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August 18, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick
  (11:59 AM)

Hi everybody, Things are getting hectic all of a sudden, with a trade of Derrek Lee from Chicago to Atlanta in the works. Let's begin the chat.

JReeves (Hotlanta)

What odds do you give the D.Lee to Braves deal??? Do you expect the famous "player to be named later," or a simple salary dump???

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:01 PM)

JReeves, I was just told the deal is very close to happening. The Cubs are obviously going to try to squeeze as big a prospect haul as possible out of Atlanta. But I've heard that Atlanta GM Frank Wren won't be moving any of the organization's top pitching prospects in the deal.

Hunter (Jacksonville)

What are your thoughts about the possible movement of Lee to Atlanta. I'm not too positive about it. I was thinking to have them call up Freeman, but then considered it would be a good stepping stone for Freeman to come up next year.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:03 PM)

Hunter, Freddie Freeman is a terrific young prospect, but he's only 20 years old, he's a LH hitter, and it's a lot to ask of the kid to just drop him in the middle of a pennant race. Provided Derrek Lee is healthy, he's Bobby Cox's kind of guy. He upgrades the defense there, and the Braves think Troy Glaus can be a productive player off the bench. He's just worn down physically, and they couldn't afford the lack of production at first base -- particularly after Chipper went down.

AA (Atown)

That Dotel-Macdonald trade looks pretty sweet early on for the Pirates. I assume LA would need to resign Dotel for at least 1 year to make it even somewhat of a non-fleece?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:04 PM)

AA, Regardless of what happens with Dotel, that was a good trade for the Pirates. Even if James McDonald is nothing more than a 4th starter, he's a lot more useful to Pittsburgh than Dotel was. Good job by Neal Huntington turning a short-term resource into a long-term piece at the trade deadline.

CJ (Atl)

Your thoughts on the Derrick Lee rumor? Would it be a platoon deal with Glaus or Glaus as a bench player?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:05 PM)

CJ, If Lee is healthy, he logs most of the time at first, and Glaus comes off the bench. There's no platoon anyway, since they're both RH hitters.

Jason (NJ)

Which of the following players do you believe will change teams between now and September 1st: Brad Hawpe, Brian Fuentes, Brandon Inge.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:07 PM)

Jason, According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, Hawpe's days with the Rockies are numbered. I find it hard to believe they'd just release him, but they want to give Seth Smith and some other guys more ABs. I think Inge is a good fit for the Cards and some other teams. His HR production is down, but he's a winning player and he's become a more well rounded hitter. Fuentes also makes some sense because he should be able to get through waivers. I wouldn't be shocked to see all three guys get moved.

Ryan (Tampa)

If David Price even has the slightest chance of getting the AL CY Young. Would he get it if the runner up is CC Sabathia? I don't how voting goes if its done by the media or whatever but me and a buddy were wondering if Price would get robbed do to the market of New York over Tampa.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:09 PM)

Ryan, The Baseball Writers Association gives two ballots for each award to each city, so there'll be 2 NY writers, 2 Tampa writers, 2 KC writers, etc., voting for each award. If Sabathia wins, it will be on merit, not because of any New York-based advantage.

Dan (Philadelphia)

Better 1-2-3, Cardinals, Giants or Phillies?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:10 PM)

Dan, Right now I like the Phillies. If I had to pick a guy to start a playoff game right now, Halladay would probably be the man. Hamels has been terrific, but he's gotten zero run support. And Roy Oswalt as the third guy? Yikes.

DJ (Cuse)

Does Johnny Venters qualify as a rookie and if so shouldn't he be in the running for Rookie of the year?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:12 PM)

DJ, Venters is a rookie, but the ballot is so stacked this year, he's going to have a hard time making much headway. You've got Buster Posey, Jaime Garcia, Gaby Sanchez, Mike Stanton, Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin and several others I don't have time to mention. It's hard for a setup reliever to win the ROY in a season like this one.

Michael (DC)

IS Lee a FA after the season?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:13 PM)

Michael, Yes, Derrek Lee is in the final year of his contract. That's partly why this deal works for Atlanta -- because there are no financial strings attached beyond 2010.

