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September 29, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:00 PM)

Hi, everybody. Thanks for checking into the final chat of the regular season. This week's Starting 9 is posted on the site. The topic is nine "feel-good moments from 2010." Just a hint: K-Rod isn't among them.

Bobby (Dallas)

If Josh Hamilton gets healthy in time and Cliff Lee is pitching like Cliff Lee, the Rangers go how far in the playoffs?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:02 PM)

Bobby, Given the Yankees' starting pitching issues, the field is wide open this year. But do we really know if Hamilton will be healthy and Cliff Lee is pitching like Cliff Lee? Hamilton is going to have to play in a couple of games just to show his ribs can take the strain, and Lee hasn't been himself with the exception of a couple of starts against the Yankees and Mariners. So we'll see.

Greg (Montgomery, AL)

Jerry .. thanks for being here all season! From the pending free agent crop, who is most likely to get a Most Regrettable Contract, or as we can now call it, the Jason Bay Award?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:03 PM)

Greg, Well, Adrian Beltre has Scott Boras for an agent and a knack for turning it on in contract years. He certainly jumps out as one possibility.

Jim (Toronto)

Lots of fanfare and love for Cox's last season as manager. But not much for another managers last season...Cito Gaston...consecutive World Series and the first African-American manager of a World Series team. He should be getting more recognition than he's currently getting.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:05 PM)

Jim, Absolutely, although Cito was away for quite a while and doesn't have the same kind of continuous tenure that Cox has. That whole Blue Jays team has been overlooked this year. To finish above .500 in that division, hit all those HRs and cultivate some good young pitching, they've been a fun team to follow. Now let's see who Alex Anthopoulos names to succeed Cito.

Jeff (Cincy)

Jerry - as a former Cincinnatian, didn't last night's finish just make you feel good? What a finish!

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:06 PM)

Jeff, I covered the Reds from 1988 to 1993, and I've seen how that town can go crazy over baseball. So yeah, it brought back a few memories.

Danny (Bay Area)

Phils might have best 1-3, but Giants have best options for a 4-man rotation in a seven game series right?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:07 PM)

Danny, Joe Blanton is 5-1 with a 3.59 ERA since the All-Star break, and he has postseason experience, so I wouldn't necessarily agree with that.

Jason (NJ)

Felix has thrown 249 2/3 innings so far. How crazy are the Mariners to even consider sending him out there on Sunday?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:09 PM)

Jason, I've been concerned about his innings total for a while now. But the Mariners say they've been monitoring him very closely. And I'm not sure if there's a big difference between 256 and 249 at this point. One thing's for sure: He won't be logging any innings in winter ball.

Scott (Boston, MA)

if Jon Lester has another dominant start tomorrow and gets to 20 wins, does that make him the Cy Young winner?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:10 PM)

Scott, I think Felix Hernandez has built up such a head of steam, and gotten so much publicity, it's going to be tough for anyone to overtake him. But if he has a top challenger, it might be Lester. Really, Sabathia, Lester, David Price, Jered Weaver and Clay Buchholz can all make a case for the award.

Mike W (Chicago)

Everyone knows that Votto is more than likely the MVP this year but what other awards will Cincy player pull in? Dusty for MOY? Will Phillips, Rolen, or Bruce win a gold glove?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:12 PM)

Mike, Gold Gloves are basically a coin flip. They're voted on by the managers and coaches, so nobody knows who'll win one. As for MOY, this could be very interesting. Like most people, I've considered Bud Black the favorite all along. But if the Padres fail to make the playoffs, could that open the door for Dusty? Sure it could.

Divyesh (Provo, UT)

Jerry... I'm disappointed in you. Why isn't Brooks Conrad's walk-off slam in the 'top nine feel good moments of the year'?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:13 PM)

Divyesh, That was a great moment, but I think it's a pretty solid list. Who would you give the boot to for Brooks?

