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April 15, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:01 PM)

Hey everybody, I'm still psyched from watching that Adam Scott Masters victory yesterday. It's not always about baseball (as sacrilegious as that seems). Looking forward to the chat. Let's start taking some questions.

JM (Dayton, OH)

Has Cueto officially been DL'ed? What are your thoughts on Cingrani getting the call up? Think his fastball will be able to strike MLB guys out like at AAA?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:03 PM)

JM, Cueto's DL visit isn't official yet, but I expect it to come today. Dusty Baker called Cingrani the Reds' "first line of defense," so it looks like he's the guy. I would be less concerned with his fastball than his ability to throw his breaking ball for strikes. If he doesn't have three effective pitches, NL lineups will take him to school.

Jeremy (Waltham)

does it look like, to you, that sabathia is slowing down? he doesn't have as much velocity on his fastball as in recent years.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:04 PM)

Jeremy, Sabathia's velocity has been a tick under 90 mph so far, which is a bit worrisome. But he's been dealing with declining velo for the past few years now; he's a pretty resourceful guy. And Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and Jered Weaver also had substandard gun readings in the early going. As long as CC is getting people out, I wouldn't worry about the velocity just yet.

Tim (AZ)

I want to ask a Braves question. But are there any? Teams seems complete with a good bench. Quality guys that can called up if needed. What do you see?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:06 PM)

Tim, They're a very good club. I wondered how good the rotation of Hudson, Minor, Maholm, Medlen and Teheran would be, but they've pitched well so far. They just need to get Teheran settled in and comfortable the way he was in spring training. Justin Upton has provided a huge new dynamic for that team.

Greg (LA)

Eight (Quentin) games is like 40 (Greinke) games consisting of eight starts. Does this mean that Mattingly (sort of) got what he wanted? An equal number of games lost?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:07 PM)

Hey Greg, It doesn't work in dog years. I think Mattingly felt like Quentin should be out for as long as Greinke is out. But nobody ever believed that would happen.

Josh (Greensboro, NC)

Hey If Jose Iglesias is hitting well enough near the trade deadline,and Stephen Drew is healthy, could u see them trading Drew?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:08 PM)

Josh, The Red Sox could certainly try to trade Drew. But he's making about $10 million, so they'd probably have to chip in a big chunk of his salary to do the deal.

pj (midlo)

Nationals fan here. while disappointing to see Nats swept at home by Braves (without Freeman or McCann) do you see any fatal flaws with there team that will prevent them from returning to playoffs? Bullpen is one area that seems to be underperforming but on paper they would be probably rated high with their arms in pen. (albeit they lack lefty depth in pen)

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:10 PM)

P.J., Yeah, when your big concern is the absence of a lefty in the pen, that's a pretty good problem to have. I still think the Nats are the most complete team in baseball (particularly if Strasburg and Gio are pitching well), but the Braves definitely got their attention this weekend.

Mel (Colorado Springs)

Hey Jerry, what did you think of Bowden's article saying that there should be a Taveras for Profar trade? Do GMs read this stuff?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:12 PM)

Mel, It's a really interesting concept, and it makes some sense in theory considering the needs of both clubs. But it would take an awful lot of guts for one GM to trade a mega-prospect for another team's mega-prospect like that. It's a pretty risky deal, which is why I'm sure Jon Daniels and John Mozeliak would both be hesitant to do it.

Justin (Redlands, CA)

Isn't it fair to say the panic from the media and fans regarding the Angels has been a bit overblown? They were something like 9-75 with RISP, which means they were getting a ton of opportunities but just not executing.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:13 PM)

Justin, Normally I would say yes, but I definitely have concerns about how good that team's pitching is going to be -- starting and bullpen. And Jered Weaver's injury didn't help things. They might have to outscore a lot of people 8-5 while the pitching gets settled.

Ben (Orlando)

Given that Chris Johnson, the throw-in in the Upton trade, is currently outplaying Martin Prado, is it safe to assume that Frank Wren is a sorcerer?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:15 PM)

Ben, Wow, some Frank Wren love from Atlanta. Chris Johnson is a free swinger, and he's not as good a player as Prado. But given the depth of that lineup (particularly with the addition of Evan Gattis), he's in a nice situation right now in Atlanta. He's fine for what they need out of him.

