Chat with Jayson Stark
Jayson Stark has been a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com since 2000. His regular contributions include the newsy Rumblings and Grumblings column and his tilted look inside baseball's numbers and quirks, the Useless Information Department.
Send your questions now and join Jayson on Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Jayson Stark (1:02 PM)
Hi, everyone. I'm trying to chat and watch the live feed of the Phillies at the White House at the same time. So let's find out what kind of multi-tasker I really am! Let's get started.
What happens to the $8ish million that Manny loses out on? Does McCourt keep it?
Jayson Stark (1:05 PM)
OK, let's clear this up. I also wrote about it in Rumblings and Grumblings this week. Since 60 percent of Manny's salary this year is deferred, the actual money the Dodgers save this year is under $3 million. But I have every reason to expect they'll be very active at the deadline. If they show any reluctance whatsoever to add payroll this year, I think Frank McCourt will -- and should -- be called on it.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Mr. Stark: Do you think the Braves should return Jordan Schafer to AAA for a while or better to ride this out and hope he gets things turned around?
Jayson Stark (1:07 PM)
Here's my question: Who would play center if Jordan Schafer isn't the guy playing it? The Braves may decide they're willing to live with the offensive issues if he just catches the ball. The roster fits together better if he's in center. But if he doesn't show progress, they're obviously going to have to re-think this.
Wingo (Deptford, NJ)
What are the chances the Blue Jays can get Roy Halladay signed to a new deal by the time his contract expires next year? He stands to make as much if not more in free agency as Sabathia made, and there's no way the Blue Jays will pay that much when they wouldn't even pay Burnett half of that.
Jayson Stark (1:08 PM)
You're right. It won't be easy. But I wouldn't file it under "no way." What this guy wants to do more than anything, I think, is win. And the Blue Jays are showing them so far that they have some ingredients that could make that a possibility if he stays. The Blue Jays paid Vernon Wells, A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan market dollars. It's a different regime now and a different economy, I know. But if there's any one player they would need to do that again with, Roy Halladay is that player.
Will the d-train stay in the big leagues for a while?
Jayson Stark (1:11 PM)
Good question. He allowed 26 baserunners in 8 1/3 innings in spring training. And then he allowed 10 in 4 2/3 IP the other night -- with no strikeouts. So if he wants to stay in the big leagues, he has to prove he deserves to be there because of performance, not contract. I talked to Dave Dombrowski about this the other day. And when I asked what the expectations were for Dontrelle, his reply said it all: "Pitch well." If he doesn't, he won't be there long.
Jayson, who is the biggest name to get moved before this year's July 31st trade deadline? Jake Peavy? Cliff Lee? Matt Holliday? All of the above? Thanks.
Jayson Stark (1:13 PM)
I think Peavy and Holliday look like the best bets to me right now. The Padres have won four of their last 29 games. They have a $43M payroll. And Peavy will make $15M next year. You can read more about this in this week's Rumblings column. And the A's don't look like they're going to contend. So unless they have a big turnaround in the next 4-6 weeks, I'm sure you'll see Billy Beane move aggressively to trade Holliday. Cliff Lee is a tougher call because the Indians hold an option on him for next year. So he's not quite a parallel to CC Sabathia last year.
Jayson, What are your thoughts on what the Phils could do with Jamie Moyer if he continues to struggle? Seems they could be in a real tough spot...
Jayson Stark (1:16 PM)
I think I mentioned last week in this chat that there probably is no harder pitcher to evaluate in the whole sport than Jamie Moyer. It's not like his velocity is going down. He's just gotten behind a lot more than in the past and left a lot more pitches in the middle of the plate than he did last year. But I also told the story last week of how Buster Olney and I found myself in Phillies camp on the same day this spring, and Buster posed the question to one of the Phillies' people: "How will you be able to tell when Jamie Moyer is done?" Tough question to answer. One scout told me he's been putting in reports on Moyer for 10 years that said, "Don't acquire this guy." And he's won about 150 games since then! Also remember he has a two-year contract, so the Phillies will undoubtedly give him lots of rope.
Will Jeremy Bonderman make a difference this year for the tigers when he comes back. Will it strengthen their starting rotation?
