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!
Jason (St Louis)
No way Dempster would have been this bad in Atl, right?
Jayson Stark (1:04 PM)
Greetings! Posted that question before I said hello. Sorry about that! Let's get started, since I only have a half-hour today.
Jayson Stark (1:05 PM)
I don't think you or I are alone in thinking Ryan Dempster made a bigggggg mistake when he turned down that deal to the Braves. He didn't just hurt his stats. He cost himself a lot of money. He'd have been a perfect fit in Atlanta, in a tremendous pitcher's park. Instead . . . uh-oh!
Mike Ciriaco (Omaha)
Time to consider MadBum a Cy Young candidate?
Jayson Stark (1:07 PM)
He's one of many in that mix. But I'll say this: Madison Bumgarner is the most underrated lefthanded starter in baseball. Anybody got any other nominees?
Andy (West Virginia)
Jayson how do you think Dodgers will use D.Gordon when he returns from DL? Have Victorino's speed at top of lineup now,Hanley at SS so where does that leave Gordon?
Jayson Stark (1:09 PM)
To be determined. For now, seems as if they like Hanley at shortstop and mixing and matching at third. So it's possible Dee Gordon just becomes a lethal speed option off the bench -- at least for now. In the long term, I still think he winds up back at shortstop and Hanley goes back to third. But it's possible he'll find himself back in the minor leagues next year working on his plate discipline and defensive consistency.
What is your opinion on the Diamond/Gardenhire ejections last night? Seems to me it was just one more case of the umpires overstepping their authority. Oswalt clearly beaned Mauer on purpose, regardless of what he said after the game.
Jayson Stark (1:11 PM)
I don't think it's safe to say that Oswalt "clearly" beaned Mauer on purpose. But I still thought it was absurd to eject Diamond. The Rangers sent their message. Then the protocol is to let the Twins send a message back. And then, if things get ugly, any umpire is within his rights to start ejecting people. But that was way too quick a hook, for what was obviously just a message pitch. If he'd hit Hamilton near the head area, it might have been a different story.
What's the chance the Dodgers actually push through a trade to acquire Adrian Gonzalez before the waiver deadline?
Jayson Stark (1:12 PM)
Almost zero. Those types of deals almost never happen in August, unless a team is just looking to dump a gigantic contract. And the Red Sox aren't in that mode. It's too hard to get all the pieces you'd need to complete a deal like that through waivers in August. So I don't see it.
How dangerous is this Giants team? I feel like when they got hot like now a repeat of 2010 is not crazy.
Jayson Stark (1:13 PM)
I actually like this team better than the 2010 team, even without Melky. Deeper lineup. A rotation that is just about as good, despite Lincecum's issues. My worry is more about their bullpen now than their offense. And I never thought I'd say that.
Is the future as bleak for the Phillies as ESPN's new future power rankings makes it out to be (23rd)? I find it hard to believe that ownership will settle for going back to the days of losing.
Jayson Stark (1:16 PM)
Just because they have money and they're motivated to spend what it takes to win doesn't mean they've positioned themselves to do that over the next few years. They've stripped their system of position players to call up. They're locked into a lot of aging players for massive dollars. And that's a dangerous formula. That's really what that ranking reflects. They could still win the division next year if they pitch. But they just don't seem to have the roster or financial flexibility to maneuver through the next few years, unless they get extremely creative.
What happens in the event of a 3 or 4 way tie for the wildcard spots?
Jayson Stark (1:17 PM)
Don't ask! They would have to play off those ties on the Thursday and Friday after the season (which ends on a Wednesday), then play the wild-card game Saturday and start the Division Series on Sunday. So it's far from impossible a team that survived all that would have to play five games in five days in five cities. Crazy!
Ryan (Flagstaff, AZ)
Are the Diamondbacks still looking to move Justin Upton through waivers or in the off-season despite their position in the wild card/division standings?
Jayson Stark (1:18 PM)
That's an offseason move, not an August move. As I said on Adrian Gonzalez, it's too difficult to make a big, franchise-changing trade during this waiver period unless it's just a money dump. And the Diamondbacks, even this winter, will still be in a mode where, if they don't get a big enough return, they'll keep the guy.
Any chance that Peter Angelos sells the Orioles after this season since this is the highest they have been in 15 years?
Jayson Stark (1:19 PM)
I've gotten no indication of that whatsoever.
