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April 29, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:00 PM)

Hey folks, Thanks for coming on the chat. Sorry to hear the news about Brad "The Animal" Lesley passing away at age 54. He was a true baseball character. Let's take some questions.

Juan Estrada (Colombia)

Hi Jerry! What are your toughs for the start of the Boston Red Sox? Do you see this team maintaining the moment and reaching the post season? Thanks!

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:02 PM)

Juan, As we've already seen, that division isn't proceeding according to form. Toronto is a mess, and Baltimore is better than a lot of people gave them credit for. And who expected this from the Yankees? If Lester, Buchholz and Dempster can keep pitching well, the Red Sox can certainly hang around and make some noise. But I'd like to see them do it against some better competition than they've been facing lately.

Brian (Greensboro, NC)

Latest word on Jason Heyward?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:04 PM)

Brian, He's eligible to come off the DL on May 6, but it sounds as if he's going to need more time. Remember when Adam Dunn had an appendectomy a couple of years ago and it took him a while to recover? I'm sure the Braves will take their time with Heyward and make sure he's right before they activate him.

Ryan (NY)

Obviously Matt Harvey is going to have a couple of rough games (they all do), but do you think he has the potential to become Justin Verlander Version 2.0?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:06 PM)

Ryan, I hate to get too carried away with a guy who's had about 15 big league starts. But Harvey throws 96 without a whole lot of effort, his slider is amazing, and he's a very mature and polished kid who embraces pitching in the New York market. We'll see if he's Justin Verlander 2.0, but he certainly looks like a top of the rotation guy. The scouts love him.

Bob (CT)

When do you think Oscar Traveras gets called up?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:07 PM)

Bob, The Cardinals aren't going to call up Taveras unless they're sure they can give him regular at-bats every day, and there's just not room in that lineup with Holliday, Jay and Beltran in the outfield. I checked and Taveras has a .742 OPS so far in Memphis, so it's not as if he's burning up Triple A ball.

Ryan (NY)

Why are people so surprised that Toronto is a mess? They took all of the underachieving misfits from the Marlins and a 38 year old pitcher who has one good year and people penciled them into the world series. That's a horrible way to construct a roster

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:09 PM)

Ryan, I'm one of those people who got fooled by the Jays' offseason acquisitions, because I thought the starting pitching would carry them. To be fair, that Jose Reyes injury was a killer. They lost their defensive glue and an offensive catalyst at the top of the order. It was hard to prepare for something like that.

Todd (Arlington, VA)

Hi Jerry,As of yesterday, Harper has been in the MLB for one full season How are his stats of the first 162 games? Do you have that info handy? Also, have you seen the Harper "movie" that is premiering on ESPN tomorrow night? Any insight you can offer?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:10 PM)

Todd, Bryce Harper's numbers today are through 163 games: 31 homers, a .283 batting average, an .870 OPS, 77 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. Not bad for a pup.

Andrew (Toronto)

Ryan from NY, obviously the Jays are a mess, but if you think Dickey has been good for only one year you're not paying attention. And his pitching hasn't been the problem at all.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:11 PM)

Andrew, Yeah, I think the big question with Dickey was whether he might break down physically (he had that abdominal injury last year). We see what news comes of his latest injury. The Jays better hope that Josh Johnson can stay healthy and get it together if they plan to climb back into the AL East race.

Bill (CT)

Jerry, what side are you on in the Price v Hallion issue. I thought umpires and players used less than appropriate on field language toward each other since they laced them up?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:13 PM)

Bill, I don't like to pile on umpires, but the reaction from David Price's teammates gives you the impression that Hallion was a little too antagonistic in this case. I think it was less about the on-field language than Hallion calling Price a "liar" in his post-game interview. Joe Torre will have a lot to sort through.

Brian (Greensboro, NC)

can McCann make it back as an All-Star catcher? Still has the All-Star bat but he will struggle throwing after labrum surgery

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:15 PM)

Brian, I'm sure Fredi Gonzalez is going to pick his spots with McCann and make sure Laird and Gattis also get time behind the plate. I'm not sure it's going to be a problem after this year. My sense is that when McCann becomes a free agent, he's a better fit with an AL team because of the DH option.

Joel (KC)

How long can the Royals starting pitchers keep this up? Ervin Santana has been incredible so far.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:16 PM)

Joel, When I was in spring training, Ned Yost and the Royals people raved about James Shields for his leadership and ability to push his fellow starters. Some guys just have that ability to raise the level for an entire staff. The Royals are off to a promising start, and it would be even better if the bullpen hadn't blown some games early.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

What are your thoughts on Cingrani? Should he take Leake's spot when Cueto comes back?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:19 PM)

B Mand, Mike Leake has been up and down so far, but I think he gets a little more rope than five starts. As for Cingrani, I talked to a scout the other day who compared him to Ross Detweiler because he throws almost nothing but fastballs. That's a pretty encouraging comp if you're a Reds fan.

