Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

August 3, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:00 PM)

Hey everybody, Hopefully this chat will be more harmonious than a Cardinals-Brewers game. Or a Cardinals-Reds game, for that matter. Let's get started.

Jeff (Dayton)

Johnny Cueto just threw a CG shutout and now has the best ERA in baseball, yet no one is talking about him. Thoughts?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:01 PM)

Jeff, People are talking about Cueto, but it's hard to put him at the top of the NL Cy Young race because he only has 16 starts and about 110 innings. Roy Halladay already has more than 160 IP. Cueto has been great, though. Too bad the Reds didn't have a couple more arms like him.

Ethan (Charlotte)

How do you see Goldschmidt performing now that he gets most starts inArizona?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:04 PM)

Ethan, He'll run into some mistakes, pitchers will start throwing him more junk, and then he'll have to adjust. I noticed that Goldschmidt had 82 K's and 92 walks in Double A Mobile this year. That's pretty impressive for a power hitter, and a sign that he's figuring it out. He's got pop like Mark Trumbo of the Angels, but appears to have better plate discipline. We'll see. Not easy to get thrown into the middle of a pennant race like that.

pujols fan (illinois)

(hypothetical situation)....Very wealthy and lifelong Cardinal fan offers to pay Pujols any amount he wants to stay with the team...plausible?..legal under baseballs rules?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:06 PM)

Pujols fan, I don't think wealthy benefactors are allowed to dig into their personal stash and throw around money to buy players in MLB. That only takes place in college sports.

JP (Columbus, OH)

Jerry, why has everyone declared the Reds the "big losers" at the trade deadline? It's as if they think the Reds should have been willing to overpay just to make it seem like they were trying. If a good deal wasn't available, I say stand pat.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:08 PM)

JP, I tend to side with the people who are saying that. The Reds are coming off a postseason berth that generated a bunch of momentum, they're in a winnable division, and they had a lot of prospects to deal, yet they did absolutely nothing. I think that was a team crying out for a big impact move to shake thing ups, and Walt Jocketty stood pat. But if you're OK with it as a fan, that's your prerogative.

Tom (L.A.)

Texas has outscored the Angels by over 100 runs and has a vastly superior run differential. Um, how exactly are the Angels only 1 game behind Texas at this point?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:10 PM)

Tom, It's hard to see how the Angels are doing so well when you look at that lineup. But starting pitching is the great equalizer, and Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana are pretty darned good. Mike Scioscia also does a heck of a job with that team, year in and year out.

Mike (Long Island)

Can we finally speak the truth about Tony LaRussa and portray him as the whiny, knee-jerk cry-baby that he is? Chances are far better than average that when a beanball incident is involved, it's one of LaRussa's teams instigating it. What I don't get is why other managers stand for it -- I would call him out in front of everyone so Selig has no choice but to finally take some real action.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:11 PM)

Mike, There's no question Tony La Russa tends to grate on baseball people with a holier than thou attitude. The Reds already hated the Cardinals, and now the Brewers have joined the club. But I don't see Bud Selig dispensing any special punishment just because somebody "calls out" La Russa. MLB judges these incidents on a case by case basis.

Bryan (NH)

How do you feel about the Hunter Pence deal? and how Singleton and Cosart project?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:13 PM)

Bryan, So far it looks like a terrific deal for the Phillies. Pence doesn't have to carry that lineup, but he's a great fit as an energizer and RH hitter. Singleton has a chance to be a very good hitter, and Jarred Cosart's stuff is explosive. But you never know with kids who are still playing in high A ball. That's my biggest problem with the deal from Ed Wade's standpoint: Don't the Astros have to get a prospect who will be in the big leagues before 2013?

Frank (Miami, FL)

I was surprised the Cubs didn't try to move Soriano at deadline? You?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:15 PM)

Frank, Just because they didn't move him doesn't mean Jim Hendry didn't "try." Soriano will make $18M per year through 2014, and he's clearly a DH at this point in his career. Good luck trying to move that contract.

