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 (1:01 PM)
Well, it's been quite a week, hasn't it? I have a feeling the magic word, "Biogenesis," will pop up once or twice in the next hour. So let's get started.
Do you see players getting suspended this year? WIll legal wranglings bog this down for a while?
Jayson Stark (1:03 PM)
Oh, there will be some wranglings. And there will be some bogging down. But the sense I get is that MLB is determined not to let the process drag out when and if they decide they have enough evidence to suspend. Last year, the Melky Cabrera appeals process lasted about a month and a half. That's the time frame they'd like to see this year. Which means you could have some teams losing players heading down the stretch, probably in early August. And won't that be a fun way to run a pennant race?
If A-Rod, or any player, were suspended would/could any part of their suspension be served concurrently while they?re on the DL? Seems like the Yankees, or any club, would want him to get healthy and in playable shape under their supervision, rather than the player doing without the supervision of their medical and training staff. It wouldn?t seem right for the two to run concurrently. For some reason Manny Rameriz?s suspension in 2009 (?) was reduced from 100 to 50 games for reasons I never completely understood. Do you remember the circumstances or the justification behind it?
Jayson Stark (1:05 PM)
Players can in fact serve their suspensions while they're on the DL. They just wouldn't get paid. I guess, in a way, that's "convenient" for ARod. But he's looking at nothing but no-win situations from here on out to the horizon. In Manny's case, they only agreed to reduce his suspension because, if he hadn't "retired," he already would have served the whole thing. Or something like that!
Hello Jayson, what are your thoughts on the job Sandy Alderson and his staff have done with the Mets? Is the future bright?
Jayson Stark (1:07 PM)
They're definitely putting some high-ceiling pieces in place. But to be honest, they still have a lot of work ahead of them. They just don't have a lot of impact position players on their roster or in their system. I love D'Arnaud. But realistically, they still have to find a way to upgrade about half the positions on the field. Probably more. So as sharp as Sandy is, his job is far from done.
Do you think Braun might get traded in the midst of the PED allegations? The Phillies really could use a new right fielder... just saying!
Jayson Stark (1:09 PM)
You're kidding, right? Ryan Braun isn't going anywhere. Not under these circumstances. Not with his contract. Next question!
Hello Jayson,What do you think of the impending Gerrit Cole call up?
Jayson Stark (1:10 PM)
Can't wait to see him. Kept missing him in spring training. But kept hearing from their players and from scouts who covered the Pirates he was ready three months ago. One of the top five pitching prospects in baseball, and maybe No. 1.
Ed (Queens Village)
Which manager is likely first to get fired?
Jayson Stark (1:11 PM)
To be honest, I don't get the vibe that any manager is in imminent jeopardy of getting fired. Don Mattingly isn't. Ned Yost isn't. Get back to me in a month.
Bill (South Jersey)
If the Phillies finish above 500 but miss the playoffs will Charlie Manual and his staff return for 2014?
Jayson Stark (1:13 PM)
If I were a betting man, I'd bet the Phillies have a new manager next season unless they somehow make the playoffs and make a run once they get there. It just feels like management thinks it's time for a different voice. I get asked a variation of this question every week. Just previously, the variation was whether he was going to get fired before the all-star break. Amazing what a trip up Mount .500 will do for a guy.
PEDs (Cooperstown, NY)
How much impact will possible suspensions have on trade deadline? Do teams play a what if game?
Jayson Stark (1:15 PM)
Of course! But if these potential suspensions and appeals linger into August, which is possible, it creates real issues. Remember, teams aren't informed if one of their players is about to get suspended, if the case is under appeal. So let's just take the situation of Nelson Cruz, simply as an example. I don't know if he's going to get suspended or not. The problem is, neither do the Rangers. So do they trade for an outfield bat just in case? Tough call. And now multiply that by 20 players or so. Wow. Could me a complicated deadline, huh?
Juan (Bogotá- Colombia)
Hey Jayson! It's possible that the Yankees get out of the A-Rod contract? I know that there is a contract sign in the two ways, but men, it's the second time he falls in doping... Do the Yanks could use an argument related with the damage that this man is causing to the name of the franchise? Thanks!
Jayson Stark (1:17 PM)
There's just about a zero-percent chance the Yankees can void that contract. They can't void it just because he gets suspended, assuming he does. The drug agreement is very clear. The penalties are spelled out. Then it specifically says that clubs can impose no further discipline, other than what is contained in the agreement. So they're stuck.
When does the Super Two clock expire?
Jayson Stark (1:19 PM)
I was told it looked as if it would be sometime next week -- anywhere between Monday and Wednesday. You'll know when you see the influx of prospects arrive. If the Pirates start Gerrit Cole on Tuesday, you'll know the magic date was Monday!
So a player can had majority surgery (TJ, knee, shoulder) and expected to be out a year or longer, and his entire suspension is served while he hasn't even started rehab. Do you see this issue be part of the CBA next go around? I always thought suspensions should be: first offense - 81 games, 2nd - 162 games, and 3rd -life ban from game. If the suspensions were stricter, they would be some financial incentive for players not to do it.