Eric (NYC )

First off, thanks Jerry, love your work. What's your take on the Pirates this season? After finishing the toughest April schedule in baseball over .500 and in first place is huge...can it last this season?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:21 PM)

Eric, The Pirates have faded the last couple of years, so I'm not quite ready to buy in yet. But it's encouraging that they've played so well with McCutchen off to such a slow start. To me, a lot depends on Pedro Alvarez, Starling Marte and Travis Snider continuing to make progress. I think Jay Bell has a chance to be a nice influence on those guys. And at some point this season, they can dip into the minors for Cole and/or Taillon if those guys are burning it up. There's a reason for cautious optimism in Pittsburgh.

Matthew (Pennsburg, PA)

Jerry: When Delmon is activated from the DL, Will the Phillies get rid of Mayberry or Carrera?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:23 PM)

Matthew, Best I can tell, Delmon Young is still a little ways away from being activated. When that happens, I can't imagine the Phillies jettisoning John Mayberry Jr. to preserve a spot on the roster for Ezequiel Carrera.

Greg (Toronto)

Jerry, i enjoy your chats and often witty replies. The people on the sidewalk sure do look tiny from up here. The window ledge is much narrower than I though too. At 9-17 are the jays done? Please talk me down.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:25 PM)

Greg, They're not done, but they really have a chance to bury themselves in the next couple of weeks. As a scout told me today, "That's a tough division to try to reel off a long winning streak in." I haven't seen anything from the Jays thus far to make me think they're capable of that."

Steve (Portland, OR)

Have you had a chance to see Iwakuma pitch for the M's? He looks like the real deal.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:27 PM)

Steve, I watched him pitch the other night, and his stuff looked quite good. I checked on FanGraphs today and saw that Iwakuma ranks 7th in the majors in swing and miss percentage -- one spot behind Felix Hernandez. That tells you he's not a very comfortable at-bat.

pj (midlo)

I love what i continue to see with the Orioles. Timely hitting coming from all parts of the batting order. Starting pitchers that routinely give them 6 or 7 quality innings and an exceptionally strong bullpen comparatively speaking to their division. what do you see

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:29 PM)

P.J., I'm with you. I went to see the O's about 10 days ago and there's a great vibe around that team. Guys like Adam Jones and Matt Wieters have really emerged as leaders, and I think Chris Davis is for real. Also, Manny Machado has really stabilized the defense there. The other thing about the O's: They just keep banging away until they wear you down. I've heard scouts describe them as "relentless." That all stems from Buck Showalter.

Adam (NY)

I remember earlier there was an episode of Arliss regarding this. With Jason Collins announcement today. Do you think a Pro Baseball Player coming out while playing today, or will the locker room mindset not be condusive for that or will they be like Glenn Burke or Billy Beane and wait till after they retire???

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:31 PM)

Adam, I'm not sure of the best way to express this, but I think it would be tougher in baseball. I wish I could say otherwise, but I'm not sure if baseball is quite as enlightened as the NBA on matters like this.

Otto (CA)

The Dodgers are hovering around .500 and are not very good. When are they going to realize that you can't win with a bunch of high paid all starts. They need to insert Nick Punto's intangibles into the every day lineup.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:34 PM)

Otto, That would also help prevent the D-backs from cornering the market on "scrappiness." Seriously, I think getting Hanley Ramirez back will be a huge help as well. Even if he hits .250 or .260, that's a lot of thump for a shortstop. They really need some help on the left side.

Brain (ATL)

Any chance the braves could package Uggla with McCann or a pitcher to unload Uggla's contract? If so who might the team be?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:35 PM)

Brian, Hmm, a highly-paid, strikeout prone, underachiving second baseman and a catcher recovering from a shoulder injury? Good luck with that.

Marc (Des Moines)

Can the White Sox be relevant in the AL playoff race? Or should they trade their veterans and retool the farm?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:36 PM)

Marc, I've seen enough of the White Sox to think they're your basic .500 team. If I were Rick Hahn and I had the option to deal off a veteran piece or two for some young talent in July, I would certainly consider it.

Bill (Tampa)

Jerry thanks for the chat always enjoy them. Do the Ray's have enough hitting to make it to a playoff series where Moore/Price/Hellickson can carry them to the promised land.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:39 PM)

Bill, They've righted themselves after a rough start. If Longoria can stay healthy, I think they have enough offense to be a contender in the East. And let's not forget the Wil Myers option at some point this season. I think the Rays will be right in the mix playing important games in September.

