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 (1:01 PM)
Everybody recovered from the all-star madness? Me, too! We've got a lot to talk about, looking back and looking forward. So let's get started.
Eric (Villanova, PA)
We are just under two weeks out from the deadline, what is your expectation with the Phillies and their selling?
Jayson Stark (1:03 PM)
Theoretically, they could make a ton of deals. Realistically, I think they'll make two. I think Marlon Byrd gets dealt and at least one of the relievers -- Papelbon or Bastardo, or possibly both. They're listening on Cole Hamels, but it's unlikely they get what they're asking. They'd love to move Lee, but that can't be before August, because of health concerns. I don't see Rollins or Utley moving. So I'll bet they trade Byrd and Papelbon.
Street, Benoit, Denorfia, Kennedy, Quentin................who gets moved from the Padres and who brings back the most in return?
Jayson Stark (1:06 PM)
The Padres are in such a strange position, trying to make these deals without a GM. It's so hard for them to do anything creative, or with any long-term vision, because the people making these decisions aren't part of that long-term vision. So ordinarily, I think they'd move Ian Kennedy for a nice return. But given where they are, that might be impossible. Not much interest in Quentin. A little in Denorfia. So their biggest deal would be for one of the relievers. Street should bring them back more than Benoit, so I'll cast my vote for him.
Tyler Smith (Atlanta, Ga)
How is Dan Uggla still on a MLB roster?
Jayson Stark (1:08 PM)
What an odd situation. It's really hard to remember anything like this, where you have a player who's miserable and unproductive, a coaching staff that's obviously uncomfortable still having him on the team, a suspension for tardiness (and other stuff) hanging over them both, and no indication management wants to eat the money and move on. That's how it has to end sometime. Can't understand why that time isn't now.
Eli (KY) [via mobile]
What big names could possibly, or will be traded? And what deadline deal will make the biggest impact on a playoff race?
Jayson Stark (1:11 PM)
This is not going to be a "big-name" bonanza. David Price towers over the group. Cole Hamels is a name I think we'll be talking about but not one that moves. You have a million relievers, headlined by Street, Papelbon and Soria. And a really mediocre crop of bats. Byrd. Willingham. Headley. Doesn't look like any "bigger names" than that will realistically get traded. But things can change as we get closer. So don't touch that cursor!
Jolly Jim Hamperstatch (Iowa)
Mookie Betts, Henry Owens, and Deven Marrero for Giancarlo Stanton - which team says "NO"?
Jayson Stark (1:12 PM)
Marlins. Not even thinking about moving Stanton until they can establish this winter whether he's signable to a long-term deal. So ignore all Stanton rumors you hear, for now at least. OK?
Jack( Texas) [via mobile]
Can we expect to see Joey Gallo as a September call up? Especially since this a lost season for us.
Jayson Stark (1:14 PM)
That's a tough call. Remember, he just got to double-A last month. I don't see the upside to starting his service-time clock. But if he hits 50 homers before September, they might have a tough time resisting.
Manuel (Anahiem, CA) [via mobile]
With the deadline coming, do you think the Angels will get something done to solidify the back end of their bullpen, say a closer perhaps?
Jayson Stark (1:16 PM)
I think they will. They've shopped for relievers and starters. But they need to get that ninth inning straightened out if they want to make a run in October. So Huston Street seems like a great fit. They seem to have mixed feelings on Papelbon. But I've heard that's where he wants to go. The Phillies would have to pay down the contract so the Angels aren't taking on more money than they'd have to with Street. But that still might not make it work, given his vesting option on the back end.
Rob (Ashland, Ore)
Is there any chance MLB scraps the ASG "means something" rule and goes with -- as John Farrell and others have suggested -- whichever league wins the overall interleague in-season battle?
Jayson Stark (1:17 PM)
You'd think this All Star Game pointed out the issues with trying to force this game to "count" better than any since they started this. But I don't see it changing. Fox televises the game. Fox loves it. So MLB won't mess with it. But in reality, the team with the best record should get home field. Does anybody really believe it isn't logistically possible to accomplish that? Seriously?
Wild Pitches is a MUST own! (USA)
Rank in order what scares teams off about Pappelbon--Stuff, contract or attitude?
Jayson Stark (1:20 PM)
1) Contract. 2) Stuff. 3) Attitude. That's my read. But not every team would rank those the same. I wonder how much the clubs who are worried about his attitude really know about him firsthand. If he were throwing the way he did five years ago, nobody would care, I bet. And thanks for reminding me that kind words about my book WILL help your question get posted!
Just how big of a mistake was it for the Padres and whoever was in control of the GM duties and front office at the time to not trade Headley two years ago when they could've cleaned up getting a nice haul in return. It is, in my opinion, the biggest of many mis-steps the Padres have had over the past couple years.
Jayson Stark (1:21 PM)
Hindsight is a beautiful thing at times like this. Obviously, we know now they should have traded Headley at the peak of his value. The problem was that nobody knew then exactly what he was -- the Padres or the teams they could have traded him to. So there never seemed to be a common vision of what they were trading or what a fair trade would have looked like, just as there was no consensus on what he ought to earn if they signed him. He's had a strange career.
