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.
His latest book, "Wild Pitches" examines the "why" behind baseball's winners and losers to give fans a rare look inside the game. He tries to answer questions like, how do high-priced contracts impact a team's ability to compete for a title? How do sabermetrics play a role?
Send your questions now and join Stark Friday at 12:30 p.m. ET!
Jayson Stark (12:30 PM)
Hello, Chat Nation. I've only got a half-hour to chat today. So I'm ready if you are!
Your trivia questions on Mike and Mike are the best! What is your prediction for where Jeff Samardzija will get traded?
Jayson Stark (12:31 PM)
I hope you get all those trivia questions right, Joe! I think it's way too soon to start predicting where Samardzija goes because the Cubs are taking their time on this one. As I wrote in Rumblings and Grumblings yesterday, though, they have a chance to do something with Samardzija that the Rays can't do with David Price: Trade him to one of the AL East teams. So it wouldn't be out of the question to see them stoke a bidding war among the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles and Jays.
Dean (Indiana) [via mobile]
Even after giving Homer Bailey his extension, do you think the Reds would rather try trading him than Leake, Cueto, or Latos?
Jayson Stark (12:33 PM)
You don't give a guy a $105-million extension in February and then turn around and trade him five months later. I don't see the Reds trading away any of those four any time soon.
Your trade column barely mentioned the Orioles, are you expecting them to stand pat this year?
Jayson Stark (12:34 PM)
I think they're still figuring out their approach. A month ago, I think it would have been safe to predict they'd look for a top-of-the-rotation starter. But Kevin Gausman might change that equation. They're having enough trouble trying to figure out who to take out of the rotation so they can keep him in it.
Got Wild Pitches for Fathers Day and can't put it down! Taking Utley and such out of consideration what is the trade value for Papelbon? Mayberry? Any other Phillies?
Jayson Stark (12:37 PM)
Have I mentioned that heaping praise on my book will help you get posted? If the Phillies deal Papelbon, I expect it to be mostly to get out from under his contract. Mayberry is an interesting name, because one minute they were marketing him heavily with very little interest. The next, he was their best outfielder besides Marlon Byrd. The guy I think they'll look to move is Domonic Brown, for some other change-of-scenery type player. I sense building frustration with him on many levels.
With the Royals pulling 3 out of 4 from Detroit on the road, do you think that changes the stats on who might win the central division?
Jayson Stark (12:40 PM)
It obviously changes their playoff odds dramatically. According to our Stats and Info people, their odds of winning the division went from 7 percent to 28 percent during their winning streak. I think we know the Royals' pitching is for real. The bigger question is whether this is how they're going to hit the rest of the year. If it is, I think they'll win the Central, because the Tigers are more flawed than they've been in years.
Max (Chicago) [via mobile]
What's the best way to approach trying to move 2 quality pitchers (samardzija and hammel)? I know the cubs are trying to move the lesser commodity a few weeks before (similar to last year), but is that the best approach?
Jayson Stark (12:42 PM)
Absolutely. Get Hammel out of the way because he'll only have modest value any time you trade him, and maybe you can get more if he's the first arm dealt. Then let the bidding-war dynamics take over on Samardzija. Worked well last year. Why not try it again?
With the inconsistency of most relievers year to year (and although they are currently in 1st place) do you see the Royals trying to get another contending team looking for a closer to overpay for Wade Davis?
Jayson Stark (12:44 PM)
Not in July. They're going for it. It means more to that franchise to even make the Wild Card Game than to any other team in baseball. In the offseason, I could see them entertaining offers for Greg Holland or possibly Davis. But certainly not now.
Wahoobudd (Omaha, NE)
Regarding the Cubs, not to keep on them (but they are the sellers with talent to move - - sorry Padres), the Garza trade has looked better and better as time goes on. Does that cause the Cubs to possibly get to greedy with Samardzija? The whole, well Samardzija is better than Garza, we should get more, thought process scares me as a Cub fine. Sign him or get value. Don't get caught in the middle.
Jayson Stark (12:45 PM)
I expect them to do really well on Samardzija, to be honest. He's going to earn half of what Price will make over the next year and a half. And the whole AL East could be in play for him. So I don't think they're taking the position that he's "better than Garza" so they need more back. I think they'd be happy with something similar. In the end, they'll take the best deal out there.
