Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

May 2, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:00 PM)

Hi folks, Today's chat will be a little shorter than usual, but I'm anxious to talk some ball. Let's get started

John (Sinking Spring, PA)

Raul Ibanez has been he done? Should Mayberry Jr receive a bulk of the PT until D Brown is ready to take over RF and move Francisco to LF?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:02 PM)

John, I always hate to proclaim a player "done," but Ibanez is close to 39 years old, so it's hard to discount that possibility. He's swinging and missing so much, you get the feeling he's really cheating because he's afraid he won't be able to catch up to the good hard stuff. I've been impressed with the quality of Mayberry's at bats so far. I think Charlie Manuel should plug him in a little more often, if only to take the pressure off Ibanez and let him try to straighten things out in the cage. The guy needs a mental break right now.

Matt (Milford, De)

Is Zach Britton the front runner for AL Rookie of the Year?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:04 PM)

Matt, Last week I pointed out that I was feeling good about my Michael Pineda ROY choice, and I received a flood of responses from Zach Britton advocates. If what we've seen so far is any indication, it could be a nice little slugfest between those two kids.

Adam (North Carolina)

What about Chipper Jones being comeback player of the year so far?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:05 PM)

Adam, I know it's only been 50 at-bats, but I'd have to think Grady Sizemore is the early comeback player of the year frontrunner. That's not to discount what Chipper has done. He really worked hard on his conditioning in the offseason, and it shows.

Jon (Salt Lake City)

Everyone seems to be expecting the Indians' joyride to end with a spectacular crash and burn, but yet they somehow keep winning (which I love to see, by the way). What's the real deal with this team?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:07 PM)

Jon, I wouldn't be so quick to write off that team, if only because the White Sox, Twins and Tigers might be worse than everyone expected. I'm not sure if the starting pitching will hold up, but the Indians have torn it up so far without much of an offensive contribution from Shin Soo Choo or Carlos Santana (that walkoff grand slam notwithstanding). They need to keep Sizemore and Hafner healthy over the longterm, but that's a pretty decent everyday lineup.

Ken (Palo Alto, CA)

Everybody doubts the Indians, mainly because of their pitching. But I seem to recall that their pitching wasn't half bad at all during the last six weeks or so of last season. So maybe they are just picking up where they left off and are more for real than people realize.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:09 PM)

Ken, Justin Masterson seems to be figuring out this starting thing. I like Alex White. Josh Tomlin knows how to pitch. And if they can get something out of Carrasco, there's the basis for a decent young rotation. Not great. But it won't take a great rotation to be competitive in that division.

Ryan (DC)

Hey Jerry, Should us Brave fans be concerned?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:11 PM)

Ryan, I still think they'll be OK. They're 22nd in baseball in OPS, and except for McCann, Chipper and Jason Heyward, no one has really hit much. The rotation is one of the 5 or 6 best in baseball, in my book. If Hudson, Hanson and those guys stay healthy, I look for that team to go on a run pretty soon.

Steve (Ohio)

On the flip side of the April spectrum, we've got the Twins. Can they still say 'it's just April,' or is there serious trouble brewing in Minny?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:13 PM)

Steve, I was at the Phils game the other night, and a scout said, "You can never write them off, because they're the Twins." But the double play combination is a mess, the starting rotation is only so-so, they need Mauer to be healthy, and who knows what they're going to get out of Morneau. Ron Gardenhire is good at steering his team through the rough patches, but that team definitely has some work to do.

Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)

A number of promising young minor league catchers (i.e. Bryce Harper and Brett Lawrie) changed to other positions. Presumably most teams drafted those players with the intention of grooming them as franchise catchers. I understand that playing catcher put a ton of extra miles on their bodies (i.e. Joe Mauer) but with how hard it is to groom franchise catchers, why do teams give up so early on those players staying at catcher?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:15 PM)

Cheesehead, As I understand it, Brett Lawrie asked to be switched from catcher. The Nationals felt that Bryce Harper's bat was such a premier tool -- and he was athletic enough -- that his quickest route to the majors would be as an outfielder. It's great to have a franchise catcher, but you really do have to assess the wear and tear of the position, especially when you have a kid like Harper who's athletic enough to play somewhere else and be a 30-plus homer type of guy.

Marcus (VA)

No love for Berkman as comeback player of year? Does someone have to miss X amount of games to qualify for that? Seems he's totally healthy for the first time in over a year.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:18 PM)

Marcus, Yes, Berkman would have to factor into the conversation. He wasn't healthy last year because of his knee, but at least he was able to play. Sizemore underwent microfracture surgery in June, and I don't even know how many people expected him to be on the field right now, much less putting up big numbers. I always lean toward injury guys over underperforming guys.

Matt (IN)

What do we have to do to keep TLR from running Ryan Franklin into another game? I realize Theriot didn't help yesterday, but Franklin has simply been awful.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:19 PM)

Matt, The Cardinals have five or six guys with at least one save, so Tony is still peddling furiously in an effort to figure out his closer situation. I'm sure he's trying to put Franklin into as many low stress situations as possible so he can get his confidence back, but that's not always easy to do.

Josh (Philadelphia)

Do you think that Roy Halladay will win another Cy Young award this year?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:20 PM)

Josh, He's always going to be in the mix. But I'm sure Josh Johnson, Tim Lincecum and a couple of his rotation mates will give him a run for his money.

