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 1 p.m. ET!
Jayson Stark (1:02 PM)
Happy All Star break! Well, almost. I've got my midseason-awards column up on the site. And while I'm pretty sure you all agree with every pick, feel free to let me know which players I should have picked! OK, let's get started.
Mike (Washington DC)
Ubaldo Jimenez wins the Cy Yuk, Chris Davis gets an honorable mention for LVP (both justified), but not even an honorable mention for Buck Showalter for AL Manager? To add insult to injury, you give a nod to Joe Girardi?!?!? Why no love for the miracle worker in Baltimore?
Jayson Stark (1:04 PM)
I've awarded Buck more manager-of-the-year awards than anyone in America. But this was really a tough one. There were a half-dozen names on my list. I could only put down three. Sorry if that Joe Girardi nomination upsets you. But look at their expected record versus their actual record, factor in all the pitchers who have gone down and make an argument he doesn't deserve to be in the top three. I couldn't.
Colby Lewis deserves some AL Cy Yuk consideration or at least a shout-out after last night's showing right?
Jayson Stark (1:05 PM)
He deserved a tweet at least! Third pitcher in the last 37 seasons to give up at least 13 hits and 13 runs in the same game. Hard to do.
John K (CA)
I understand how awful D. Brown has been, (I'm a Phillies fan) but how can Uggla not be NL LVP? Even worse stats (.472 vs. .599 OPS) than Brown, plus he's being paid over 20 times more money.
Jayson Stark (1:06 PM)
LVP isn't the same as a Worst Numbers award. After last year, didn't we see Uggla's season coming? Domonic Brown made the all-star team last year. And his decline symbolizes the fall of that franchise. That was my logic anyway.
If you're Tanaka, do you just get the TJ out of the way now and save some of the 2015 season or do you wait and potentially lose all of it? Obviously you don't want to rush into surgery (especially on the arm that gets you paid) but isn't that the likely outcome anyway?
Jayson Stark (1:08 PM)
This is the new logic out there. Once upon a time, pitchers with partially torn UCLs tried rehabbing them with much more regularity. But nowadays, there's so much pressure to just "get the TJ out of the way" that a lot of pitchers get it whether they need it or not. Ervin Santana once had a partially torn UCL. He never had Tommy John. And he's still going. It can happen. I kid you not!
Plus, the Braves aren't running Uggla out there every day like Domonic Brown...
Jayson Stark (1:09 PM)
Exactly! Another good point, Doug.
Gavin (Virginia) [via mobile]
Are the Yankees targeting any major pitchers at the deadline?
Jayson Stark (1:11 PM)
My impression is that they're in on everybody, but they don't have the prospect stash to make a monster deal. So they'd take on somebody's salary dump, or deal for another guy in the Brandon McCarthy tier. But I can't see them pulling off a trade for a Cole Hamels, David Price kind of guy -- and maybe not even a Cliff Lee deal unless the Phillies just want to unload the contract. (But it doesn't appear that's their M.O. right now.)
Clayton Kershaw : ERAW-LSOWHIP 1.78 11-2 126 0.83 .....IP 96.1Adam Wainwright : ERAW-LSOWHIP 1.7911-41110.92.... IP : 131.0Kershaw has surpassed wainwright in SO'S, ERA & WHIP despite throwing 35 fewer innings. Not to mention a no hitter and 41 scoreless IP. Lets penalize him for throwing fewer innings but has better #'s??
Jayson Stark (1:15 PM)
As I wrote, and as I said on Baseball Tonight last night, I'm in awe of what Kershaw has done. But I'm not "penalizing" him by picking Wainwright. I'm just saying that their numbers are so close, and they've both been so dominating, that for me, it matters that one guy has been out there for a lot more innings than the other guy. And it breaks what is, essentially, a tie -- or a quiz with no wrong answer. If you argue Kershaw, I'd never say you're wrong. We just disagree.
I was surprised to see Verlander not in the sighs of relief for 1/2 AL Cy Yuk. Did he have any real consideration?