Horace (Montreal)

Are the Nats being foolish trying to get Strasburg back this season? Wouldn't they be wise to proceed REAL slow with him?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:17 PM)

Horace, It's been about a year since Strasburg's elbow injury and Tommy John surgery, and the timetable is par for the course. His stuff won't be all the way back until next spring, but it might be good for the kid's confidence to get him on the mound a few times before the end of the season. Trust me, the Nationals are being very cautious with Strasburg.

Jamie (Dayton, OH)

Please tell me that you understand why Guillen reacted the way he did towards Weaver on Sunday. Are there sane people who honestly think Ordonez (and his 14+ year career and whopping 4 HR's this year) was trying to show-up Weaver by watching whether his HR stayed fair? I'm not condoning Guillen's reaction necessarily, but I understand why he did it. That said, Weaver was out of line to start jawing with Ordonez in the first place which started the whole thing.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:18 PM)

Jamie, It's not always an "either-or" when things like this happen. After Guillen hit that bomb off Weaver, he should have just dropped his bat and circled the bases. He went overboard, too. But that still doesn't excuse Weaver throwing a pitch at Alex Avila's head.

Keary (Margaretville, NY)

Hi Jerry- Jesus Montero fascinates me: has there ever been more written about his makeup than any other Yankee not to play in the Bronx? On paper it seems like Cashman should call him up now, but I guess after Posada-gate he has other soap operas to follow besides who's the best DH bat. Thoughts on when/how/who calls him up to MLB roster? Thanks as always. -Keary

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:20 PM)

Keary, I'm interested in Montero too. His offensive numbers are starting to pick up in Scranton, but I talked to a scout who saw him recently and said the kid's defense has regressed and he seems almost disengaged. I know the Yankees keep saying that Montero's defense has "improved." For me, that's code for "born to DH." I don't know when he'll get called up, or where precisely he fits. He's still young, so he has a little more time.

Sam (Baltimore)

What did you think of the Os deal with Texas? Seems like we got two pretty good potentially good players for a flash in the pan middle reliever.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:21 PM)

Sam, I can certainly live with it. Chris Davis has a lot of holes, but he's a pretty athletic kid and certainly has power. And Tommy Hunter, to me, is a decent back end of the rotation guy. I thought Andy MacPhail did just fine with that trade.

John (Virginia)

Jerry, what are the Phillies going to do about a right-handed hitting OF... oh wait... Pence is here now. But, hey, they've got nothing but young kids in the bullpen... wait... Lidge is back. But how long can they survive with Worley and Oswalt in the rotation... oh, Oswalt's back this weekend. And, we're 8 games up in the NL East. What do I have to complain about now?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:22 PM)

John, If you're a true Phillies fan, you'll think of something.

Keary (Margaretville, NY)

Jerry- You know, I actually don't mind LaRussa being who he is. I think MLB needs more guys in leadership positions to stir things up, even if rocks a few boats (being neither a Card nor a Red/Brewer fan). Your colleague, Keith Law doesn't think highly of LaRussa either but he also thinks that "personalities" like Brian Wilson are good for the game. Agree? Thanks.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:23 PM)

Keary, Tony LaRussa's body of work speaks for itself. People don't like him, but the guy is going to the Hall of Fame, and he should. And I actually find these Tony-fueled "rivalries" with Cincinnati and Milwaukee to be very entertaining.

RJ (NY)

Do you think the minimum suspension for a starter should be more than six games? All that does is bump a guys start back one day. It should be at least 8-9 games in my opinion

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:25 PM)

RJ, That's a legitimate point. The way pitchers and teams complain about these suspensions, you would think a starting pitcher is the same as a position player. Six games sounds reasonably serious, but MLB would send a bigger message by levying a heavier punishment when pitchers throw at players' heads.

DJ (Cuse)

When will we see one of the Braves young guns from Triple A to take theplace of Derek Lowe who has got to be one of the worst 10 pitchers in baseball? Why does Fredi not make any changes? At this pace he will be gone in the off season.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:28 PM)

DJ, The Braves were hoping someone would get desperate enough for a starter to trade for Derek Lowe. Since that didn't happen, they'll have to figure out where they go from here. You may recall that Lowe put up huge numbers and was the NL Pitcher of the Month last September, so he has some history with fast finishes. Not sure whether he can summon another one this year.