Matt (Chicago)

What do you make of AGON's pro-Cubs comments? After letting some of their bad deals expire, he would make a nice splash for the new ownership in the FA mkt.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:14 PM)

Matt, He has a career slugging percentage of almost .700 at Wrigley, so it's no surprise he'd like to play there. Even Wrigley with the wind blowing in is better than Petco. Although the timing was a little weird, I assume that A-Gon was just responding to a question. Like any smart free agent-to-be, he's keeping all of his options open.

Jordan (Philly)

Jerry, What is your stance on how the Phillies should play the Braves this weekend. That series will effect the NL Wild Card picture. I feel it's a double edge sword for them either way, Think Jets vs Indy NFL 2009!

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:16 PM)

Jordan, There's such a thing as "the integrity of the races," and I'm sure that Charlie Manuel and the Phillies will field a very representative lineup against Atlanta just out of fairness to San Diego and San Francisco. Apparently Roy Halladay won't be pitching, but I assume most of the regulars will be in there. They have a couple of days to rest up in Washington before the Atlanta series.

Jason (NJ)

Who has the tiebreaker between the Giants and Reds for the #2 seed in the NL, assuming they finish with the same record?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:17 PM)

Jason, I think the Giants have the tiebreaker edge after winning four of seven vs. Cincinnati in the regular season. If I'm incorrect on that, somebody out there please feel free to let me know.

Pat (Philly)

Jerry - why no Charlie Manuel for MOY? The job he did keeping this team together after losing Rollins, Utley, Howard, Polanco, Victorino, Ruiz (to name a few) to stints on the DL has to make him the favorite

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:19 PM)

Pat, I'm a big Charlie Manuel supporter. But even with all those guys out at various times, the Phillies still had a better lineup than San Diego did. Even when Utley and Howard were out, the Phils had Werth, Ibanez, Rollins and Victorino in there. That's better than anything San Diego was running out there.

Dave (nyc)

Jerry, have you heard any whispers about whats going on with Cliff Lee. Is he pitching scared in Texas or is he hiding an injury. Dont forget he had that rib injury start of this year, he had an injury history in Cleveland and missed some time in Philly as well. I dont see how he gets a 20 M per contract really

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:20 PM)

Dave, He struggled in August because of back problems, returned and had great starts against the Yanks and Mariners, and struggled against Oakland his last time out. I'm not sure if the back is still bothering him, or if it just wasn't a very good outing.

Divyesh (Provo, UT)

I guess I can't discount any of the other great stories that you've chosen, as each of them is as significant (probably more significant, actually, considering my Braves bias) as the Conrad moment. Perhaps an honorable mention for the 30-year old minor league journeyman who seems to have found a home at Turner? Thanks for answering our questions!

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:21 PM)

Divyesh, Thanks for getting back. I'm sure I missed a few other feel-good moments this season, and Brooks Conrad's homer definitely qualifies.

Ben (Bala Cynwyd, PA)

Just minutes ago on 1st and 10, Skip Bayless said that Felix shouldn't win the Cy because he doesn't have that "intangible where he can lift his lineup and offense while he's pitching." In 2010, can anyone really believe that?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:22 PM)

Ben, With all due respect to Skip, I'm not sure how Felix Hernandez is supposed to lift up that sorry lineup. On a positive note, the Mariners did cross the 500-run barrier yesterday.

Evan (Concord, CA)

Alrighty...so if no Bud Black, how about the team that overtook them in the NL West? Brucy Bochy? Everyone knew the SP would be legit...but that lineup and bullpen have been quite a surprise

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:23 PM)

Evan, Bruce Bochy also belongs in the conversation, although people really did love the Giants' pitching coming out of spring training.

Reif (Denver)

Jerry, is it just me or are two of the best three teams in the NL going to be sitting at home in October?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:25 PM)

Reif, Are you talking about the Cardinals and Rockies? They certainly didn't show it when it mattered. The Rockies couldn't win on the road and once again they buried themselves with a bad start. And the Cardinals couldn't beat the mediocre teams or muster much offense outside of Albert and Matt Holliday. I find it hard to say one of the "best" teams got left out when you play a 162-game season in baseball.

