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May 20, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:01 PM)

Hey folks, Another Monday, another chat. Let's talk some baseball.

ohio [via mobile]

Is Miguel Cabrera the best hitter since Ted Williams

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:02 PM)

Ohio, It's hard to put him above Barry Bonds during his run (even though Bonds was chemically enhanced). And Albert Pujols was pretty special for a decade in St. Louis. But Cabrera's mix of power and discipline is amazing. The guy doesn't even swing hard and he hits 400-foot rockets. I'd walk him every time right now.

Ryan (Germany)

Matt Moore early favorite for CY Young??

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:05 PM)

Ryan, Moore has been great, but he only has 55 innings in 9 starts this season and he's lasted 7 innings just twice. I think he needs to start going deeper into games to reach that next level. So far this season, I would put Clay Buchholz and Hisashi Iwakuma (an 0.78 WHIP!) ahead of him in the Cy conversation. And Chris Sale and Felix Hernandez certainly belong in the discussion as well.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Do you see the Reds re-signing Choo? And what kind of contract do you think he will receive?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:06 PM)

B Mand, The Reds love what Choo brings on and off the field and they definitely are interested in re-signing him. They'd like to move him to left field once Billy Hamilton is ready to step in at center in 2014. As always, it's going to come down to price. Choo is a Scott Boras client, and the Reds already have big bucks committed to Joey, Phillips, Bruce et al. We'll have to see how this thing plays out.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

How warm is the seat underneath Mike Sciosia? Does he make it past the All Star break if the Angels don't begin turning things around? An owner vote of confidence usually serves as the kiss of death.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:08 PM)

Tony, Well, Arte Moreno came out and gave him the vote of confidence, so I think he has some more rope. As people have pointed out frequently, Scioscia is under contract through 2018. He also has a lengthy history with the owner. If the Angels really tank it this year, I'm sure Jerry Dipoto, the GM, is going to start attracting his share of "Hot Seat" speculation as well.

Tyler (Atlanta)

Is it time to start worrying about BJ Upton? He looks just lost at the plate.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:10 PM)

Tyler, I would be concerned, but the Braves people I've talked to are trying to be patient with B.J. They think he's putting a lot of pressure on himself to justify the new contract (and possibly keep pace with his brother). He's also making the adjustment to a new league. He's a streaky guy, so things could click in at any time and he could turn it around. But you're right -- he looks lost at the moment.

Jordan (Marlboro, NJ)

After this weekend the Pirates are just 2.5 back in the NL Central. Do you think this is the year they keep it up and contend all season long?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:12 PM)

Jordan, The consensus is that this Pittsburgh team is better than the recent versions that unraveled in the second half. Starling Marte looks like the real deal, and there's a better overall cast surrounding Andrew McCutchen. A lot is going to depend on Jeff Locke, Francisco Liriano and the back end of the rotation. I think the Buccos get over the .500 hump this season. But it's going to be tough for them to contend all season in a division with the Cards and Reds.

Logan (Langhorne, PA)

Do you think this bullpen disaster will keep the Braves from going deep in the postseason? What are some possible trade replacements?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:15 PM)

Logan, I think the Braves' first hope is that guys like Cory Gearrin, Luis Avilan and Anthony Varvaro can respond to the challenge of more high-pressure spots. They just signed Joe Beimel, a veteran guy that they might want to plug in in hopes of a career revival. And maybe Julio Teheran can pitch in relief once Brandon Beachy returns from his TJ surgery mid-season. I don't see them going out and making a deal for a Huston Street or a Carlos Marmol, if that's what you mean. Again, this is a situation that's going to take some time to play out.

Robert (Bucy)

The Indians this year have surged this year under the addition of some new talent. Do you think that their surge is real and will continue or like in recent years falter in the second half?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:17 PM)

Robert,I'm not 100 percent sold on the starting rotation, but I got a really good vibe when I talked to Masterson, pitching coach Mickey Callaway and other people around the team last week. The Terry Francona influence can't be discounted, and they've brought in a bunch of veterans like Swisher, Reynolds and Giambi who are familiar with the grind of contending. Right now I see them as an 85-win team that doesn't quite make the playoffs. But I picked them for fourth late in spring training, so I've already ratcheted my expectations upward.

