting pitching is essential for the Phils.
Noonan, For all the hand-wringing over the Phillies bullpen, it would certainly be ironic if the rotation fails them in the postseason. But no, I think relief pitching ranks 1,2 and 3 on Charlie Manuel's list of October concerns. I think he's pretty comfortable with Lee, Hamels, Blanton and Happ going into the playoffs.
Elvis Andrus is making quite a push for ROY, any chance he'll make it?
Hamilton, Andrus will be right in the mix with Andrew Bailey and Rick Porcello. Not sure he wins, but he'd probably be my pick for his defense and the steals.
Talk about premature with "King" Felix, fans were calling Francisco Liriano "Franchise" before he made it up. In other news, he hopes to pitch decently in long relief role next year.
Ryan, Yeah, it's disheartening to see what a rough time Lirano has had making it back. That Minnesota team is missing a lockdown, top of the rotation ace, and you have to wonder if Liriano is ever going to be that guy. He's only 26 and still has a chance to figure it out, but the jury is still out.
Do you tend to think that a team like the Orioles should keep Dave Trembley because they realize they didn't give him enough to work with? Or is there merit to the "culture of losing" argument?
Dan, I'm not that close to the situations in either Baltimore or Washington, but I wouldn't have a problem in bringing back both Riggleman and Trembley. The Orioles' pitching was horrible this year, and they're not going to contend in 2010. Does the owner (or GM Andy MacPhail) think that firing Trembley and bringing in another manager is going to make a major difference? I don't think so, but maybe they know better.
Why is it innings and not pitches that are the barometer for young pitchers who are being monitored?
Dom, Good question. I'm sure that clubs also monitor pitches. But there's a school of thought that not all pitch counts are created equal -- that an easy, seven-inning, 90 pitch outing is less taxing than four innings with 90 pitches and a lot of work out of the stretch. So sometimes you have to go beyond the raw numbers.
Who's your NL ROY? Happ is like 5th in the league in ERA and leads the team with 12 wins...and they still have a shot at the #1 seed in the NL!
Xander, I have to think it's Chris Coghlan of the Florida Marlins. He's hitting .368 with a .956 OPS since the All Star break. The kid has been a machine.
do you think joe mauer really did steal signs?
Gary, I was there for the entire flap, and I really don't think Mauer was stealing signs. When a baserunner wants to help a hitter with location, he might lean or look in a certain direction. But there's no way Mauer would be out there tugging at his helmet to convey signs. If the Tigers thought that for a minute, Jason Kubel would have gotten a fastball in the neck from Justin Verlander. Sign stealing is a lot more subtle than that.
As a Tigers fan, I gained a lot of respect for Gardy and the Twins after they blamed yesterday's fiasco on Mijares and not Bonderman or the Tigers. What did you think about the whole situation? I heard that Mijares was upset because the Tigers were taking advantage of the Twins big lead and stealing "free" bases... have you ever heard of a pitcher getting upset about that before?
Jimmy, Yeah, that was one of the explanations going around for Mijares' dissatisfaction. I've never been in a clubhouse where the manager and so many other players publicly put a teammate in his place like that. Maybe that's what makes the Twins the Twins. I did, however, get a kick out of Delmon Young giving Mijares a postgame lecture on professionalism. That was quite a hoot.
Has Chris Coghlan's season made this Dan Uggla's last with the Fish?
Jake, Yeah, I get the feeling that Uggla and Jeremy Hermida are both out of there. It'll be interesting to see whether the Marlins try to package them in a deal -- and also what they do with Jorge Cantu.
Hi Jerry, you were a little off with your preseason predictions, what an update on those.
Debbie, Yeah, I think my Rays-Cubs World Series prediction was a little off base. Thanks for bringing that up -- I really appreciate it.
Early world series matchup prediction?
Pedro, Well, the Yankees look awfully formidable right now. If the Phillies can get their bullpen issues resolved, I think they have a pretty good shot. If not, it's gotta be the Cardinals.
The Rox are playing for best record in the NL this weekend - and that means home field advantage at Coors Field in the first two rounds. This is not a difficult decision at all for Tracy - you go for it all this weekend. Keep the team thinking and playing 100% aggressive.
MP, Most definitely. The Rockies pushed themselves a lot harder than this to make the playoffs in 2007, and it certainly didn't hurt them in October. You can't turn competitiveness on and off like a light switch. They'll try to take three straight from the Dodgers this weekend, then take it from there.
Thanks for coming on the chat, everybody. Let's do it again next week.