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May 26, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:00 PM)

Hey everybody, There's an awful lot going on in MLB, so let's get chatting.

Craig G. (Fairfield, California)

Hey Jerry, where would you place the blame for the Giants' offensive ineptness? On Bochy for lineup order or Sabean for not bringing sluggers in?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:02 PM)

Craig, Bochy can only deal with the lineup he's been handed. It's an aging team, with almost no speed, and they don't draw walks. So it's going to be tough for them to manufacture runs when the bats aren't clicking. I really had questions about the Giants' offense going all the way back to spring training.

Pat [via mobile]

Jerry- what are the ramifications of Pujols' agent leaving his firm?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:05 PM)

Pat, Interesting question. Dan Lozano's departure probably doesn't make much difference in Albert Pujols' contract negotiations. He's been Pujols' agent all along. But you can expect a lot of discord between Lozano and his old firm once it's time to collect on the commission. These agent departures tend to engender a lot of hostility. (I wrote a book about the topic a few years ago, so I've seen plenty of it).

Mitchell (Milwaukee, WI)

Do you see Prince Fielder being traded at the trade deadline?? If so to who?? What about a prince for clay bucholtz and lars anderson deal to the sox?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:07 PM)

Mitchell, With the Brewers going nowhere, I assume that Doug Melvin will explore the trade landscape for Fielder provided that owner Mark Attanasio is on board. I really don't see the Red Sox as a fit. The DH and first baseman are the two best hitters on the team right now. And it would be extremely difficult for them to part with Clay Buchholtz, the way he's pitching right now.

Ryan (Cali)

Does the fact that Strasburg signed a Major League contract at the end of last summer change anything in regards to his future arbitration status? Free Agency status? Or does he just get paid more money for his first few years? Thanks for chatting!

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:08 PM)

Ryan, Strasburg is subject to the same rules as everybody else. He's eligible for arbitration after 3 years (he won't be a Super 2) and free agency after six. But since he signed a major league deal, he's making $2M, $2.5M and $3M the next three years. Unlike his fellow minor leaguers, he doesn't have to worry about subsisting on Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Jason (NJ)

Is the Cardinals offense going through a slump or just not nearly as good as we thought?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:10 PM)

Jason, It's not a killer lineup from top to bottom, but I'll put my money on Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday because of their track record over the long haul. Rasmus has breakthrough potential and Schumaker and Ludwick are proven guys. They're just going through a funk right now. There's no need to be alarmist about it.

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

Hey Jerry how come the Phillies can't hit knuckleball pitchers?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:11 PM)

Matthew, Good question. Those guys mash fastballs, and they're "selectively aggressive." I don't know if I can recall a guy looking more out of sync against a knuckler than Shane Victorino has.

John, Austin [via mobile]

Jerry, none of the other MLB chatters have been able to answer this. Watching the movie Eight Men Out, I noticed and outfield sign with the company name Kurkjian on it. Any connection to Tim Kurkjian?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:12 PM)

John, I have no idea, but I'll ask Tim Kurkjian. Check back with me on my next chat.

chris (dallas)

okay i have hanley ramirez fla and i have elvis andrus tx who should i start in my fantasy team?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:13 PM)

Chris, Unless UZR at shortstop is a factor in your fantasy league, I can state emphatically that Hanley is your guy.

Goose (Chicago)

Assuming the Angels are forced to put Brandon Wood on waivers, where are some of his likely landing spots? Does he get past Baltimore?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:15 PM)

Goose, Baltimore has a pretty good third base prospect in Josh Bell (he can hit, although his defense is suspect), but Andy MacPhail is always on the lookout for good young talent. Kansas City, maybe Cleveland .. I think any of those teams would have to be intrigued by Wood. It looks as if it just ain't happenin' for him in Anaheim.

Henry (Dallas)

Jerry, what do you make of Vlad? Were the reports last season about his no longer having the batspeed to be effective premature? It certainly looks like his power is back.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:16 PM)

Henry, I talk about Vlad today in my Starting 9 on "spring training conventional wisdom gone wrong." Rangers GM Jon Daniels says he lost weight and got in better shape over the winter, and was determined to come back and prove people wrong. Hitting at Arlington Stadium never hurt a hitter's numbers, either. Vlad should be on his way to the All Star Game.