Jayson Stark (1:17 PM)
Amazing how many more comments there have been about the Cy Yuks and LVPs than the actual awards! Yeah, I looked at Verlander long and hard. In fact, had there been five names on my list instead of three, he'd have made it. But in a field like this, it took much more relentless and consistent ugliness than what he's given the Tigers. He's interspersed just enough good ones to get off that hook!
So Troy Tulowitzki is the equivalent of Ryan Braun on the road for what it's worth. Somehow, just because his road numbers are worse than his home numbers, it's held against him, but never for players from Texas, (see Beltre SEA or Hamilton LAA)
Jayson Stark (1:19 PM)
This is a topic I've written a lot about. And for the most part, I agree with you. But rarely do you see a Coors Effect that's this extreme. 300 points in slugging and 450 points in OPS is a lot of points, Jeremy. I think Tulo is a fantastic baseball player no matter where he's playing. But his claim to awesomeness this year is based on his Coors numbers almost exclusively. Not sure how I could have ignored that.
Where does Mauer rank in your AL LVP.Him and Bulter basically have the stats and would be way worse if not for a recent 10 game hitting streak, and lets not forget he is being paid 23 million dollars this year.
Jayson Stark (1:21 PM)
One more LVP question! I'd call Mauer's season eminently disappointing. But is it really more LVP-worthy than a DH with three home runs (one of which was hit in a 16-4 blowout last night? I don't think so!
Do the Tigers need to acquire another reliever? It looks like they are back in control of the AL Central. And once you hit the playoffs, you go 4 starters at most, meaning they can bring one of their starters out of the bullpen.
Jayson Stark (1:23 PM)
Even they think they need at least one more reliever. Still not getting any indications they're shopping for another closer. But it wouldn't shock me to see them pursue someone like a Joaquin Benoit who could close if he had to.
nic (New York)
Now that Tanaka is out for six weeks can the yankees compete down the strech and make the playoffs or will they stay like they are right now, stay at 500
Jayson Stark (1:24 PM)
They're 33-40 in games he doesn't pitch. Which is about the same winning percentage as the Mets. They're not good enough offensively (11th in runs, 12th in OBP) to overcome a pitching staff with, essentially, no dependable starters. Are they? So it's really going to be up to Brian Cashman to work his magic. Or it's hard to think this is The Year.
Thoughts on the "neightborhood" play in Monday's Braves-Mets game? Thought that it was a perfect example of what the MLB has clarified should have been an out, but the umps for some reason went against it.
Jayson Stark (1:27 PM)
I'm a big fan of replay. But when they crafted that language excluding the neighborhood play but giving umpires the discretion to review "errant throws" or fielders who weren't "in jeopardy" or being taken out, they were asking for trouble just like this. That was not an "errant throw." So to me, that was just a neighborhood play the umpires decided to dress up in other language so they could review it. That needs to be cleaned up for next year. Obviously.
Jesse (Columbus, OH)
Does St. Louis need to make a move now that Molina has been added to their growing list of injuries?
Jayson Stark (1:29 PM)
I think they need a veteran backup, at least. We threw around John Buck's name, and even Jose Molina's name, last night on BBTN. But face it. No matter whom they trade for, he won't and can't replace Yadi. He's as irreplaceable as any player in baseball. I keep likening it to the Broncos losing Peyton Manning. He's the centerpiece of what they do and who they are.
Hello Jayson, do you think the Rangers would trade Elvis Andrus since they have some nice infield prospects and because Andrus makes a lot of money?
Jayson Stark (1:30 PM)
I don't think there's any doubt about the fact that they'd listen. The rest depends on how much money they're dumping and/or who's coming back.
I think for the AL rookie of the year you contradicted yourself by giving the award to Abreu. Sure he'll probably win the award when the season is over, but the HALF SEASON rookie of the year has to be Tanaka. Also, why no concideration for miggy in the AL MVP? He's having a better season than josh donaldson.
