Chat with Jayson Stark
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com senior MLB writer Jayson Stark will drop in to chat some baseball.
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 (1:07 PM)
Happy all-star break to everyone. I'm having some computer issues, so I'll be delayed a couple more minutes. In the meantime, check out my midseason awards column on the site, and we can discuss my picks when I get everything working here. Thanks for your patience!
J (Las Vegas, NV)
Hi Jayson, As an Angels fan I'm glad to see another Halo make the team to replace Mo. However, I thought Haren would have been a better choice than Walden. The announcement said that Walden was next in the players' vote. How are the alternates chosen?
Jayson Stark (1:13 PM)
It's pretty simple. If an all-star who was elected by the players can't play, the replacement is the guy who had the next-highest vote total in the players' balloting. If it's anyone else, it's the manager's call. Since Mariano was voted in by the players in the relief-pitcher balloting, the next guy in line was Walden. Got it?
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
I know there is a home run derby but I would love to see baseball embrace the skills competition that other sports like the NBA and Hockey involve in all-star weekend. Some simple events could be taking away home-runs and various throwing competitions. I assume injuries and lack of interest are why baseball does not have a skills component as a part of all-star weekend. What do you think about adding a skills competition to MLB all-star weekend?
Jayson Stark (1:15 PM)
People don't remember this, but they actually had a skills competition many years ago. They had a hitting-for-accuracy contest, which was a disaster. And they had a relay-throw competition. But if I recall correctly, Barry Larkin hurt his arm in the relay event, and that was the end of that. It's a great idea, though, if you could figure out a few harmelss events. If you can, let me know! For that matter, let Bud Selig know!
Phil (SF, Ca)
Do the Giants stand pat or go after a bat? These 2-1 games are killing me!
Jayson Stark (1:17 PM)
I vote yes! Teams that have spoken to them say Brian Sabean seems to be in a different mode these days, more of a go-for-it mode than we're used to. Check out his quotes in the San Jose Mercury News today. He sounds like he'd like to do something big if there's something out there.
Jayson, from top to bottom, starting five through bullpen, who has the best pitching staff in baseball? Giants, Phils, or Braves?
Jayson Stark (1:17 PM)
Top to bottom - 1 thru 12? I'd go Braves, Giants, Phillies in that order.
With Shane V on the DL, does McCuthen finally make the allstar team?
Jayson Stark (1:19 PM)
Well, I hope Pete Orr (who replaced him on the Phillies' roster) doesn't make it! Actually, I hope you're right, because McCutchen deserves it. But it's possible they may decide they have to send the runner-up in the Last Man balloting. This has never come up before. Not sure of the precedent.
1 of the 188,000 e-mails about Stark being an idiot. You can spin the stats anyway you would like. Jurrjens does not have to pitch complete games b/c the Braves have the best bullpen in baseball. I would rather have the batter put the ball in play then throw 8 pitches to strike a guy out. Jurrjens missed some time and still has more wins and a better ERA and lastly Halladay is 0-1 against the Braves and Jurrjens is 2-0.
Jayson Stark (1:22 PM)
That didn't take long! As I said in the column, Halladay and Jurrjens are 1 and 1-A. I don't disagree with anything you said about Jurrjens. But it's a stretch you say Halladay is out there throwing eight pitches trying to strike everybody out, or that that's the only reason he's thrown more pitches or more innings. He's always been an iron man, even in Toronto. And while it's true that his manager is more prone to send him out for another inning because that bullpen is so thin, I'm not sure why he's supposed to be penalized because he throw more innings. That's a good thing!
Andy (San Francisco, CA)
Do you have a problem with Bochy picking Vogelsong for the All-Star game? I have heard whining about it, but as a Giants fan, I recognize that he's not the popular all-star choice, but he has been solid and helped us stay atop the top NL West
Jayson Stark (1:24 PM)
My problem isn't with the pick. My problem is with the system. Since I wrote about this last week before this happened, I get to make this argument again, right? I don't understand why the managers are picking the reserves. As long as they're given that "honor," why should we complain if they pick their own players? That's how it's always worked. I'd just like to see a better system. Maybe some version of the NCAA Selection Sunday system? Hey, NOBODY ever complains about their picks, right?
Jim (Westerville, OH)
Aramis Ramirez has been red-hot lately. Does he have trade value for the Cubs - as in top prospect value? Should they trade him, given how good he has been and the lack of any viable alternatives for next year at 3B? Is there anyone else the Cubs could trade that would net any more than mid-level prospects?
Jayson Stark (1:25 PM)
He's untradeable. He has a complete no-trade which he's said he wouldn't waive. And a trade also voids his complicated mutual option, not that it's likely to be picked up anyway. But the bottom line is, unless he decides he wants out, he's not going anywhere.