Chris (Holmdel, NJ)

Jerry, what's your opinion on Brian Cashman? I know hindsight is 20/20 but his track record of bring in pitchers seems pretty dismal. He passes on a 22 year old lefty who throws 105 mph for $30 million yet has blown close to $200 million on guys like AJ Burnett, Kei Igawa, Javier Vasquez, Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright just to name a few.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:28 PM)

Chris, In fairness, Brian Cashmanb did sign CC Sabathia (albeit for $161 million), and he's worked out pretty well. The Yankees also brought in Mike Mussina, Chien-Ming Wang and David Wells during Cashman's tenure. With the Yankees, you also have to factor in the "how is he going to handle pitching in New York?" angle. That's why Vazquez is such a disaster. He's come there two separate times and been a disappointment twice.

Scott (SoDak)

OK - Let's say Buster Posey and Jason Heyward both get their teams into the playoffs? Who gets the NL ROY?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:30 PM)

Scott, That race is such a push, the guy who has the big final week and puts his team over the top might be the winner. I just checked, and Posey is 3 for his last 22, while Heyward is 3 for his last 23, so it appears they're both hitting the wall. I'd probably give it to Heyward by a hair, but I can understand the pro-Posey arguments.

Jason (NJ)

Which is the better game 1 matchup: CC vs Liriano or Price vs Cliff Lee?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:31 PM)

Jason, I'd pay to see either of them. Then again, it could be CC vs. Cliff and Price vs. Liriano depending on how the AL East race shakes out.

Bryan (NY)

The point you mention on Vazquez I think proves Chris' point about Cashman being overrated. He knew he can't handle NY, but he traded for him anyways. What's his next move going to be, Carl Pavano?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:32 PM)

Bryan, Hey, he's available this winter. But I think you'll see Randy Johnson come out of retirement and pitch for the pinstripers before Pavano returns to New York.

Dave (PA)

Jerry, Steve Carlton won 27 games on an even worse team than Felix.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:33 PM)

Dave, Yeah, but that was way back in the stone age, when pitchers threw complete games and baseball writers were so uneducated they actually paid attention to win totals.

Brian (East Lansing)

Reading what Ben wrote about SKip, I think he just tries to make trouble. Felix has been the best pitcher all year depsite having one of the worst offenses ever. That said how come Verlander doesn't seem to get any recognition? Is last 5 starts since a bad out at the Yankes- 5-0 and 1.96 era.. Please give him a little love. Thanks

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:34 PM)

Brian, I'm glad you mentioned Verlander. He's another guy who belongs in the discussion. It's an amazingly deep Cy Young field in the AL.

J.T. (Exton, PA)

Alright, so he may not be MVP, but Jerry, how about a little love for Carlos Ruiz. This guy has quietly turned into a top 5 (maybe even top 3) catcher in the majors, and yet he is overshadowed by all the superstars in the Phillies lineup. Chooch is consistently clutch, performs fantastically in the playoffs, and when a pitcher is interviewed after a great game, they ALWAYS credit Chooch first. Where do you think he ranks among catchers in MLB right now? (I have him only behind Mauer and McCann- we'll see about Posey, he needs more time)

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:36 PM)

J.T., The fans in Philadelphia go absolutely nuts over Ruiz, so he's getting his fair share of love. (Not to mention a ring from Roy Halladay for his part in that perfect game). That said, you're not saying you would take Carlos Ruiz over Buster Posey, are you? If so, I don't think you'll be running a front office anytime soon.

Joe (Minneapolis)

It seems pointless to compare GM's. They all have the same Job Title but they clearly have different jobs. There is very little commonality between Cashman and the GM of a club with a 60M payroll.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:37 PM)

Joe, That's way too logical, rational and insightful an observation for this chat. Please refrain from posting again until further notice.

Aron (St. Louis)

Jerry thanks for the chat! Albert Pujols' numbers are as good if not better then Votto's. But consensuses seems that Votto is a run away for NL MVP because he's on a winner! But Pujols has lost the award to Bonds and Howard when they were on lossing teams! Why the Bias?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:38 PM)

Aron, Albert Pujols has raised the bar so high, he almost has to do something extraordinary now. It's called "being taken for granted." Fortunately for him, I don't think that will be the case when he signs his next contract.

