Chat with Jayson Stark
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com senior MLB writer Jayson Stark will drop in to chat about the 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 Stark Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Jayson Stark (1:05 PM)
What's cooking, everyone? We've got a fascinating weekend coming. Ubaldo Jimenez goes for 7-0 Sunday. Zack Greinke goes for win No. 1 tomorrow. And there's a rumor the Yankees and Red Sox are playing. So let's get started.
Jayson,You ready for the Starlin Castro era?
Jayson Stark (1:06 PM)
I can't wait to see that guy. Best comparison I've heard is: Another Hanley Ramirez. If that's what he is, he'll be must-see Cubs TV.
Everyone is high on the Rays, and I won't lie, I am too. But are they too young and inexperienced for the playoffs? Sure they were just in the World Series a couple years ago, but last year, they didn't even make the playoffs. Should we be afraid about the Rays or the Yankees from the AL East?
Jayson Stark (1:08 PM)
I think that's a myth. For one thing, a big chunk of the roster has been to the World Series. For another, they play in the AL East, right? That's 18 trips a year to Yankee Stadium and Fenway. Every one of those games feels like a playoff game to that team. And if you've watched them at all, what's most striking is how fearlessly they play. They're the team that's always applying the pressure. If they get there, inexperience would be way less of a factor than talent, for me.
With the cardinals current rotation, do you think that they will still be the best pitching staff by the end of the year?
Jayson Stark (1:10 PM)
I love that rotation. No questions about Carpenter or Wainwright. Jamie Garcia is the real deal. And now that Brad Penny isn't trying to throw every pitch 98 miles an hour, I think he slots in there great. Kyle Lohse is a very acceptable fifth starter. So this is all about how healthy they stay, I think. One of the most amazing stats of the year: Wainwright, Carpenter, Garcia and Penny have a quality start in every game but one!
Are there any organizational benefits in keeping Wilson Ramos on the Twins roster when Mauer is healthy (i.e., what does it do to his trade value)?
Jayson Stark (1:12 PM)
I don't think that will happen at this point. But they've talked about it down the line. As you might have heard, they have a few dollars invested in Mauer. So catching him 140 times a year isn't on the menu. Which means the less the dropoff to the backup catcher, the better. So what I've been told is that they're inclined to keep him for the long haul, not deal him. They just can't keep him for the short haul, because he needs to play.
I really don't belive the Pads are for real, they did this same thing last season, and finished with 70 wins. But, do you think the Giants now have a legit chance to be a threat to the Rockies in the NL west?
Jayson Stark (1:13 PM)
Absolutely. The Giants' rotation is so good, they don't need the Yankees' lineup. And I think, after watching them, that their lineup is good enough to contend in that division, if not win it. When Freddy Sanchez gets back, and when Buster Posey hits the big leagues, there won't be a lot of holes in that group.
eitheror [via mobile]
The hanley comp for starlin is ridiculous. Hanley is with Utley and Pujols as the top 3 players in the NL.
Jayson Stark (1:16 PM)
I think you're misinterpreting me, buddy. I know how good Hanley is. Obviously, Starlin Castro can't be in that kind of company before he's ever played a game. He's just the player Castro reminds scouts of the most in terms of skill set. I'm not putting him on the all-star team before he plays a game!
Mike (Kennewick, WA)
With Berkman saying he would be willing to waive his no trade clause do you think there would be any suitors? Potential good fits?
Jayson Stark (1:17 PM)
We're a long, long ways from having him say that and the Astros actually trading him. Let's start there. Drayton McLane loves Berkman. He's a home-town guy. And Drayton might not sign off on dealing him, no matter what that team's record. But the first team I thought of was the Braves, if Troy Glaus doesn't get it going. Of course, at this point, Berkman hasn't gotten it going himself.
Chris (New York)
when will Carlos Santana, Brett Wallace, Mike Stanton, Buster Posey call-up? Thanks
Jayson Stark (1:19 PM)
Well, the rule of thumb, for teams trying to buy an extra year before arbitration eligibility, is any time past Memorial Day. But you have different situations. The Indians don't seem to be in a rush to call up Santana, because he needs more development time. Wallace is blocked by Lyle Overbay, so it would depend on whether the Blue Jays want to make a move there. Stanton could be any week now, from what I'm hearing. And Posey might not be far behind.
Think the Phillies can/will lock up Jayson Werth? He's going to be considered a top 10 player in the majors by year end. Dude is the REAL DEAL!
Jayson Stark (1:21 PM)
I had somebody casually say to me this week: "Jayson Werth is a $100-million player." And he just might be. Well, if he is, I don't see how the Phillies can afford that. It will get interesting because the heir apparent, Domonic Brown, is a left-handed hitter. So they'd need another right-handed thumper somewhere. And they don't have a lot of other options unless they can move Raul Ibanez for a right-handed-hitting leftfielder over the winter.
Monroe (Chelsea, Ohio)
Griffey Jr. is obviously done and it's quite sad to watch. Clearly, he never should have been signed for another year in Seattle. Now, do the Mariners just have to wait this mistake out or is there a tactful way to let a future HOFer know that the music has stopped?