Mike W (Chicago)

Joey Votto leads all NL Firstbasemen in every major statistical category except OBP (he's 2nd to only Pujols). However he's not in the top 5 of All-Star voting. What does he have to do to get some recognition? He's got better all around numbers than Pujols this season.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:17 PM)

Mike, Joey Votto is a terrific player, but from what I've seen, he's almost media shy. That shouldn't be a consideration, but it's hard for him to build a following tucked away there in Cincinnati.

Jeffrey Wilson (St. Johns, Antigua)

What are your thoughts on the Cubs signing 1-pitch reliever Bob Howry? Also, the Cubs have won 7 of their last 9, are they a 3rd place team in a horrible division, or do they have a shot at the Wildcard?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:19 PM)

Jeffrey, The Cubs liked Howry on his first go round, and they think he gives them a welcome "veteran presence" in the pen. It was worth a shot. I wish I could be more upbeat about the Cubs, but I'd be shocked if they win that division.

Ryan (Littleton, CO)

There has been absolutely awful umpiring lately in the MLB. Everything from missed calls in the field, bad calls with the strike zone, and umpires engaging and sometimes inducing arguments (Bob Davidson and Joe Maddon, Tuesday the 25). Does the MLB have any plans for disciplining and cracking down on this umpiring madness?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:21 PM)

Ryan, I know the umpires clashed with Sandy Alderson at times, but he could crack the whip when necessary. I'm sure that Steve Palermo, Randy Marsh and the other supervisors see this stuff and report back to the MLB office on it. I like Bob Davidson as a guy, but that was an awful call on Carl Crawford (and his strike zone on everybody else wasn't much better). You know he's wrong when Joe Maddon gets that worked up about it.

David (Los Angeles)

How can the dodgers become an elite team?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:22 PM)

David, To me, it all comes down to Billingsley and Kershaw. Those guys have a world of talent, and if they pitch the way they have in the past month, the Dodgers are a threat in the NL West. If not, they're a third place team. (I also talk about the Dodgers' pitching in today's Starting 9). Another shameless column plug!

Anthony (NYC)

Jer, top 3 surprise teams and disappointing teams so far this season?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:25 PM)

Anthony, Three surprise teams: San Diego, Toronto and Washington (and I would be lying if I told you I thought Tampa Bay would be 32-14). Lots more early disappointments: Seattle, Arizona, Colorado, White Sox and Baltimore, to name a few.

desert (Provo)

Hey Jerry, I know that people are probably making too much out of Pujols' 'mini-slump' ; but, if he does indeed finish the season with his rate numbers as they are now, what type of hit do you think he takes in contract negotiations?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:27 PM)

Desert, He's hitting .314 with a .953 OPS, so he's not going to take any hit. And the Cardinals have a $16 million club option on him for 2011. Trust me: There's not much internal debate going on about whether they will be exercising that option.

Steve (Illinois)

What's your take on the relative disparity between the AL and NL. To hear Neyer talk, the NL is no different from the PCL and IL.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:29 PM)

Steve, I think it's a little overblown at times, but there's a big difference for pitchers who are accustomed to getting a couple of lineup breathers in the NL and don't have that luxury in the AL. Look at Max Scherzer: He was expected to make a huge contribution in Detroit, and he's pitching in Triple A ball right now.

Pat in NJ [via mobile]

I have heard several people in the NY tri-state area speculate that if the Mets were to acquire Oswalt, it would cost them Jennry Mejia. Doesn't that seem a bit steep considering they would also have to pay about 30 mil over the next 2 years to Roy? If Cliff Lee is on the market at the same time, I can't imagine Wade getting too much of a return for an expensive aging SP on a bounceback year, either...

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:31 PM)

Pat, As Buster Olney pointed out the other day, there are several obstacles to any Oswalt deal. He has a no trade clause, a sketchy injury history, and almost $30 million left on his contract. Times have changed, and you don't see many teams trading away highly-regarded young pitching. Just look at how the Red Sox hung onto Buchholtz and Lester rather than trade them for Johan Santana. Think Theo Epstein is glad he took that approach now? You bet he is.

