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June 20, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:00 PM)

Hey folks, Best of luck to Trader Jack McKeon in his efforts to turn around the sagging Marlins. Hopefully there are recuperative powers in second-hand cigar smoke. Let's start the chat.

Ken from Philly [via mobile]

Jerry, I'm a journalism student trying to figure out the best way to get someone to open up and tell their story. What are some of the ways you get a say, Cole Hamels, to talk openly about a lack of run support, or a possible Cy Young season--even a contract situation?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:02 PM)

Ken, You're only going to get players to talk about things like that if they trust you. And in Cole Hamels' case, even that isn't going to help. It's a violation of baseball etiquette for a pitcher to whine about run support, and he's not going to jinx a good season by lobbying for Cy Young votes. So I think you would be out of luck on both fronts. Best of luck with your journalism career.

stevie wbl mn [via mobile]

There are reports that michael cuddyer will go to the phillies. Any thoughts???

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:03 PM)

Steve, I think it's a little premature to say he's "going to the Phillies." But the Phils, Braves and other clubs are in the market for a RH bat, and Cuddyer would be an attractive candidate. But given the way the Twins have played lately, it's too early for GM Bill Smith to pull the plug on the season.

Dave (Buffalo, NY)

Did Jack McKeon really have to resign from the Del Boca Vista board in order to take the Marlins job?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:04 PM)

Dave, That's not true. But there are rumors that he might hire Wilford Brimley as his bench coach.

Charlie milwaukee [via mobile]

Where do you see prince fielder playing next season? The teams that need and can pay fielder already have a high profile name at that position.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:06 PM)

Charlie, Yep, with Boston, the Yankees and others already spoken for at first base, that puts a bit of a crimp in Prince's market. At the moment, you hear the Cubs and O's floating around as potential candidates. And as much as you hear that the Brewers are "priced out" on Prince, I wouldn't write them off entirely. Scott Boras needs to keep them in the mix as a potential landing spot.

Dan (Buffalo, NY)

What are your thoughts on a first place team firing their hitting coach? Think it will help?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:09 PM)

Dan, The Tribe? I assume there were some issues with Jon Nunnally that went beyond a temporary hitting slump. I don't subscribe to the theory that firing a hitting coach is going to miraculously get a team moving in the right direction. But Chris Antonetti and Manny Acta aren't rash decision makers, so I'm sure they put a lot of thought into it. Whether it will make a difference remains to be seen. Somebody needs to get Shin Soo Choo going for that club.

Robin (Ohio)

Hi Jerry, do you think the Reds will make any moves to improve SS or LF? Why are they so reluctant to call up prospects from AAA?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:12 PM)

Robin, Dusty Baker tends to be loyal to his veterans and likes to give them time to work through their problems. Jonny Gomes has heated up a little bit lately, and maybe that will continue. As for shortstop, Zach Cozart is putting up some nice numbers in Louisville, but I think the Reds value defense over offense at that position. And in case you haven't checked lately, the Reds lead the NL with 349 runs scored. So it's not all about the offense.

Xander (Philly)

Any update on Pujols? Is the 15-Day DL a foregone conclusion?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:13 PM)

Xander, We haven't heard anything yet, but I'm sure the minute Albert is out of the doctor's office, you'll know about it.

Mike (Philly)

Where would a RHB the Phillies acquire play? With the recent emergence of Brown and Ibanez being a mainstay where would they play?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:15 PM)

Mike, I think there's always room to spot a solid RH outfield bat against tough lefthanded pitching. Ibanez is in his late 30s, Dom Brown is still learning and Chase Utley has to be spotted because of his knee. In theory, that's what makes a guy like Cuddyer so valuable, because he can play a lot of different positions. But from what I'm hearing, the Phillies don't have a lot of financial flexibility. So it's not a sure bet they'll do anything significant.

Willow (South Side)

Which teammate do you think Carlos Zambrano will pick a fight with tonight when he gets rocked at The Cell?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:16 PM)

Willow, That was the old, bombastic Z. The new, kinder, gentler Z doesn't do that kind of stuff.