Jayson Stark (1:24 PM)
You know, I'm never sure it's safe to say a guy like that is "obviously done" this early in a season. But his bat is so slow, it's easy to jump to that conclusion. Handling situations like this is the toughest thing in sports. Ken Griffey has earned the right to go out on his terms. I see no way they release him or dump him or force him out. But it's going to be a tough situation if this continues.
With a followup to Xander's question. If the Phils can't lock up Werth by the Trade Deadline, what do they do?
Jayson Stark (1:25 PM)
They're not trading him, period. If he signs, he signs. If he doesn't, they're trying to win. If he goes elsewhere, they'll figure out plan B this winter.
Steve Perry (Open Arms)
Why on Earth would Lyle Overbay be blocking someone?
Jayson Stark (1:26 PM)
There's one symbol that would explain that for you: $.
What do you think of Dallas Braden's recent comments about him going to have to "use his knuckles" to settle the A-Rod deal? A-Rod may have broken an unwritten rule (although there is some debate over that) but I'm pretty sure Braden is talking about breaking an actual rule.
Jayson Stark (1:28 PM)
Look, it's clearly over the top to start talking about using knuckles to settle this. And I can guarantee you that before those teams play again, the umpires will make sure everybody knows stuff like that isn't going to fly. Nevertheless, it never ceases to astound me how adept ARod is at irritating people on other teams.
Bob (Bob City)
Are the Yankees in a little bit of trouble? Just a little? They're racking up injuries (Granderson, Rivera, Petite, Girardi) and they're not a young team, plus they need to win between 95-100 games to make the playoffs.
Jayson Stark (1:31 PM)
Are they in trouble? They have a .704 win percentage! But they knew, and everyone knew, going in that age was going to be an issue. By July, they'll have Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte, Rivera and even ARod in that 35-to-40 age group. And sooner or later, guys in that group either decline, get hurt or both. Nevertheless, if they can keep this team reasonably healthy, they're scary good.
What are your thoughts on the Jays this year? They look like they could have a pretty formidable rotation in a few years
Jayson Stark (1:33 PM)
I wrote about this in Rumblings this week. And the one guy I didn't mention threw seven two-hit innings last night (Dana Eveland). I love Romero. Quoted a scout comparing him to vintage Johan. I think Marcum has tremendous presence and pitchability. Cecil has always impressed me. Morrow can be unhittable. They have Kyle Drabek on the way. Most surprising rotation of 2010, wouldn't you say?
Mark (Huntington Beach, CA)
Are the Angels going to be able to get their act together and win the AL West? Nothing seems to be going right for them.
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
Well, they're going to play better than this. Their rotation should be better than it's pitching. Hard to believe that Joel Pineiro and Joe Saunders both have ERAs over 7.00. But the big issue I see is that their personnel doesn't match up real well with how Mike Scioscia has always liked to play. It's tough to run and apply pressure when you don't have the same kind of team speed. And I'm not sure how they address that.
Sheldon (Belcourt, ND)
Liriano goes tonight, by the way he looks so far this season. Is it a possiablity that he could be even better than he was before tommy john.
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
I think we forget how dominant he was right before the Tommy John. Remember him down the stretch in 2006? Unhittable. But his stuff is now all the way back. So there's no reason he can't be that guy again. And if he is, look out for the Twins.
Eric (Grand Rapids)
I'm not a fan of either team, but what would you think of an Alex Gordon for Wilson Ramos swap?
Jayson Stark (1:38 PM)
The Twins wouldn't make that one. Even the Royals have now concluded Alex Gordon isn't a third baseman. So he doesn't fit what the Twins are constructing. And as I said earlier in this chat, they love Ramos. It would take a big deal for them to move that guy.
What's the ceiling for the Nationals this year? Will they finish above .500? Impressive start considering a tough schedule
Jayson Stark (1:39 PM)
When you consider that Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen and, theoretically, Chien-Ming Wang are on the way, why wouldn't that team be capable of playing .500-ish baseball. Can't see them being a whole lot better than that yet. But the arrow is point up -- way up -- for that team.
SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)
One more on Starlin Castro if you don't mond Jayson. Do you think the Cubs are doing the right thing? Not a lot of fans agree with the move. They think it's too soon and maybe a panic move. I think if a guy can hit a guy can hit. Your thoughts?
Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
Obviously, in a perfect world, they wouldn't be doing this. But they don't just need offense. They need energy. I've only seen Starlin Castro play once myself, so I can't tell you if he's ready. But he has impact-player talent. And at least calling him up is a sign they're not just going to sit back and watch the season wash down the drain, waiting for veteran players to pick it up.
Hughes going tonight. He has been phenomenal all year but mostly against some less than potent offenses (O's, A's Chi-Sox). Has he finally turned the corner and become the prospect everyone has raved about or is he benefiting from facing some less than great hitting?
Jayson Stark (1:43 PM)
This is clearly a test of where he's at. But it's hard to argue with 10 hits allowed in 25 innings -- against three major-league teams. It's not like he did that in the New York-Penn League. He's made big strides, I think. He has three "plus" pitches, and he's barely even using the change-up, which he worked on all spring. Looks like the real deal to me.