Jason (St Louis)
How dangerous are the Nats without Strasburg?
Jayson Stark (1:20 PM)
I can think of worse October rotations than Gio/Zimmermann/Jackson/Detwiler. But I still don't think they can win the World Series if Strasburg doesn't pitch. I keep asking this question: If you were going to design a Game 7 pitcher on your drawing board, who would you design -- Strasburg or Edwin Jackson? Any more questions?
What do you make of the Mariners 2nd half and the outlook for 2013? Also, what do you make of King Felix's Cy young chances?
Jayson Stark (1:23 PM)
I still don't see enough offense for this team to be a force. But there's so much potentially dominating pitching coming that this second half has at least given them something to build off of. It's also removed the Ichiro cloud, which would have been a huge offseason firestorm. I think 2014 is more their ETA than 2013. But assuming they sign Felix, which I think they will, this could be the best pitching staff in baseball in two years.
Jayson...is there any LOGICAL explanation for what seems to be a still rampant PED problem in MLB? They have testing...guys get caught and suspended (yes...even Braun got caught)...and still there's an obvious issue.
Jayson Stark (1:26 PM)
This is the world we live in, Harry. Athlets have always looked for any sort of edge, legal or otherwise, that was available to them. And I think they always will. As I wrote the other day, this is just the latest chapter in the battle against chemistry. This synthetic-testosterone wave was fueled by the belief that it wasn't detectable. Now that baseball has nailed and suspended some big names, you'd think guys would turn to something else. But it's always something. The massive drop in offense over the last 5-10 years tells us this is nowhere near what we were watching during the Steroid Era. But it's the belief within the sport that a number of players are still using whatever they think they can get away with.
Are you still not sold on the Reds? They seem to be taking better AB's in the last few months and most of this is without Votto.
Jayson Stark (1:28 PM)
I like the Reds a lot. I'd still like to see more OBP at the top of their order and a little better left/right balance. But this is a good enough rotation and, obviously, a dominant enough bullpen that, once Votto returns, I could easily see this team going to the World Series. So who'd throw out the first pitch before Game 1? Pick your favorite Big Red Machine hero!
Brian (Greensboro, NC)
Do you see the Braves making the playoffs or is another collapse headed their way?
Jayson Stark (1:29 PM)
Absolutely. They're not going to catch the Nationals now. But do you see two teams in the wild-card field that are better, or more balanced, thanthe Braves are? I don't.
Mel (Bay Area)
Do the A's have a chance in winning one of the wildcard spots?
Jayson Stark (1:31 PM)
Of course! If Brett Anderson is as good the rest of the way as he looked the other day, their rotation is still October-worthy. But just recognize that they're headed for the lowest team batting average by any AL team, in a full season, in the DH era. So they'd better pitch!
Does Matt Garza get traded before opening day 2013?
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
Extremely difficult for that to happen now, unless it's a spring-training deal, after he proves he's healthy
Is Mike Trout the AL MVP even if the Angels miss the playoffs?
Jayson Stark (1:33 PM)
He is for me. He's been, far and away, the best player in baseball. And I've never believed the MVP has to come from a team that makes the playoffs, although I am in that school that attaches extra credit if a player's MVP credentials are compiled in the context of games that matter. And every Angels game since Trout arrived has mattered. Right?
Your opinion of dom Brown now that he's back with Phils? Keep producing for rest of year and his prospects for next season? Thanks
Jayson Stark (1:34 PM)
I don't see a star in the making, at least not the kind of player (next Strawberry) he was advertised to be a couple of years ago. But he's clearly been energized by getting back to the big leagues. And he's had very good at-bats. But he looks like more of a complementary player than a cornerstone player to me. Too many questions about power and defense, for now.
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
Hate to go already, but I'm writing and trying to get to the ballpark, so I only have time for one more. Sorry!
Nats, Reds, Giants, Braves, Cardinals if the season ended today. Interesting. How do you see the NL shaking out? Dodgers or Pirates have a chance? Will the Pirates fall short again?
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
I think these are the five teams that make it, because they're the five best teams. I don't see the Dodgers or Pirates collapsing. But I don't see the teams ahead of them collapsing, either, unless there's some sort of major injury. I'd love to see the Pirates make the playoffs. But do I think they're better than the Cardinals, Reds or Braves? Sorry. Just not feeling that.
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
Thanks to everybody who checked in. See you down the road in Chat Land!