Mike (Long Island)

Jerry, which part of MLB is "less enlightened" than the NBA when it comes to homophobia: The players, the ownership, or both?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:41 PM)

Mike, I just think the baseball clubhouse is a different place than the NBA locker room. You have more guys who didn't go to college and might not have as much exposure to different viewpoints. And baseball players spend a lot more time hanging around the clubhouse than the other sports do. It's a complex question, certainly, but my gut tells me it will be a while before we see a Jason Collins in Major League Baseball.

Jalen Rose (LA)

Don't get fired Jerry.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:42 PM)

Jalen, Hey, thanks for the advice. I'm trying to be as diplomatic and politically correct as possible.

Roger (OH)

What the hell is wrong with the Tribe?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:44 PM)

Roger, The starting pitchers are 6-13 with a 5.53 ERA. They're not going deep into games, so the Indians are playing from behind a lot of nights and putting a lot of strain on the bullpen. You don't have to look much deeper than that.

austin (la)

Do you think san diego trades chase headley? As a fan its hard watching management do the same thing over and over again with not spending on good players and just trading away for prospects.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:47 PM)

Austin, If Josh Byrnes determines they're not going to sign Headley to a long-term deal, yeah, I think the chances are good that they'll move him. But that seems like something the Padres would do over the winter rather than during the season -- a Justin Upton kind of trade.

Nafis (SF)

Hi Jerry, should the Rangers bring up Profar with their offense struggling or should they continue to ride guys like David Murphy and Mitch Moreland because the team is winning?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:50 PM)

Nafis, I checked and Jurickson Profar is hitting .214 in Triple-A, so that's not exactly an endorsement for a callup. On a positive note, that's better than Mike Olt, who is hitting .139 and striking out a ton. Since the Rangers are winning, that gives Ron Washington time to let Murphy and some of his other guys get straightened out. Wash is a patient guy who has faith in his veterans, so I don't see him getting overly jumpy after 3 weeks.

Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)

A lot of people are down on the Dodgers but I tend to look at it more optimistically. They are right there with the Giants and D-backs (I still am not concerned with Colorado) adn they have delt with injuries to Greinke, Ramirez, Ellis, Capuano, Fife, etc. They are starting to get healthy and are poised to make a run at the division.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:51 PM)

Mike, I agree. The Greinke and Hanley injuries were potential killers, and they've been able to stay afloat (unlike the Blue Jays). I think they have a run in them when they get healthy.

Mike (NJ)

Yankees lost Swisher, Martin, Ibanez, Jones, Jeter, A-Rod, Tex and Granderson, are missing Youk and Cerivelli and you think Jay's losing Reyes was killer? No one guy should have that sort of effect on any line-up.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:53 PM)

Mike, Very good point. Actually, if you read the story I wrote the other day on the Blue Jays and the Reyes injury, Toronto manager John Gibbons praises the Yankees for playing good ball despite their numerous injuries. Joe Girardi and Kevin Long, the hitting coach, both deserve a lot of credit for that.

Spike Owen (BOSTON)

Are you concerned about Matt Cain, Price or Cole Hamels at all?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:56 PM)

Spike, Not particularly, as long as they're healthy and keep going out there. I picked Cain as my NL Cy Young winner -- that one sure isn't looking too swift to this point.

Bill (CT)

Jerry, Will Middlebrooks has been struggling since the 3 home run game he had a while ago against the Jays. What kind of player do baseball people think he will be? I'm guessing a return to the Rogers Center this week isn't a bad thing.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:58 PM)

Bill, He's a solid 25-homer, 90 ribbie kind of guy. Young hitters just go through spurts and growing pains. Look at Mike Moustakas in Kansas City, another young third baseman who's struggling a lot more than Middlebrooks.

harry (miami)

Why has it taken Bud "Light" Selig and his merry men three long years to study the Oakland situation? This storied franchise deserves much better treatment than these stall tactics.

Jerry Crasnick
  (3:00 PM)

Harry, Every year we go to the All-Star Game, and the commissioner gets asked about the Oakland Stadium situation, and he tells us Major League Baseball is studying the matter. I'm with you: Not sure it has to take this long to figure things out there.

Rob (Baltimore)

You think Manny Machado has already arrived as a star player?

Jerry Crasnick
  (3:01 PM)

Rob, He has defensively. The kid is terrific at third base. Offensively, he's just scratching the surface. He's in a good spot to learn in that lineup.

Jerry Crasnick
  (3:01 PM)

Thanks for the questions, everybody. Let's do it again next week. Have a good one.