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 (1:05 PM)
Greetings! Sorry I'm a few mintues late. I was writing and lost track of the time. We have Rusney Castillo heading for Boston. We have the 25th anniversary of Pete Rose's suspension. So we have plenty to talk about. Let's get started.
With the signing of Castillo, do you think the Sox try and package a deal for Stanton around Cespedes? He'll command a big contract after next season. Then you hope Castillo pans out, and throw big money at a Stanton extension and a front line starter. (Lester, Scherzer)
Jayson Stark (1:07 PM)
Wow. You should really be sending this to Ben Cherington. First off, Stanton isn't getting traded this winter. I'm more convinced of than than ever. Second, I think the talk that Castillo is ready for the big leagues right now is overblown, based on what I've heard in the last couple of days. So I don't see any of that happening! Sorry!
Guy (Enfield NH)
So what do you think of the Red Sox most recent move, seems like decent money??
Jayson Stark (1:10 PM)
Decent money? It's the biggest deal ever signed by any amateur player. And it's an incredible roll of the dice, considering how little we've seen Castillo play baseball outside of Cuba. This feels similar to the Puig signing to me, because both guys were incredibly talented but also came with an air of mystery surrounding them. I've heard Castillo compared with both Puig and Andrew McCutchen in terms of his skill set. So if that's what he turns into, it will be money well spent. But it's still one of the most expensive gambles in baseball history.
Does the Castillo signing mean the Red Sox could trade an outfielder to get a decent starting pitcher?
Jayson Stark (1:12 PM)
Makes total sense to me. But they have a lot of decisions to make as they sort out which outfielders they think it makes most sense to build around.
Dave (Nashville) [via mobile]
Where did the Phillies land in the Castillo sweeps?
Jayson Stark (1:14 PM)
They were among the finalists from what I've heard, along with the Tigers, Yankees and Giants. But the money just got too heavy. I thought their desperate need for talent might make them the high bidder at one point. But obviously, they decided to save their dollars for Tomas or someone else.
With the recent rule change on International players, was this done in response to the Cubs discovering a marketing inequity by spending huge dollars every other year and taking the punishment of being ineligible the next season?
Jayson Stark (1:15 PM)
It's apples and oranges. Castillo was exempt from the international signing pool because he's 27 and played five years of professional baseball in Cuba. But it's still a sign that the international arena is the last place on the amateur side where teams like the Red Sox can really exert their financial muscle.
What does Rusney bring to the table, and where do you see him in the sox lineup? This year or next?
Jayson Stark (1:19 PM)
As I said earlier, he's not Cespedes. And he's not Abreu. He's not a masher. He's a power/speed guy. And people I talked to say he didn't show the same power in later workouts than he did early on. He's also played very little baseball lately. So it seems like a stretch to think he can walk right in and make an impact in the big leagues. But the Red Sox have had a bunch of their best people watch him carefully. So obviously, they see him as a guy who will be ready fast. He's 27, so you don't give him seven years and $72.5 million if you don't believe he's just about big-league ready.
Any chance Rob Manfred lifts Pete Rose's ban?
Jayson Stark (1:20 PM)
I don't see it. If they'd brought in a commissioner from the outside, who could look at this with fresh eyes, maybe. But Rob Manfred has been part of inside this commissioner's office for 20 years. He would seem incredibly unlikely to go down that road.
The HOF is going to be without the leader in hits, home runs and cy young awards. Doesnt seem like the right thing to do. Plus Bonds and Clemens were never found for any wrong in baseball
Jayson Stark (1:24 PM)
I've written about this several times. Heck, I've written about it in my book (shameless book plug inserted here: "Wild Pitches," available everywhere books are sold). This isn't a simple question. But I agree with your basic premise. How can you have a Hall of Fame that doesn't include the all-time hit king, the all-time home-run king, the guy who broke Roger Maris' record, the guy who won more Cy Youngs than any pitcher in history, etc.? I don't see how you can tell the history of the sport and somehow pretend that none of those men ever played baseball. That's why I think it's time to vote based on what players did on the field, and let the Hall figure out how to explain it. But obviously, most of my fellow voters don't agree!
Then what do you think is the most likely path for Stanton? future trade at some point, reaches free agency, or signs with the Marlins (cough cough)?
