Chat with Jayson Stark
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com senior MLB writer Jayson Stark will drop in to chat about the 2009 MLB season.
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 (1:00 PM)
Hi everyone. We interrupt this month's rain-delay marathon for this important chat! So let's get started/
Kevin (Rochester, NY)
What was more impressive to you: Marco Scutaro stealing a base on the same play he had been walked or Jayson Werth stealing home when he caught the pitcher and catcher napping? Even though I'm a Jays fan, I say Werth, however, it seems rare that the Phillies would have 3 players caught napping on that play.
Jayson Stark (1:02 PM)
I'll take Scutaro. There has been a lot of criticism of the Phillies on that play, and they deserve it. But the more I watched the replay and the more I thought about it, the more I thought Scutaro deserved the credit. I wonder how many times every game a player could do that if he were thinking about it and looking for it. Everybody on the field assumes a guy is just going to stop at first after a walk. But he's the first guy I can remember to exploit that -- at least the first I've seen since my kids were playing tee-ball.
If you were joe girardi was wang's last start good enough to keep him in the rotation?
Jayson Stark (1:04 PM)
Not for me. I know they think their roster works better if Wang is in the rotation and Phil Hughes is in the bullpen. But there's no question which guy has the better stuff. And if their logic on keeping Joba Chamberlain in the rotation is that it's more important to have a guy with that kind of stuff be a starter, then why wouldn't the same logic apply to Hughes?
Brendan (Clifton Park)
Jason, the Braves are currently only 5 1/2 games out in the East, what do you think their chances are of staying in contention for the rest of the season given their current lineup and pitching rotation?
Jayson Stark (1:07 PM)
I think that depends on the Phillies and Mets as much as the Braves, to be honest. The Braves have had 65 games to prove they're a good enough offensive team to contend, but I'm still looking for evidence of that. They've scored fewer runs than the Nationals! I like Nate McLouth, and he was a clear upgrade. But he isn't enough to turn around an entire offense. They need to make another move, I think.
Jayson, on a Toronto sports radio station yesterday, Jays assistant GM Alex Anthopolous, when talking about Dustin McGowan's setback in his rehab, was very non-commital at a timetable for his return. The host of the show made the point that this non-commital may very well be a sign that the Jays are not confident that McGowan may ever pitch again. Have you heard anything that would suggest McGowan's injury may be career ending?
Jayson Stark (1:09 PM)
I haven't heard that. But it's always pushing it, for me, to think a guy who had that surgery in midseason is going to come back and really contribute at any point the next season. I think that's all there is involved in that. You just can't push the timetable too hard. If he gets back in August or September, he does. But they shouldn't count on it, and they're not.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
Do you think the Indians are in some trouble not only in 2009 but beyond? Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez and Kerry Wood are gone in about 365 days if the Indians get off to another slow start and the Hafner/Westbrook contracts hurt with the minors seeming worse than it's been in a while.
Jayson Stark (1:12 PM)
They have some big decisions to make. No doubt about that. They have very little shot to sign Lee, and he looks irreplaceable right now. So if they decide next July they have to trade him, that's a pivotal deal in the life of the franchise. And you could say the same about Martinez. He's a tremendous offensive player, and a big force in that clubhouse. If they can only keep one of the two, he'd be the guy they'd push to sign. Wood was always viewed as a two-year "rental," so he's not in the same class as the other two.
Aaron Hill has to be on the AL All-Star team right?
Jayson Stark (1:14 PM)
It's Blue Jays day here, huh? He'd be on that team if I were picking it. Ian Kinsler is a lock. Then it ought to come down to Hill or Robinson Cano -- unless Dustin Pedroia steals the election.
Carl Crawford (Tampa)
Jayson, do the Rays consider trading me this deadline or wait until next year?
Jayson Stark (1:14 PM)
Zero chance he gets traded in midseason. They'll pick up his option after the season. And then they'll listen, I think. But it would take a big offer to get that guy out of Tampa Bay.
Where do you see the Washington Nationals next year?
Jayson Stark (1:17 PM)
They have a loonnnnnggggg way to go. But let's assume they sign their man Stephen Strasburg. Jordan Zimmerman is going to be great. And Shairon Martis and Ross Detwiler look like they have the makings of solid mid-to-back-of-the-rotation starters. So then all they need to fix is the bullpen and every position but third base. OK, it's not quite that bad, but that roster needs some serious reconstruction.
Tex/Youk/Morneau - whose your AL allstar starter?
Jayson Stark (1:20 PM)
I'm a Morneau guy. The other two guys are both tremendous. But Youkilis had some DL time which hurt his counting numbers. And Teixeira's home/road splits are Coors-ish. So I'll take Morneau. He held that lineup together when Mauer was out, which Teixeira DIDN'T do without ARod.
Jayson, their have been rumors about Matt holliday potentially getting traded and the Tigers might be the front runners of trading for him. Tigers do need a LF with Guillen most likely not coming back. Thames has power, but he's more of a DH, and his defense is sub-par. Maybe Matt needs to join a winning team to get his swing back?
