Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

August 29, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:00 PM)

Hey everybody, Hope you, your loved ones and your sump pumps made it through the weekend in good shape. Let's start the chat.

Michael (Norfolk, NE)

If the season ended today, who would win the NL Cy Young and MVP awards?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:03 PM)

Michael, At this very moment, I would go with Clayton Kershaw and Ryan Braun. Kershaw has logged the same number of innings as Roy Halladay, and has more strikeouts and fewer hits allowed. There are a lot of options in the NL, but I like Braun's blend of hittability and base stealing. I know he doesn't grade out too well in the defensive metrics. But to be honest, I'm sort of dubious about those.

Andrew (DC)

Jerry, with the D-Backs unexpectedly leading the division, how much do you think they regret giving up Dan Haren for a bag of peanuts?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:05 PM)

Andrew, I wouldn't exactly call it a bag of peanuts. Tyler Skaggs is 21 years old, pitched in the Futures Game and has 191 strikeouts in 154 innings in the minors this year (I know because I just checked). And the D-backs got another lefty, Pat Corbin, who is pitching pretty well in Double A ball. The deal didn't help Arizona's chances this year, but it might wind up looking pretty good in the end.

Adam (Chicago)

Jerry - Thanks for the chat...what's the perception around the league about Ryan Dempster? He holds a $14 million option for next year. He's 34 and eats innings, but $14MM? Is it worth the Cubs asking him not to exercise the option and signing him to a two year $16 - $18 MM deal?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:06 PM)

Adam, Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. The Cubs can try to work out a long-term accommodation with Dempster, but he's not going to take that much of a haircut financially. If they sign him for two years, it's going to be somewhere in the '20s.

Bill (CT)

Jerry, I'm going to the Sox/Yanks game tomorrow, Sabathia v Lackey. How important is it for CC to beat the Red Sox since he is 0-4 versus them this year? Does he have to convince himself that he can beat the Sox as the playoffs approach? As a Sox fan, I hope the drought continues.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:08 PM)

Bill, Sure, it would be nice for CC's mindset to pitch a lights out game against the Sox. But I think Joe Girardi is more concerned with what's behind Sabathia in the rotation. Sabathia has been around a while and pitched a lot of big games, so I don't think the Red Sox are in his head or anything close to that.

Dave (NJ)

Will Harvey and Wheeler be front of rotation guys for the Mets?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:11 PM)

Dave, Wheeler has front-of-the-rotation stuff, but needs to refine it. He's young, so he needs time. I've heard that some scouts see Matt Harvey as more of a No. 3 type. But he has a great K-to-BB ratio in the minors, so I think the Mets are hoping for more than that.

Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)

Jerry, the Indians are taking on water quickly. Is there any chance they are still in the AL Central race two weeks from today?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:12 PM)

Chris, The Indians have done a valiant job of hanging around in the AL Central, but I don't see any way they can make up 6 games on the Tigers in a month. Without Hafner and Sizemore, that's a pretty ineffectual offense. And their rotation is starting to show signs of fatigue, too. If they can finish at .500, they should consider this season a success.

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

Hey Jerry, will John Mayberry be the Phillies starting left fielder in 2012?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:15 PM)

Matthew, I think the game plan is for Domonic Brown to play RF and Hunter Pence to move to LF in 2011. But Mayberry's emergence allows the Phils to take their time with Brown. I also wouldn't completely rule out Raul Ibanez coming back next year in more of a support role (for a much more affordable salary).

joe (massachusetts)

Who is your AL MVP? And why?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:17 PM)

Joe, I like Curtis Granderson, with Jacoby Ellsbury right behind him. I just think center fielders who provide that kind of all-around production are incredibly valuable. And I'm really skeptical of Granderson's terrible defensive metrics. With a month to go, Jose Bautista, Justin Verlander and a few other guys also have to be in the discussion.

Jerry (Texas)

What did you make of Erik Surcamp's debut?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:18 PM)

Jerry, Six innings and one run is fine for anybody's debut -- even if it came against the Astros.

Justin(ATL GA) [via mobile]

Im gonna ask a quick and straight to the point question, Does Freddie Freeman have the ROOKIE OF THE YEAR in the bag?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:20 PM)

Justin, Freddie Freeman has a great case, but he's going to receive a strong run from his teammate, Craig Kimbrel. I know some people downplay saves, but the bullpen has played a huge role in the Braves' success, and Kimbrel's underlying numbers are amazing.

Rob (Ashland, Ore)

Jerry, did the Yankees give up too quickly on Ian Kennedy? Obviously, they're thrilled with Granderson; but given the questions in their rotation, are they going to look back and wonder whether Kennedy could have done this for them?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:22 PM)

Rob, It's hard to complain given the return in the deal. Granderson is having a top three MVP season in center. When I wrote an Ian Kennedy story a few weeks ago, Mark Newman of the Yankees told me that the Yanks' people always thought Kennedy could pitch in the American League. But there's no doubt it's helped him going to the NL West. This is actually one of those great trades where all the teams received something beneficial: GM's wish they could all work out this way.