Jayson Stark (1:26 PM)
I see the Marlins keeping him, maybe right up until free agency, so they can try to win in the small window where both he and Jose Fernandez are healthy. I have no idea whether they can sign him long-term. I highly doubt that. But I keep hearing Jeffrey Loria is suddenly highly motivated to win and rewrite the perception of him and his franchise. So it will be fascinating to watch what happens, not just with Stanton but with that entire operation, over the next couple of years.
Rose broke the one rule in baseball that has stood the test of time. Therefore his punishment should stand as well as a reminder to those who think about doing the same.
Jayson Stark (1:28 PM)
If that's true, why did even Bud Selig come close to reinstating Pete a decade ago? I'm not arguing with you about what he did or the importance of the rule he broke. But he's served 25 years. To me, he's served his time. But nobody asked me -- except you!
Rich (Bayonne, NJ)
In regards to Rose's banishment, why can't they make a ruling that he can be placed on the HOF ballot as a player, with the stipulation that he is still banned from the game for life and his plaque indicates his achievements as a player? What he did was wrong, but the HOF has convicted rapists and murderers in there!
Jayson Stark (1:30 PM)
This came up during his attempt to get reinstated the last time, Rich. You can read about that in my book, too, by the way. (Have I mentioned I'm shameless?) But the reason that won't happen is that Pete has never been open to that sort of compromise. He has always wanted full reinstatement -- eligibility for the HOF AND the freedom to work in baseball. It was a major obstacle in the past. So no reason to think it wouldn't be in the future.
Thoughts on the Giants-Cubs shortened game situation?
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
I think MLB absolutely made the right call. I think they had to stretch the definition of a "mechanical" issue to do it. But even the Cubs were in favor of playing that game to its conclusion. That was embarrassing to have a 20-minute storm result in that sort of debacle.
John (Philadelphia, PA)
Really this whole pete rose thing is about shoeless joe - let's just admit it - if Pete gets in Joe has to get in - and some of the old school writers are still angry Joe
Jayson Stark (1:33 PM)
The old-school writers? The writers have had no say on either of these guys. MLB and the Hall of Fame have kept them off the writers' ballot. This is their issue, not ours.
John (Austin, TX)
Lots of talk about Lester going back to Boston, but is that realistic? Do those type of situations ever work out?
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
I highly doubt he's going back to Boston. And it seems to me the signing of Castillo, for more money and years than he was offered, is just more evidence of that. I'd love to know what he's thinking as the news of Castillo's deal hits home.
While inducting Bonds, Clemens, or even Rose into the Hall wouldn't bother me (I am much more aroused by the lack of support Alan Trammell gets), it is entirely possible to tell the story and history of baseball separate from the Hall of Fame. The museum should tell the story of Rose, Bonds, Clemens, etc, as part of baseball's continuing narrative, just as they can tell the story of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the Black Sox. Recognize their accomplishments, acknowledge their controversies, and let the fans and visitors draw the conclusions they will. As for their HOF inclusion, whether they are in or not does not alter the impact they had on the history of the game- does the phrase "All-time home run leader Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron's career mark" lose impact because it doesn't say "All-time home run king and HOFer Barry Bonds"?
Jayson Stark (1:38 PM)
You make that point eloquently, TJ. That's the argument for treating all these guys the way they've been treated, that the museum notes their achievements but the gallery has a different purpose. I get that. I just think it's time for all of us to have a long, serious talk about what we want the HOF to be -- the vatican or a museum that tells the story of baseball, the full story? I'd lean toward the latter. But it's not an easy question to answer.
Even if Rose is reinstated, could you see a team hiring him?
Jayson Stark (1:39 PM)
That's a biiiiggg if. Obviously, our first instinct is to say no way. But if you're looking to put your franchise on the radar screen, hiring Pete Rose to manage oughta do it!
If Amaro does get fired, do you think the Phillies go outside the organization to hire a GM? I sure hope so, the last and only time (at least to my memory) that they did it was Gillick and look how that turned out
Jayson Stark (1:43 PM)
This is an impossible question to answer, Chris. I honestly believe that Dave Montgomery hasn't even begun to decide A) whether he's going to fire the GM and B) what the approach would be if he did? So I think people in Philadelphia have gotten way ahead of themselves in wondering about stuff like this. The time to start kicking around who the next GM is going to be is if the current GM no longer has the job. And I really do think that even Dave Montgomery knows yet what decision he'll make on that.