Jayson Stark (1:21 PM)
Majority surgery? Are you talking about baseball or the Senate? The drug agreement is separet from the labor agreement. And it's been opened and re-opened before. I suspect, judging from the tone of players this week, that that will happen again. Even players want tougher penalties now. So my guess is, that will happen, maybe as soon as next year, if they can ever agree on the specifics.
Do the salaries of suspended players still count against the luxury tax?
Jayson Stark (1:21 PM)
Yes. So ARod's money counts, if that's what you're getting at. And I suspect it is.
Jayson, HUGE series this weekend. Is it pretty clear that Cardinals-Reds is the best rivalry in baseball right now?
Jayson Stark (1:23 PM)
I don't know that it's the best rivalry in baseball. But I do think the Cardinals and Reds are the two best teams in the National League, and only one of them can win the division and escape the one-game wild-card survival game. So there's tremendous sense of urgency every time these teams play.
Any chance Hosmer or any other Royals for that matter turn it around and have a productive year?
Jayson Stark (1:25 PM)
You should really be asking George Brett, not me. The regression of all these young players is one of the great mysteries in the sport. I've talked to a number of people who watched Hosmer and all these players in the minor leagues. And they continue to believe they weren't wrong about them. For whatever reason, they've all gotten worse when they reached the big leagues. Maybe George Brett's voice is just what they need. If not, everyone there could be in trouble.
Martin (New York, NY)
Do you think we'll see Derek Jeter back this year?
Jayson Stark (1:26 PM)
No reason to think we won't. It's a broken bone. It heals. He just has to be careful not to overdo it. That's tough for a guy like Derek to process, but after what happened in spring training, I think he got that memo.
Re: Super Two clock. Why isn't it a solid date and one known to all? Like the trade deadline and such.
Jayson Stark (1:28 PM)
Because it's a percentage, not a fixed number or date. Only a set percentage of players qualify as "Super-2's" so it depends on who else gets called up and when. We actually thought the date would hit later this year, but we've had a surprising number of call-ups early this season of young players who will now wind up getting an extra year of arbitration if they can just stay in the big leagues.
Paul (Madison, WI)
What team has both best record and has scored most runs in AL since June 1, 2012-- now a period of almost 170 games??? And the follow-up-- why did some many people assume they were a fluke last year and would not contend in 2013? Beane-envy???
Jayson Stark (1:30 PM)
You didn't have to tell me the answer. I knew it was the A's. The best-kept secret in baseball. A ton of pitching depth. And the most underrated offense in baseball, even if it's one that gets pieced together differently every day.
Jayson, some quick thoughts on the Cubs selection of Kris Bryant yesterday?
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
I loved that pick. I don't do much draft coverage anymore. But everybody I talked to raved about Kris Bryant as being by far the most advanced and most predictable bat in the draft. These are the kinds of players that are now hardest to find in this draft. So I liked the decision not to take an arm there when a bat like this was on the board.
NL Rookie of the Year: Shelby Miller or Evan Gattis? Who ya got and why?
Jayson Stark (1:34 PM)
And don't forget Ryu. This is an impossible call. But right now, I'd take Gattis, because A) I tend to lean toward position players when everything else is pretty much equal and B) I'm a sucker for his amazing story. Sorry. Can't help it! But there are no wrong answers in this discussion.
Seth (Reading, PA)
Who do you see as the most underrated team in baseball right now?
Jayson Stark (1:36 PM)
It's either the A's or the Pirates. No one ever talks about the A's. And all they do is win. And no one ever talks about the Pirates pitching when they discuss the best staffs. But the hitters they've faced are hitting .225 against them. That's incredible. And Gerrit Cole is on the way!
Will the Chicago Cubs sign Robinson Cano next year?
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
C'mon. The Yankees are going to sign Robinson Cano next year. You know it. I know it. The Yankees know it. And Jay-Z knows it.
What are your thoughts on Max Scherzer? Has he developed in to a top 10 pitcher or just lucky right now? Think the tigers would try to hold on to him or trade him off next summer?
Jayson Stark (1:39 PM)
Lucky? He led the league in strikeout ratio last year. And his rate is even higher this year. That ain't luck. That's pure, unhittable stuff. He loves it there, but I don't see how they keep him. If they extend Cabrera, which I expect, they'd have $80 million committed to three players (Cabrera, Prince and Verlander). So there's just about no way they could pay Scherzer the kind of money he'd be looking for.
Giancarlo for Wheeler and D'Arnaud, who says no?
Jayson Stark (1:40 PM)
Uh, the Mets would say no. Probably couldn't say no fast enough, to be honest.
Does it make sense for a team with a deep farm system (Pirates, Twins, Cardinals) to sacrifice the depth and make a run at Stanton?
Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
I've gotten no indication that Stanton is going to be traded in midseason. I think he's an offseason attraction. So this talk has gotten way out of control.
Dominque Brown (Philadelphia!)
Jayson---which Dom Brown is the real D-Brown? The one who has a counter for how long its been since he hit a HR or the guy who frustrated us?