Jayson Stark (1:22 PM)
The Tigers would certainly be a team to watch in the Holliday sweepstakes. He's not out there yet, so it's a little too early to handicap every team who will be in on him. But he'd be a great fit for the Braves, Giants and Mets, and you can't even rule out the Red Sox if they don't feel as if they're going to get enough out of Big Papi.
Julio (Dominican Republic)
I know the Braves have a limited payroll and they don't want to trade more prospects, so they can almost forget about Holliday, but who's more affordable for them: Hawpe, Dye, DeRosa?
Jayson Stark (1:25 PM)
You're assuming Hawpe and Dye are going to be available. They aren't out there right now. And if you haven't checked DeRosa's numbers lately, you should take a look. I mentioned this in Rumblings this week: Only six other players have as many homers, RBIs and runs scored as he does. And he can fit ANY team because he plays so many positions. So he might actually be the toughest to deal for because there will be so many teams on him. So I'd probably go Dye, DeRosa, Hawpe -- but again we aren't even at the stage yet where all three are out there.
Lou (Deptford, NJ)
What starting pitcher are the Phillies going to get?
Jayson Stark (1:28 PM)
Here's the problem: The kind of pitcher they need really isn't out there. They need a guy with top-of-the-rotation stuff and a guy who pitches innings. And I don't see any starter who meets that description. They don't love Brad Penny, but he might have the best stuff if Bedard isn't an option. But he doesn't give them innings. And Jason Marquis is pitching great and eating innings, but his second-half numbers are scary. Plus he isn't available anymore, until the Rockies decide whether they're in or out of the race. So I can't answer that question until we get a better feel for who else might be available.
Will Miguel Cabrera be treaded before the 2011 season?
Jayson Stark (1:28 PM)
I can't believe how many questions I get in these chats about trading Cabrera. You build around guys like that. You don't trade them. He's one of the five best hitters in baseball.
Braves have a somewhat surplus of pitching right now. Why not throw Chris Medlin and Francoeur Billy Beane's way for Holliday? If Wren doesn't get another bat, a good one, Braves aren't making the playoffs.
Jayson Stark (1:30 PM)
Here's the hangup there: Francoeur has no value right now, the way he's playing. And he isn't exactly a Moneyball kind of guy. Do you really see Billy Beane trading for a hitter who swings at every pitch he sees?
Jared (Eau Claire, WI)
Are the brewers gonna make any moves before the trade deadline or do you think they are fine the way they are? Or, do you think they don't stand a chance in the NL Central with the Cards and Cubs going to make a large push at the end of the year?
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
It's possible that the team that makes the best deal will win that division. I don't think Doug Melvin has another CC-type trade in him, because he doesn't have an equivalent to Matt LaPorta to deal this time around -- and there's no equivalent to CC either, for that matter. They need another starter, I think. But as I wrote in Rumblings this week, they don't want to deal either Mat Gamel or Alcides Escobar. So they may need to do something totally outside the box.
what teams could pedro martinez end up with?
Jayson Stark (1:34 PM)
I'm skeptical on Pedro winding up anywhere, to be honest. His price tag is too high, for one thing. And the fit is iffy with the Rays and Cubs, the two teams he was talking up this week. I think he's just trying to drum up business, to be honest with you. I know there has been Yankees/Mets talk, too. But I sense very little interest there, as well. If he really wanted to come back, wouldn't he have been more aggressive about making something happen weeks ago, when the Angels were interested and the fit seemed much better?
What top of the rotation guys do you predict to be available come the trade deadline? Webb, Bedard, Peavy, Oswalt, Lee, Halladay?
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
None of the above, except Bedard if he's healthy.
Steve (Erie, PA)
If you're the Pirates do you hold on to your guys and fight for .500 (a moral victory!) or make more moves and put the fans through another "rebuilding plan?"
Jayson Stark (1:36 PM)
I dealt with that topic in this week's Rumblings, too. As an official of one team put it, once you've dealt away Nate McLouth, you've already told your fans that it isn't about 2009. So that has to be the mantra. And I think that's the way Neal Huntington will approach the deadline.
John (Riverside, CA)
If you were the Mets GM do you go after a frontline starter or a big RH bat? Would you include Parnell in any trade talks as I see him as someone all teams would ask for in any deal?
Jayson Stark (1:39 PM)
The Mets have so many needs if they're going to be a team that can win something in October, it's hard to know how to prioritize them. They don't just need a big RH bat. They desperately need LH power with Delgado out. I don't think they can make a move yet until they establish what the health picture is for Delgado, Perez, Maine, Reyes and Putz. That's a lot of moving parts.
is there one player that you are almost 100% sure will be traded by the deadline?
Jayson Stark (1:40 PM)
This is another topic I wrote about in Rumblings this week. I'd go Mark DeRosa, then Matt Holliday.
Noah (Kalamazoo, MI)
What kind of value could Delmon Young possible have? Are the Twins wise to sell so low on a player they've invested so much in?
Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
They're dangling him as we speak, but without much luck. And they tried last winter, too. They'd have to find somebody willing to buy into his tools. But that gets harder and harder to do, the way he's playing.
Jake (VA Beach)
Is it maybe time for the Mets to think revamp/sell for 2010 and beyond? They could get a king's ransom for Beltran and become a better team top to bottom instead of a few superstars.
Jayson Stark (1:44 PM)
It's not time for that yet, not when they're this banged up and they're three games out. But trying to figure out how to reconstruct the Mets is more challenging than it looks. They'd never trade David Wright. I think Omar would have a difficult time convincing himself to deal Jose Reyes. And Beltran still has two years left on his contract after this season, at $18.5M a year. So I'm not sure he's a king's-ransom attraction, either. It's too early to have this discussion seriously, but it's fascinating to contemplate if this season has another unhappy ending.
Mike (Lake Forest, CA)
Does Manny coming back make the Dodgers the clear favorites in the National League or do you think all the extra attention the Dodgers will be receiving could affect the rest of the team?
Jayson Stark (1:45 PM)
They should win that division more easily than any team in baseball. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But it gives them the opportunity to focus in July on what they'd need to win to October, as opposed to what they'd need to get there. So absolutely, I think they're the clear favorite.
Craig (Norwich, CT)
What do you think of the All-Star support Jimmy Rollins is getting?
Jayson Stark (1:47 PM)
It's obviously a testament to the Phillies' attendance, not to the way the guy is playing. He's having as disappointing and exasperating a year as he's ever had in his career. So he should NOT be starting the All Star Game. And I would think he'd admit that himself.
Pat (Berkley, MA)
If you were the Red Sox what would you do with all this pitching surplus? Have they reached the point where you can actually have to much pitching? Buchholz has even started making comments about wanting the call up (tough to blame him with the way he's rolling through AAA hitting).
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
Their plan is not to trade any of it unless they get something good. If they knew now they could count on Dice-K and Smoltz, Penny would be gone already. But they're still driving a tough bargain on him, and I don't blame them. The only starter who has even missed a start yet is Matsuzaka, and it's not realistic to think they'll all be that healthy all year. So I'd be shocked if you don't see Ellsbury at some point before September.
Mike G. (South Jersey)
Which NY team is more likely to make the playoffs, Mets or Yankees?
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
I'll go Yankees. Better rotation. Better lineup. It's not even that tough. Is it?
Jason, do you see twins trying to use their surplus of arms and outfielders to upgrade up the middle?
Jayson Stark (1:50 PM)
That's their hope. The two commodities they're fishing for right now are middle infielders and set-up men.
so if the pirates do continue to rebuild at the deadline, who will they most likely trade? would they be able to get anything good for sanchez/wilson/laroche?
Jayson Stark (1:52 PM)
This is yet ANOTHER question I looked at in Rumblings this week. I bet they trade Jack Wilson and John Grabow. Not sure how much they'll get for either one, but those would be the two most likely to go, for me.
Casey (Hutington Beach, CA)
Could Pedro be a solution for the Angels bullpen woes? He looked good in a relief role in the WBC, and coming out of the bullpen will help keep him off the DL. if not, who can help the Halos in the bullpen?
Jayson Stark (1:53 PM)
I have a tough time envisioning Pedro coming back to be a long reliever or a set-up man. Plus he's looking for $5 million. Do you see anybody thinking he's worth that to pitch in long or middle relief?
Samantha M. (North Jersey)
Is it ok to switch allegiances from the Mets to Phillies for my fiance?
Jayson Stark (1:55 PM)
Hmmm. I may have to throw this one out there to the audience. Not sure how passionate a Phillies fan you are, but I don't know many who would become a Mets fan for any reason -- even out of love. Or vice-versa!
Scott (Union City)
Is Matt Cain a lock for NL starter in the All Star Game?
Jayson Stark (1:56 PM)
Depends on how the rotation falls. But if he isn't at least on the team, there ought to be an investigation.
Adam (Newtown, PA)
Jayson, love your work. Just finished "The Truth: Overrated/Underrated" and am going to buy "Worth the Wait" next. If you were the Phils GM, which prospect(s) would you deem untouchable? You probably saw Bill Conlins article today on Michael Taylor, which prompts my question.
Jayson Stark (1:57 PM)
Thanks for the kind words on my authorship! I'd go Dominic Brown over Michael Taylor if I had to pick just one. But I wouldn't trade Taylor unless it was for a difference-making pitcher.
Andrew (Phx, AZ )
To Samantha: Hell no! You cannot become a Phillies fan and even thinking about it means you probably aren't a true Mets fan to begin with
Jayson Stark (1:57 PM)
Got a bunch of posts like this. America has spoken, Samantha!
Jayson Stark (1:58 PM)
Well, it's that time. I can only take one more. Sorry!
Aubrey Huff? Danys Baez? Mora?
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
Yet ANOTHER question I answered in Rumblings. I vote for Baez as most likely Oriole to get traded. But Huff isn't far behind.
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
Thanks to everybody who checked in. Look for the Sandwich Awards blog later today.