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April 25, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:00 PM)

Hey folks, Between the NBA hoops drama and NHL overtime extravaganzas, there's a lot going on in the sports world. But it's all baseball, all the time in this locale. Let's start the chat.

John (Virginia)

Any options available out there for these teams needing some relief help? Specifically, my Phillies?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:02 PM)

John, The Phillies have already added Michael Stutes and Mike Zagurski to the mix, and I assume they'll just give the kids a chance. How often do you see quality relievers (or any players, for that matter) get traded in late April? The starting rotation is so consistently good, it helps take pressure off the bullpen. Ruben Amaro will try to plug the holes internally, and if he needs to make a move in July, he'll do it then.

josh mohr (ft thomas, ky)

Will the reds call up Mesoraco, Sappelt, or Frazier for a jump start to get this light hitting offense going? I realize 2 of em aren't on the 40 man, but with injuries pilling up we need help

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:04 PM)

Josh, I just checked and the Reds lead the NL with 114 runs scored and 27 homers, and they're third in slugging percentage -- and this is with Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen (now injured) yet to hit their stride. I'm sure Walt Jocketty would be happy to call up one of those guys if the team has an injury, but they're not difference-making players at this point. The Reds will hit. They're just having a bad week.

Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)

Dear JerryWho could you see buying the Dodgers from Major League Baseball?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:06 PM)

Chioke, I keep thinking about Dennis Gilbert, the former player agent. He's committed to baseball, he has a ton of connections, and he came in second in a bid to buy the Texas Rangers. I think his time is coming to own a club. And he lives in LA and religiously follows the club. I think he's a natural fit for the Dodgers.

lawndale california [via mobile]

Who is the best player in baseball right now and why?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:07 PM)

Lawndale, Given the combination of offense, defense, age, leadership and playing a premium position on the field, you could make a pretty strong case for Troy Tulowitzki, couldn't you?

kardfan (illinois)

Jeryy:What have you heard about Pujols' injury? please tell me it's nothing more than a strain.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:08 PM)

Kardfan, It doesn't sound serious. But anytime you're talking about a hamstring injury (especially when it's Albert Pujols' hammy), it has a tendency to linger. Pujols is a tough guy and he's played through these in the past, but I'm sure the Cardinals will exercise caution with him. They can't afford to push it and have him go down for an extended period.

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

Hey Jerry, what a great outing by Doc yesterday. Is he the clear favorite to win the Cy Young award again this year?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:10 PM)

Matthew, I picked Roy Halladay as my preseason Cy Young, because the guy is an absolute machine. If the Phillies starters all pitch to expectations, it'll be interesting to see if there's any "vote splitting" going on come November. Then again, it's hard to discount guys like Tim Lincecum and Josh Johnson in any year. It's way, way too early to be speculating on awards.

Luke (Wi)

How many homers will a-gon have this year?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:11 PM)

Luke, A-Gon is off to a slow start in the home run department. But in that ballpark, in that lineup, I think he'll be good for 35-40 bombs. No great revelation there.

M's Fan (Seattle)

What do you think of Micheal Pineda and what would they be saying about him if he was a Yankee or Sox?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:14 PM)

M's Fan, I picked Michael Pineda as my preseason AL Rookie of the Year. The kid is just a massive presence in so many ways. I know some people figured he could use some extra time in the minors to work on his slider -- and that lefty hitters would eventually give him trouble. He's going to have to make some adjustments as the season progresses. As to your point about him pitching in Seattle, I think that helps him. He has a chance to grow and mature outside the media spotlight that he would face in NY or Boston.

CP (Reno,nv)

Assuming the Dodgers are out of it( not hard to do ) and are allowed to make trades, do you see Either being moved? I think with so many holes he is the only true trade chip LA has..

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:17 PM)

CP, That's a fascinating subplot to the Dodger drama -- what's going to happen with Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp. They're due big paydays in arbitration next spring. They've both said they want to remain with the club, and the Dodgers are going to have to make a run at keeping them to maintain any credibility with the fan base. Maybe you're assuming the Dodgers aren't going to contend this year, but they're currently above .500 and 3 games out of first place. Who's to say they won't be in the mix for a playoff spot in September?

John (Hilmar,CA)

Is Sam Fuld just another in a long line of players the Cubs let slip through their fingers? They had Josh Hamilton for about 10 minutes too. Haven't they been looking for a leadoff hitter for a long time.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:19 PM)

John, I love Sam Fuld for his tenacity, smarts and capacity to overachieve. But he's kicked around for a while now, and I'm not sold that he's a full-time, 550-600 at-bat leadoff guy based on a terrific three weeks. On the other hand, he's definitely proven there's a place for him on a big league roster, even if it's as a 300-400 at-bat fourth outfielder. The guy brings a lot to the table.

Shane (Knoxville)

Jerry, did you hear Tim Lincecum's opinion on expanding playoffs? He sure got a good ripping from Mike&Mike.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:21 PM)

Shane, I did hear that. This is the quandary we encounter now with players. As media people, we chastise them for being boring and speaking in cliches. Then they express candid opinions and get trashed for saying something out of turn. Between Twitter and talk radio, we live in a tough world these days.