Ian (Hoboken)

I think J.T. is saying he'd take Ruiz over anyone but McCann and Mauer right now skill-wise...not in a trade.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:41 PM)

Ian, Ruiz is definitely ahead of Posey when it comes to handling a staff and calling a game. But Posey's power and offensive skills make him a future star. And he seems to be a lot better behind the plate than everyone said he would be. As I mentioned the other day, he doesn't seem to be going through the same learning curve that Matt Wieters is experiencing in Baltimore. I'm sure there are a lot of reasons for that.

Steve (Chestnut Hill, MA)

Jerry, maybe I'm biased as a Giants fan, but what about Andres Torres as a feel-good story? 32-yr-old journeyman helps a terrible offense into a pennant race. The guy had a triple last night two weeks after an appendectomy.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:41 PM)

Steve, He's a cool story, no question. Thanks for mentioning Torres.

Derek (Toronto)

Hi Jerry, i've had the pleasure of watching Roy Halladay pitch from day one and to see him get the recongition and accolades he deserves is great. However, what he has done this year doesn't come as a surprise to those of us who followed him his whole career. He has preformed this well year in and year out but while he was in Toronto it seemed like he always took the back seat to other pitchers ie. Johan Santana. Do you think the fact that he played in Toronto is the reason he didn't get all the fanfare that he's getting now?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:44 PM)

Derek, Part of it was playing in Toronto, and part of it is his media-shyness. Halladay is a good guy, but he's so busy watching video, lifting weights, doing stretching and cardio and all the other stuff he needs to prepare, he's almost invisible in the clubhouse. He doesn't reveal a whole lot of himself for public consumption. That's never been a priority for him, and it never will be.

Jason (St Louis)

Is Kyle Lohse about as untradeable as a guy these is out there? I'd love to see him get dumped on someone else and get out from under that contract.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:45 PM)

Jason, I've gotta think that John Mozeliak would be able to beat Omar Minaya in a Kyle Lohse-Oliver Perez tradeoff, hands down. Imagine how many phone calls it would take to move Ollie, even if you paid the entire contract?

Oliver Perez (Queens, NY)

Kyle Lohse isn't as untradeable as me, and I'm insulted that Jason in St Louis forgot about me

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:46 PM)

See what I mean?

Eric Leisure (Cincinnati)

Bronson Arroyo has to be one of the most underrated starters going into the postseason, right? He seems to be pitch big under pressure and is consistent night in and night out.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:48 PM)

Eric, Arroyo has been great for the Reds. But since he throws in the upper 80s and generally pitches to contact and relies on his defense, I don't think most people regard him as the kind of No. 1 shutdown guy you want to carry your team through the postseason. He is who we thought he is. (Haven't I heard that phrase before?)

Bryan (NY)

The winner of the AL MVP award is ____________

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:49 PM)

Bryan, I'm starting to think the voters might give it to Miguel Cabrera. All those stats, all those intentional walks, and no sign of Josh Hamilton in September. It's just a weird voting scenario this season.

Dave (PA)

Rollins has said he will not steal bases or leg out infield singles unless it was necessary. Would you really start Rollins like this especially the way Valdez has been playing?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:50 PM)

Dave, The Phillies have to play Jimmy Rollins if he can make it onto the field, but I'm not sold that he's going to hold up in October. Wilson Valdez is certainly a nice security blanket. The guy has a cannon for an arm.

Tony (Pt Jeff, NY)

With Tampa having attendence issues and Mets having a talent issue-- could yoou arrange for the 2 franchises to just SWAP EVERYTHING so Tampa becomes the Mets and vice-versa-- AT LEAST then Mets could compete and lack of talent would justify Rays bad attendence?? With your MLB pull... come on!

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:51 PM)

Tony, So then the Rays will be drawing 3,000 fans instead of 12,000 in September?

Matt (Florida)

Vazquez coming to NY is NOT a disaster. The Yankees traded a 4th outfielder (Melky) for Vazquez and Boone Logan. Atlanta got FLEECED in that deal.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:52 PM)

Matt, Have you seen Javier Vazquez pitch this year? He's making $11.5 million, and I think he has 10 quality starts in 25 outings. It has not been fun to watch.