EdZ (NJ)

What do you think of the Twins chances this year surviving the loaded AL playoff melee.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:15 PM)

EdZ, A lot depends on how Justin Morneau returns from his concussion. They're going to need him to go deep into the postseason. To be honest, I'm not sure how a Francisco Liriano-Carl Pavano-Kevin Slowey-Scott Baker rotation stacks up against the iron in the AL. If the Twins have a potential weakness, that might be it.

Tony (Pt Jeff, NY)

About the Mets- Why don't I ever hear a story about one single guy taking extra batting practice, coming in early, staying late, etc?? Seems to me the "hungry" guys in MLB put in the extra work when things aren't going well(EX: Mets offense). Is this a CORE issue with their players and an indictment of their culture OR am I reading to much into it?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:17 PM)

Tony, I'm not around the Mets enough to answer that question. But when I do see that team in action, I get the impression that Howard Johnson pours an awful lot of time and energy into his job. People seem to have enough reason to tee off on the Mets' organization without ripping them for the overall work ethic. I'm not sure that's a fair criticism.

Marc (philly)

sorry if this gets posted twice, not sure if i sent it the first time. but with the phils regaining their health and aquiring oswalt and having right and lefthanded bats off the bench in sweeney and gload, do you agree that they have become a nightmare matchup in a playoff series, especially for the padres since the dont score any runs.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:18 PM)

Marc, I think the consensus is that everything is starting to jell (or is it gel?) for the Phillies at the right time. Joe Blanton hasn't been very good in the fourth spot in the rotation and the bullpen is potentially shaky, but there are a lot of things to like about that club.

Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)

Dear JerryCould you see George Stienbrenner making the Hall?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:21 PM)

Chioke, My assumption is that George Steinbrenner has a very good chance of making the HOF through the Veterans Committee one day. Like him or not, he was one-of-a-kind and an extremely impactful (god, I hate that word) figure in the game. Of course, Marvin Miller was, as well. I couldn't very well answer that question without getting on my soapbox and putting in a plug for Miller.

Scott (Sioux Falls, SD)

Jerry - love the columns. Giants fan here. How worried should we be about Lincecum?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:23 PM)

Scott, It really depends on whether he's healthy. As long as that's the case, I wouldn't be too worried. The kid has set the bar so extraordinarily high with back-to-back Cy Young Awards, he doesn't have the luxury of the slightest slip-up. But let's try to remember that he just turned 26 in June. Is he supposed to be wall-to-wall perfect for his entire career?

Scott (Boston, MA)

with Cliff Lee's recent struggles, is he still the favorite for the AL Cy Young, who's in the running at this point?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:25 PM)

Scott, It's a very strange year for the AL Cy. Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez have some amazing numbers, but the win-loss disparity is so pronounced between them and some of the other favorites, it might be tough for the voters to overlook. CC Sabathia and David Price also have to be in the running, as well as Jon Lester, with a strong finish. Clay Buchholz missed some time and has a lousy K/BB ratio, so I see him as behind those other guys.

Rob (Reno, NV)

Jerry, why no love for the Twins rotation? Pavano and Liriano are both near the top of the league in wins and ERA, and Slowey is having a decent year. The darkhorse might be Brian Duensing, who is pitching great. Admittedly, Baker has had a down year.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:27 PM)

Rob, Those guys have done a fine job, but other than Liriano, there's not a lot of swing-and-miss stuff in the bunch. The consensus is that power arms win in October. When you have guys who pitch to contact, a lot more things can go wrong in a short series in October.

Henry (DC)

any idea which prospects are being offered for D Lee?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:28 PM)

Henry, I don't know. But I've heard that it's not Beachy, Teheran or (obviously) Mike Minor. The Braves have an enviable surplus of talented young pitching in the minors, and Frank Wren has been resistant to trading any of those guys.

Butch (Philly )

Does D.Lee have to clear waivers?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:30 PM)

Butch, Yes, he does. I assume that he's either already cleared, or Atlanta claimed him. Lee hasn't been 100 percent healthy of late, and he's still owed a decent chunk of money this season. Plus, he's only going to sign off on a deal to a select few teams. I've been told he's on board with going to Atlanta. Everyone wants to play for Bobby Cox, and a big September and a strong performance in the postseason can only enhance Lee's value on the free agent market.