Les (East Windsor, NJ)

I think George Brett and Hank Aaron have to be in that discussion of best hitter since TW, don't you?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:19 PM)

Les, Yes, there's two more phenomenal hitters, although Brett didn't have Cabrera's power. Guys like Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, Ichiro and Rod Carew belong in any discussion of great hitters, but they were in a completely different category.

Chris in stl [via mobile]

Will cardinals rotation still be effective with all the recent injuries? Is carpenter really a hope?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:20 PM)

Chris, The Cardinals are making me a bigger believer every day. I think they'll be fine. Jake Westbrook should be back fairly soon, and they still have Michael Wacha in Triple A. He's their best pitching prospect of all, but I think they're waiting on the right time for him. When he comes up, it will be to stay.

Jay (N.Y.C.)

Enjoy these chats, Jerry. When do the Yankees make their next free-agent strike? Any guesses on whom? Are you buying reports that Hal Steinbrenner has ditched the under-$189 million plan?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:23 PM)

Hey Jay, The Yankees have been so successful this year with low cost acquisitons (Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Travis Hafner et al), I'm not sure why they would turn around and return to their free spending ways. And they have to figure out what they're going to do with Robinson Cano. If they're going to make a big free agent strike, I have to think it's to retain Cano.

Mike (min)

Alot of Mocks have the Twins taking Kohl Stewart at 4, does he have as much potential as Appel and Gray? Does he have the stuff to be an ace?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:25 PM)

Mike, Kohl Stewart is a big, strong kid who has the option of playing football at Texas A&M if he doesn't sign to play baseball. The difference between him and Appel and Gray is, he's a high school kid who requires a lot more projection. The other two guys have played in big-time programs and are closer to being finished products. That's always the challenge of drafting pitchers. I'm amazed by a scout who can look at an 18-year-old kid (unless it's Josh Beckett or Clayton Kershaw) and tell you how good he's going to be in 4-5 years.

jason (dc)

no love for bryce harper in the best hitter since ted williams debate? (only half kidding). anyway, sounds like a column idea to me...

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:26 PM)

Thanks for the idea, Jason. Bryce Harper is pretty special, but he's not quite there yet.

Mitch (yo)

If the Twins do trade Morneau what could they get in return? Is a top 10 prospect out of the question?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:27 PM)

Hey Mitch, I received enough Justin Morneau trade questions last week that I checked with a Twins official about him. My sense is that they probably won't move him. The Twins value continuity, and maybe this is the time to shop Morneau around and cut the cord with him. But I just don't think they're ready to do that.

Rick (minnesota)

Is it possible Sano and Buxton are the 1st and 2nd ranked prospects by the start of next season?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:29 PM)

Rick, At the rate Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton are rocketing through the ranks, I don't think that's out of the question. I think Baseball America had them both in the 9-10 prospect range this year. And a lot of the guys ahead of them -- Shelby Miller, Jose Fernandez, Jurickson Profar, Wil Myers, Xander Bogaerts, etc. -- have already graduated to the big leagues or aren't far off.

Andrew (MN)

Do you think the Twins Alex Meyer will be a good top of the roto pitcher for them? How about Berrios? Do either have the stuff to be an ace?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:31 PM)

Andrew, Lots of Twins love today on the chat. Alex Meyer is pitching well in New Britain and isn't far away. My biggest concern with him is that he's a 6-9 righty, and you have to wonder about durability. (Jon Rauch got a lot of hype and eventually became a reliever). J.O. Berrios has 81 strikeouts and 9 walks in Class A ball -- amazing. But he's only 18 years old. He's at least a couple of years away.