The Jays are in need of a 3B and have a glut of pitching. I think Gordon to Toronto makes sense no?
Jayson Stark (1:45 PM)
Let me repeat what I just wrote about three minutes ago: Alex Gordon no longer projects as a big-league third baseman. Maybe firt. Maybe the outfield. And maybe he'll never hit enough to play anywhere every day. But he's not a solution -- for the Blue Jays or anyone else -- at third base. Oh, and one more thing: The Royals have told everyone who called this week that he's not available.
Keith (Arlington, VA)
There has been a lot of talk that after the new labor agreement, the service years for players in the minors might change. Should teams act as if it will change and call up the rookies mentioned above now?
Jayson Stark (1:47 PM)
I wrote about that in Rumblings. Sounds like the Cubs got that memo! Look, it's tough to assume anything about where the next labor deal will take the sport. But if a team really thinks a player like Mike Stanton or Starlin Castro is ready, I'm not sure that waiting around to save on service time is a good enough reason anymore.
There is nobody on the Royals who isnt named Greinke who should "not be available". Especially if he is now a guy without a position or plan of action with the team. That is a typical Royals move to say that. When Chris Getz take your spot...you are available!
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
Boy, this is the most Royals talk I've ever engaged in, in one of these chats. I agree with you, Sean. But that's not how they're looking at their world. They haven't won in 25 years. They've given their fan base nothing to watch. They're just not of a mindset to just tank the season and start from square one right now. I personally don't see enough building-block players there to go that route. Just telling you how they're looking at it all, for now.
Mike W (Chicago)
I know everyone loves Jason Hayward and the kid is ridiculous. But how many wins does Mike Leake have to get to get into NL Rookie of the Year consideration?
Jayson Stark (1:51 PM)
If Jason Heyward has the kind of season it looks like he's going to have? If he comes anywhere near his current pace (48 HR, 155 RBIs, 1.037 OPS)? It won't matter how many games Mike Leake wins. Every-day players who dominate like that are locks for that award.
Tom (At Work)
Wouldn't Joakim Soria qualify as a "not available" guy right now?
Jayson Stark (1:52 PM)
Royals question No. 4! That's correct. Not interested in moving him, either.
so you're saying seattle should just essentially forego the 25th spot on their roster and put a worse team on the field so that griffey "can go out on his terms"? besides the obvious ridiculousness of this, don't you think winning puts people in the stands much more than nostalgia, in both the short and long term?
Jayson Stark (1:54 PM)
Ethan, Ethan, Ethan. I understand what you're saying. But human beings play this sport. Human beings employ those players. And human beings sit in those seats. You don't think Ken Griffey Jr. has been a special player in his time? You don't think he deserves the right to be treated differently than, say, Eric Byrnes? C'mon, man. You can minimize his playing time. But you can't just shove him out the door.
Mike W (Chicago)
Way to not answer my question. If Leake wins 18-20 games you don't think he'll get some votes?
Jayson Stark (1:56 PM)
Boy, tough crowd. If he wins 18 to 20, he'll show up on every ballot. I just don't see him beating out a guy who's on the way to the kind of season Jason Heyward has put himself in position to have. That's all I'm saying. I think Mike Leake has had an amazing start to his career. But if I was buying stock, I'd buy that Jason Heyward stock right now.
Ubaldo's arm, thoughts?
Jayson Stark (1:57 PM)
I've been saying it since last October: Best stuff of any pitcher in the big leagues. Sustains 97-100 mph from first pitch to last pitch, with two untouchable breaking balls. How 'bout this stat: Over his last four starts, he's faced 108 hitters -- and 11 of them have gotten a hit. Ridiculous!
I agree with Ethan. I know we can all agree we wouldnt hire Jayson as our GM. He falls in love with what players did 10 years ago.
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
OK, time out. Because I want to treat a legendary player with respect, I "fall in love with what players did 10 years ago?" Gimme a break, Tim. If I were a GM, I'd be a human being first. That's all. I wasn't aware that was some kind of crime.
Jayson Stark (2:00 PM)
Well, we've reached that time again. Only have time for one more. Sorry.
Julian (St. Petersburg, FL)
If the Rays maintain there lead in the AL East, do you still see a possible Carl Crawford trade. He's the face of the organization and one of the best players in the game, but its highly unlikely we can afford him and Desmond Jennings is just waiting to step up.
Jayson Stark (2:02 PM)
I suppose, if you look back on that Scott Kazmir trade, you can't rule anything out. This is a team that will always have to juggle present and future. It's their lot in life. But I also think they're fully prepared to keep both Crawford and Pena, and try to win the World Series with them, then wave goodbye and try to win with the next group. Desmond Jennings' time is coming. But he's not Carl Crawford. Not yet. So it would have to be a spectacular deal.
Jayson Stark (2:02 PM)
Thanks to everyone who checked in -- even all the people who dumped on me about Griffey. See you down the road in Chat Land.