Steve (Cincinnati)

and the winner of the NL MVP award is ____________

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:53 PM)

Steve, It's the Cincinnati Reds' very own Joey Votto. Will join Justin Morneau and Larry Walker on the list of Canadian-born winners.

Rich (Sun Valley, ID.)

Jerry, thanks for the chat. My Cardinals have folded like a card table at the end of a long night. So what comes in the off-season? Your take please on the future of LaRussa, Pujols and the key changes the team will make for 2011. A very tough year for a storied franchise, but then again.....Only 18 weeks until pitchers and catchers report. Thanks for a great year of chats.......

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:56 PM)

Rich, The Cardinals are going to re-sign Pujols. They have to. But LaRussa needs to take a good hard look at this season and decide if he's the best guy to lead that team moving forward (because it's going to be tough for them to just push Tony out the door). I'm not the first person who's said this, but the Cardinals' payroll is very top heavy, and the farm system hasn't produced much. That's a bad mix right there.

Zack (CT)

Javy is a "disaster" in NY this year because he's throwing 86-88 fastballs instead of 91-93. That has nothing to do with pitching in NY.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:57 PM)

Zack, But we're talking about a guy who was very good last year in Atlanta. Maybe he's injured or something. But he wouldn't be the first guy who struggled with the expectations in New York. I have no idea what's caused the pronounced drop in velocity.

Vernon Wells (Bad Contract Hell)

I've never heard of these Oliver Perez and Kyle Lohse guys.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:59 PM)

Vernon, Maybe you should get Alfonso Soriano, Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand, Carlos Silva, Ollie, Kyle and a few of the guys together for an offseason fishing trip or card game. It might be fun.

Jason (St Louis)

Any comments on John Axford's mustache? That thing is majestic.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:00 PM)

Jason, It's a pretty strong 'stache. I'm not sure how it compares to Clay Zavada's. Or Clay Rapada's. I always get those guys mixed up.

Brett (ATL)

Has Matt from Florida forgot that the Yankees gave up Mike Dunn AND Arodys Vizcaino AND cash? Mike Dunn is already a stud, and Vizcaino looks excellent in the minors. So who got fleeced exactly?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:01 PM)

Brett, Thanks for pointing that out. Frank Wren did score some young pitching in the deal.

Jerry (Elk Grove, CA)

Jerry,Can you remember a time when it was best for a team to leave their two highest paid, healthy, players off of the playoff roster? This year, should the Giants make it, there's no way they should include Zito and Rowand, not with Sanchez and Bumgarner stepping it up and with all of the other outfield choices they have.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:04 PM)

Jerry, Zito is a strange case, because it's hard to see him coming out of the bullpen. I'm not sure who Bruce Bochy will take as his fourth guy after Lincecum, Cain and Sanchez. Aaron Rowand is one of the all-time great guys and competitors, but he barely plays these days. The Giants have such a glut of outfielders, I can't see where he fits in October.

Zack (CT)

Lets give BOTH sides of the story: Has Brett from Atlanta forgot that Arodys Vizcaino has a torn elbow ligament? Or that Mike Dunn had a 4.8 BB/9 in AAA this year and has 16 BB in 17.1 IP with the Braves this year?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:06 PM)

Zack, Hey, at least it's an elbow for Vizcaino, and not a shoulder. And Dunn is left-handed and has a pretty good arm. Given how Vazquez has pitched this year, I think the Braves are just glad to be rid of the salary.

J.T. (Exton, PA)

First reaction, right now. World Series winner and loser. Which teams?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:08 PM)

J.T., I have to think the Phillies are the World Series favorite right now. They're playing the best of all the contenders, and you have to love that top three in the rotation. The AL postseason looks like a complete scrum. Right now it wouldn't shock me to see Tampa Bay come out of it and face the Phils in a 2008 Series repeat. I'm sure I'll change my mind in a day or two.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:09 PM)

Thanks for the questions, everyone. I enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to big Padres-Giants series this weekend, and the Braves' final push on behalf of Bobby Cox. Have a great week.