Chat with Jayson Stark
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at noon ET!
Jayson Stark (12:02 PM)
Greetings! We've got a million things to chat about this week -- Dusty & Tony, all star snubs, trade rumors, the end of the first half, yadayadayada. So let's get started.
Derek (Iowa City)
Hi Jayson! OK..what are the REAL chances the Braves end up with Greinke..and what are the chances they can sign Greinke to a long term deal??
Jayson Stark (12:04 PM)
The Braves hate dealing for rent-a-players, so I think this is going to be a tough one. I don't see Greinke signing an extension before testing free agency. I don't see them offering five or six years and $100-million plus without knowing what they're buying. And it's going to cost them a package that starts with one of their best young arms. I'd bet they wind up going in a different direction. But they'll certainly explore it long and hard.
With the O's falling fast, what do you see them doing? Try to make a trade now to get back in it? Sellers at the deadline? Or nothing?
Jayson Stark (12:05 PM)
How can they sell? If the playoffs started today (which is unlikely), they'd be in them! But they've shown in the last week they know they have serious issues that they somehow played over for a long time. When you trade for Jim Thome and send two members of your starting rotation to the minor leagues, it's a sign the heat is rising. And I don't just mean on the thermometer.
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Jayson: I've read some articles that Cliff Lee may be put on the trading block. Do you see that happening?
Jayson Stark (12:07 PM)
I don't get any indication that's happening. Not this month, anyway. If this season unravels and they go into full-scale rebuild, they might have a different feeling in the offseason. But I haven't heard anyone with the Phillies suggest he's available, and I haven't heard anyone from another team say they expect him to be available. Plus, he has a partial no-trade that would make dealing him in-season incredibly difficult.
All-Star (Philly, PA)
Jayson don't you think MLB like the snubs in the all-star game because it gets people talking
Jayson Stark (12:10 PM)
I do, actually. You can tell by their reaction to the furor over the Giants fans doing the game an injustice by voting in Sandoval. To me, it should be a concern that you have a team that happens to be home in the last week and has kiosks all over the park that enable fans to vote 25 times apiece. The Mets weren't home to be able to match that with a push for David Wright. But nobody has expressed any concern. Keeps baseball in the headlines. And that's always OK with them.
Should Selig take action to prevent a SF Voting Massacre again?
Jayson Stark (12:12 PM)
I'd be having some conversations about this if I were commissioner. (And there's a better chance of Manny Ramirez being the next commissioner than me.) I know they're happy when people click on their web site. But in-stadium kiosks, once in-stadium voting is supposedly over, cross the line, I think. You should at least have a relatively even playing field, shouldn't you?
Ryan Ram (Montreal)
When Dusty Baker was talking about snubs, he failed to mention Holliday not making the team instead of Bruce who is 262 with a 333 obp. Isnt the Holliday snub more egregious than the Phillips one?
Jayson Stark (12:14 PM)
I love Jay Bruce. I think he's a tremendous player, with a chance to be even better. But he's not one of the dozen best outfielders in the league this year. So I'm not really sure how he wound up on the team over Holliday, Bourn, Prado and others. Brandon Phillips isn't having a great year. So leaving him off the team is justifiable, especially after Uggla gets elected and creates a ripple effect on the rest of the roster. But I also understand, given the history, why people in Cincinnati are yelling, "Conspiracy."
Mike (San Diego)
You also forgot to mention that if someone was to trade for Cliff Lee, they'd owe him a dollar or two...
Jayson Stark (12:15 PM)
Excellent point! The contract is back-loaded. And I also don't think he's at the peak of his trade value at the moment. Just a hunch.
Which ace is more likely to be traded: Felix or Greinke?
Jayson Stark (12:17 PM)
That's easy. Greinke. He's on the last year of his deal. His team probably won't be contending. And the Brewers don't look like they'll be able to sign him in the next couple of weeks. The Mariners are still building around Felix and their young arms. So it's not even a close call. Thanks for asking. I love those easy questions!