Jack (Cincinnati)

Who are your MVPs at this point? Give me Votto and Hamilton.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:31 PM)

Jack, Those two guys sound fine to me, although the voting landscape has a way of shifting in September.

zack (mineral ridge)

jerry im a die hard pirates fan and was wonderin if u think there headin in the right direction ornot?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:32 PM)

Zack, In some respects, yes. When you look at that lineup now, with Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and so many other young hitters, there's some promise. But now the pitching looks shaky. And they're still 30-plus games under .500 and haven't had a winning season since 1992. I cringe every time I tell a Pirates fan to "be patient."

Jason (Madison)

If HUddy continues to pitch like he has down the stretch, can he overtake Wainwright?(I am stating that I think wainwright, and Hudson are 1-2 in the NL Cy Young Race)

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:34 PM)

Jason, Wainwright is probably No. 1 right now, but I don't see how you can discount Josh Johnson, Ubaldo Jimenez or Roy Halladay. It's quite a stacked field right now. I love to see Tim Hudson doing so well -- he's one of my favorite people in the game. Total pro and stand up guy.

matt (philly)

How come charlie manuel never get's any credit for the job he's done this year? I read the other day he has used 70 different lineups so far this year... and has had 16 players on the DL, pretty sure thats the most in the league

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:36 PM)

Matt, People have this impression of Charlie Manuel as this bumbling good 'old boy, and it's the furthest thing in the world from the truth. I honestly think he feeds into it. And then, when people underestimate him, he finds a way to kick their butt.

Jeff (Indianapolis)

Does Pujols' recent hot streak make him the favorite for MVP (he now leads in both HR and RBI and is only 10 points off the BA)?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:37 PM)

Jeff, It's going to be an interesting battle with Pujols and Votto down the stretch. But it's never a surprise when Albert Pujols gets hot. We have six weeks left for someone to make a big final statement.

Ray A. (San Francisco, CA)

Jerry, how did the Giants pitching take such a swan dive over the past month? Lincecum can't find the strikezone and everyone else is following suit. How do the Giants fix this problem?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:40 PM)

Ray, The Giants are 27-16 since the start of July, so it's not as if the pitching inconsistencies have killed them. Matt Cain and Barry Zito has been fine, Madison Bumgarner is just a kid, and Jonathan Sanchez is always going to be great one start, not so great the next. Bruce Bochy is going to ride it out with those guys and see what happens. Even though San Diego has created some distance in the West, the Giants are right in the wild card mix.

Dave (NC)

If the Red Sox win the wild card, does Terry Francona win the coach of the year? Or do you think he would need to win the division? if you ask me he should get it anyway....... and do you think he might be the best coach in the league right now?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:42 PM)

Dave, A friendly reminder: Don't call him "coach." It's either manager or "Skip." Francona has done one of his best managing jobs this season, but Ron Gardenhire has had to make do without Joe Nathan for the entire season, and he's lost Morneau and a bunch of other guys to injury. That said, if Texas wins the AL West, I think there's a good chance that Ron Washington gets the nod.

Jeff (New York)

Jerry, please tell me that Manny will NOT by a yankee OR a red sox but the end of the month. as a yankee fan, i don't want him in pinstripes, and it scares me if he shows up on the sox.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:43 PM)

Jeff, I don't think you have to worry about either scenario. Manny is still owed several million dollars and he's spent a bunch of this season on the DL. Does he bring something to a contender that I'm not aware of?

Jon (Des Moines)

Hi Jerry, do you see Delmon Young putting up consistent numbers the rest of the way? At this point in time it looks like a win-win trade for both TB and MIN. Granted Garza would look pretty right in the rotation right now, maybe Delmon's finally living up to those lofty expectations??

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:45 PM)

Jon, I remember writing this at one point: If Delmon Young isn't younger than Matt Wieters, it's close. He was drafted No. 1 for a reason, and now that he's shown a better attitude and work ethic, he's living up to his potential. Credit goes to the Twins for sticking with him, and to Young for being accountable and making the necessary adjustments to his game.