BigBirdWasABlueJay (Fredericton NB Canada)

Do you forsee the Jays moving Lawrie to 2nd, Bautista to 3rd and bring up Gose for RF? Do you like this?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:16 PM)

BigBird, They're planning to look at Lawrie at second base, and Joey Bats is agreeable to playing third. That arrangement seems to make sense given that they have more depth in the outfield. But I suspect they'll just go with a Melky, Rasmus, Rajai Davis, Emilio Bonifacio arrangement unless they think Gose can play everyday.

Bob (Fort Lauderdale)

Following up on the Braves comment. They'll only get better when Beachy joins them.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:17 PM)

Bob, Yes, if Brandon Beachy can come back from his TJ surgery after the All-Star break, that'll be just as good as going out and trading for another starter.

Candy (Slippery Rock)

Hi Jerry, what's your take on the Rangers so far? They are pitching well but not hitting, which is opposite of what they usually do.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:19 PM)

Candy, The Rangers actually went through some long fallow stretches last season. I just double-checked, and they had the worst offense in the AL in July last season. Losing Josh Hamilton hurts, regardless of what fans in Texas think of him. And Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and David Murphy are all off to slow starts. I think their offense will be OK.

James (Temple, GA)

So Evan Gattis was a janitor a few years ago and is now driving out 95 shoulder high fastballs from Strasburg? Sounds like a movie script to me....

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:20 PM)

James, Yeah, it's a terrific story. I love his Twitter avatar with his old janitor's work pass posted on it. It's hard not to root for a guy like that.

elizabeth lash (benton il.)

what happened to derreck lee? where is he playing now? ive lost track of him. did he retire.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:21 PM)

Elizabeth, Derrek Lee retired last year. The Yankees put out feelers in the spring to see if he might be interested in coming back, but he decided to stay home. He's a good guy -- I hope he's enjoying his retirement.

Rocco (Tampa Florida)

With all that is going on with the Markins, is there any reason to believe they will bring up Yelich soon/this year?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:23 PM)

Rocco, I honestly don't think so. I know they brought up Jose Fernandez contrary to everyone's expectations. But I think it would be tough to bring up Yelich and stick him in the middle of a lineup that weak. He really could use a full year of development in the minors. But the kid can rake, no question. Scouts I talked to in spring training kept comparing him to Shawn Green.

Nick (Oh)

Do you think the Reds regret making Chapman a closer in light of the Cueto injury and the fact that Chapman is not being used often?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:24 PM)

Nick, No, it's hard to second guess that one, since Chapman's heart didn't seem to be in starting by the end of spring training. And think about this: Would you feel better if Jonathan Broxton was their closer right now?

Tarek (NYC)

Hey Jerry, when do the rays bring up Wil Myers? There offense (as always) looks awful to start off the season.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:25 PM)

Tarek, I don't see them bringing him up until at least June because of the service time considerations. And it can't hurt him to get another 150-200 ABS in the minors. Just one man's opinion.

Rich (Sun Valley, ID)

Finally my favorite chat happens when I am available! Thanks, Jerry...the Cardinal starting rotation is rocking, but there are closer issues as evidenced by the blown 3 run lead in yesterday's game. There are calls for removing Boggs from the closer role and giving it to Mujica. This seems premature to me- I would give Boggs another couple of shots and keep Mujica in the slot he thrives in. Your thoughts? PS: Watch Matt Adams-this kid rakes.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:27 PM)

Hey Rich, Hope all is well in Idaho. Personally, I think Trevor Rosenthal has the best stuff in that pen. But he's had a rocky outing or two as well. Mike Matheny isn't the kind of guy who's going to panic and change his mind every other day on his closer. That's just a recipe for disaster. So I think he'll keep showing faith in Boggs until he's forced to make a change.

Bill (CT)

Jerry, did you go to see 42? If so, what's your opinion?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:29 PM)

Bill, I enjoyed "42." I get some of the criticism (it wasn't "gritty" enough, it was too sappy at times and made Jackie look like a saint, etc.). But I thought Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman were great, and the baseball was terrific. Keep in mind that they were trying to make that movie for a general audience, which includes kids. It grossed like $26 million in the first weekend, so I think the film achieved its objective.

Ben (Orlando)

Is "not liking Frank Wren" really a thing among Braves fans that I'm unaware of? In the last couple years, he's acquired Michael Bourn, Paul Malholm and Justin Upton for "nothing", "almost nothing" and "Martin Prado + some prospects we don't need".