Josh (Michigan) [via mobile]
How many moves do you think the tigers will make and who will they get
Jayson Stark (1:22 PM)
I don't think they'll do a lot, actually. Targeting one key bullpen move. Other than that, just poking around for bullpen depth and roster depth.
Red Sox should trade for Cliff Lee and Byrd in a package deal?If not who do you see Red Sox going after?
Jayson Stark (1:25 PM)
They've been there, done that, with Byrd. So I don't see that one. And Lee is too hard to commit to, because of health and money. I know everyone is downplaying the Hamels rumors. But that makes total sense to me. Those four years left, at $22.5 M a year, fit their parameters. And they have the prospects to deal, although it sounds as if this would be really expensive. I see the Red Sox possibly buying and selling at the same time this month if the right circumstances present themselves. Selling Miller and Tazawa. And buying someone like Hamels so they have a top-of-the-rotation replacement for Lester if he leaves.
Mike (Tampa, FL)
Does Brady Aiken sign today?
Jayson Stark (1:28 PM)
Yes! The rest of baseball thinks this has to happen. And I agree. If they don't sign him, they lose all $7.9 million of his slot money, and their whole draft unravels. And it will raise questions about how or why this happened, after they'd agreed to deal. On the other hand, he needs to sign, too. It isn't a lock he'd retain his college eligibility, once the NCAA muddles into this. So logic says both sides need to work this out. Not that anyone is bound to follow actual logic.
Do you think the Dodgers will move any of their outfielders?
Jayson Stark (1:30 PM)
I think they could, theoretically, move Kemp. Ethier has been so unproductive, I don't see how he gets traded. But I doubt they deal either of them in July. December or January is more likely, after Nelson Cruz, Colby Rasmus and Nick Markakis sign. Then there's almost nothing left on the free-agent outfielder shelves, and Kemp and/or Ethier could start looking more attractive than they look now. I also think the Dodgers will feel more urgency to move one or both then than they do now.
Odds of Price being traded?
Jayson Stark (1:33 PM)
I think 75-25. This seems like the right time. But the cost will be so heavy, now that they're using the Samardzija deal as a baseline, that they might not find a match in the next two weeks. Andrew Friedman has walked away from deals he didn't like before. I wouldn't put it past him to walk away again. But I still think we need to watch the Dodgers. And there are three-team scenarios where the Mariners could possibly pull off a deal for Price and Zobrist. Buster and I speculated last night on Baseball Tonight about what a perfect trade partner the Cubs could be in a deal like this. But as we said on the air, that's total speculation.
On Hamels and the Sox. I sort of get it, but to play devils advocate -- why would you give up a lot of prospects (which I assume it would take) to get Hamels when you can just give Lester one more year (and only about $3 million more per year) and not give up any prospects. Especially when you already know Lester can pitch in Boston and thrives there? If I'm the Sox I'm saving my prospects for a run at a hitter.
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
That's a conversation the Red Sox are no doubt having, too. If Lester really does leave over the winter, they can probably revisit the Hamels trade scenarios then, right? One more reason I think this is unlikely. But that doesn't mean it makes no sense for either team to look at it now, either.
Jason / Sarasota [via mobile]
Do you think the Cardinals can pull off a trade for Price or Tulo without including Taveras or Adams in the package?
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
Once, I thought no. Now I think there's no way they could make a Price trade without Taveras being in it. And it's impossible to guess what a Tulo deal would look like, because the Rockies have been so resistant to even think about it unless he just forces his way out of there.
What is the point of the Phillies trading some players but keeping Utley and especially Rollins? They're not going to contend anytime soon. Might as well get some assets.
Jayson Stark (1:39 PM)
They don't seem to look at it that way. I agree that they could be five years away from contending again. But if they're going to charge admission between now and then, they'll be selling these two guys as the Trammell and Whitaker of their era. And no matter how young they get if they trade a lot of other guys, you need SOME veteran players around to let young players know how to act and play baseball in the big leagues. Look, those two guys hold the cards anyway. So there aren't many other ways for the Phillies to look at this situation.
What do you anticipate the Pirates doing at the deadline?
Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
I'd be surprised if they don't trade for some sort of starting pitcher. But it isn't their style to overpay for a name. They're more likely to trade for a guy with stuff and upside. Again this is total speculation. But somebody like a Ross Detwiler wouldn't surprise me.
Jason (Sarasota) [via mobile]
Is Jake Peavy still a a target for the Cardinals? I've heard various rumors that the cost may still be high for Peavy. He'd provide a solid bandaid while we wait for Wacha to get back in the rotation.
Jayson Stark (1:43 PM)
The only reason Peavy hasn't been traded yet -- to the Cardinals or anywhere -- is that the Red Sox are trying to get a decent player back, from what I'm hearing. And Peavy hasn't given them much leverage to make that kind of deal. But it still wouldn't shock me if he wound up in St. Louis. Their interest wasn't fiction, or internet noise. They've been keeping their eye on him. That's real.