Brendon (Vancouver, BC)
If the playoffs started today the Phillies would be in them? Huh?
Jayson Stark (12:17 PM)
You misread that, Brendon. The question was about the Orioles.
SF setup a room with 15 people to continuously vote. They abused the system and celebrated the fact.
Jayson Stark (12:18 PM)
I don't know if they "abused" the system, but they certainly took advantage of it in a way baseball needs to consider banning, or limiting, in the future.
Derek (Iowa City)
Would Liriano make any sense for the Braves though? He's pitching a bit better, good change of scenery trade?
Jayson Stark (12:20 PM)
Not their kind of guy. He's a rental. He's not a strike-thrower (even if he's been better lately.) He's not a guy they would look at as being dependable enough to give up a lot for. On the other hand, I think he's the perfect example of a player who would have commanded more last year, when he'd have brought draft picks, than this year, when he'd bring none, thanks to the new labor deal.
Considering the amount of free agent pitching this offseason, doesn't it make sense for the Phils to deal Hamels to fill a positional need and then sign one of the FAs this offseason? They could even make a play for one of the better OF FAs as well.
Jayson Stark (12:23 PM)
If they decide in two weeks they have no shot, that's the stance I expect them to take -- trade Hamels, try to put pieces in place that help them get younger and even take a run at re-signing Hamels over the winter. If they can't, and I'd bet they can't, they'll be freeing up $40 million they can use to retool next offseason. But when you have a $174-million payroll and you sell out every game, you can't pull the plug on the season until the last possible minute. And that's the approach they're taking -- for now.
What do you mean by not bringing back draft picks. I thought you never could trade picks in MLB
Jayson Stark (12:25 PM)
I'm talking about the new rules on draft-pick compensation for free agents. Under the new labor deal, you can't get compensation for a player who changes teams in midseason and then becomes a free agent. So it's removed the incentive for teams to trade for a player for two months, then let him walk and take the draft picks.
Nick (Dayton Ohio)
How is that Tony "i should not be coaching" LaRusa was quoted as saying he did not pick reds pitcher JC because he was pitching Sunday. I thought there was a "Sunday pitcher rule" in the new CB.
Jayson Stark (12:26 PM)
The rule says that if a guy pitches on the Sunday before the ASG, he can't pitch in the game. It doesn't say he shouldn't be named to the team. Cueto clearly deserved to be named. And that's what Tony should have done -- named him and then replaced him. Cueto has every right to complain -- and he might even have a legitimate right to file a grievance.
does it make sense for the Jays to sell?What realistic return could they expect for Encarnacion?
Jayson Stark (12:28 PM)
They're 2 1/2 out in the wild-card race. They're getting Morrow and Hutchison back in a few weeks. Why would they give up? Their team on the field is October-worthy. But what I could easily see them doing is buying and selling at the same time -- deal Escobar and Encarnacion (because they're not part of the bluepring for the future) and add arms that can help them now and down the road.
who is the sleeper candidate to be the starting pitcher the Braves acquire?
Jayson Stark (12:30 PM)
I mentioned in Rumblings last week that they've scouted Jason Vargas extensively. I don't know that he fits, since his ERA outside of Safeco, is over 5.00. But he's their type of deal target -- non-rental player, slightly outside the Rumor Central box.
Do you see the Angels making any moves before the deadline? Possibly involving Santana or Bourjos?
Jayson Stark (12:31 PM)
I keep hearing they'd move Bourjos for a difference-making reliever they could control for a while. I'd watch that front attentively!
Ryan Ram (Montreal)
How does Cueto have any claim to file a grievance? Doesnt the manager have the ability to name whoever he wants regardless of merit? Cueto wasnt picked by his peers which is far more telling than Larussa not picking him.