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:31 PM)

Ben, I've always been mystified by some of the anti-Frank Wren comments I've received through the years. I think Frank, John Coppolella, Bruce Manno and that group in Atlanta do a great job with pretty limited resources. Maybe people in Atlanta got conditioned to expecting they would make the playoffs every year. It's not that easy in a division that includes the Phillies, Nats and, until recently, the Marlins.

Alex (Anaheim)

Do you still expect the Dodgers to make the playoffs after losing Greinke for 2 months?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:33 PM)

Alex, I picked them to make the playoffs because I liked their pitching depth, and now it's going to come in handy. But there might be 8 worthy clubs fighting for 5 playoffs spots in the NL. Two or three really good teams are going to be staying home in October.

Justin (4th Grade Classroom)

Jerry, The real question in Atlanta is what will they do with Gattis once McCann is back. Thoughts?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:34 PM)

Justin, That's a nice problem to have, as they say. I don't think they can just discard McCann after all he's meant for that franchise over the years. The guy wasn't very good last year, but he was playing hurt. To me, they have to find a way to get McCann in the lineup at least 5 days a week. Gattis can play other positions, so that gives Fredi Gonzalez some flexibility.

Kevin (Alpharetta)

Not trying to be a Braves killjoy, but are people expecting too much with Beachy's return? Seems like it takes a second year removed from TJ Surgery to get a feel for location and offspeed pitches...see Adam Wainwright.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:36 PM)

Kevin, Yes, that's a very good point (and one I meant to make). I wouldn't expect Brandon Beachy to be full strength from his TJ surgery until the spring of 2014. But he really only needs to be a No. 4 or 5 starter when he returns. It's not as if they're expecting him to carry the staff.

Dan (Kansas City)

What's going on with Jarrod Parker? I haven't seen any of his starts so I'm not sure if it's mechanical, or what.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:38 PM)

Dan, I haven't followed him that closely, but of all the young Oakland starters, he was the one I was most concerned about because of his workload last year. I believe he took a jump from 136 innings to 215 last year. I hate to sound like a Mother Hen, but that's a heck of a big jump.

tim (ny)

how good is Matt Harvey? How good can the Mets be with Harvey, Niese, and Wheeler?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:40 PM)

Tim, Scouts are going ga-ga over Matt Harvey. One guy told me last week that he might have the best slider in baseball. Niese is also underappreciated -- very solid from the left side. We'll see how things go with Wheeler. He's pitching under rough conditioned in the PCL in Las Vegas, so that'll give him a chance to grow up in a hurry. But if things work out, that's a great 1-2-3 punch for the Mets.

Ethan (Woodland Hills)

Did that 9th inning comeback on Saturday save Mike Scioscia's job?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:41 PM)

Ethan, That might be a little premature. But when people talked about Mike Scioscia's job security, I used to point out that he's under contract through 2018. Now I don't think that matters to Arte Moreno; if we hit the All-Star break and the Angels are buried, Scioscia's seat will be getting pretty warm. Heck, it could happen well before then.

Steve (Orlando,Fl)

The last 3-4 years the Rays have had different players,different lineups,yet still struggle offensively.Hitting coach Derek Shelton on the hot seat?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:44 PM)

Steve, I have a hard time pinning the Rays' offensive issues on the hitting coach. Other than Longoria and Ben Zobrist, the talent in that lineup is pretty so-so. They're a pitching-and-defense-oriented team. And unless they can develop hitters from within or trade for them (a la Wil Myers), the Rays are going to be challenged to come up with impact bats.

Albert (LA)

How could is Jean Segura? Potential all-star?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:45 PM)

Albert, If he can hit, sure. I'm interested in seeing how he stacks up with Alcides Escobar, another young, talented shortstop who is starting to attract more attention. (I just wrote about him for the weekend, by the way).

Scott (Lincolnshire)

Jerry, what are your thoughts on the Cubs' Wrigley Field renovation deal, if any? The only thing I care about is if it helps the Cubs win baseball games. Does it?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:47 PM)

Scott, Hey, Wrigley Field is a baseball and a civic treasure, and it had fallen into disrepair. I went there last year for the first time in a while and I was shocked over how bad it had become. As a baseball purist, I'm glad to see that something is being done about it. The Cubs have to play somewhere where fans don't have to be concerned about chunks of concrete falling on their heads.

steve (LBC) [via mobile]

Are the Angels pitching woes Dipotos fault for assembling that staff, scioscias for how he manages them or Butchers as their pitching coach?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:50 PM)

Steve, They put so much money into the big bats (Pujols and Hamilton), they didn't have a whole lot left over to spend on pitching. I think that's more a reflection of owner Arte Moreno, who was the driving force behind the big free agent deals. And if you're not developing enough arms in the system, you have to get them somewhere. I certainly wouldn't pin it on Mike Butcher. He's a good pitching coach.

