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)
So here comes Memorial Day weekend and here comes interleague play. Can't beat that for pre-summer fun! So let's get started.
Joe Mauer can't be this good, can he?
Jayson Stark (1:03 PM)
I had three different people say to me this week that Joe Mauer might be the best player in baseball. So yeah, he can! Don't the Twins need to get this guy signed so we don't spend the next two years talking about it?
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
Who wins MVP in the NL besides Pujols?
Jayson Stark (1:04 PM)
Raul Ibanez would be a good name.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
Why do I keep hearing Matt LaPorta's name in trade talks? The Indians are 10 games out of .500 and under the Shapiro regime have been abnormally apprehensive about dealing prospects not named Max Ramirez. Is this just big market teams thinking Cleveland is their minor league club?
Jayson Stark (1:07 PM)
I don't think the Indians are looking to deal Matt LaPorta. But they're a team that's always looking over the horizon. And how does the front of their rotation look once Cliff Lee almost inevitably departs after 2010? Not real good. Their biggest area of depth is in the outfield. So I'm hearing they would consider moving a young outfielder with upside -- not necessarily LaPorta -- for a young starter with ace potential. Tough to make those kinds of deals, but that's the only reason you're hearing LaPorta's name.
What if the Yanks offered Phil Hughes and a few mid-tier players for Jake Peavey? Do you think that would get it done? Do you think Peavey would accept the trade?
Jayson Stark (1:10 PM)
I figured I'd get some questions like this. So let's take a look at the issues you've raised. What I heard yesterday was that Peavy loves southern California, and we know he loves the National League. So his first preference would clearly be the Dodgers. He'd almost certainly still go to the Cubs. And if he were to say yes on a deal to the AL, the Angels would be at the top of his list. I don't think the Yankees are high on his list of landing spots, but not out of the question either. Meanwhile, the Yankees wouldn't trade Hughes for Johan Santana -- a guy they knew could pitch in their league, or any league. I don't see where their thinking has changed. They need to get younger, not add more pitchers with $70M left on their contracts.
Rick (Philadelphia, PA)
How long is it going to be before Phillies fans see either Kyle Kendrick or Carlos Carrasco in the majors? As much as Jamie Moyer is loved and idolized in this city, it really seems that, unfortunately, his days of being a middle of the rotation pitcher are over.
Jayson Stark (1:12 PM)
I wrote about Jamie Moyer in this week's Rumblings and Grumblings. He has more rope right now than you'd probably think -- and one of the reasons is that the Phillies don't seem to like any of their in-house rotation options if they were to decide to hook Moyer from the rotation. Carrasco still has maturity issues, on and off the mound. And I don't get the feeling Rich Dubee is a big Kyle Kendrick fan. Remember, they passed on calling up Kendrick for that doubleheader last weekend, and it was his day to pitch. How telling was that!
Jesse(brooklyn ny) [via mobile]
What will the tx rangers do this yr
Jayson Stark (1:14 PM)
I've changed my thinking on that team. I didn't think they had enough pitching to win that division. But A) the Angels don't appear to be as good as anticipated, and B) Mike Maddux and Nolan Ryan have made a big impact on that staff. You could see Derek Holland and/or Neftali Feliz in the rotation by mid-to-late summer. And the offense might hit 300 homers. So why can't this team contend?
eric old bridge nj [via mobile]
Why does it matter how many home runs have been hit a yankee stadium. Both teams have the same opportunity
Jayson Stark (1:17 PM)
Now there's a concept you haven't heard voiced much. But remember, the Yankees have hitched their future to pitching (see contracts to Sabathia, CC, and Burnett, AJ). And if this is how this stadium is going to play, they may have to revise their blueprint. The question now -- and there's more on this in Rumblings, too -- whether the removal of the old stadium is going to have the pitcher-friendly effect on wind currents that has supposedly been forecast. If it doesn't, time to call 1-800-WINDSHIELDS.
Jayson Stark (1:18 PM)
By the way, in the Rumblings discussion of the home runs at the new Stadium, I used the data at hittrackeronline.com to break down those homers. And going into last night, only two home runs wouldn't have left any other park. Check that out after the chat.
Jesse (Los Angeles, CA)
If the price to land Peavy were to come down, do you think the Dodgers would make a deal?
Jayson Stark (1:19 PM)
Well, the Dodgers will definitely be in the market for a starting pitcher. And there won't be a starter out there who's better than Peavy. But those teams don't do a whole lot of business. They couldn't even make a Greg Maddux deal last July after Maddux said the Dodgers were the only team he'd go to. (They did eventually make it in August, I know.) So I can't see L.A. being the No. 1 option for the Padres, even if it's Peavy's first choice. How'd you like to trade that guy and then have to face him six times a year?
Is Josh Johnson a top 10 Starting pitcher?