Patric (Cincinnati)

What do you see happening with the Reds rotation when Cueto and Bailey come off the DL?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:21 PM)

Patric, Other than Bronson Arroyo, I don't think anybody in Cincinnati has pitched well enough to feel particularly secure right now. I assume that Travis Wood will go when Bailey returns. He should be back in another week or so. Cueto is also on a rehab assignment, but appears to be a little further away.

John (Boston)

Jerry, which is your favorite NFL team and how do you think their draft went? Love baseball talk, but gotta mix it up a little sometimes....

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:23 PM)

John, Great question. Even though I grew up in New England, I come from a family of Cleveland sports fans (Don't ask me why -- it would take too long to explain). I became a Browns fan as a kid, because I loved watching Leroy Kelly running through the mud. There's been a lot of suffering in my family, so it's nice to see the Indians off to a good start and Mike Holmgren & Co. trying to get things straightened out with the Browns.

Bartolo Colon (Bronx )

No mention of me for Comeback player of the year. I feel like its 2002

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:24 PM)

Bartolo, Thanks for the email. I'd like to see a bigger sample size, but so far, so good. You're really running the gas up there right now. Keep it up.

Bob (Fort Lauderdale)

How about some love for the Marlins. Winning practically every series, and a half game behind the Phils.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:26 PM)

Bob, Yep, it's funny. I saw them in spring training and they looked horrible. And they've done it without much of a contribution from Hanley Ramirez. I really like Edwin Rodriguez -- at the very least, this should give Jeffrey Loria reason to believe he's the guy to lead the team as it prepares to enter the new ballpark.

League (of extraordinary closers)

Any reason to believe league will keep the job once aards comes back?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:28 PM)

League, Am I missing something with Brandon League. Not a lot of strikeouts, but he's 7 for 7 in save opps with a 2.45 ERA and a WHIP of 0.91. I think the Mariners have bigger issues than their closer situation.

Ned (Hamilton, OH)

Jerry, what can we do in Cincinnati to get people to come to our games? We won the division last year but we are still 18th in attendance. I am sick of this place turning into Wrigley South or Busch East as the only ways to get folks through the door. Its embarrassing.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:30 PM)

Ned, I'm with you. I covered the Reds in the late 80s and early 90s and really thought of Cincinnati as a baseball town. That's a fun team now -- largely homegrown -- and I'm surprised people haven't embraced them a little more. I know attendance is down in a lot of cities, but I'm surprised at the apparent level of apathy in the Queen City.

Chris (Boston)

How can a team collectively hit so awfully game after game after game? Is it contagious? I mean besides Polanco, there is not a single consistent bright spot in that Phillies offense.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:32 PM)

Chris, Hey, the Phillies weren't great offensively with Chase Utley and Jayson Werth last year, so this was sort of expected, wasn't it? They're going to lean heavily on that starting pitching this season. More than they had hoped, it appears.

jason (richmond, VA)

what do you think about weiters so far this year? He is hitting 9-10 with RISP i believe is this going to be the year he brings the bat to the ballpark to?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:34 PM)

Jason, Wow, I didn't realize that until you mentioned it. Matt Wieters has an OPS of 2.923 with men in scoring position. From the people I've talked to, his bat is still a work in progress, but his defense (particularly his throwing) is extremely impressive. With all the talent on that young staff, they need him to think defense first and pitch in with some key hits. So far he's doing that.

Zack (CT)


Jerry Crasnick
  (12:35 PM)

Zack, There are small sample sizes, and ridiculous smal sample sizes. 9-for-10 catches your eye no matter what we're talking about.

take (japan)

hello.I read your chat from time to time.I have been a long time fan of the mariners, since the days of griffey.and my question is about the mariners.with the current state of the franchise,do you think it would be wise for us to trade king felix and get couple of hitters and prospects? Losing Felix is a big blow, but pineda looks to be a top of the rotation player in the forseeable future. thank you for your comments!

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:37 PM)

Take, It might be a good idea, because the Mariners need players and Felix would fetch a boatload. But it's just so tough to pull the plug on a young pitcher of that magnitude. Right now Jack Zduriencik is hoping that they can muster enough offense to stay respectable. I don't see Felix going anywhere.

Max (Brooklyn)

Any thoughts on a potential Jose Reyes suitor?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:39 PM)

Max, I'm sure his name will be floating around, but it's still so early. You look at a team like the Reds and what kind of impact he would have there. But how many fleet, rangy, top-of-the-order shortstops like Jose Reyes have been traded in the middle of a season. We're usually talking about No. 1 starters or Mark Teixeira-type boppers, aren't we? I'd be lying if I said I have a clue where Jose Reyes might wind up.

mike (san jose)

Hi Jerry -- how bad do you think the giants offense will be with sandoval on the dl?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:41 PM)

Mike, People I've talked to think that team has some definite issues. Aubrey Huff isn't hittting, and Miguel Tejada just isn't a big league shortstop anymore. In spring training I thought the Giants might win 86-88 games this season. I just don't see them as a 92-win club.

trevor (KC )

how about the royals! they have the youngest team and lowest payroll, do you believe that the wins are from good team or a weak schedule as of late?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:42 PM)

Trevor, I think they'll fade some, but they have to be encouraged by what they've seen from Jeff Francoeur and Alex Gordon so far. Kevin Seitzer is a really good, underappreciated hitting coach.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:42 PM)

Sorry guys, I have to run. Wish I could have gotten to more. Let's do it again next week.