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

World Series prediction as of right now?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:46 PM)

Cosmo, Gosh, it's hard to say. But it wouldn't be a shock to see a rematch between the Yankees and the Phillies.

Ryan (NY)

If both the Yankees and Rays clinch with a week to go, is it smarter to rest up and set their rotations or should they play out the year to try for the division title? With all due respect to the Twins/ChiSox, I'd rather face them in the first round than the Rangers

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:48 PM)

Ryan, It's always an interesting question. But I think Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon will make the call based strictly on what's best for their teams and not which matchup might be the most advantageous. The Yankees play the Red Sox a lot down the stretch, and I don't see Girardi sitting a lot of people for those games. Plus, it would be a major mistake to count out Boston this early.

Rob (Los Angeles)

Jerry, I don't see how anyone could favor the Phillies over the Padres in a series where the majority of games will be played at Petco. The style of play the Padres play means they can score a run or two on anyone, and that is often enough. Plus, since July 4th the Padres are scoring over 5 runs a game. Please, support us against the naysayers!

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:49 PM)

Rob, I'm going by the "been there" factor and the presence of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt at the top of the Philly rotation. If those guys are on, the Phillies are going to be tough to beat regardless of which team they face.

Tim (San Jose)

Hey Jerry, Fun fact. The Tigers are the only team in the American League with a winning record against the American League East and they will drop below 500 if they lose to the yankees today. The rangers are like 12-19...

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:50 PM)

Tim, Thanks for passing that along. I'm always up for a good fun fact.

Mike (San Diego)

Jerry, just an FYI: Your power decrease column just made every fantasy player who owns one of those guys cringe.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:52 PM)

Mike, Funny thing is, some of those guys are doing OK despite the lack of power. Joe Mauer has an OPS close to .900, Nick Markakis has been a doubles machine, and Brandon Inge is having about as good a year as he did last season.

Brandon (Charleston, WV)

What are your thoughts on the Reds young pitching?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:55 PM)

Brandon, Mike Leake is starting to wear down, but this year has to be considered a very positive one for him. And I'm really impressed with what I've seen from Travis Wood. Ultimately, it comes down to Aroldis Chapman and what he might provide. I think the Reds deserve some credit for letting him get experience in the minors. It would have been awfully easy to bow to the hype and carry him on the Opening Day roster. Long term, he's much better served spending time in the minors.


Do you think Martin Prado is really this good, or is this year a bit of a fluke? He's been ridiculously good.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:56 PM)

Kenny, I wrote a story recently on players who've been pleasant surprises, and I was taken aback by how many scouts and GMS who said they knew Prado was the real deal. I don't know if he's going to contend for a batting title every year. But he's no fluke.

Oliver Perez (Queens, NY)

Here's another fun fact for you: Thanks to K-Rod, I am no longer the most hated Mets player. Thanks Frankie!

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:57 PM)

Oliver, Thanks for weighing in, but I wouldn't regard that as a "fact." It's just one very biased man's knee-jerk observation.

Ian (Southside)

How demoralizing was the White Sox loss last night? Don't they have to hit a Twin tonight?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:58 PM)

Ian, It was a downer. But I'm not sure that plunking a Twin is really warranted just because Matt Thornton made a fat pitch to Jim Thome. You sound like a really old-school ball guy to me.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:58 PM)

I've only got time for one more. Thanks for all the questions this week.

Steve (Racine, WI)

Speaking of pitching, did you watch the A's/Twins series this weekend? Gonzalez, Cahill and Mazzarro looked outstanding. They just didn't get much recognition because they were on the losing end of those games. Any chance Oakland gets some major league position players in the near future?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:01 PM)

Steve, Heck, you haven't even mentioned Brett Anderson, who's also going to be very good. The A's have Chris Carter up now, but they're going to have to figure out a way to add some bats. When I watched that Marcum near no-hitter the other night and saw that Coco Crisp was DHing for Oakland, it didn't exactly bode well for an offensive breakout for the A's.