All I have heard about the Braves all year says we're looking for a LH reliever, which makes total sense to me. Who seems like a good target for the Braves?
Jayson Stark (1:45 PM)
That's accurate. Lots of possibilities. But Andrew Miller seems like a prototypical Braves kind of addition to me. Just to pick a name that I've heard is on their list.
Too me LA should NOT trade away high end prospects for Price. I think Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu is an already solid playoff rotation. Need to keep the prospects to take over once Uribe is done and OF situation gets cleared up.
Jayson Stark (1:47 PM)
I don't see any way they trade away both Pederson and Seager in this or any deal. But I keep thinking that in the James Shields deal, the Rays eventually said yes to one elite prospect (Wil Myers) and a bunch of good-to-very-good prospects. If they ever come around to that sort of package being acceptable, I could see this deal working. And the Dodgers would have a win-the-World Series rotation for the ages. Wouldn't they?
why would cubs trade for price now when they can sign him in 2 years and keep baez and almora
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
I don't see that happening. When I speculated -- there's that word again -- about the Cubs being part of a three-team deal, I wouldn't expect them to wind up with Price. They'd be more likely to come out of it with someone like Taijuan Walker, for one of their position-player prospects. But let me repeat: That's 100 percent speculation.
Should the Yankees switch gears, and capitalize on a market that clearly has many more buyers than sellers? Even if Tanaka gets back to form, they're a long ways off from contention with the current construction of their roster.
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
They're the Yankees. They never think that way. It's not in their DNA. I'd be shocked if they sell, unless they lost 12 in a row out of the break. And even then, I'm not so sure.
Here's why the Phillies shouldn't trade Utley/Rollins: totally tanking doesn't work. Look at the Astros situation and that's with the 1st overall pick 3 years running. With their money, no reason they won't contend before Utley's career is over.
Jayson Stark (1:51 PM)
That's how they view it, too, Brian. I'm not sure they're right, or you're right. They need so many pieces and so many holes filled to contend. But I'm not a fan of tanking. This idea that tanking is the new genius actually offends me. You're opening the gates and charging admission. So not even attempting to compete ought to be illegal. We definitely seem to agree on that.
Hi Jayson, Love your book - I mean, do you need to make a speech when accepting a Pulitzer? You need to look into that. Anywho, my question is when do the Cubs move Castro? They have too much infield talent on the rise, could they use him to get pitching from, say, the Mets?
Jayson Stark (1:53 PM)
I'm pretty sure there's no speech-making involved. But thanks for reminding me to investigate further. In answer to your question, I don't see them looking to move Castro in the short term. You never know once Addison Russell gets closer. But for now, it's no coincidence they're giving Baez a look at second base.
William (Atlanta, Ga) [via mobile]
What kind of moves do you expect from the O's and Braves? Really have not heard any rumors on them at all. Surely they are not going to stand pat...right?
Jayson Stark (1:54 PM)
We talked about the Braves. Seem pretty focused on LH relief right now. Don't appear to have the money to do something much bigger than that. The Orioles are a real wild card. What they need is a top-of-the-rotation arm. But the solution might be Kevin Gausman, since David Price won't be pulling into the Inner Harbor any time soon.
MadBum hit his 2nd grand slam last week. Any pitchers have 3 in a season in history?
Jayson Stark (1:56 PM)
No! Only one (Tony Cloninger) besides him have even hit two in a season. People seem to love the note that he has two slams, and the other four teams in the NL West have three combined! Also, he's hit two in AT&T Park. All the position players who have played there this year have hit one (by Buster Posey, one inning before Bumgarner hit his second).
Hey Jayson! What are you predicting from the Jays in the next two weeks? Are you hearing anything in specific (or vaguely)?
Jayson Stark (1:57 PM)
They've had scouts all over every starting pitcher out there. So that tells us something, right? But given all their lineup issues, they're in a tough spot. Any move they make would have to be for an arm they can control beyond this year.
Think Soria gets dealt to the Tigers? What would that mean for Nathan?
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
I think that's a real possibility, but not to replace Nathan. They think they've straightened him out. He hasn't allowed a run this month. And they're going to try to watch his workload down the stretch. So they're not looking to trade for a guy to replace him. But they wouldn't mind trading for someone like Soria who could pitch the ninth if need be, and to keep them from over-using Nathan down the stretch.
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
Wow. This hour has flown by. Sorry to announce I only have time for one more.
I understand that baseball wants to give teams four days off. But how about a Thursday night primetime game on national TV featuring a rematch of the World Series participants from the year before. There is nothing to interfere with on TV and surely the schedule can be tweaked accordingly.
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
It's a run idea. Sounds like something the NFL would do! But it would violate the Basic Agreement, potentially on a couple of levels, so it would have to be negotiated. And by the way, how much luster would a Cardinals-Red Sox prime-time game have right now? I'd watch! But it doesn't look quite as glamorous now as it would have six months ago, right?
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
Thanks for all the tremendous questions. See you down the road in Chat Land!