Can Pete Rose be an effective relief pitcher? If so, we Detroit Tiger fans say reinstate him and sign him up!
Jayson Stark (1:44 PM)
Bad news: Bud doesn't leave office until after the season! So you might want to look into bringing back Willie Hernandez.
Nick Los Angeles [via mobile]
Colon to the Angels with Richards out?
Jayson Stark (1:46 PM)
It's something they'd have to think about if the other 29 teams don't block him. But do they really want to give up something decent AND have to pay him 10 million bucks next year? I'm skeptical on that one.
John (Austin, TX)
Assuming Lester's return to Boston is a no go, where do you see him ending up? Who presents the best fit & can pony up the cash he's looking for?
Jayson Stark (1:48 PM)
Just a hunch here. I'd bet Cubs. They're going to add a top-of-the-rotation starter of some size or shape between now and next Opening Day. Why not a guy their front office has a long history with?
hi jayson, fascinated on how the Orioles continue to win, with Machado down for a good portion of year, Davis having a poor year and so on - is it more the East is underachieving or just Oriole Magic?
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
Their pitching is underrated. They catch the ball. The manager is as good as it gets. Their lineup hasn't been as good as we thought it would be, but it's still deep. They hit the ball out of the park. The rest of the division isn't real good. That pretty much explains it, right?
Gilbert (CA) [via mobile]
With Joc Pederson coming on Sept. 1st according to Ned Colletti, do you think he'll make an impact large enough to make my Dream outfield of Joc, Puig, Kemp come to fruition? Or are Dodger fans stuck with CC/Ethier because of money owed?
Jayson Stark (1:51 PM)
When September and October arrive, it's all about winning. And there's so much at stake for that team, they have to put the best lineup on the field. The bigger challenge is how to move Ethier in the offseason off the year he's had. Crawford, to me, is untradeable.
If the A's don't win it all, are the trades for Samardzija and Lester a disaster? Figuring they gave up Cespedes and Russell, even if they resign one of the two it's a huge price to pay. And there is no guarantee they resign either Lester or Samardzija.
Jayson Stark (1:54 PM)
A disaster? I look at it this way: There are times in the life of your franchise that you have to go for it. This was one of those times for this franchise. They had the best team in baseball. They were trying to win a division that included the second-best team in baseball. They had a chance to get two of the three biggest difference-makers on this market. They control Samardzija next year, too. So to call it a disaster if they don't win it all is unfair. When you have a chance to win, you should do what it takes to win. It's easy to find reasons not to make moves like that. It takes courage to actually make them. In other words, I disagree!
The Angels looked impressive kicking Red Sox booty. Can they hold it together without Richards?
Jayson Stark (1:57 PM)
I think they can still win the division without Richards. But I don't think they can they win the World Series without him. October is all about pitchers like him. Guys who can dominate good lineups. I like their staff, but is there anyone else in that rotation like him? Don't see it. I feel sorry for them, really. What a crushing injury.
Wild Pitches ((Bookstores EVERYWHERE!))
Is the reluctance of my Pirates to make a significant move going to make this period of winning record, but no further teams even more frustrating than the winless seasons?
Jayson Stark (1:58 PM)
They're actually really well set up to be good for quite a while. And with McCutchen and Cole back, they still have a real good shot at the wild card. But I'm surprised they haven't done more in August. They seem to like shopping at those August prices more than paying the heftier July prices. Did that well last year. Not so much this year.
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
Wow. This hour has whooshed by. I only have time for one more. Sorry!
Johnny ( Long Beach, CA ) [via mobile]
Chance of Kershaw winning the Cy Young and Mvp?
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
Excellent, actually. The Cy is obviously his to lose. The MVP is unlikely, I think. But there's no clear-cut position-player candidate who towers above the rest right now. And that's almost always the scenario that results in a pitcher winning the MVP. So stay tuned!
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
Thanks for all the great questions. Enjoyable, as always. See you down the road in Chat Land.