Matt (Indianapolis)

Normally I'd be frustrated with the Cubs mediocre start. But with the way young players like Barney and Castro are emerging, and with the Ramirez, Pena, and Fukudome contracts off the books after this year I can't help but feel like they are progressing in the right direction and that with wise spending this offseason they can be a pretty good squad in 2012. Thoughts?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:23 PM)

Matt, Yes and no. Starlin Castro will be a terrific anchor for years to come, and Geovany Soto has proven he can be a fine offensive catcher. But other than that, how many long-term building blocks does that team really have? Are you sold on Darwin Barney after 70 at-bats? And what's the long-term outlook for the pitching rotation? There's just too much uncertainty there for my tastes going forward.

Josh S. (Philly)

Where would u rank oaklands rotation?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:25 PM)

Josh, Pretty darned high up there. The Phillies are clearly No. 1, and Atlanta, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Boston and the Angels (among others) have great core pieces. But it's very impressive the way Oakland's starters have come out firing after all the expectations heaped upon them this spring.

Rick (Toronto)

There was a lot of criticism over Jose Bautistas contract but based on his start this year isn't it looking like a great deal for the Jays? By seasons end he would be roughly same age as Jayson Werth and play the same position so isnt 5/65 significantly better than 7/126 if not more?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:28 PM)

Rick, You pretty much summed it up in a nutshell. The difference, obviously, is that Bautista never hit the open market. He felt comfortable in Toronto with hitting coach Dwayne Murphy, and the Blue Jays felt comfortable with his character and work ethic, and they worked out something to have him stay in Toronto. I don't think he's going to hit 50 homers again. But if he can be a regular 35-homer, 100-RBI guy, that's easily worth $13 million a year.

Bob (Seattle)

How much should Mariners fans be worried. Not only is the big club under performing (or performing as expected based on your optimism level) offensively, but the AAA club has an even worse record. Dustin Ackley hasn't been hitting, and there's not a whole lot else still in the minors.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:30 PM)

Bob, I gave the Mariners a D+ for the offseason acquisitions of Miguel Olivo and Jack Cust, and I got ravaged by Seattle fans for it. I haven't heard from any of them this spring. But when the team scored 513 runs last year and those were the upgrades, this was kind of predictable, wasn't it? Mariner fans seemed to assume that Justin Smoak would hit and Ackley would arrive in the spring and tear it up, and it doesn't always work that conveniently with prospects. It's going to be a long year there.

kevin, bethlehem pa [via mobile]

who do u think the red sox will end up trading away and for by the trade deadline

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:32 PM)

Kevin, If that team plays to its expectations (as it has recently, going 8-1 off a 2-10 start), I don't think Theo Epstein will need to make many moves in July. Unlike the Yankees, the Red Sox spent themselves silly in the offseason. If you can find a major hole on that roster, you're a better man than I am.

Sam (Los Angeles)

Jerry, what are you thoughts on Jerry Sands? What's his potential as a big league player? And what about Trayvon Robinson? Next year might we see Sands at 1st, Kemp in Left, and Robinson in Center? Thanks

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:34 PM)

Sam, I was at a spring training game in Glendale where Jerry Sands was hitting rockets all over the place. I asked Mark Sweeney, who now works for the Dodgers, about him, and Sweeney just raved about the kid's work ethic and aptitude. Sands has big-time power, and he's very driven to succeed. I don't know how well he'll do in the short term, but he's a legit big league hitter over the long haul.

Paul (Albany, OR)

Sorry Jerry, but you just wrote a sentence "But if he can be a regular 35-homer, 100-RBI guy, that's easily worth $13 million a year." While it may be true in the sports world, that sure shows we are a bit messed up as a world where THAT earns an individual $13 million per year.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:36 PM)

Paul, Hey, if I did the payroll for the universe, social workers and paramedics would make $13 million a year. But we know it doesn't work that way. Think about this, though: There are millions upon millions of people who want to play big league baseball, and only 750 who are actually on MLB rosters. It's all supply and demand. And if baseball can generate $7 billion in revenue, the players deserve their fair share.

Rob (NYC)

The Yanks have 2 guys in their lineup right now hitting in the mid .100s (Posada and Gardner). It's early still, but how long can a team with post-season aspirations keep multiple guys in the lineup who just aren't hitting?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:39 PM)

Rob, If you were more of a glass-half-full guy, you might say, "Jorge Posada is batting .153 and Brett Gardner is hitting .136. and we're still 12-6." Once those guys heat up, just think how good our offense will be. We're three weeks into the season, big guy. Try to show a little patience.

Chris (Red Sox Nation)

Umm... Have you seen the catching situation in Boston?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:42 PM)

Chris, Yes, good point. Jason Varitek is 39, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia does have his issues behind the plate. But somehow they didn't so glaring when Beckett, Dice-K and Lackey were dealing against the Angels over the weekend. I'm sure Theo Epstein and his group will be monitoring the catching market in the coming weeks. But they really just need a catch-and-throw guy with that offense.