Todd (Philly)

Why did Houston pull Oswalt off the table? Shouldn't they "try" to get something now versus trying to compete with the likes of a Cliff Lee on the trade market? It is moves like this that exemplifies why they are where they are...

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:33 PM)

Todd, I don't know if the Astros have necessarily "pulled him off the table." It's still awfully early -- how many big name players do you see traded by Memorial Day? We'll see a lot of shaking out in the standings over the next six weeks, and I'm sure there will be lots and lots of Roy Oswalt speculation to come. Rest assured.

trevor (ca)

which of your top three surprises is most likely to keep surprising?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:35 PM)

Trevor, The only reason I think San Diego can hang around longer than Toronto is that the Padres play in the NL West. But they really need someone to step up and take the pressure off Adrian Gonzalez. Remember, Toronto started off quickly last year, then faded in June and July. That AL East is a bear.

John (St. Paul)

More likely a Twin by July, Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:36 PM)

John, Maybe I'm out of touch, but my guess is neither. It's just not the Twins' style to trade prospects for a short-termer. If anything, I think Minnesota will try to beef up its bullpen. That might not exact as much of a price as acquiring a Lee or an Oswalt.

Tom (Simi Valley, CA)

Hi Jerry - I wanted to go back to your column the other week with Palmer, Blyleven, and Gossage. So if I have this straight, in a sport where a player has been killed by a pitched ball and at least 3 players (Puckett, Conigliaro, and Thon) effectively had their careers ended after getting hit in the eye with a pitch, Goose Gossage thinks it's OK to drill a guy just because he stared at a home run too long? Eye for an eye? Sounds like eye for a strand of hair to me.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:38 PM)

Tom, I think Gossage and Blyleven were both more inclined to drill a guy in the ribs than throw one at his noggin. Those guys were tough, but they were never going to put a player's career in jeopardy by throwing a pitch at his head.

Eamon (DC)

With Aramis Ramirez hanging out below the Mendoza line past the quarterpole, any chance the Cubs trade for Mike Lowell, or does Ramirez's salary ($16M+) make this a dance with who you came with scenario?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:39 PM)

Eamon, I'm sure the Cubs will stick with Aramis for as long as they can. If they do decide to pick up a third base reinforcement, it's hard to see Mike Lowell as the answer. He's a true pro and a great guy on a team. But he's pretty challenged range-wise in the field at this point of his career.

BT (Atlanta)

The Braves have solid starting pitching, bench, and bullpen. I think the key to their season now rests on Chipper Jones, with the emergence of Heyward and Prado. What do you think of the Braves chances of making the playoffs are at this moment?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:41 PM)

BT, I'm with you on Chipper. It's amazing to think that he was one of the top 5 hitters in the game just a couple of years ago. If he can get back to 75-80 percent of that, it would be huge. One other thing: I thought the Braves' pitching would be better than it's been. That's why I picked them as a wild card team in the spring. Now I'm a little less enthused about that prospect.

Josh (L.A.)

Should the Dodgers go get a starting pitcher?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:43 PM)

Josh, I talked to Ned Colletti yesterday, and right now I think they're hoping that Vicente Padilla can return in June and round out the rotation. Plus, the McCourts' divorce is still hanging over the team. They're not in a position to make a big-money addition right now.

Kevin (Miami, FL)

Could you see the Marlins looking to move Dan Uggla this year so that they can move Coghlan from LF to 2B, opening up an outfield spot for Mike Stanton when they call him up?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:44 PM)

Kevin, The Marlins tried to deal Dan Uggla all winter and didn't have any luck. Now that they're 3 games out in the NL East, I don't see him going anywhere. Once Mike Stanton comes up, the Fish will have to reduce somebody else's ABs to make room for him in the OF.