Bryan (MA)

Uehara's a flash in the pan RP?!? The guy has gotten better every year since he entered the league, and he's flat out dominant this year. A .69 WHIP and a 7.75 SO/BB ratio is far from flash in the pan.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:29 PM)

Bryan, "Flash in the pan" was a little harsh. But Uehara is closing in on 37 years old, so he had no future in Baltimore. The Orioles did the right thing by moving him and getting what they could.

Brewer Fans (Milwaukee)

Jerry, We hated the Cardinals long before this incident - And it certainly won't be the last. Red Fans jumped on our bandwagon. How long of a suspension for Molina? La Russa (For calling the fans idiots and sending a "message")?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:30 PM)

Brewers Fans, I'm not great at predicting suspensions, but Molina certainly deserves something for overreacting like that. I never like to see catchers go nuts objecting to borderline calls. They certainly wouldn't complain if they were behind the plate and it went their way.

Jason (LA)

Did you see the fake Ichiro last night? One of the funniest things I've ever seen at a baseball game.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:31 PM)

Jason, I did see Fake Ichiro last night. Very amusing, but he's not quite up there with Little Wash or Little Bautista for entertainment value in my book.

dessy (Cali)

you think the Angels will win this division with the great starting pitching they have? I mean just look at least year's GIants with that staff and I know Texas has a great offense but when you're starting pitching is suspect like theirs (it is, they're either overperforming or are gonna be taxed by the end of this month) you can easily lose ground and go on losing streaks. Not to mention the Angels lineup is still underperforming somewhat and probably will improve slightly. Don't give me anything about their new great bullpen either because they aren't as good when you're starter has already given up like 4-6 runs by the time they play.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:33 PM)

Dessy, I actually picked the Angels to win the division because I liked their pitching so much. I can't bail now, but it would have been nice to see Tony Reagins do something to counteract Texas and its two big bullpen additions. Whatever happens, the Rangers really tried to address an area of need. What were the Angels doing?

Scott (NYC)

You can tell most of these people never played baseball and the know"rules" of it. When Guillen did that to Weaver, Avila knew in the on deck circle that the next pitch was going at his head. Its been the unwritten rule of baseball for 140 years. People have to stop crying over it.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:34 PM)

Scott, No, I think Alex Avila might have expected to get plunked in the back or the thigh. But I've listened to a lot of former ballplayers broadcasting games, and none of them say it's permissible to throw a fastball near a hitter's head. It's simply not cool

Mitch (NC)

How do you feel about Fredi Gonzalez so far? I know he was groomed for the Braves, and I know that they have a pretty good record, but he inherited a lot of talent and he's made a ton of questionable calls. Are the Braves stuck with him for the next decade?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:36 PM)

Mitch, I look at a team's talent level, its injuries and other setbacks and where it is in the standings, and I don't see why people in Atlanta are crushing Fredi Gonzalez so much. Their lineup, which wasn't that great to begin with, has been devastated, and Dan Uggla was horrible for the first three months, yet they're still in position to make the playoffs. Do you think they'd be 5 or 6 games better with a different manager? I don't see it.

Fred (Dallas)

Have you read the book, "The Baseball Codes?" Pretty fascinating book and I recommend it to every fan. Makes you look at things that go on during the game much differently.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:37 PM)

Fred, I have not, but I'll have to check that out. Thanks for the tip.

Jake (St. Petes)

We desperately need realignment, Crasnick. You put the Rays or Jays in the AL Central and they're both in a pennant race, but because of the AL East, they have no chance at the playoffs, which affects attendance and ratings. At the very least, we need a balanced schedule. It's a matter of simple fairness.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:38 PM)

Jake, You're obviously not alone in that sentiment. The players like the 15-15 arrangement, because they don't think it makes sense for 4 teams to be competing for a title in the AL West and 6 teams to be going at it in the NL Central. It's a valid argument.