John (Halifax)

Do you think the Jays fans have a reason to panic with the Reyes loss and the slow start? Looks like they are not the only AL East team not out of the gate fast.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:52 PM)

John, I'm less concerned about the Jays because Dickey, Buehrle, Johnson, Morrow and Happ is a good starting rotation, and Brett Lawrie will definitely make a difference when he returns. The Reyes loss hurts, but Alex Anthopoulos never stops looking for ways to upgrade his team. If Munenori Kawasaki isn't the answer, he'll try something else.

Dan (Kansas City)

Who is currently the fastest player in the game? I'd guess Michael Bourn or Jarrod Dyson if I had to.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:54 PM)

Great question, Dan. You might also have to throw Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout into that mix (at least from home to first with Trout). I think Bourn has lost a step over the past few years, but he can still fly. I'm sure we're failing to mention someone obvious.

Josh (Detroit)

With the top Detroit's lineup performing so well, can Prince break the Hack Wilson's Rbi record?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:55 PM)

Josh, I think 191 RBI's is aiming a tad high, but Prince should be in for a big year.

Jason (NJ)

We all know Dusty Baker likes to shred arms. But why does he insist on keeping Devon Mesoraco on the bench when he clearly has more upside than Hanigan?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:57 PM)

Jason, I asked that question a bunch last year. Then the more I watched Hanigan play, the more I appreciated what he brings to that team. I believe he's hitting about .069 so far this year, so he hasn't quite hit his groove yet. But it's a legit question: Does a young catcher like Mesoraco benefit more from playing occasionally in a winning atmosphere in the big leagues, or playing 5 or 6 times a week in Triple-A?

Brian (CA)

What's the biggest fluke so far this season?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:59 PM)

Brian, No offense to John Buck, who's a true pro. But I don't see him finishing the season with 70 home runs and 200 RBIs, or whatever he's on pace for.

Kevin Towers (Phoenx)

What team is leading the NL in grit?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:59 PM)

Need you ask?

Jon (Bozeman, MT)

Jerry, I understand that the Rays are limited in their financial resources, but does it make sense to chase "lightning in a bottle" with Loney, KJohnson, RRoberts, and Escobar or play guys like Guyer, Lee, Beckham, and Myers that are in their system?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:01 PM)

Jon, Joe Maddon has a track record for getting the most out of a good pitching staff, great defense and just enough hitting. Even though the Rays don't spend any money, they've found a way to contend with that approach. So what they're doing now is par for the course. I don't see that changing.

Brandon (GA)

Zimmerman at third looked very rough defensively for the Nats this weekend, possibly costing them two games. Do you see any improvement there?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:02 PM)

Brandon, I'm not sure what the reason is for Ryan Zimmerman's throwing issues, but it's been on the back burner for a while now. He's found a way to manage it so far. We'll see if that's the case, or if the problems mount and it becomes more of a concern for the Nats. The guy certainly can make all the plays over there.

Jason (NJ)

Is this the year Matt Moore breaks out and becomes a top 3 CY young guy every year?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:03 PM)

Jason, He needs to do a more consistent job of throwing strikes so that he doesn't pile up big pitch counts and get pulled after 5 or 6 innings. But the talent, the repertoire and the work ethic are all there for him to be very good.

Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)

Jerry - give me some reasons to believe the Pirates can break the 20 year curse. Please. Anything!

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:04 PM)

Suburban Rhythm, I wish I could end the chat on a more positive note, but I think it's going to extend to 21 this season. Sorry about that.

Tim (AZ)

Nationals scored 1 run the final 25 innings of the series. I would say that cost them the series.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:05 PM)

Thanks for the fact checking, Tim.

Tippy (Michigan)

Victor Martinez has yet to get in a groove at the plate. Will he get his swing back?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:06 PM)

Tippy, Victor will be OK. Keep in mind that he had an awful lot of time off. The man has enough of a track record to have earned the benefit of the doubt.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:06 PM)

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