Jayson Stark (12:33 PM)
I didn't say he'd win it. I said he'd have a legit reason to file one. If Tony's reasoning for why he wasn't picked was only that he was pitching Sunday, that's not supposed to be a reason to keep a deserving guy off the team as I read the rules. But I doubt he'd be able to sell that in a hearing.
Do you see the Cardinals making any big moves (e.g) Grienke or Hamels? If not, what do they do?
Jayson Stark (12:34 PM)
Their rotation-shopping plans depend on Carpenter. It doesn't look promising, but they have to let this play out for a little while longer. Don't they?
Justin (Redlands, CA)
With a fWAR of 4.3, Mike Trout has to be the frontrunner over Josh Hamilton and his fWAR of 3.6, right?
Jayson Stark (12:37 PM)
It's close, but we're only supposed to hand out awards based on fWAR now? Hamilton leads the league in slugging, OPS, offensive winning pct and runs created/27 outs. So it isn't exactly clear-cut -- not for me. But the Angels have had the best record in the league since Trout showed up, and that's no accident. So I see strong cases for both of them. I would never base a vote on any one stat, especially over a half-season. Am I wrong?
Do you think the Pirates should attempt to make a "big time" acquisition at the deadline this year? I heard one prominent sports writer even suggest they go after Greinke or Hamels...thoughts?
Jayson Stark (12:39 PM)
I think they should, and I think they will. A move like that -- or (more likely) for a difference-making bat or two -- wouldn't just change their team or their lineup. It would change their culture. It's a sign to everyone -- players, fans and the whole sport -- that the arrow is pointing up. And even if they don't wind up playing in October, just not having another losing season is a momentous and meaningful step forward for that franchise.
Is MLB considering not connecting the All-Star Game and the World Series in the future? Fans vote for the most popular players who usually are deserving to be on the team but not necessarily deserving to be a starter. The fan voting process also usually guarantees that fans of small market teams will never get to see their best players start. Arguably 3 of the 18 starters are from small baseball markets (Votto, Bautista and Uggla). So if I am going to have fan voting forced down my throat it would be nice if the game did not matter.
Jayson Stark (12:40 PM)
Bud loves this rule. Fox loves this rule. So how is it going to change as long as Fox is televising the game and Bud is still in charge? Not on the radar screen. Sorry.
With the Mets contending and their bullpen being a mess, do you think that they will be making any moves by the trade deadline?
Jayson Stark (12:41 PM)
I'd be shocked if the Mets don't add a reliever or two this month.
would Jonny Venters meet the Angels definition of an impact reliever? The Braves could use another OF with Chipper out so frequently and with Bourjos being able to leadoff and play CF would also give them flexibility if the Braves cannot sign Bourn to an extension....
Jayson Stark (12:42 PM)
That's a very interesting proposal. Haven't heard any talk that Venters is available. But that's a very sensible topic of conversation.
Will we ever see Adam Dunn in the HR Derby? He's one of the greatest pure mashers in the game, yet he's always overlooked for the derby.
Jayson Stark (12:43 PM)
I'd love to see Adam Dunn in the Derby. But once he came out and said he didn't want to participate, that became a dead issue. Too bad for all of us Adam Dunn fans, right?
Could baseball make it so that the fan vote is who represents each team, and the manager gets to fill in the rest of the roster?
Jayson Stark (12:44 PM)
I don't see the fan voting changing in any significant way. I just think there should be limitations on get-out-the-vote campaigns like the one the Giants staged.
That Venters proposal got me thinking? might the Phillies be able to turn Victorino into a reliever?
Jayson Stark (12:45 PM)
Sure. Who would play center the rest of the year? They don't even have a real backup centerfielder. They'd have to give up completely to make that trade.
In reference to the Pirates question earlier, what so called "big time" bats are even available for them to pursue? Do J. Willingham or K. Morales qualify as big time?