Rick (Toronto)

Hey Jerry, love your work. I know it hasn't gotten a lot of pub but how bout that amazing deal the Jays signed with Yunel Escobar? Only 2 guaranteed years at 5 million each year with a potential of 2 more team options at 5 million. The guy has been a top 3-5 SS in the AL this year

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:18 PM)

Rick, I agree that that was a very club-friendly contract. Escobar has a reputation as a bit of an underachiever. But we're talking about a 28 year old shortstop with solid defensive metrics and an OPS approaching .800. Given the lack of depth at the position in the big leagues, I'd gladly take that for $5 million a year.

Mike (Philly)

While a solid RH bat is always nice, is it worth giving up prospects for a guy you won't play everyday, especially when you have a guy in the system in Francisco and Mayberry who are decent against LH pitching?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:19 PM)

Mike, That's the decision Ruben Amaro has to make. But when your team has sold out 160-something consecutive games and another bat might make the difference in a postseason series, it's something you at least have to consider.

Take (Japan)

Hello, My Crasnick.I always read your chat.Do you think the M's will win the AL west this year?Although they lack the offense, they seem to have thetimely hitting(or at least in some games). I really wouldlike to see Ichiro win it all! Thank you

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:21 PM)

Take, I keep waiting for the Mariners to fade. But there's more hope when you start looking at that lineup and see young guys like Ackley, Peguero and Carp suddenly sprinkled in there. In the end, I can't see them finishing ahead of Texas. But the starting rotation has been very good. And when you look at the Indians, Mariners, D-backs and other clubs, it looks like a good year for a surprise team or two to sneak in there.

Jon (Boston)

Didn't the Cards just announce that Pujols has a small fracture and is out 4 to 6 weeks?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:22 PM)

Jon, I didn't see that since I've been on the chat. If so, it's an obvious blow to the Redbirds. Somebody asked if it could affect Pujols' free agent negotiations this winter. I don't see that happening, since he'll be healthy in plenty of time to stage a big push down the stretch.

Nicolas (Georgia) [via mobile]

Who do you think the indians will get at the trading deadline?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:24 PM)

Nicolas, I don't see the Tribe making a huge impact acquisition in a trade, just because they're so squeezed financially. Maybe a bullpen piece. If anything, they'll keep looking within the system for possible promotions. (Kipnis, Chisenhall, etc.). They've already gotten some mileage out of Cord Phelps.

Bill (Toronto)

Do you anticipate Chris Coughlan having a long stint in the minors or will this demotion be short lived to show him he needs to work hard to stay in the majors?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:26 PM)

Bill, When the Marlins sent down Coghlan, they said he had to work on his swing. Now it appears he has a knee injury. The guy is a professional hit machine, so I'm sure he'll be back once he gets healthy and his swing is in order. He's still young, and it's a tough time for a kid like that to be struggling when his team is in a free-fall and the pressure is ratcheted up so much.

Dan (Utah)

Bigger need for upgrade in Boston, Catcher or SS?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:28 PM)

Dan, I think the Red Sox are fine with Scutaro and Lowrie (even though he's injured right now) and Iglesias on the way. I'm sure they'd like to upgrade at catcher, but a lot of teams would love to do that. It's not much of an issue when they're scoring 12 runs every other day.

Stephen (Twin Cities)

If the Mets were inclined to move him, Jose Reyes makes a lot of sense for the Brewers, so Yuni Betancourt would never have to see the field again. But the Brewers farm system is so barren, it seems possible that even if the Brewers told the Mets "take any four guys you want", it might still not be enough. Your thoughts? Any chance of a deal?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:29 PM)

Stephen, The Brewers already have a huge decision to make with Prince Fielder, so there's no way they compound it by trading for Reyes. And as you mentioned, they pretty much decimated the farm system with the Greinke deal. Sorry, but it ain't happenin.'

Adam (Cleveland)

Advanced "stats" aside, how is Asdrubal Cabrera considered below average defensively? Do you see all of his magnificant plays?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:31 PM)

Adam, I haven't checked the advanced metrics for this year, but based on the Web Gems and what scouts tell me, I have a hard time believing that he's a below average defender.

Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)

The Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants look like they have a better starting rotation on paper but in practice it looks like the Milwaukee Brewers have the best rotation in the National League. Do you agree?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:31 PM)

Cheeshead, No, I don't. As good as Milwaukee's rotation is, I wouldn't take it over either one of those teams in a postseason series.

Jason (Indy)

Did Pujol's injury just drive Fielder's price tag up?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:32 PM)

Jason, I think it's a little soon to make that correlation.

Matt (Grand Rapids, Mi)

Verlander the best pitcher in baseball this year??

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:34 PM)

Matt, The Phillies guys, Jered Weaver, James Shields and Josh Beckett have all been terrific. But if there's one guy you have to put on your appointment book right now, it's Justin Verlander. So yeah, I'd say he's been No. 1 so far.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:34 PM)

Matt, The Phillies guys, Jered Weaver, James Shields and Josh Beckett have all been terrific. But if there's one guy you have to put on your appointment book right now, it's Justin Verlander. So yeah, I'd say he's been No. 1 so far.

JL in Valdosta,Ga [via mobile]

Do you think the Braves will make any moves before the trading deadline?and do you see them in postseason

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:35 PM)

JL, They're definitely shopping for a RH bat, but I don't think the Ryan Ludwicks and Josh Willinghams set their heart ablaze. And I don't see them bringing back Jeff Francoeur anytime soon. It's kind of intriguing that the Phils and Braves both seem to be trolling for the same commodity.

Greg (NY)

Billy Beane is having a movie made about him. Maybe they can make a movie about assembling the worst lineup in baseball and giving the A's no shot to win.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:36 PM)

Greg, That comment definitely merits an "ouch."

Gabe Hauari (Richmond, VA)

Is it time for the Cubs to let go of Jim Hendry? He was the one who got the Cubs into their current situation in the first place. If they do, who are some possible replacements?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:39 PM)

Gabe, I've asked around on this lately, and I heard that Tom Ricketts will probably give Jim Hendry a little more time to see if the young kids can play. The Cubs have a pretty good stockpile of talent in the low-to-middle minor leagues. I know Cubs fans may not be thrilled with that, but it's what I've heard: That Hendry isn't on the chopping block as much as people think.

Nathan (San Jose)

Hey Jerry, will you tell Greg in New York that the A's have won five in a row and are only 5 back in the AL West...

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:39 PM)

Nathan, Well, the A's and Mets will square off this week, so your squad has a chance to make a very eloquent statement on your behalf.

Nick (New Jersey) [via mobile]

Once the Mets finally make the right decision in signing Reyes, do you see Beltran and Wright out of New York by seasons end?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:41 PM)

Nick, I wouldn't be so optimistic about the Mets signing Reyes. If he can get a seven-year deal somewhere else, I think it's going to be awfully tough for the Mets to meet that asking price.

Brian (Illinois)

Boston does not need to upgrade at Catcher. Salty is coming around and just needed time. His numbers have been climbing for the past month.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:42 PM)

Brian, The complaints about Salty have generally revolved more around his defense than his bat, but maybe all he needed was time. It's tough for a young catcher to get established in the big leagues: Just look at the offensive struggles of guys like Wieters and Carlos Santana as they've gone through the rigors of trying to handle a major league staff.

Kevin (Cleveland)

The trailers for Moneyball look excellent. What's your favorite baseball movie?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:44 PM)

Kevin, I saw the trailers, and I agree that the flick looks pretty decent. I just can't figure out how it's going to end in a way that puts a happy face on the A's. They haven't won a pennant that I missed, have they? ... As for my favorite BB movie, "Bull Durham" is right up there. I think candleholders definitely make a nice gift.

juan (tijuana)

what kind of players can the padres get in return from bell?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:45 PM)

Juan, I'm sure Jed Hoyer would hope for a couple of pretty good prospects. He just needs to play this out and see where all the contenders stand a week or two from the July deadline and start playing them off against each other. Check back a month from now.

sean (Virginia)

The White Sox have holes but I'm not sure a trade would improve them. Dunn, Rios, Thorton, and Danks have underperformed and replacing them is not the answer. Just ride it out or is there something they are looking for? We all know Kenny Williams will be active.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:47 PM)

Sean, I think the "ride it out" theory definitely applies. Kenny Williams loves to make big stealth moves at the deadline, but the guys you mention are a big part of the team's core, and the White Sox aren't going to win if they don't contribute.