Jayson Stark (1:34 PM)
The half-season award HAS to go to Tanaka? I'd have said that two weeks ago. Or even a week ago. But his last two starts made this a tougher call. They've both been awesome. And even historically awesome. But for me, Abreu has had a minisculely bigger impact when you add up everything. It's close, though. On Miggy, it kills me not to include him on any MVP list. Nobody admires what he does more than I do. But I already had two Tigers in my top 10. The A's are the best team in baseball. And Josh Donaldson is an impact defender who fills up the stat sheet offensively and deserved a mention. If you just look at pure offensive numbers, you'd take Cabrera. But if you measure everything, Josh Donaldson is a top-10 MVP candidate.
All star Changes I'd like. Tweak the every team must have a representative rule.1) Pick the best team without the rule.2) Then add 1 best player (regardless of position) from every team not represented. Who cares if AL/NL team has slightly different players since your not going that deep in game roster anyway
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
I'm in! If the game "counts," that every-team-needs-an-all-star rule is outdated as currently constituted. I like your idea better. Way to go, Mike.
Agree to disagree. Tulo is playing a harder defensive position at a higher level than Stanton, and his park adjusted offense is better as well. I agree that Stanton is having a truly great year, just not as good as Tulo's
Jayson Stark (1:36 PM)
All my colleagues on Baseball Tonight last night agreed with you, not me. But it's my column! The debates are what make this fun, right?
Was Nelson Cruz seriously considered for your AL-half season MVP? Trout is certainly amazing, but Cruz has really powered the O's from a wild-card caliber team to a serious contender.
Jayson Stark (1:38 PM)
Absolutely. Had him at No. 3 on my imaginary ballot. But if there's any debate about Trout as the AL MVP so far, it's coming from people watching a different sport than I'm watching.
Terence (Crawford, KY)
Do you think the Dodgers will resign Hanley Ramirez?
Jayson Stark (1:40 PM)
I'm getting more and more dubious, to be honest. He wants a monster contract. But he can't stay on the field. And he's a tough guy to commit to defensively at short for the next five to seven years, the way he's playing. I asked an exec of one team that's been monitoring him if he thinks Hanley can play short for the rest of his next contract. He said: "He might be a left fielder. He might be a DH." The Dodgers have to see the same things, don't they?
Paul (Albany, OR)
As a Dodgers fan I am really frustrated by the Kershaw-Wainwright anger of other fans. These are both fantastic pitchers who are sit down and watch the entire game type of guys. I mean, When they allow two runs it RAISES their ERAs. That is ridiculous. Let's enjoy them rather than fight over them.
Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
I don't consider it to be "fighting." I consider it part of the fun of caring about sports -- that we can debate stuff like this on chats, on Twitter and on bar stools, and actually get worked up about it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it, Paul!
Just a call out for the MLB/Players doing the "right" thing in getting Morneau into the HR Derby....this should be one of the unwritten rules applied every year; supply hometown representation in some manner for the Derby...
Jayson Stark (1:43 PM)
I'm with you, Todd. When Justin Morneau gets introduced at that Derby, that's going to be one of the most special moments of All Star Week. Good work by Tulo!
Jayson, with Tanaka's injury, Red Sox going young and Tampa's horrible first half, it looks like AL East is there for the taking. If you're the BJs, do you sell the farm (Sanchez, Norris, Pompey) and young controllable pitching (Stroman and or Hutchinson) to make a run? Seems like everyone is flawed so everyone has a chance this year.
Jayson Stark (1:45 PM)
I'd have thought so three weeks ago. Now, I'm not so sure. Without Encarnacion, Lawrie and Lind, how good can this team possibly be offensively? Yeah, the division is winnable. But I wouldn't blow up the future of the franchise to win this year at this point. I'll say this, though: The Blue Jays are regularly scouting every starting pitcher they view as potentially available, including Price and Hamels. So obviously, they're thinking about it!
Michael Brantley (Cleveland)
How am I NOT an MVP candidate?
Jayson Stark (1:47 PM)
Sure you are, Michael. When I got to the last few names on my MVP list, I had a half-dozen names for three spots. You just missed the cut. But it wasn't because I was unaware of the great season you've had. Thanks for chatting.
