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 (1:06 PM)
Hey, sorry I'm late. It's a crazy busy time of year. So let's get started.
Mari IL [via mobile]
Are the cubs going to be the biggest sellers this year
Jayson Stark (1:08 PM)
They've already been the biggest sellers. And they're not done. I expect them to trade Kevin Gregg and an outfielder in the next few days. They did a great job of getting out front of the madness and getting deals done. Very intelligently and methodically done.
Jayson Stark (1:09 PM)
Beyond them, it's amazing how few true sellers there really are. The only other teams that are really in active, classic "sell" mode are the White Sox and Brewers, with the Astros and Marlins somewhere in the next tier. The Mets, Padres and Twins are in even less aggressive sell mode. It's a bizarre market.
If A-Rod is banned for life, would that get the Yankees out of his albatross of a contract?
Jayson Stark (1:11 PM)
If he's suspended for life, he wouldn't get paid. So yes. But if you read T.J. Quinn's stories on this carefully -- AND YOU SHOULD!!! -- it sounds as if, while MLB might threaten him with a lifetime ban, it's unlikely he winds up receiving one.
Jayson, which team do you see as the most active buyer and most active seller at the deadline?
Jayson Stark (1:12 PM)
Texas is committed to adding a bat. The Pirates are doing the same. And I expect the Tigers and Braves to add at least one arm. Can't predict much else with certainty on the buyer side. And the most active seller looks like the White Sox from here. I'd be really surprised if they don't move Peavy and Rios at the very least.
Any realistic/probably trade rumblings involving the Indians ?
Jayson Stark (1:14 PM)
About all they're seriously shopping for is a lefthander in the bullpen. Pretty much backed off chasing starters and bats. They're also limited because two of the sellers -- the White Sox and Twins -- are in their division. So they very well may ride it out and see what's out there in August.
Do the Giants move Pence or Lincecum? I know Brian Sabean has been on the radio talking about giving them both qualifying offers this offseason. While that makes sense for Pence, wouldnt that be a little crazy for Lincecum? Is there anyone else out there that would commit that kind of money to him, even on a two year deal?
Jayson Stark (1:15 PM)
I see a lot of speculation about those guys. But I don't see it. Teams that have talked to them think the Giants only end up doing some minor selling if they do any at all -- a Javier Lopez kind of deal, if any thing. I'd be surprised if they do any major unloading unless they get blown away.
Jayson, any rumblings out there that the Sox might be willing to move Chris Sale in a big deal?
Jayson Stark (1:17 PM)
Somebody asked me about that today, in fact, on the premise that some team will have an opportunity to put a pitcher like that out there in a grim market and get a big return. But I don't see any signs that it will be this team and this pitcher. You never know, but ...
Jayson, what do you think the pirates will do at the trade deadline?
Jayson Stark (1:20 PM)
They're going to add some sort of bat. But as I mentioned in Rumblings today, I'm not sure they're as high on Alex Rios as they've been made out to be. And I don't get the sense they're as committed to trading for an outfielder or a right-handed hitter as they've been made out to be. What they want is a bat to plug in the middle of their order. He could hit left or right, or play first or the outfield. A name I heard the other day who could be interesting: Justin Morneau.
Voiding contracts is the ONLY way to get PED's out for good, but of course the union has to agree to this. If the MLBPA is serious about this issue, they need to get this done yesterday. Have you heard if the union will consider it?
Jayson Stark (1:21 PM)
I wrote about this topic in today's Rumblings & Grumblings. You should go read the whole discussion (of course), but the gist of it is, you have more players pushing for that sort of thing than ever. On the other hand, I don't see any way they ever get there on the first offense. A second offense isn't out of the question, though.
Who are some shortstops that the Cards could potentially target?
Jayson Stark (1:23 PM)
There's almost no one out there, to be honest. Alexei Ramirez is available for a big price. I've heard some speculation that the Angels could dangle Erick Aybar, but I haven't gotten any indications they'd go that route yet. If the Phillies go into active selling, I'm sure they'd listen on Jimmy Rollins. But that's unlikely on both ends.
Jayson, Frank Wren always seems to pull a move for someone that no one is talking about. Who else do you think could be available besides the names that keep popping up (ie: Peavy, Gallardo, Norris, etc)?
Jayson Stark (1:25 PM)
You're definitely thinking the way they're thinking. I don't see them dealing a big return for any of the more visible names. I hear they're looking to do a deal similar to the Paul Maholm trade of last year. Just to pull a name out of the blue, Kevin Correia? But that is TOTAL speculation on my part. He just fits their mold.
Are the yankees going to try to trade any of their pitchers
Jayson Stark (1:27 PM)
They've definitely let teams know Phil Hughes was available. But contrary to the talk that nobody wants him, the issue is that they've tried to get a real return for him, as opposed to a take-him-off-our-hands type return. I don't see that changing unless some other starter drops into their lap.
Do you see a market for Danny Espinosa?
Jayson Stark (1:28 PM)
I've asked about him. I was told they don't want to trade him. So there's a market, but not a motivation to move him.
