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)
Another fun baseball weekend coming up. So let's get started. But first, this announcement: I'll have to cut this short by about 20 minutes. On kind of a tight time frame today. Sorry.
Rank the Phils options/preferences to fill their starter needs (internal, Oswalt, Bedard, Marquis, Washburn, other?)...
Jayson Stark (1:05 PM)
Looks like we have a lot of questions today about the Phillies' options. Let's go through some of them. Oswalt isn't available now, and may never be. Washburn is such a fly-ball pitcher, he isn't a real good fit. I hear mixed reports on whether the Mariners are ready to move Bedard, and he wouldn't come cheaply. I know they like Marquis because he keeps the ball on the ground, and the Rockies are ready to listen. So I'd put him and Brad Penny at the top of the list if the Phillies have to make a move immediately. There just isn't a lot out there yet.
Rumor on the radio is that Sabean is looking for a young power-hitting 1B in a trade for Cain. Speculation is that he's targeting Chris Davis of the Rangers. Who says no? Who would get the better end of that deal? My guess is Texas since they have Smoak waiting in the wings. Thoughts?
Jayson Stark (1:05 PM)
The Giants have denied repeatedly that Matt Cain is available for anybody or anything. And teams that have tried report the same thing. So any Matt Cain rumor you hear is probably bogus.
Leo (Los Angeles)
What will happen to the hot hitting Juan Pierre when Manny comes back?
Jayson Stark (1:07 PM)
Obviously, it'll be back to bench duty. But at least Juan Pierre has reminded the Dodgers he can play -- and he's reminded other teams of that, too. He seemed like a guy who wasn't even tradeable for a long time there. Not anymore -- although the Dodgers would still have to pick up some of the money if they decided to move him. In the meantime, I think Joe Torre will now find a way to use him in certain situations even after Manny comes back.
Do you see the Phils trading Werth and prospects for pitching? He's a free agent at the end of the year, and they have young outfielders such as John Mayberry Jr. waiting in the wings.
Jayson Stark (1:08 PM)
Let's clear this up fast: Jayson Werth is NOT a free agent after this year. They signed him to a two-year contract over the winter. So I don't see them looking to move him. He's their only righthanded-hitting middle-of-the-order bat.
Hey Jayson, Can the Mets continue to succeed with an offensive attack focused on avg, obp, and sb's (they rank among the NL's best in all categories), as opposed to HR's? Is it possible that National League baseball (circa 1982 Cards) is back?
Jayson Stark (1:09 PM)
It's a tough way to try to win. But it's the only way they've got, with Delgado out and their ballpark looking like Petco East. It means Jose Reyes has to come back and have a great finish, among other things.
Andrew (Phx, AZ)
The Mets have been hit hard by injuries but I am not convinced that a trade is necessary at this point. Do you think Daniel Murphy is a good enough option at first to keep the Mets from going out to find another option?
Jayson Stark (1:11 PM)
OK, one more Mets question. I wrote about this in Rumblings and Grumblings this week. The Mets don't see any better options than Murphy out there. And they're still hopeful that Delgado can come back at some point. So they're in a holding pattern for a month to see how things develop in both fronts. If they decide in a month that Murphy isn't the answer and Delgado is done for the year, they'll have a lot more options to deal for in July than they have now.
Josh (Columbia, MD)
Roberts, Markakis, Jones, Reimold and now Wieters. Bergesen, Berken, Hernandez plus Tillman, Arrieta and Matusz less than 12 months away. Is it time to start getting excited about baseball in Baltimore again?
Jayson Stark (1:12 PM)
Seems as if I answer a question like this every week. That answer is yes. This isn't the year, obviously. And it might even be pushing it to think next year is the year. But there's hope. I'll have more on this later today in the Sandwich Awards on my blog.