Blue (Long Branch, NJ)
Stark! Why no love for Dillon Gee on your NL Rookie of the years candidates?
Jayson Stark (1:26 PM)
Because the ballot only has three spots. If I had a fourth, he'd have been in there. He's been great.
Rick (Greensboro NC)
Can Vogelsong really be justified as better choice than Tommy Hanson?
Jayson Stark (1:28 PM)
Tommy Hanson deserves to make this team, and I'm guessing he'll be named anyway to replace one of the guys pitching Sunday. If I were in charge (and there's zero chance I'll ever be in charge of anything), he'd have made it over Vogelsong. But we're all underestimating how much pressure there is on an all-star manager, within his own clubhouse, to take his own guys.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
If Sabathia opts out of his deal at the end of the season do you see any way that he signs with another team? If so can the Yankees officially write off 2012 without Sabathia?
Jayson Stark (1:30 PM)
Those odds are none and none. Look at the Yankees' staff and tell me how they can afford to let CC leave. When anything like this comes down to money, when was the last time the Yankees didn't get their man? And don't say Cliff Lee, because that turned out not to be about the money.
Charles (San Jose)
At the time of selection Ian Kennedy had a higher WAR than all 3 Giants starters Bochy picked.
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
He also deserved to go. Blame the system, man. Don't blame the guy who's using the system the way 50 managers before him have used it.
By picking players from your own clubhouse. Isnt the Manager no better than those idiot fans who just vote their team all the way down the ballot.
Jayson Stark (1:34 PM)
You know, check out the fan balloting this year. Other than the Jeter pick, I thought they did great. You know, times have changed. Most fans make these picks sitting at their computers, looking at the numbers, not sitting in the seats at a game, poking holes in a card. You won't hear me dumping on the fan voting.
Stephen (Narberth, PA)
Hi Jayson.....Cole Hamels is proving to be a legit #1 pitcher. Free Agent after next year, will be 29 when the 2013 season begins. He'll likely get offers for 5 or 6 years @ $20 million+ per year. Can the Phillies really afford three $20 million per year starters plus $25 millon per year for Ryan Howard?
Jayson Stark (1:36 PM)
I've said this before. They have no choice but to do what they have to do to keep him. The hard part here will not so much be paying him $20M in his free-agent years. It will be trying to hold down the length of the deal after they broke their own rules to give Cliff Lee five years. How do you give one guy five years at age 32 but try to give the other guy three years at age 27? Good luck on that.
Not even a vote for Bochy as a top 3 manager? I realize the job the guys in Arizona and Pitts are doing is great, but if you look at all the Giants have endured and with the lack of offense, Bochy has been masterful getting the Giants to where they are. Granted they were supposed to be good but the definition of a good managing job should not be which team has exceeded expectations by the most compared to what a bunch of sports writers thought the team would perform.
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
It's Bruce Bochy Day here in this chat. I think the guy does a tremendous job getting his players to play their butts off for him. But he wouldn't be in my top four this year -- not ahead of Hurdle, Gibson, Collins or La Russa.
Pollack (Portland, OR)
Do you think that Pena might get traded to a contender this season? While his average is awful on a good day, his power - post April - has been ridiculous, he only has a 1 year contract, and the Cubs will obviously not contend. If the Twins catch up in the division, might they be interested sans Morneau? What about the Rangers? Giants? Pirates? Diamondbacks?
Jayson Stark (1:38 PM)
Carlos Pena is going to be one of the most talked about names on Rumor Central these next few weeks. Potential match with all those teams, and more. The only hangup is his contract. Still has almost $5 million coming.
Eddie (Killeen, Tx)
Do the Angles have any shot of resigning Jerad Weaver?
Jayson Stark (1:39 PM)
Who's his agent again? Oh yeah. Scott Boras. So that's a no. There's no Boras-Arte Moreno lovefest currently in progress in LA of Anaheim.
Tom Tuttle (Tacoma)
How much money and how many years do you think Jose Reyes just cost himself with this DL stint? I've got to think a number of GM/owners just said, "Oh right, THAT Jose Reyes."
Jayson Stark (1:40 PM)
Well, it's certainly a reminder this isn't the first leg injury of his career. But I think it all depends. How long is he out? Is he the same player when he comes back? We asked those questions when Albert Pujols got hurt. Why would we not ask them about Reyes?
Bill (Washington, DC)
Isn't the Jeter hyperbole getting a little out of hand? If he had played for the A's and not looked like Derek Jeter, wouldn't he just be another 3,000 hit club member, and not "the greatest fill-in-the-blank for the last X years"?