Jayson Stark (1:18 PM)
Their reports on him are very good so far. And this is a guy who is extremely motivated right now. He told me this spring he's embarrassed to collect his salary considering how little he's done since he signed the contract. And I really think he's on a mission to make an impact. I don't see him as a top-of-the-rotation force anymore. But is he an upgrade? If healthy, he should be.
Brandon NY [via mobile]
If Wang can get it together and make a return to the rotation, do you think the Yankees should send Joba back to the bullpen?
Jayson Stark (1:20 PM)
Talked to Brian Cashman the other day, and that isn't even on their radar screen. The logical move is for Phil Hughes to head back to Scranton and get his act together. I'm on record as voting for Joba as a reliever, but as usual, my vote doesn't count a whole lot here.
Ryan Zimmerman: Just a hot streak, or made adjustments significantly improved?
Jayson Stark (1:21 PM)
Definitely made adjustments. When he first came up, I was struck by his willingness in RBI situations to shorten up his swing and flick a ball through a hole to drive in a run if that's what it took. He'd gotten away from that in recent years, at least in part because of how little offense the Nationals surrounded him with. But he's back to using the whole field and hitting the ball where it's pitched. And it's made a huge difference.
How many games does one have to play to be considered amoung the stat leaders? Through 12 games Mauer has a .547 OBP, .795 SLG and .455 BA. Would be tops in all catagories...
Jayson Stark (1:23 PM)
Hey, it's only 12 games. It takes 3.1 plate appearances per game. So Mauer won't show up among the leaders for another 100 trips or so, assuming he keeps this up. It's amazing what kind of impact he's already had on that team, though.
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
What do Cliff Lee and Dan Haren have in common?
Jayson Stark (1:27 PM)
That would be run support -- or, to be more specific, lack thereof. Correct? I know you all love my Criminally Unsupported Starts stat, so you should know both those guys have four CUS already -- tied for the MLB lead.
Jayson Stark (1:27 PM)
Sorry for the delay. My internet just crashed! Is that legal in mid-chat?
Jason, Please explain how/why you think Joba should be a reliver. He has gotten deeper in games, throwing his FB aroun94 into the 6ht/7th and he has a 3.15, correct me if im worng era as a started. Since he has become a starter I believe thats a top 10 era in baseball... so please explain you rationale
Jayson Stark (1:30 PM)
Two reasons: For one thing, I think his ERA alone is misleading because he really hasn't gotten deep enough in games to make a significant enough impact for me. He's made it beyond six innings once this year. So he's causing the bullpen to get a ton of outs every time he pitches. The other reason is, I see him as the obvious heir to Mariano. He has the stuff. He has the temperament. He has the love for that big moment. Those are invaluable qualities in the town he pitches in.
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
We will forgive you for the delay. Who has the best nickname in baseball? Carlos Lee, Billy Butler, Pujols, Berkman, or someone else?
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
This is an important question! I love the Big Puma (Berkman). Anybody want to top that? Feel free to nominate.
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
Excellent nominee! Sounds like a character in an old Bela Lugosi movie.
Jason kudos on that response, but arent the yanks something like 18-4 when he starts?
Jayson Stark (1:33 PM)
Nope. How about 11-7.
Mario (NY, NY)
Is the Mets bullpen and defense going to cost Santana the Cy Young this year too?
Jayson Stark (1:34 PM)
The guy has given up four earned runs all season -- and somehow has three different starts where he hasn't won. That sure isn't his fault. I would hope that voters would be sophisticated enough to look beyond the win total at how this guy has actually pitched. Then again, that didn't happen in his case last year, did it?
With Derek Holland pitching well in the bullpen so far, how much longer til the rangers give him and Neftali Feliz a shot in the rotation?
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
I brought this up in Rumblings yesterday. But one hang-up is that Feliz is down right now with a sore shoulder. At some point, though, if he gets healthy and Holland gets his feet on the ground, it's something for the Rangers to consider. Their lineup is so good, they've got a shot in that division.
Best nickname in baseball is a Reds Minor leaguer named Juan Francisco who is called El Nino Destructor! Whats your thoughts on the NL central? Best division in the NL?