Hi Jason, A lot of rumors about Penny to many possible destinations, most notably the Phillies. People seem to think he isn't worth a mid to upper level prospect, and rightfully so I'm sure. What is stopping the Sox from throwing in a reliever from their surplus (Delcarmen) and getting a much higher return? Would Boston do that?
Jayson Stark (1:13 PM)
I don't see them doing anything that seriously depletes their greatest area of strength -- pitching depth. So will they move Penny as soon as they get a decent offer? I'd say yes. Will they trade away any other current members of their staff? I'd be very surprised.
Alex (Scottsdale AZ)
2 years from now who is the better player, Weiters or Mauer?
Jayson Stark (1:15 PM)
I'll still take Mauer. Better defensive catcher and leader of a pitching staff. And oh by the way, still only 26 years old!
Garret Atkins is constantly brought up as a trade candidate, but w/ his sub .200 avg and gradual decline each of the last few years, who would give up anything valuable?
Jayson Stark (1:15 PM)
At the moment? Nobody. They have next to no interest in him, although the Cardinals don't seem to have ruled him out.
Chris (Green Bay, WI)
Jay, Thoughts on Milwaukee putting Gamel at first, and trading Fielder for a #1 SP?? Or do they need to make a deal like they did last year to be contenders? Thanks for your time!
Jayson Stark (1:18 PM)
Are you talking about long-term or right now? At the moment, they're a game out of first place. So Prince isn't going anywhere. Long-term, the issue is where Mat Gamel is going to play. And I don't think they have an answer yet. First base is among the options. But I don't sense any interest in moving Fielder now or in the near-future, especially now that his contract stuff is resolved for a while.
Is Dan Uggla the next in a long line of Florida Marlin stars to be dealt?
Jayson Stark (1:19 PM)
It's a good bet. It won't be any time soon, because they still think they're in the race. But after this year? Good chance of that happening. They know that Emilio Bonifacio's future is at second base, not third. Let's put it that way.
Doesn't Zambrano need to grow up? This act is getting old...
Jayson Stark (1:21 PM)
You know, there's nothing wrong with a player showing his emotions, as long as he can use them for fuel. My problem with Carlos Zambrano's emotions is that they've almost always been self-destructive. If he doesn't learn to channel them, he's going to remain one of the most frustrating great talents in the game.
Jon (Ithaca, NY)
We hear an awful lot on the availability of several big name starters such as Peavy and Oswalt. What kind of outfield sticks are available now or possibly in the future?
Jayson Stark (1:23 PM)
The market for hitters looks as if it's not going to real attractive. Once you get beyond Matt Holliday, this is your potential shopping list: Austin Kearns, Josh Willingham, Jack Cust, Jeff Francoeur and possibly Brad Hawpe, David DeJesus and Conor Jackson. But it's possible only a few of those names will even get out there. Not a great group.
What are your thoughts on Nolan Reimold? With his emergence, does this give the O's one of the best, young outfields in baseball?
Jayson Stark (1:25 PM)
He's going to need to be a little more selective. But his power is real. So I agree with you. The centerfielder and rightfielder are both on the verge of superstardom. So if Reimold establishes himself in left, I don't think there are three outfielders, 25 and under, more talented than that in the same outfield.
Alex (New York)
What do you make of the AL Central? The Tigers look excellent, the Twins are always dangerous, but once the Indians get Westbrook and Laffey back they could be the best team. Who do you have winning the division?
Jayson Stark (1:26 PM)
I've been saying Twins for a long time, but I've changed my mind. The Tigers' pitching is much better than most of us originally thought. Rick Knapp, their new pitching coach, has been one of the great offseason acquisitions of the year. The Tigers have the most upside of any team in that division. And if this is how they're going to pitch, they're going to realize that upside.
Christian (Hyderabad, India)
Are the Miguel Cabrera rumors dead for good? Or is there any set of circumstances under which the Tigers might still deal him. e.g., to Boston? Would they give up some of their elite young pitching for him?