Brian (CA)

Does the Giants rotation break out of their collective slump in the near future?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:34 PM)

Brian, Because of their track record, they've earned the right to work through this as a group. Bruce Bochy has a great, even temperament that will allow him to exercise patience, and Dave Righetti's track record speaks for itself. But I think they have a right to be concerned. Vogelsong has been really shaky, and Matt Cain, my preseason NL Cy Young pick, just hasn't looked like himself. One thing worthy of note: The Giants don't have a lot of Plan B's and C's in their organization, so they just have to keep running the Big 5 out there in hopes they'll turn it around.

Neufeldt (New Berlin, WI)

Did the Reds make the right call in sending Cingrani back to the minors for more seasoning?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:36 PM)

Neufeldt, That was probably their best option with Cueto coming back. I saw Cingrani in Philly the other night, and there's a lot to like. But the kid does throw a lot of fastballs. It probably wouldn't hurt him to polish his secondary stuff in Triple-A. One good thing: If the Reds have another injury, they know where to find him.

Kenny (Chicago)

Any truth to the rumor involving the White Sox trading for Goldschmidt? Apparently they would be giving up Konerko, Crain and Hector Santiago in a 3-team deal with the Angels.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:37 PM)

Is this Kenny Williams?

Mac (Atlanta)

Do the Braves continue to stick with Dan Uggla as an everyday player? He has not been even an average hitter for a long time now.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:39 PM)

Mac, I think the Braves are close to exasperated with Uggla at this point, but he's owed a lot of $$ and he does continue to draw his fair share of walks (and hit some long balls in bursts). As long as he's on the roster, I'm not sure what the alternative is other than to keep playing him.

Kenny (Chicago)

Nope, Kenny Williams is lowering his Blood Pressure in the gym right now.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:40 PM)

OK. As for your question, no, I don't think anyone other than the White Sox would be interested in a three-team trade that brings Paul Goldschmidt to Chicago and has Konerko, Crain and Santiago going elsewhere. I don' need to explain why, do I?

Hunter (Min)

Would the Twins be better off scrapping this season and getting another top 5 pick? I mean they arent a playoff team or even close and only several players on the team now are gonna be apart of the teams future. I just believe that they should build up their prospect group as much as they can until they start trickling in and the next chapter of the Twins history can begin to play out.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:42 PM)

Hunter, I'm not even sure what this means. Ron Gardenhire and the team aren't going to lay down in May for the purposes of moving up a few spots in the draft. There's a balance between trying to be competitive and building through the draft. The Twins have too much pride to just "scrap" the season.

CJ (NC)

According to advanced metrics Dan Uggla has been an above average offensive 2B since he has been with the Braves. He is overpaid, but he still needs to start every day.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:43 PM)

CJ, Feel free to cite advanced metrics, but that doesn't make it any easier to watch Dan Uggla bat .180 while trying to hit a home run in every plate appearance.

Rick (DC)

Jerry, what do you make at this point of Victor Martinez? He is simply not getting it done.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:45 PM)

Rick, No, Victor hasn't been very good yet. But he's 34 years old and is coming off a knee injury, and he missed he entire 2012 season. I think Tigers fans need to be patient and give him a little more time.

Jeremy (DC)

Jerry, when is the point at which Ryan Zimmerman's throws become enough of an issue that he switches positions? I hate to say this because he can still pick it, but we have to be getting close right?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:47 PM)

Jeremy, I'm sure this has come up internally with the Nats, but there are a lot of factors to consider. Namely, if they move Zimmerman to first and play Anthony Rendon at third, there would be nowhere to put Adam LaRoche -- who has gone on one of his patented tears of late and is under contract through 2014. To me, this is one of those quandaries they have to address in the offseason. It's tough to figure out on the fly in mid-May.

Tim (Oakland)

Your thoughts on the rumors that Don Mattingly is about to be fired? One would have to think this cannot be much of a surprise if it were to occur considering how bad they have played and how much money has been spent by ownership.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:48 PM)

Tim, The Dodgers really put Mattingly in a tough spot by refusing to extend his contract and putting him in charge of that group. And the injuries haven't helped. I think it was almost inevitable. There's nothing the media likes more than a good Managerial Death Watch. I feel bad for Mattingly, a good guy who deserves better.