Hello Jayson,you see the Dodgers making any more moves? We have deep pockets and potentially could use another arm in the pen or rotation (no more Capuano please!). What do you think of Zach Lee?
Jayson Stark (1:29 PM)
They're far from done. Seem to be monitoring the starting-pitcher market, definitely shopping for right-handed relief and kicking the tires on bats off the bench. Probably in that order.
Will the Phillies "blow it up"?
Jayson Stark (1:31 PM)
Nope. Ruben Amaro has been pretty clear on that. Hasn't he? Sounds like they're not making any decisions until this road trip is over. But teams they've spoken with -- and I've talked to a bunch -- say they've been focused on adding controllable bullpen arms and outfielders, and positioning themselves to contend for next year, but trying not to give up on this year. Then again, three more ugly losses this weekend could change everything.
I know what you said about Hunter Pence earlier, but isnt he a perfect fit for the Pirates? He is a RF who hits right handed, is not committed to a long term contract, has postseason experience, the Giants are not looking to dump salary and the Pirates have prospects to spare. This seems like a perfect fit for both teams.
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
He's not a perfect fit if his team doesn't want to trade him. I actually expect them to re-sign him, not deal him.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Which LA team is more likely to make playoffs, Angels or Dodgers?
Jayson Stark (1:33 PM)
Is that a trick question? The Dodgers are in first place, and still haven't gotten healthy. The Angels are 10 games out. If you think the answer is the Angels, I'd love to hear that logic. The Angels are even in a difficult position to maneuver in this trade market either way. Locked into a lot of players.
Tim Irvin (Downey, CA)
Jayson, has the Phillies slow start after the All-Star break turned them into sellers? If so the Dodgers have operators standing by to receive their calls...
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
Just addressed this on the Phillies' end. And I actually don't think they match up that well with the Dodgers. I don't get the sense the Dodgers see Michael Young being as good a fit as people in Philadelphia seem to believe. Juan Uribe has actually played great at third. And they're so hot, I don't think they want to mess with a good thing -- for now, anyway.
I don't get the rationale of Ruben waiting until after the road trip to make decisions unless he WANTS to blow things up. You're playing tough opponents and key guys keep getting hurt, so if you're going to improve your team why not do it today vs. Monday or Tuesday?
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
Because there's no reason to decide to sell today and then find yourself, say, 5 games out in three days. They've positioned themselves to sell or buy or anything in between. They know who's interested in what if they decide to sell. This is exactly how they handled it last year and got two major deals done.
Jayson, how much interest is there for the two other incumbent Cubs OFs...DeJesus in Schieroltz? Would either of then net anything of value?
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
I expect them to trade one of them. And since DeJesus just came back, I would think Schierholtz is more likely. Just depends on the offers, but they have plenty of interest in him.
Is there a reason Ryan Braun hasn't been mentioned in this chat yet?
Jayson Stark (1:38 PM)
And your question about him is . . . ? We talked about voiding contracts. Haven't been asked a specific question about him by anyone, that I've noticed.
Jayson, how much of the change in the players attidtudes towards others who use PEDs is a change in the leadership of the union (Fehr v. Weiner) as opposed to the clean players finally stepping up to say enough is enough?
Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
I think it's a product of both. The players have evolved on this. And one reason is that this regime seems to do more listening than the union's previous regime. Because players know it's OK to speak their mind, they do. And they can feel the tide shifting around them, so they've made that apparent, as well. But the biggest development is that Michael Weiner and the leadership group around him believe their job is to listen and take positions the players want them to take. It hasn't always been quite that open-ended in the past.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Can you see the Met's front office dealing Bobby Parnell to a closer hungry team regardless of how well they have played of late?
Jayson Stark (1:42 PM)
I think they should. I don't think they will. Talked to an executive of one team today who said he can't understand why the Mets won't trade Parnell and the Twins won't trade Glen Perkins in this environment. They'd definitely get pieces with more long-term value than a good, but not Mariano-esque, closer.
Andrew (Thousand Oaks, CA)
Where do the Rangers-White Sox talks on Alex Rios stand? As a Texas fan, I would rather have Kendrys Morales, but I understand how that may be more difficult to pull off.
Jayson Stark (1:45 PM)
I don't believe in doing play-by-play of these talks, but what I hear is that the White Sox don't want to eat any of Rios' money. And they want two good to very good young players back. The Rangers always wait as long as they can wait in situations like this, especially if they believe there might be a more affordable alternative. But at this point, I don't expect the Mariners to sell Morales or anyone else. They'd really have to shift gears, compared to the stance they've taken up till now.
the middle infield seems like a big unknown for the Tigers, with Infante's injury and Perralta's name amongst the rumored PED users. Are the Tigers worried about this and considering trades, both this year and next off season?
Jayson Stark (1:46 PM)
Absolutely. You know David Dombrowski prepares himself for everything. But as I said, there's very little out there at shortstop. They're not going to make a trade with the White Sox. So if they can't get Erick Aybar, Brendan Ryan (whose name I forgot to mention earlier) might be their only alternative.