Kirk (The TC)
NEWSFLASH: The hometown representation at the Home Run Derby is Brian Dozier, a member of the hometown team. Morneau is a good story, but he's not the only one.
Jayson Stark (1:48 PM)
Of course. But if you don't think Morneau's inclusion had a lot to do with the Minnesota factor, you're missing one of the best plot lines of the week.
Along the same vein of not requiring each team to have all-star game representation if the game "counts", can we please stop with the novelty selections as well. Derek Jeter is a class act, a true leader, and a sure-fire hall of famer - but he should not be a 2014 all-star!
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
Sorry, Lou. Totally disagree with you on that one. I've long advocated a Living Legend spot on the team every year for players like this. But as long as they're ignoring that brilliant selection, there's NEVER anything wrong with putting a player on the all-star team who's had a Hall of Fame career. I'd lean toward a guy like that over someone who's only had three good months any time. Sorry!
Jason is there any way the A's can sign Samardzija to a long term contract or is the more likely outcome Billy Beane trades him in the offseason to recoup some of the prospects he gave up to get him for the rest of this season?
Jayson Stark (1:51 PM)
No and no. I think they knew going in Samardzija was going to get to free agency. So they traded for a season and a half of him, not three months and seeya later.
Jayson, any rumblings the Royals will make a move at the deadline? They need a bat - badly!
Jayson Stark (1:52 PM)
Definitely poking around the outfield bat market. But there isn't much on the shelves in that market. So I know they're shopping. Too soon to say if they'll actually be buying.
You have no problem with Jeter making the team even though a couple of years ago he refused to play in the game so he could rest?
Jayson Stark (1:53 PM)
I did have a problem with that! But the All Star Game is supposed to be a time for saluting players like Derek Jeter. How is that some sort of pock mark on the game or the sport? I don't get the logic.
My humble opinion, MLB needs to pick one: 1) include the Jeter's and have representation from each but the game doesn't count for anything or 2) include the "best" at the position, regardless of team, and the game can have some further consequence.
Jayson Stark (1:55 PM)
On one hand, you're making a great point, Clay. Deciding this game counts toward something meaningful means there are always going to be awkward choices and awkward moments just like this. But let me say this again: Whether the game "counts" or doesn't count, it's no disgrace to allow one of the best shortstops in history to play in it!
How do you think Francona will manage LeBron?
Jayson Stark (1:56 PM)
Easy. Just hit him in front of Lonnie Chisenhall and let him do his thing! If Terry could manage Michael, he can manage LeBron. Oh, wait . . .
You just agreed earlier that you wanted the best team you could put on the field to play. Jeter does not belong with that logic.
Jayson Stark (1:58 PM)
That's not what I said. There's a big difference between "let's put a token Padre on the team" with "let's put a Hall of Fame player on the team."
I don't care how great Jeter's career has been, this game is for the HOMETOWN advantage in the playoffs and he is starting. You wanna throw him in at the end fine, but him starting is terrible. He's been awful defensively and pretty bad offensively.
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
He's having a mediocre year, Mike. I get that. But if the fans elect him, do you want the commissioner to step in and call that a travesty or something? They elected a Hall of Famer. It's OK. Really.
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
Wow. Only have time for one more -- just as the Jeter debate is getting cooking!
That really could be one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. If a game counts, and should have the best players on the field, Jeter should not play. This is why baseball is a dying sport. Focus on the present and future, not the past.
Jayson Stark (2:02 PM)
Seriously? "This is why baseball is a dying sport?" It's a $9-billion industry with record attendance and gigantic local TV revenues. So no other sport has ever allowed a legendary player, at the end of his career, to play in its All Star Game? Ever? C'mon, Jack. Happens all the time. I recognize the problems that ensue when you decide the game should "count." But it will never be an embarrassment to any sport to allow a player like Derek Jeter to play in its All Star Game. Period.
Jayson Stark (2:03 PM)
Sorry to bow out of this fun discussion, but my time's up. Enjoy the all-star festivities, whether you think Derek Jeter should be part of them or not. Seeya down the road in Chat Land.