Jayson Stark (1:28 PM)
Can we please put an end to all Miguel Cabrera rumors? Why would the Tigers ever trade this guy? He's the next-best thing to Albert Pujols. He's 26 years old. And he's signed and locked up for the foreseeable future. You build around guys like that. You don't trade them.
Eric (Boston, MA )
With David Ortiz continuing to struggle, would you consider some kind of blockbuster package to acquire Victor Martinez if you were Theo and Co?
Jayson Stark (1:30 PM)
OK, here's another rumor-central all-star who shouldn't even be in there. The Indians aren't trading Victor Martinez. Not this year. Not this winter. Maybe next July if they can't sign him and they're not winning. But he's as big a centerpiece player on that team right now as anyone except possibly Grady Sizemore.
Who's career is closer to the end, Vlad or Papi? Watching Vlad lately is really sad after some wonderful years for the Angels.
Jayson Stark (1:31 PM)
I'm not ready to wave goodbye to either of them right now. But if what we've seen so far is what we're going to see the rest of the year, it's trouble. At least Ortiz has a contract for next year. Vlad could have a tough time finding work this winter, believe it or not.
Do you see Antonio Bastardo being a realistic option for the Phillies? His numbers look good, but coming out of spring training all of the phillies brass said 'reliever'
Jayson Stark (1:34 PM)
He's turning into a more intriguing guy every time he goes out there. I actually heard a scout compare him to Johan Santana. And that kind of gets your attention. He's only had two starts in triple-A, but he's dominated both the Eastern and International League all year. At this point, I don't think he's a reliever in their minds anymore. He might even be a prime candidate to take a shot at replacing Brett Myers.
I haven't heard much about Aramis Ramirez lately. Is he on schedule to come off the DL any time soon???
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
I've heard he's still in the neighborhood of five weeks away. He got hurt three weeks ago this weekend, and he was supposed to be out eight weeks. So that would get him back in early July if all goes well.
So Rick Porcello just went 5-0 in May as a 20 year old with a 1.5 ERA. How good can he be in a couple years?
Jayson Stark (1:36 PM)
I wrote about him a little in Rumblings this week, quoting a scout who said he won't be a dominator, but he will win 16 to 18 consistently. And trust me. The Tigers would take that gladly.
Who do you think will be the biggest name player traded by the deadline?
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
Jake Peavy -- unless he decides to veto any and every trade that comes along. I'll say this: With the Cubs' ownership situation looking more unsettled by the week, the list of teams he really wants to go to is getting awfully short.
Gerry Mexico City
Does having A-Rod batting behind Tex really make pitchers throw him more hittable pitches ? The results would say yes but it hardly makes sense to me, after all, with the way he was being pitched at before A-Rod returned, he wasn't hitting much.
Jayson Stark (1:39 PM)
Look ARod has had a huge effect, but it isn't just on the way Teixeira is being pitched. Just as big, for me, is that it took some of the pressure off Teixeira to be THE guy. He's always preferred being part of the mix, a force in a deep lineup, to being a team-carrying kind of guy.
What will the Braves roster look like in the next month or so compared to now?
Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
They have to add a bat. They know that. And it has to be an outfield bat. And they'd prefer a righthanded bat. I think they'll have a different centerfielder, for one thing, as soon as they can find a better option. As for a thumper, as I mentioned earlier, the market isn't great. But they're shopping hard.
Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
Sorry, gang. I can only take one more.
Can the Cubs possibly be sellers come the end of July?
Jayson Stark (1:43 PM)
I don't get any sense they're thinking that way. They have the third-highest payroll in baseball. They thought they were starting to play better before that road trip from hell. Zambrano hasn't won a game in four weeks and just came off the DL. Milton Bradley looks like he's finally adjusting to Chicago. It would take a major collapse for that team to start selling.
Jayson Stark (1:44 PM)
Thanks to everybody who checked in. See you all next week in Chat Land.