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
Tremendous! Can't wait for that guy to make it. Meanwhile, I'd still take the East over the Central. But I could see the Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers and Reds duking it out all year in the Central, if that's what you mean.
Jason: hackettstown, nj [via mobile]
With the phillies being so up and down the year and with there rotation struggling so far should i be concerned or will they get back on track?
Jayson Stark (1:44 PM)
Sorry, gang. Crashed again. I would definitely be concerned if I were them. Obviously, getting Cole Hamels back in gear gives them a much better look. But there just isn't much swing-and-missability in that group beyond him. Remember, he started five of the 11 postseason games they won last year. So it's tough to count on everything breaking quite as conveniently again.
James (Woodbury CT)
Jayson, Josh Johnson is the kind of guy that has gone up against Johan Santana twice this year with the Marlins winning both games. Do they Have any chance if he goes down, even in a weakened division?
Jayson Stark (1:46 PM)
I'd say no. But it's a little too early to make a judgment on his condition. They didn't sound as if they thought it was anything serious, but it's still ominous. I think he's clearly one of the half-dozen best pitchers in the league right now. And their ability to win is directly connected to how well that rotation pitches.
Kevin (Chicago, IL)
That 11-7 record for the Yankees during Joba's starts is much better than the overall Yankees record during that time. You're telling me they win 61.1% of the time when Joba starts, only 53.1% of the time others start over the past 2 years.
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
OK, the record is 3-3 this year if that means anything -- the same pctg. as when anybody else starts. Look, I understand the argument for why they're starting him. And I don't pretend to have all the answers or the only answer. If he turns into Josh Beckett, then they're right. But he was such a force as a set-up man, he could make an impact on 40-50 wins a year, as opposed to half that many, or fewer, as a starter.
Josh (safety harbor, fl) [via mobile]
Hey Jayson, love the chats! What do you think the Rays will do at the end of the season? Crawford's option is for 10.5 mil, and with us on the hook for big cash to pena, burrell and kaz, along with BJ and garza's first year of arbitration, do you see us making a move? I think kaz could net us the most, and with the amount pitchin in AAA, we could fill his spot easier then crawford
Jayson Stark (1:52 PM)
I wrote about Crawford's option just last week. Here's what I expect: They'll absolutely pick up the option. But then I think they'll shop him and see what's out there. All depends on a lot of different factors, though: Do they get back in the race? Do they draw? What kind of payroll can they support next year? I've been told they're willing to raise the payroll considerably next year if they think they have to to win. But if they do, it would mean an adjustment over the two years beyond 2010.
I love Pablo Sandoval's nickname...Kung Fu Panda cracks me up.
Jayson Stark (1:52 PM)
You're right. Put him on the list!
Greg (Dallas, TX)
Feliz pitched for OKC last night and had a line of 1H, 1R, 1BB, 7K in 5IP.
Jayson Stark (1:53 PM)
Thanks. I stand corrected. I know he missed a start before that. One hit, seven whiffs, huh? An incredible talent.
Who could be the major pieces in an Oriole "veteran fire sale" and who might be buying?
Jayson Stark (1:55 PM)
First place to look is at that bullpen. There will be major interest in both George Sherrill and Danys Baez if they stay healthy. Beyond that, I think they'd talk about anyone except Jones, Markakis and Roberts. They always expect a lot back, however. So I wouldn't look for them to make, say, six deals.
Jayson Stark (1:55 PM)
I have a radio show right after this chat. So unfortunately, I can only take one more. Sorry.
Jayson, what is wrong with Jimmy Rollins and what is he doing to fix it?
Jayson Stark (1:58 PM)
He's gotten more pull-conscious than I've seen him in years. What the coaching staff keeps telling him is to relax and stop trying to force it quite so much. Milt Thompson's big mantra is to "trust, not try" -- meaning trust your ability, not try to make something happen that isn't there. It's amazing to think he has only had three games all year where he's scored more than one run, playing in a lineup like that with Utley, Howard, Ibanez and Werth behind him.
Jayson Stark (1:58 PM)
Thanks to everyone who checked in. Sorry I never got to all the nicknames. There were some great ones that never got posted. See you next week in Chat Land.