The Jays season has brought to mind one of my favourite John Cleese quotes: "It's not the despair...I can handle the despair. It's the hope I can't stand!"If you were Anthopoulous, what would your plan be? Major changes, or hope that the same core can turn it around for 2014?
Jayson Stark (1:48 PM)
They seem to be in a position where pretty much their only choice is to retool around this nucleus. They have so much invested, in both dollars and the prospects they dealt, that they don't have much alternative. I don't see them doing any major selling or buying before this deadline, even though they talk about all sorts of moves.
Doesn't MLB have aresponsibility to teams that may be effected (Texas & Detroit especially)to hand down suspensions before the trade deadline since guys like Peralta
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
It's tougher to do that, with an investigation of this type, than it might seem. But trust me. Both teams are aware of what might be about to go down, and they're trying to protect themselves.
Walt Jocketty (Reds GM) went on record saying there are only a few players of interest to him. any ideas who they may be?
Jayson Stark (1:51 PM)
They've only poked around the edges of the outfield-bat and set-up bullpen market, but not very aggressively. They can't take on significant money. And they want to protect their prospects. So I don't see them making a headline deal. But if you asked me to pick one guy who makes sense for them, I'd say Luke Gregerson. Right role. Right dollars. And a team they've dealt with in the past.
Aaron (Leesburg, BA)
What's the deal with Verlander? Are his current woes more serious than he, and others believe?
Jayson Stark (1:53 PM)
Talked to a scout yesterday who thought he threw better than his line looked. Had trouble getting on the same page with Brayan Pena. And made an incredible number of mistakes with his offspeed stuff. I hear a lot of talk about his velocity being down. But he hit 99 on the gun yesterday. So this is a real mystery.
Is there any chance the suspensions do not come down before the end of the season? I would have to imagine MLB would want to get this over with this year and not have it carry into and through the entire offseason.
Jayson Stark (1:54 PM)
No. It sounds like they're coming any time now. But the guys who appeal won't have to serve their suspensions before the end of the year. There isn't enough time for that. The question is how many of these players will appeal? Sounds like there are a lot of deals in the works, similar to what Ryan Braun struck.
Marc (Sacramento, CA)
Back to your Giants response. Wouldn't it make better sense for the Giants to make the qualifying offers to Pence and Lincecum instead of trading them for prospect due to the fact that if Pence and Lincecum do leave via FA, they get draft pick compensation most likely between the first and second round, which most times translate to a top prospect. So less the Giants are truly blown away by a teams offer which includes a top prospect, I see no chance the Giants move Pence or Lincecum. Is that the sense you're getting??
Jayson Stark (1:54 PM)
Mark (please) (NYC )
Jayson, regarding the red sox; wouldn't it make more sense, from both a defensive and offensive standpoint, to put Iglesias at his natural position of SS (where, he already is arguably a top 2-3 defensive talent), and either call up Boegards/Middlebrooks to play 3rd base? I watch 90% of their games, and Drew has been such a rally-killer with ill-timed outs. By doing this, you'd strengthen the entire left side of the Defense. Am I wrong on this?Thanks.
Jayson Stark (1:56 PM)
Settle down, Mark! They've kicked around variations of this idea, if that makes you feel better. But too many balls in the air right now to know exactly what they'll look like in a week, on many fronts.
More than the way the Phillies have played, I would think the injuries would give Ruben an excuse to sell without giving the impression that he's throwing in the towel. I think I may be the only person who thinks he should deal Lee, who's the only player on the team who will bring back at least one blue chip prospect. Agree?
Jayson Stark (1:58 PM)
I don't think they're looking for an "excuse" to sell. I think they're trying to figure out how to get good next year without giving up on this year in a division where the Braves are just inviting somebody to catch them. But if they're 10 or 11 out in three days, that removes the can't-give-up restriction. That's all. People tend to oversimplify the whole buyer/seller thing. There's very little buying and selling going on right now in the classic sense.
How is MLB going to suspend guys like Cabrera and Colon who already served suspensions for their failed tests related to Biogeneisis?
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
Don't assume they will. They would have to prove their Biogenisis connection was unrelated to their suspension. Not sure they will or can. But of course, I haven't seen the evidence. Just advising people not to assume anything.
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
Wow. The hour has flown by. I can only take one more.
So Nelson cruz gets suspended...appeals...then hits a walk off HR in a wild card game vs the Red Sox...then gets suspended later. They need to get these players now and handle appeals quickly. It's not fair that these guys are still playing while Braun gets off so easy with his team not being in a race.
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
I understand where you're coming from. But it's impossible for an investigation like this to be completely "fair" to everyone. It's Cruz's call whether to appeal or not. My guess is that he won't, that he'll take his suspension ASAP so it doesn't drag into the offseason. But there are going to be some situations where not all teams are affected equally. With such a broad case and so many names, that's unavoidable. Isn't it?
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
Thanks to everyone who checked in. Great questions this week. Have a good trading deadline. See you down the road in Chat Land.