Jayson Stark (1:20 PM)
I'll vote yes on that. I keep hearing scouts and hitters describe him as a young John Smoltz. That's good enough for me.
I'm a Yankees fan and I want Mauer, now. We know the Twins can't pay him so why doesn't Cashman call the Twins GM and say "I'll give you 60 cents on the dollar for Mauer now. Make me wait a year, it'll be 50 cents." Obviously, he says it nicer than that.
Jayson Stark (1:24 PM)
I need to respond to this, because I get posts like this every single week. I'm always amazed by how Yankees fans think they can just grab any great player on any team out there, based solely on the theory is that all great players should play in New York, and of course the Yankees can afford any old star they lust after. First off, the Twins are interested in winning, too. And Joe Mauer is their best, and most popular, player. Just as important, he's a Minnesota kid. He's allowed to have other priorities as he mulls his future besides how soon he can hit the lottery in the Bronx. So I understand why every Yankees fan would love to have this guy. But it's not your natural-born right to just reach out and drop him into your shopping cart. Sorry.
oh c'mon Jason, don't paint us Yankee fans with one braush by licking the looney quetions
Jayson Stark (1:25 PM)
I love it when one Yankee fan calls another Yankee fan "looney." So thanks. I really didn't intend to paint you all with one brush. But I really do get those questions every week, without fail.
Jayson Stark (1:27 PM)
Sorry for the delay in posting. All the Doug-bashers have clogged up the chat inbox!
John (Gettysburg, PA)
When will the O's bring up Wieters and the young pitchers? They're going nowhere once again this year so what's the holdup?
Jayson Stark (1:29 PM)
You've almost answered your own question. You're just looking at it upside-down. Since they know they're not going to win anything, it makes more sense to take their time and not call up anybody until they're sure they've bought an extra year of service time. But in a couple of weeks, that mission will have been accomplished. So it'll be time to focus on that question more intently then. But Jerry Crasnick did write about Wieters this week if you want to look that up.
Quinn: (St. Paul, MN) [via mobile]
Who ya got in the AL central this year?
Jayson Stark (1:31 PM)
For me, the upside of the Tigers and Twins is greater than the upside of anyone else in that division. I'm still picking the Twins. But if the Tigers can keep their veteran players healthy, that's the one team in the group I could see winning more than 90 games.
Do you see the Brewers making a run at Peavy? Seems like a good fit for him and the Brewers would have the guys to trade?
Jayson Stark (1:33 PM)
I don't see how they can take the contract. If he asks for his option to be picked up, that's $70M beyond this year, with a $22M hit in the last year. So I just can't see the financial fit -- there or in a lot of places.
Moiuz (LA) [via mobile]
Jason, what's wrong with us yankee fan wanting good players,potential great players, on our time. I am sick and tired of everyone hating on the yankees. Who's fault is it that we are run better than most teams in the league? Also, just because our owner wants to win more than anything its not so bad. Is it? atleast our owner cares unlike most teams in the league (nationals, marlins etc)
Jayson Stark (1:38 PM)
OK, this is where I hold up one hand and ask if we can stop all the Doug-bashing on one hand and all the finger-pointing at me as some kind of Yankee-hater on the other hand. Let me say this about the Yankees, and I've said it a million times. They're the greatest franchise in sports. I applaud the Steinbrenners for putting the money they make back in the franchise. I applaud the whole organization for committing to winning every single year. All that is great, And it's the way it ought to be. I just needed to make a point that fans of big-market teams -- not just the Yankees -- don't deserve to have that sense of entitlement to every great player that plays on a team with lesser means. It's arrogant, and it's tiresome. So now that I've explained where I stand on all this, let's talk about some real baseball issues for the next 20 minutes. Agreed?
Jayson,is there a better back of the bullpen four-some than Dotel,Thornton,Linebrink and Jenks?these guys come in striking out batters left and right.Throw in Carrasco and it looks like on of the best back of the bullpens in baseball..thoughts?
Jayson Stark (1:40 PM)
You're right. There are as many swings and misses in that group as you'll find in any bullpen in baseball. It's a shame all the other areas of that team are such a mess. Hard to believe the White Sox are last in the AL in runs scored, and have a worse run differential than any team but the Nationals!
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
How long do you think Clint Hurdle has and how long until the Rockies start trading some assets?
Jayson Stark (1:42 PM)
If you haven't seen Troy Renck's story in the Denver Post today, it's must reading. It's obvious, from the tone of his story and the quotes from the GM, that Clint Hurdle is on the shortest leash of any manager in baseball. Their young players aren't getting better. He's taken hard stands on some of most popular players in that clubhouse. They have the second-worst record in the league. So they'd better turn it around right now -- or else.
onalaska, wi [via mobile]
With the Twins current outfield situation, what are the odds that they trade Delmon Young now that they have needs for pitching? What about Pedro?