Joe (Green Bay) [via mobile]

You're Ron Roenicke. It's the morning of September 19th and you just clinched the NL Central the night before. You have 10 games left against the Cubs, Marlins and Pirates. Do you A) Rest your starters the rest of the way so they're as close to 100% as possible, or B) Continue with business as usual?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:24 PM)

Joe, I think you strike a balance and keep them on their regular rotations (unless they're gassed), but limit their innings and pitch counts to keep them sharp. Say, 5-6 innings and 80-90 pitches a start so they can remain sharp, but still be fresh for the postseason. It's a nice luxury to have.

Rick (Toronto)

Hey Jerry, just wondering if you have had a chance to watch Brett Lawrie since his call up? I think he might be the most exciting player in baseball to watch

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:25 PM)

Rick, I watched him in a couple of games last week. Love that kid. He's very intense, has a really professional approach at the plate and a gun for an arm at third. He's one of those kids who comes to the big leagues and immediately looks as if he belongs. Great pickup by Alex Anthopoulos.

Jay (Baltimore)

Do you really think this is it for Andy McPhail in Baltimore? Is he quitting his rebuilding effort or getting fired?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:27 PM)

Jay, I get the sense that Andy MacPhail won't be back in Baltimore. He's done a lot of things in this game, and the team's regression this year has to be very disheartening for him. Unless he moves upstairs with the Orioles, I think he walks away on his own terms. I don't see him getting fired.

Ben (FL)

At what point will the Rays get respect as serious playoff contenders this season?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:29 PM)

Ben, The Rays have everybody's respect, but not as playoff contenders. They're 8 1/2 games behind Boston in the East and 6 1/2 games behind NY in the wild card race. Another impressive season for Joe Maddon and the boys, but they don't have the guns to make up that much ground in September. They need MLB to add another wild card team.

Karl (Illinois)

Do the White Sox still have a shot at the AL Central or should I just start looking forward to next year?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:30 PM)

Karl, I think they're toast at 6 games out in the AL Central. A very perplexing, disappointing club.

Derek (Iowa City)

Hi Jerry! David Schoenfield placed Chipper Jones 2nd all time at 3B. I am a lifelong Braves fan, and Chipper has nearly replaced Dale Murphy as my all time favorite Brave, but i have a hard time putting Chipper ahead of Eddie Matthews and George Brett, if nothing else because his defense is lagging, and his offense doesn't make up for it in my mind. Thoughts?? Thanks!

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:32 PM)

Derek, I respect David's opinion, but I could't put Chipper ahead of George Brett under any circumstances. (We can all assume Mike Schmidt is first, correct?). As for Eddie Mathews ... I'd have to compare their numbers side by side. I do think Chipper is a Hall of Famer, for what it's worth.

jake (kenosha wi)

Hey Jerry, what is your opinion on Fielder and Braun winning Co MVP for the NL?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:33 PM)

Jake, You have 32 voters casting ballots on MVP candidates from 1 through 10, so there would have to be some kind of bizarre coincidence for Braun and Fielder to be co-MVPs. It ain't gonna happen.

Troy(ATL GA) [via mobile]

When the rosters expand on September 1st, will the Braves bring Wes Helms to their MLB club? And will that give Chipper more days off?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:34 PM)

Troy, Yes, I assume that Wes Helms will join the Braves on Sept. 1. Great guy in the clubhouse and he'll snag a start here and there at third. But I think he's more a late-inning RH bat off the bench kind of guy. And he didn't show a whole lot in that role with the Marlins. Maybe he'll be invigorated by rejoining his old club during a pennant race.

Bobby (Bosie)

Jerry, do you think Mike Scioscia made a mistake this weekend by using Santana & Weaver on 3 days rest. Do the other guys in the rotation think he does not trust them? Same issue for the bullpen when he sent Weaver back out in the 7th up by a run last night.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:36 PM)

Bobby, I'm not the greatest predictor in the world, but I wasn't in favor of that decision going into the weekend. There's just too much time left in the season, and you're right: The Angels aren't going to win the AL West if they can't straighten out the back end of their rotation. Unfortunately, there might not be enough time for that to take place.

Take (Japan)

Hello, Mr.Crasnick.Thank you for your insight every week.Some people say the M's could contend next year if they add animpact bat, for example Prince Fielder, to the current mix.Although I think it'as a long shot at best to land a marquee player but anyway, if they did, do you think they can realistically contend?Thank youfor your answer.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:38 PM)

Take, Personally, I think the worst mistake the M's could make would be to plow $180 million-plus into Prince Fielder. They're more than one impact bat away. They'd be better spending that money upgrading through the draft and spreading it among 2 or 3 free agents. That's just my opinion.

Nick (Pittsburgh)

Who has more potential: Jameson Taillon or Gerrit Cole?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:39 PM)

Nick, the Pirates gave Gerrit Cole $8 million out of UCLA and Jameson Taillon $6.5 million as a high schooler, so they obviously think both guys have the potential to be No. 1 or 2 starters. I'm not smart enough to pick one over the other, although I will say that I was very impressed with the clips of Taillon that I watched. He's a real man-child.