Take (Japan)

Hello Mr.Crasnick, it is the first time I'm posting my question this season. I'm dissapointed in the way things turned out in the Sonics saga, but I'm still hopeful that the M's will turn the corner and surprise me in a good way. Having said that, for the M's to get into the postseason, do you think it's necessary for J.Smoak,D.Ackley, and J.Montero to break out? Or can they win with the others performing and say a mid season call-up of N.Franklin and M.Zunino providing the boost? Thank you for your time.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:50 PM)

Take, I think it's going to be tough for the M's to take the next step without Smoak, Ackley and Montero providing more consistent offense over the long haul. That was a big part of Jack Z's plan for the organization, and it's a major step back if they all turn out to be average to below-average offensive contributors.

John (Los Angeles)

The Orioles rotation has been struggling and has been hit hard by injuries. When do they call up Kevin Gausman?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:53 PM)

John, I'm getting enough Kevin Gausman questions (and hearing and reading enough Gausman speculation) to think the time is getting closer. As usual, I suspect the Orioles want to exhaust their other internal options before calling up a stud prospect like Gausman. That means Jair Jurrjens, Freddy Garcia & Co. first. And I'm still interested in seeing what's going to happen with Jake Arrieta. That kid has good enough stuff, if he can develop some more confidence and quit beating himself up so much.

Nolen (Canada)

Hi Jerry, The Tigers bullpen is still there achilles heel. Should they try and trade for some help or stick it out with what they've got and keep their fingers crossed?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:54 PM)

Nolen, I'm not sure who's out there in trades who could be a lockdown closer. Would you feel better with Huston Street or Carlos Marmol? Bullpens are tough to get a handle on, because performance is so hard to predict. Just look at the Braves and Red Sox. They were feeling great about their pens until half their relievers went on the disabled list.

Jeremy (IND)

Did you really just have a conversation about the best hitters since TW and not mention the all-time hit king?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:55 PM)

Jeremy, Yes, I do need to give a shout-out to Pete Rose. He wasn't very stylish, and wasn't a big home run hitter, so he gets left out of the conversation too often. He was just a relentless grinder who churned out a mere 4,256 career hits.

Mike (Atl)

Jerry, I know the average baseball fan loves scoring, home runs, etc., but watching 9 innings of Andrelton Simmons playing defense will change that mindset. The guy is amazing, even on routine plays. It's early in his career, but do you see a comparison with anyone besides Ozzie for his glovework?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:57 PM)

Mike,I've talked to some scouts recently and they throw around words like "fabulous" to describe Simmons' play. He's one of those guys that scouts and stat guys can all love. I think any discussion of great defensive shortstops also should include Omar Vizquel. But Simmons is a special guy over there.

Phil (Southington, CT )

Have you heard the rumor that the Rays are disappointed in Will Meyers approach at the plate and his prima donna attitude?

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:59 PM)

Phil, I have not heard that. I talked to a Rays person a couple of weeks ago who said Myers has been "pretty good" in Triple-A, but not great. I've talked to the kid personally at a couple of Futures Games and came away with a really positive impression of him. He seemed gregarious and quite mature. That prima donna thing doesn't match what I've seen -- albeit in limited exposure to Myers.

Jerry Crasnick
  (12:59 PM)

Thanks for the questions, everybody. I enjoyed the chat. I'll take one more before I go.

Ben (Virginia)

Jerry, With Profar coming up do you think the Rangers are considering trading him with Elvis locked up long term or do they like him as a back up to Kinsler and Andrus?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:01 PM)

Ben, I don't see the Rangers trading Profar -- unless it's for a young No. 1 starter. But I do wonder where he's going to play long-term. I don't think he's an elite defensive shortstop, so that could mean a move to second base or the outfield long-term, and that reduces his overall value somewhat. I'm interested in seeing what kind of energy and offensive flash he can bring to the Rangers right now.