Jayson Stark (1:44 PM)
I don't think Delmon Young is tradeable right now for any pitcher who can help them. The guy has as many doubles this year as Andy Sonnanstine (one)! What the Twins need is someone to stabilize the top of that rotation. Looks as if Liriano isn't going to be that guy, sadly enough. And Pedro isn't that guy, either.
Should the Mets expect Daniel Murphy to be the long-term answer at first base in Delgado's absence?
Jayson Stark (1:46 PM)
Depends how you define "long-term." I don't see the Mets rushing out and adding a first baseman just to say they did. But they're clearly looking around already. In the meantime, why not give Daniel Murphy an opportunity for at least a few weeks? It's clear he isn't an outfielder. And it's clear he can hit. So why not? I didn't understand Jerry Manuel saying he was going to give him a four-game trial? I don't think you can learn much of anything definitive about anything in four games of a baseball season.
Best interleague series to watch this weekend?
Jayson Stark (1:48 PM)
Ooh. Good question. For me personally, it's Phillies-Yankees. But I'll definitely be checking in on Mets-Red Sox, Cardinals-Royals and Angels-Dodgers. Did I miss anybody? Rockies-Tigers anyone?
Out-of-Nowhere Question: Which is the more impressive streak, Ripken's 2632 or DiMaggio's 56? Which is less likely to ever be broken?
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
You're right. That's as out of nowhere as any question all year. I'll take DiMaggio on both counts. Much as I admire the Ripken streak, consider that DiMaggio's streak is now nearly seven decades old. And the closest anyone has come was Pete Rose, who was still two solid weeks of hit-streakdom away from breaking that record. Amazing.
Should the Phillies be worried about Raul Ibanez in respect to the young prospects who play corner outfield? I mean Ibanez has been great (MVP candidate) but Thome was great too his first year and we had Howard behind him which forced him to be traded.
Jayson Stark (1:54 PM)
This is vintage Philly-fan talk. He's going great. Let's start to worry about 2011. I'd vote for just admiring what a tremendous player this guy is. The biggest concerns about Ibanez -- and I voiced them myself -- were age and the fact that he hits lefthhanded. But he's got the longest iron-man streak and the most energy of anybody on that team. And he's slugging nearly .700 against lefthanded pitching. Now sooner or later, his age could no doubt be an issue. But it sure isn't at the moment.
Randy (St. Paul)
You missed Brewers-Twins!
Jayson Stark (1:54 PM)
You're right! Parra-Slowey is the most underrated match-up of the night.
In the AL, Where would you rank the Red Sox Bullpen?
Jayson Stark (1:55 PM)
Deepest bullpen in baseball for me.
You forgot about Rays-Marlins...
Jayson Stark (1:56 PM)
Another good one. How 'bout Shields vs. Johnson on Sunday?
Over/under... Homeruns hit at Yankee Stadium this weekend... Putting the line at... 14... Would need a little more than 4 a game.
Jayson Stark (1:56 PM)
I'll take the under. Give me an 11.
Brett (Camp Lejeune, NC)
Jayson, will the braves go after any power bats if they are hovering around .500 at the trade deadline?
Jayson Stark (1:57 PM)
They're clearly gathering a shopping list of bats. But beyond Matt Holliday, it might not be a real encouraging list.
Patrick (Cheyenne, WY)
Who would you take Price or Kershaw?
Jayson Stark (1:58 PM)
I'll take David Price. I think Kershaw needs another pitch -- and much more consistent command.
Aaron (Akron, Ohio)
Is there any chance that my Indians can get Peavy? We have the prospects, and we can really contend(especially in the AL Central) with a rotation of Peavy, Lee, Carmona, Pavano, and Westbrook. Our offense will get back on track when Hafner gets healthy.
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
No chance. For the same reason I gave on that Brewers question. Not an economic fit. Plus another place Peavy won't approve a trade to.
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
OK gang, time for just one more.
Chad (Duluth, MN)
Hi Jayson. I know the thought of someone hitting .400 in a season is quite difficult to imagine. However, Joe Mauer really could be that guy. In watching his at-bats, he is patient and drives the ball wherever it is pitched (shown by his sudden HR power to left field). Is there anyone else that is currently in the league that has a better approach at the plate than Mauer? Thank you.
Jayson Stark (2:03 PM)
Why not finish where we started -- with a How Good Is Joe Mauer question. I'm with you on this, Chad. I think Joe Mauer consistently has the best at-bats in the big leagues. I'm amazed sometimes at the pitches he DOESN'T swing at. He's already a two-time batting champion, and he's 25 years old. The only question here is what kind of toll catching takes on his offense. Just took a quick look, and only two catchers in the live-ball era have ever even hit .350 -- Mike Piazza and Mickey Cochrane. There's a reason for that!
Jayson Stark (2:03 PM)
Thanks to everyone who checked in -- even the people who only checked in to accuse me of hating the Yankees. I plead innocent! Have a great weekend. See you all next week.