Joe (Green Bay) [via mobile]

Jerry, you experienced Plushmania up close and personal. Do you think the Brewers and Morgan take it too far or are they simply having fun?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:41 PM)

Joe, Nyjer Morgan's routine could probably get old with a losing club (just ask the Nationals), but I've enjoyed watching him have so much fun this year in Milwaukee, and I think most fans would agree with me. We always complain about athletes who act like robots and don't relate to the fans. So how can anyone complain about Nyjer/Tony. I find him/them quite entertaining.

Doug (San Diego)

How do you like the Tiger's chances in a five game series with Verlander pitching twice?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:42 PM)

Doug, It's enough to scare the crap out of potential opponents. And facing Max Scherzer is no bargain, either.

Derek (Iowa City)

Re: Freeman as ROY.. My take is, Freeman has been pretty good, but his 1.5 WAR is lower half of all NL 1B (thanks to a big negative defensive rating) while Kimbrel's 3.0 WAR easily leads all relievers. Even take out Kimbrel's saves, and he has been otherworldly this year (FIP of 1.21??!?!)

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:44 PM)

Derek, I can buy that. I always like to give the benefit of the doubt to a position player over a guy who pitches 60 or 70 innings. But Craig Kimbrel has 103 K's in 63 innings. He's been ridiculously good. I have no objection to him being ROY.

Cheesehead Sports Nut (@CheeseheadSN)

Corey Hart seems to lock in at the plate and get hot for a few weeks in a row and then cool off. This seems like a pretty common thing in baseball, why do you think guys like Hart get hot in waves like that but then go ice cold?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:45 PM)

Cheesehead, I can only assume that tall guys with big swings can fall in and out of it mechanically more easily than most hitters. Pat Burrell is a prime example. But when they get hot, watch out. You just have to live through the rough patches

Steve (Boston)

Hi Jerry; Great job as usual. What's the story with Colby Rasmus? Is he going to be the real deal in Toronto?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:48 PM)

Steve, He got a bit of a wakeup call switching leagues, and now he's injured. He's still young, and I think he's going to be a good all-around player eventually. He really fits the dynamic there and the overall game plan in Toronto. If the Jays can get Rasmus and Travis Snider going -- and they can join Bautista, Lind, Bret Lawrie, Escobar and Arencibia in that lineup -- they could have a pretty impressive group.

Ben (FL)

Is Joe Maddon the best manager in baseball right now?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:49 PM)

Ben, It's hard to call him the "best," but he's one of the most innovative, and he consistently gets more out the talent on his roster than Rays fans have a right to expect. He does a heck of a job.

Norman (NY)

If you were Doug Melvin and you had the chance to redo the Marcum for Lawrie deal, knowing what we know today would you take it back or would you still go through with it?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:52 PM)

Norman, You have to look at the circumstances. The Brewers were going for it this year with Fielder in the final year of free agency, and they acquired a guy in Shaun Marcum who's 11-4 with a 3.38 ERA and is going to end up with close to 200 innings. They gave up a long-term asset to acquire a guy who could help them immediately, and Marcum has done that. If they go deep into the postseason, the deal helped Doug Melvin achieve his major purpose.

Paul (Philly)

You do know Dom Brown is playing left in AAA...

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:57 PM)

Paul, Thanks. I messed that one up. Defense is clearly Brown's biggest deficiency, so it might be easier for him to get to the big leagues in left. But the main point is, they expect Brown and Pence to be the long-term answers at the corner OF spots. I'm not quite sure what that means for John Mayberry Jr.

Mike (San Diego)

I know wins have been greatly devalued recently, but if Verlander gets to 25 wins, is that a good enough narrative to get him the MVP?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:58 PM)

Mike, Voters don't place as much stock in win totals as they used to, but the combination of all Verlander's attributes -- from the strikeouts to the hits-per-inning to the intangibles he brings to the Detroit rotation as a "sure thing" every fifth day -- makes him a strong candidate. We'll have to see how it shakes out over the final month.

Mike (San Diego)

Did you know that Adam dunn's WAR is -2.4? That means a team full of Adam Dunns, they would be 20-142! Yuck.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:00 PM)

Mike, I guess that's not what you expect in return for a $14 million annual investment, huh?

Rick (Chicago)

Hey Jerry,I absolutely love your chats, but can never find them unless I happen to scroll down on the baseball page. Any better way of finding when you'll be on?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:00 PM)

Rick, I think they're posted on the Sports Nation chat page, as well as the "Hot Links" on the MLB page. I've also started Tweeting them an hour or two in advance. For what it's worth, I usually chat Monday at 1 p.m.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:01 PM)

Sorry everybody, but I only have time for one more.

David (Florida)

Jerry: Are N.Evans,Presley and Schafer going to see added PT for rest of season? If so, do they have potential to have a strong finish? Thanks!

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:02 PM)

David, Of that group, Jordan Schafer is probably the most interesting. He was once a hot prospect in Atlanta before the injuries hit, and now he'll get a chance to play everyday in Houston. He'll steal some bases. Not sure how much he'll hit.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:02 PM)

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