Mike (San Diego)

Fair point on Salty, but we all know what Benjamin Franklin said. There are only three sure things in life: Death, taxes, and a below average defensive catcher for the Red Sox.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:48 PM)

Mike, Rich Gedman and Russ Gibson definitely take umbrage at that observation.

Jose Reyes (Flushing, Queens)

Mr. Crasnick, if I wanted to test [read "pillage & plunder"] the free-agent market, I would have opted to replace my agent w/ Scott Boras, as was rumored over the weekend. So I'll be giving the Einhorns... excuse me, "Wilpons" every chance to sign me that I can.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:51 PM)

Jose, I tend to think that Jose Reyes stayed with Peter Greenberg because he's a good agent and they have a longstanding relationship. Amazing as it seems, not every player is willing to dump his agent the moment he gets a phone call from Scott Boras. Reyes' decision to keep his agent probably enhances the chances of a dialogue. But if he wants $120 million or more, that's still going to be too pricey for the Wilpons.

Tom (Chicago)

Should the Cubs be players in the Jose Reyes sweepstakes and move Starlin to 3B after ARam leaves?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:52 PM)

Tom, I think think of more judicious ways for Jim Hendry to spend his money. If Castro were 25 years old and still making 35 errors a year, maybe you move him. (And maybe he fills out and you have to move him eventually, anyway). But it's too early for that move.

Al (St louis)

The team said Pujols has a non-displaced fracture of his left radius and his arm is in a splint.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:53 PM)

Al, That certainly doesn't sound good. At this point it's probably wise to hear what Pujols and the medical folks have to say -- or wait for the Stephania Bell chat to begin.

Nicolas (georgia) [via mobile]

If the Indians could trade for a starting pitcher who would they get? Or can they get bell from padres?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:56 PM)

Nicolas, I don't see the Indians as a team that's going to move a bunch of prospects for Heath Bell so he can be a setup man for Chris Perez. And there don't appear to be any big difference-makers on the pitching market. As I mentioned, they don't have a whole lot of money to spend. And Chris Antonetti and Mark Shapiro are dedicated to building long-term, so they're not going to trade a Chris Pomeranz or another pitching prospect for a short-term fix.

Alex (Washington, DC)

Michael Morse finally has enough at-bats to qualify for the league lead. Has he solidified himself as a big-league hitter? His numbers since May 1st are just ridiculous.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:59 PM)

Alex, I don't know if he's this year's Jayson Werth or Jose Bautista, but Morse has always had impressive raw power. He's a big dude with a big swing, so he needs to be out there every day, and the Nationals are being rewarded for their faith in him. Even if he's a 400 at-bat, 20-25 homer guy, he looks as if he'll have a job for a while. (That 53-to-12 strikeout to walk ratio is a little scary, though).

Dr. Gupta (Holiday Inn Express)

Jerry, The non-displaced part is key. A displaced fracture means surgery. Non-displaced often is just time to heal and recover.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:59 PM)

Thanks for the update, Sanjay.

Joey (Brooklyn)

Is it possible the Royals trade Joakim Soria? I realize that his value isn't where it once was, but there will be teams looking for bullpen help, and the Royals aren't going anywhere. What do you think?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:01 PM)

Joey, Soria is always going to be an attractive trade candidate because he has a very club friendly contract. But that also bumps up the price that Dayton Moore will want in return. As I understand it, the Royals think Aaron Crow as a legit starting candidate over the long haul. But I can still see Moore throwing Soria's name out there to see what kind of nibbles he can get. It doesn't hurt.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:02 PM)

Hey everybody, Thanks for the emails. Sorry I couldn't get to more. Let's do it again next week.