Jayson Stark (12:48 PM)
Here's my list of potentially available bats: Quentin, Headley, Span, Soriano, Bourjos, Victorino, Scutaro, Carlos Lee if he'd waive his no-trade. Then there would be some Jason Giambi-type guys. And it's possible, though not likely, that the Twins make Willingham and Morneau available. That could change over the next few weeks, but there isn't much "big-time" in that list.
What are the odds of the Phillies and Braves doing a one for one swap... Hamels for Francisco? I mean, both teams' needs would be filled. ;)
Jayson Stark (12:49 PM)
Zero. For about a thousand reasons.
Ive heard recently that my Marlins may be willing to move Hanley?! Please tell me thats wrong!!
Jayson Stark (12:50 PM)
Talked to a team that asked about him. They said they were told it had never been discussed, even internally, by the Marlins.
Would the Phillies consider trading Pence?
Jayson Stark (12:50 PM)
I've heard zero talk of that -- not in midseason, anyway. But if the Phillies keep freefalling, they probably shouldn't rule out anything.
Thoughts on Jose Tabata's demotion?
Jayson Stark (12:51 PM)
He deserved it. He's done nothing but go backward this year. One of the least productive players in baseball, and one of the most disappointing.
Is Jed Lowrie on the trading block? The Tigers desperately need a 2B.
Jayson Stark (12:52 PM)
The Astros will listen on just about anybody. But he'd be on their Least Likely to Get Traded list. How about Marco Scutaro for the Tigers?
Dave Z (Brigantine, NJ)
Despite all of the injuries, the Rays have been sloppy and inconsistent. I am not a fan of BJ Upton and feel the Rays need to deal him for an asset while moving Jennings to CF. I am sure there are some contenders who could be looking at free agents-to-be Joel Peralta and Kyle Farnsworth.
Jayson Stark (12:54 PM)
The Rays are a half-game out in the wild-card race. So if the deadline were this week, they wouldn't be selling any of those guys. But they've lost 13 of 20, and they don't have a good look right now. So that could change in three weeks, especially if Longoria has another significant setback. But at the moment, they're trying to hang on till he comes back and then reassess.
Doesn't Greinke have more of a gripe than Cueto? He was left off for the same reason.
Jayson Stark (12:54 PM)
Absolutely. He's the worst snub on either roster in my book.
Matt (Springfield MO)
How awkward a spot is Dayton Moore in right now? The Royals are too close to officially give up, but contending this year isn't really feasible, is it?
Jayson Stark (12:56 PM)
I talked earlier about what it would mean to the Pirates to make a significant deal. The Royals are in a slightly different situation. But I think they're more equivalent to where the Pirates were last year this time. They made smaller moves for Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick, and even though it didn't work they sent a message with those moves. And that could be true for the Royals this year. I think there's value in pushing these young players to play this thing out. And an addition-type deal, even if it's minor, would do that.
Vogelsong's numbers are as good as Cueto. Same ERA, Vogey has a better ratio. Similar strikeouts. Why isn't everyone up in arms about him being left off?
Jayson Stark (12:57 PM)
He should have made it, too. Too many relievers on this team. Not enough starters.
Is the new SS for the Braves, Simmons, as good as advertised or have opposing pitchers not made any adjustments yet? Love to hear your thoughts on him.
Jayson Stark (12:59 PM)
He's a great-looking player. An awesome defender. Still a little raw offensively. But he has a quick bat. And it looks like he's going to hit. The league will adjust and test him in time. But he's one of the most impressive midseason call-ups of the year.
Jayson Stark (12:59 PM)
Oops. It's that time again. I only have time for one more.
If the game is going to decide the WS then, why does every team have to a representative? And why does fan voting have such an emphasis...it convalutes the entire end game.
Jayson Stark (1:00 PM)
I agree with you, Matt. Buster and I argued about it on Baseball Tonight on Sunday. That rule is outdated and overrated. But again, the commissioner loves it, so I don't see it changing any time soon.
Jayson Stark (1:00 PM)
Thanks for all the great questions and comments. One of the most fun chats of the year. See you down the road in Chat Land!