Peter (KY)

For the sake of job security, how often do you have to edit your replies/sharing of opinion of a player/team/manager?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:40 PM)

Peter, No one tells me what to say on any of this. To be honest, I try to see both sides of every argument, so I'm not as opinionated as some writers. But if I want to say a team or player or manager stinks, ESPN never stands in my way.

Scott (NYC)

Point is, its part of the game. Aybar tried to break a no-hitter with a bunt, and Verlander said the next one is coming at him. If there should be ANY complaining in this, it should be Avila to Guillen for putting him in that situation.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:41 PM)

Scott, That's a very legitimate point on your part. When Carlos Guillen was doing his shtick on the way down the first base line, I imagine Alex Avila was standing in the on deck circle thinking, "Please don't do that, big guy."

Jeremy S. (Arlington, VA)

Really, you don't have to hold back an opinion? You just happen to be one of the only people to like LaRussa and Gonzalez, two of the more polarizing managers in baseball for different reasons?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:44 PM)

Jeremy, I admire Tony La Russa for his body of work, but I do think he's overly condescending at times and gives the impression that he invented the game. I respect him, but I'm not the biggest fan of his personal style. As for Fredi Gonzalez, he's one of the most polarizing managers in the game? What did he ever do to earn that designation? Bench Hanley Ramirez for jogging after a ball?

John (Boston)

Obviously, the Padres are in build-now mode. How do you feel their overall processes and related transactions are working towards that goal ie; 2013 and beyond?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:46 PM)

John, Jed Hoyer did well in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, even though Anthony Rizzo struggled in his first callup. And they got two good young arms in the Mike Adams trade. It's also worth noting that he picked up Cameron Maybin, who's starting to blossom, in a trade for two setup relievers. I like the overall approach the Padres are taking. But they have a ways to go

Chris (Houston)

Jerry, is there any reason for me to go to another Astros game this year?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:47 PM)

Chris, Let me think about it. I'll try to answer it on my next chat in a week or two.

Mitch (NC)

I'm on the Aybar bandwagon for the bunt. It was 3 - 0 going in to that half inning, 3 - 2 coming out. He gave his team a chance to win, which is what he's paid for. I say Bravo!

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:48 PM)

Mitch, I didn't have a problem with that bunt, either -- and neither did Jim Leyland. If the score is 12-0 Tigers, no way. But that game was perfectly winnable at the time. I would hope that when Justin Verlander takes a step back, away from the emotion of the moment, he might actually agree.

Bill (CT)

Jerry, I haven't heard many positives concerning the Red Sox pick up of Erik Bedard at the trade deadline. Given Buchholz' injury and the uncertainty of his availability down the stretch, I think Theo did well to acquire an AL East tested pitcher for less than his top prospects. Besides, the Yanks have been doing it with pitchers that I consider less talented than Bedard, namely Colon and Garcia. Your take?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:50 PM)

Bill, I made fun of the deal by pointing out that Bedard has J.D. Drew's durability and John Lackey's media relations skill. Hey, the guy has terrific stuff, and maybe he proves me wrong. But he doesn't seem like the optimal fit for a market like Boston at the height of a pennant race. In defense of Epstein, there wasn't a whole lot out there (other than Ubaldo Jimenez) that was significantly better than Bedard.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:51 PM)

In baseball news, the Pirates have added catcher Ryan Doumit to the roster from his DL stint. As for me, I only have time for one more question. Thanks for coming on, people. Let's do it again soon.

Charles (D.C.)

Justin Verlander said he was more upset by the elbow that Aybar threw at home plate -- not about the bunt. Criticize Verlander if you want, but let's be fair about what he said.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:53 PM)

Charles, I watched that game, and Justin Verlander threw Aybar about a 5-second stare at second base after the bunt. And I believe that Verlander called the bunt "bush league" in his post-game comments. The elbow at home plate came after the bunt.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:53 PM)

Thanks again, everybody. Let's talk again soon.