Hey Jayson. It's widely assumed the Tigers will be looking for bullpen help at the deadline, but do you think it's more likely they look for a closer or middle reliever? Also who are some possible names to look for?
Jayson Stark (12:48 PM)
Joe Nathan's outing yesterday should calm down that closer talk. If Nathan reverts and implodes over the next few weeks, anything is possible. But Plan A is for him to get his act together and they build depth around him. One thing I haven't seen any signs of is Detroit shopping for a shortstop, by the way. Bullpen is their big priority.
Hey Jayson, do you think the Rangers will ultimately wind up sellers this trade season?
Jayson Stark (12:50 PM)
Right now, they're just riding it out. Won't make any decisions until mid-July. They've done an amazing job of hanging around .500 with all these injuries. If they're still in the wild-card race, I don't think they'll be either big sellers or buyers. If they drop out of both races, they could be a very interesting seller.
Alex (Wethersfield) [via mobile]
The Red Sox have plenty of depth to trade for an impact bat but there doesn't seem to be any available. Do you see anybody becoming available in the next month should the Red Sox be buyers?
Jayson Stark (12:52 PM)
Really depends on who's selling in a month. Right now, there's almost no one on the horizon who really meets that "impact bat" description. If this everyone's-at-.500 logjam continues, it won't be a very interesting July. I still think one team to watch is the Dodgers. They could buy and sell at the same time if they get the right offer for Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier.
Dave (Healdsburg, CA)
I mildly disagree with you on whether the Rays would trade Price to an AL East team. They're smart enough to get the best package offered and Price can always go there as a free agent in another year.
Jayson Stark (12:54 PM)
Maybe if they were trading him to a team like Toronto, where they could almost be sure he wouldn't sign long-term, I could see it. But do you really think they want to have to face him eight or nine times in the next year and a half? I don't. It would take the deal of the century to motivate them to deal him within the division. Remember, their M.O. is going to be to try to win next year no matter how this year turns out. And they won't want him standing in the way of that.
Jeff (Ft. Wayne)
Jayson, who you taking? Wood's 20k 1 hitter or Kershaw's 15k no-hitter?
Jayson Stark (12:56 PM)
Boy, you're trying to get me in trouble, Jeff. Are we talking Best Pitching Performance or Most Exciting to Watch? For sheer drama, no-hitters always win, because the drama builds, inning by inning, from about the fifth on. But for sheer dominance, I don't know that it would be possible to be more dominant than Kerry Wood was that day, no matter what the Hit column might have said.
Mike (Ashland, OH)
Which direction do you see the Pirates going as the deadline approaches? The offense has been good since May 1 and should get even better with Polanco arrived, but the pitching has been generally a disappointment.
Jayson Stark (12:58 PM)
I'm with you, Mike. I think they're more focused on pitching, too. Vance Worley and Jeff Locke could help determine whether they think they need a starter. But Jason Grilli's issues have to make them think long and hard about a bullpen upgrade.
do you see the braves making an even bigger push for price/samardzija?
Jayson Stark (12:59 PM)
Sounds like they're scouting all potential rotation upgrades. Whether they can deal for one is another story. But people around the Cubs and Rays say they've been watching both of those guys carefully.
Jayson Stark (12:59 PM)
Hate to announce this. But I only have time for one more. Sorry!
Brad (Villanova, PA)
Winning eight of 10 surely has to complicate the Phillies' deadline strategy? Could they ultimately be both a buyer and seller?
Jayson Stark (1:02 PM)
I think that would be their approach even if they're mostly selling. They're not into a drastic rebuilding plan, no matter how they play over the next month. If they sell, they'll target young players who are already in the big leagues or just about to reach the big leagues. In the meantime, eight out of 10 mostly just means they won't be making decisions on any of this for a while. But realistically, this isn't a win-the-World Series team no matter how they've played over the last week and a half. I think they know that, too. But they need to let this team play it out for a while at this point.
Jayson Stark (1:02 PM)
Thanks for all the excellent questions. Feels like it's deadline time already, and we have six weeks to go! See you down the road in Chat Land.