Jayson Stark (1:44 PM)
Well, obviously, he's not quite this guy. He's not going to hit nine homers in 10 games for the rest of the year. The league is going to adjust. And the Marlins actually had some success with him this week feeding him slow stuff low and away. But I also think the light bulb has turned on for this guy. He has a setup now that enables him to use his great hand-eye coordination and his improved understanding of what His Pitch is to be an impact bat. So he's going to be a productive player, unless he slips back into his old bad habits.
please turn on auto update!!!
Jayson Stark (1:45 PM)
I'm told it's on. If you set it for "on," just hit refresh and it should come up.
So, the Orioles aren't one of the more underrated team sin baseball? They play in the AL East for crying out loud. They made the playoffs in that division last year and are holding their own again. If they played in any of the other diviosns (maybe not the NL Central), they would have a better record than they already do. Give them some credit please. If they find any pitching, and I many any, they win the AL East this year.
Jayson Stark (1:46 PM)
Settle down! I've said a thousand times, dating back to spring training, that the Orioles are better than people think. How many "underrated" teams do I have to list in one chat answer? They're not a surprise, or underrated, to me. Can't speak for the masses.
Aaron (Jefferson City)
When is Scherzer a free agent? Could the Indians look at him?
Jayson Stark (1:48 PM)
He has this season and next. Then he'd hit the market. He'll be a very popular guy when he does. But it's a little too soon to handicap the field.
Seth (Reading, PA)
If Cliff Lee were to be traded, what would the deal look like? Phillies eating alot of money and getting a few prospects? Phillies not eating money but not getting much back?
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
I don't think there's a great chance he'll get traded, for all kinds of reasons. But the biggest misconception out there is that the Phillies can move all his money and still get the kind of package back that would remake their whole franchise. It's usually one or the other.
AJ Burnett 2014: Retired, Pirates, or another team?
Jayson Stark (1:50 PM)
Another team. Talked about him in Rumblings today. He's leading the league in strikeouts and strikeout ratio. So let's just say he's employable. He just isn't affordable in Pittsburgh once the Yankees stop subsidizing half his paycheck.
What's wrong with the Nats? Overrated, injuries, or nothing?
Jayson Stark (1:52 PM)
Combination of injuries and, to a minor extent, expectations. They've had a tough time getting their real team on the field. So they've been offensively challenged way beyond what we ever expected, especially since Bryce Harper got hurt. But all their injured guys are coming back at some point. So I refuse to believe that so many people in spring training could have looked at them as the best team in baseball and been so wrong. There's a better team in there than we've seen so far. So I still expect them to make a run.
Bud Norris is one of the Astros that makes any money. If he were traded what kind of package could they get in return.
Jayson Stark (1:53 PM)
What I've heard is that they want quantity and quality - something along the lines of three players they believe will play in the big leagues. I think that's realistic, considering what looks like a very limited market for starters this July.
Here is a quote from AJ: a??I enjoy it here and I enjoy these guys,a?ý Burnett said. a??If I was to keep playing, I wouldn't want it to be anywhere else but Pittsburgh. My wife and I talk about it now and then. But it's something I've got to put on the back burner. I'm just going to concentrate on this season, one start at a time.
Jayson Stark (1:55 PM)
Those quotes are great. But . . . much as he might love it, how much of a discount does he want to give them? He's used to making $16.5 million a year. Why, the way he's pitching, would he take a cut, or a shorter deal than he could get on the market, to stay? I'm not saying he's not sincere. I'm just saying that when it comes time to do business, I can't see how they can pay him what he's worth (still).
Who's got the worst looking swing but still gets results? I vote Teixeira.
Jayson Stark (1:56 PM)
That's easy. Hunter Pence. Once heard somebody say he has the ugliest swing since Charles Barkley.
Do you think the D-backs have enough to win the division?
Jayson Stark (1:57 PM)
I do. Lots and lots and lots of pitching there. And not a powerhouse division. I expect the Giants to get their act together at some point. But there's an easy case to be made they aren't better than Arizona unless their pitching gets a lot better.
Hi Jayson, Regarding Cano, do you think it makes sense to pay $20MM plus for a guy who has only hit 30 HRs once and 100 RBIs twice? How would that impact future salaries overall? thanks
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
Not sure if you read Rumblings. But it's not hard to find teams out there who wouldn't pay that kind of money to Cano, talented as he may be. The Yankees have to view him differently, though, I think. He's their guy. And once Jeter and Rivera go, he's the face of their franchise. So how does he not stay there? Can't see him leaving unless he gets greedy. They won't do another ARod deal. And he has to know that.
Jayson Stark (2:00 PM)
Hate when this happens, but I only have time for one more.
Have you caught "Puig Fever" yet?
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
Of course! Who hasn't? Amazing how, in one week, he's become must-see viewing. His talent just explodes off the field, and the flat screen, at you. Can't wait to see what he does next. And I get the feeling his teammates feel the same way.
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
Thanks to everyone who checked in. And thanks for keeping the Biogenesis talk to a minimum. See you down the road in Chat Land.