Daniel (New Orleans)

The Cubs rotation has been pretty bad to start. Do you think when Cashner and Wells return it will stabilize and put the Cubs in contention for the NL Central?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:43 PM)

Daniel, That seems like a lot to ask. Cashner has ability, but he's unproven, and Randy Wells is a back-of-the-rotation guy. The Cubs need Garza, Zambrano and Dempster to carry the load, and those guys just haven't done it to this point.

Robert (pittsburg)

Is there any hope for Brandon Wood? Can he ever develope any patience at the plate this late in his developement and hit for a decent avg? Or is he destined to hit below the MENDOZA line?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:46 PM)

Robert, I've gotten a chance to know Brandon Wood a little bit over the past few years, and he's the kind of kid you root for. But I wonder if he's ever going to be successful enough at identifying and hitting the breaking ball to warrant a full-time job. At this point in his career, it can't hurt him to get out of Anaheim and go to Pittsburgh, where the expectations are lower and there won't be much pressure to perform. But he was so bad last year, you wonder if he's ever going to cut it in the majors.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

I was Just Wondering are Mets P Taylor Buchholtz & Red Sox P Clay Buchholtz Related?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:46 PM)

Chris, As far as I know, the two Buchholzes are not related.

Sally (DC)

Hi Jerry -- what do you make of the Tigers after their poor start. I believe they are 7-3 in their last 10 games, with Verlander, Scherzer and even Porcello pitching well.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:49 PM)

Sally, I love the young power arms, but it's sort of a middle-of-the-road lineup with one superstar, some aging guys and some strikeout-prone guys, and it's hard to get overly excited watching them every day. They might have enough to hang around in that division, if only because the Twins and White Sox have significant problems of their own.

Peter Huisking (Atlanta)

Will the Braves ever catch the Phillies this year as they are starting to come around and play better baseball? Phillies have the SP but the Braves are a better well rounded team in both offense and bullpen. Thoughts?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:51 PM)

Peter, Hey, I picked the Braves as my darkhorse World Series club this year. I do think the everyday lineup is better than Philadelphia's (with Werth gone and Utley out) and the bullpen is deeper. Dan Uggla hasn't started hitting yet, and he'll make a big difference once he gets warmed up. Frank Wren needs to add some depth, but they definitely have the makings of a playoff club to me. They've just gotten out of the gate a little slowly.

Jason James (Pittsburgh,PA)

Are their any MLB ball clubs that could use a new ballpark in the near future like for example the Marlins are getting their stadium next year..so who could be next?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:52 PM)

Jason, Oakland and Tampa Bay are next in line in the stadium game. With the economy the way it is, it's a tougher sell than it was a few years ago.

Kyle (St. Louis)

Has Alex Gordon arrived?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:55 PM)

Kyle, I think he's arrived to the point where he's going to be a serviceable big league player. I remember going to spring training 2-3 years ago and hearing George Brett talk about how messed up the kid's swing was. Gordon got by on talent and bad hitting mechanics in the minors, and he didn't know how to respond when he got to the big leagues and pitchers started exploiting his weaknesses. He deserves major credit for sticking with it, and hitting coach Kevin Seitzer has done a great job with him.

Pierre (Montreal)

Does Russell Martin have a long-term future with the Yankees if he keeps hitting?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:57 PM)

Pierre, Some scouts aren't sold on Martin's game-calling behind the plate. But he was considered a front-line young catcher before the Dodgers ran him into the ground. Other than a Buster Posey here, a Joe Mauer there and guys like Brian McCann, Carlos Santana and Matt Wieters, how many teams have catchers you can get really, truly excited about? I don't see why the Yankees can't get by with a combo of Martin and Francisco Cervelli. The Red Sox would certainly love to have that combo right now.

Bert (NYC)

Jerry, does Hanley Ramirez have an attitude problem? Last year there was talk that his lack of effort resulted in a managerial change and I'm just wondering if this is in any way contributing to his poor start?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:00 PM)

Bert, Hanley is a different bird. Every year the Marlins talk about the "new, more mature" Hanley, and something flares up to dispel it. I think he's moody and high maintenance -- and a bit of a diva -- but he's amazingly talented and the numbers are going to be there at the end. His talent trumps everything else.

Mike (Rochester, NY)

Do you think a team from the Central or West will challenge New York/Boston for the coveted Wild Card spot?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:03 PM)

Mike, I kicked around that possibility in spring training, but I just don't see it. If you listed the 14 most talented AL teams in order, New York and Boston would automatically be in your top three or four. If Baltimore and Toronto are improved this year, it could prevent the Red Sox and Yankees from dominating the AL East as much. But Boston and New York are still going to clobber most teams at home. They're both 95 win teams, and that's bound to get them to the postseason.

Ty (Dayton, OH)

Do you believe the Dodgers players when they say they are not effected by the MLB takeover of their team?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:03 PM)

Ty, In general, I do. When they paychecks stop coming, then they'll be affected.

Glenn (New York)

The Buchholzes are distant cousins. http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2010/11/clays_cousin_co.html

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:04 PM)

Glenn, I looked this up earlier and saw otherwise. Assuming this report is legit, I stand corrected.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:04 PM)

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