Jayson Stark (1:44 PM)
I just wrote about this in a blog the other day. Take a look at it if you get a chance. This guy has been one of the greatest shortstops who ever lived. And this whole argument that he'd be a nobody if he played for the (PICK A TEAM, ANY TEAM) is irrelevant. Is it easy to overrate any Yankee? Sure it is. But it's also hard to find players like this, who embrace everything that comes with playing for that team in that town -- the good and the bad. This guy has never shrunk from any of it. I add points for that. I don't subtract them. Just don't get this argument.
Who is your choice for a SS for the career - Jeter or Ripken?
Jayson Stark (1:46 PM)
Brian Kenny and I kicked this around this week on his radio show. It's really, really close. But to be honest, I think we both decided we'd take Jeter. Ripken gave you more offensive upside, but he rode the roller coaster through many offensive ups and downs over his whole career. Jeter has been one of the most consistent, dependable shortstops in history. Until the last two years, every season looked pretty much like every other season. I think dependability might be the most important quality I'd look for in any player. So I'd take him.
Mike (San Diego)
Just another 3000 hit club member. That made me laugh. Does Bill not realize there's only been 27 guys who have 3000 hits EVER? Derek Jeter was definitely once overrated, but we've gone too far in the other direction where people are looking much more at what Jeter has done recently as opposed to realizing that he was a GREAT shortstop.
Jayson Stark (1:48 PM)
Exactly, Mike. As I said the other day, this is a time to look at the guy's career and remember how great a player he's been for a decade and a half, not an excuse to talk about how overrated he is or how he isn't what he used to be. There's going to be plenty of time to resume that conversation.
Stephen (Narberth, PA)
Agree with you about resigning Hamels, but.....do you really think they'll give him a 5 or 6 year deal? Have 5 players earning a combined $105 million+ per year (Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Howard and Utley)? Can't see that......
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
As I said, I'm sure the Phillies will fight to keep that deal to three or four years. The trouble is that the comparable contracts Hamels will drop on their table were the ones to Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee. And they were all five-year deals.
Kenneth (Misawa, Japan)
I am just curious on your pick for mid season NL ROY. Craig Kimbrel is have a great year...Set Rookie Record for Saves before break. 14.00 K per 9inngs. I feel even though Danny Espinosa is having a great year. Closer role is a pressure cooker and Craig Kimbrel has been a beast. He is on Pace for like 48 to 52 Saves
Jayson Stark (1:52 PM)
Kimbrel has been tremendous. But I think people are underestimating what Espinosa has done. He hasn't just hit a bunch of home runs. He's turned into an above-average defensive second baseman. (Check out last night.) And that's amazing, considering how little second base he'd played in his life before he got to the big leagues. That was a tough, tough call. Could have gone with either guy.
Did you really just say in that answer that Ripken wasn't dependable? Come on, he has the hits, the hrs, the doubles, the rbi's, played every game, excellent defense. Ripken over Jeter, tough call, but certainly Ripken.
Jayson Stark (1:54 PM)
You're taking me out of context, Jay. Obviously, a guy who plays every single game for a decade and a half is "dependable." I never said he wasn't. I just said that offensively, Jeter was the more consistent player. Cal had his ups and downs. You know he did. Go check his stats again if you don't remember it that way. I don't have a bad word to say about Cal. I was just comparing those two players. Period.
Read your column on changing the system where managers select the last few roster spots for the All-Star Game. While I understand where you're coming from I don't remember you or anyone else complaining about the system when it lead to 8 Yankees making the roster.
Jayson Stark (1:55 PM)
You're kidding, right? All people did was complain when Joe Torre was bringing along his whole team. It's one reason the system changed a few years back, to let the players have more input.
Jim Thomas (Pittsburgh,PA)
Do you see the Oakland A's and Tampa Bay Rays with all the financial troubles that their having staying in their cities because now Oakland cannot even move to San Jose so what's next?
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
Sorry for the delay. My computer's a mess. There's nowhere for those teams to move. The Rays need to wind up in Tampa one way or another. The Oakland mess is a disaster. The A's and Giants need to make the kind of deal the Orioles and Nationals made when the Expos moved to D.C.
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
Hard to believe we're out of time, but we are. So I can only take one more. Sorry.
Paul (Newport Beach)
Please be honest, are the Mike Trout - Mickey Mantle comparisons for real?
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
I see where they come from, but Mickey Mantle was one of the strongest men ever to play baseball. Is Trout going to have that kind of massive raw power as he fills out? I don't think people expect that from him. But this guy is so electrifying, he jumps off the field or off the screen when you're watching him. Can't wait to see where he goes from here.
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
Thanks to everybody who checked in. Enjoy the All Star Extravaganza. See you down the road in Chat Land.