Tyler (DC)

how about papi lately. everyone said he's finished now look at what he's done in may. he is still a great hitter except he gets off to bad starts.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:46 PM)

Tyler, It's amazing how quickly that guy can turn it on. I've heard two analysts -- Kevin Millar and someone I forget -- use the word "swagger" to explain his turnaround. Maybe all the second-guessing and speculation that he was "finished" helped motivate him to kick it in gear.

Juan (Austin)

Nationals goin to be buyers or sellers at trade deadline?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:47 PM)

Juan, I think they have to be selective sellers. With Strasburg on the way, that team is clearly geared toward the future. They're not good enough to make the playoffs this year, so I don't see much reason for Mike Rizzo to be a buyer.


Jerry, Its absured that the yankees have a 200 million payroll, yet their lineup is consistently filled with Ramiro Pena, Francisco Cervelli, Randy Winn, marcus Thames, and Brent Gardner. Whhere is the other 195 million at?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:49 PM)

Keith, Funny, but I mentioned that to somebody recently. Brian Cashman has done some good things, but the Yankees' bench sure seems to suffer from all that moolah they throw at the big names. (On the other hand, don't be dissing Gardner. And it's Brett, not Brent.)

Mike (San Diego)

Not only do the Pads play in the NL West, but the back of their bullpen is actually really good. Having Gregerson, Adams, and Bell to pitch the last 3 innings makes life a lot easier on some of the starting staff.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:50 PM)

Mike, Yet another item I address in this week's Starting 9. If you think about it, the Padres still owe a big debt of gratitude to former GM Kevin Towers. Is there anyone in baseball who's more adept at finding good relievers out of nowhere?

Will (Columbia, Mo)

It's really funny you call Colorado a disappointment. One game over .500 for a traditionally slow starting team that saw injuries to Francis, Street, De La Rosa, Hawpe and Morales. They still have to be favorites to win the NL West, right?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:53 PM)

Will, I picked them to win the World Series, and I think they have a big run in them. The pitching injuries have definitely hurt. But they still have to be concerned about Helton's lack of power, the uncharacteristically shaky defense, Dexter Fowler's struggles and a few other things. That's a much better team than it's shown.

Jordan (NJ)

Jerry, I'm not sure a guy who batted under .250 last year in 540 at bats, and is currently at .258 this year, can still be considered "still a great hitter." He's also still not walking a lot, and his strikeout total will resembles last year's as well. Why can't we admit that Papi isn't the player he used to be period. I mean, even Jose Bautista has 15 homeruns. Even a blind dog finds a bone once in a while.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:54 PM)

Jordan, OK, maybe I got carried away, but the guy has been a force this month. If I told you in April that David Ortiz would have a .359 BA, eight homers and 21 RBIs in May, wouldn't you have been surprised?

Ryan (Roswell)

Would you rather have Heyward or Strasburg for the next 10 years?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:55 PM)

Ryan, Great question. I would probably take Jason Heyward, if only because the injury risk is so much less. Two words: Mark Prior.

Matt (DC)

Strassburg: Floyd Bannister or Ben McDonald?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:56 PM)

Matt, How about neither? Is that an option?

RyGuy (B'ham, WA)

Casey McGehee has gotta make the All-Star game somehow, right?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:57 PM)

RyGuy, I would hope so. All I know is, his face has been popping up pretty regularly in the stats where the league leaders are listed.

Morgan (Baltimore)

At what point do Baltimore fans start to worry about Matt Wieters?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:59 PM)

Morgan, It's way too soon for me. He just turned 24, and the transition to the big leagues is extraordinarily challenging for a catcher. He not only has to worry about his offense, but taking care of a 12-man pitching staff that's not very good. On the list of Orioles' concerns, Wieters ranks pretty far down for me.

Shawn (DC)

Jerry -- considering all the problems the Tigers have had with the starters, are you surprised that they have managed to keep up with the Twins and win series against the Yankees and Red Sox?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:01 PM)

Shawn, They absolutely have to get more innings out of their rotation, or Jim Leyland's bullpen is going to be ground to a pulp by July. But Johnny Damon has been a terrific fit for that club, and Brennan Boesch has been amazing. Can he keep it up once the scouting reports get more detailed? We shall see.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:01 PM)

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