Chat with Jayson Stark
Moderator (9:41 AM)
Hello everyone! Jayson will be here at noon ET. Until then, be sure to read his latest Rumblings and Grumblings in which he breaks down the Randy Johnson situation and much more.
Jayson Stark (12:02 PM)
Hi everybody. I'm ready to go. Let's get started.
Jack (Pittsburgh, PA)
What is your best guess where Kris Benson will end up and what will the Pirates receive in return? Could Jason Kendall be packaged with Benson?
Jayson Stark (12:05 PM)
The Mets have been as aggressive as any team. But it's the Pirates' call. If they continue to hold out for David Wright, he won't be a Met. Texas isn't giving up Laynce Nix. Minnesota isn't giving up Michael Cuddyer. And Philadelphia isn't giving up Chase Utley. I'd guess Mets or Twins. And there has been speculation that because of the Mets' callup of Wright last night, they were on the verge of trading for Benson. I haven't heard they were that close, but I'll look into it later today.
Chris (Manchester, CT)
Do you think that the Commissioner would ever allow the Yankees to BUY Randy Johnson from Arizona? The Yankees don't have any prospects, Arizona probably wants to dump Randy's contract, but the only thing that the Yanks have is money to give them. Would Bud stop the sale invoking the 'best interests of baseball' clause?
Jayson Stark (12:07 PM)
There have been rumors that Bud has pressured Arizona to deal him somewhere else, but everyone denies that. As long as it's a baseball trade and not Dialing for Dollars, Bud would have no basis for blocking this deal. The Yankees are the first to admit they don't have a win-the-World Series kind of rotation and need to upgrade it. Why wouldn't they chase the best guy available? They can afford him. But the DBacks are going to have to do a U-turn on what they say they think of the Yankees prospects, because they keep telling people they don't like anyone north of A ball.
mikeo (Chicago, IL)
What can the Cubs do to stay in the hunt for the wildcard position?
Jayson Stark (12:09 PM)
I think they'll get that deal done for Orlando Cabrera. And they have the prospects to deal for a reliever. They'd like somebody with the ability to close, but it could be that Jose Mesa will be the only "closer" who gets dealt. Doesn't looks as if Detroit is trading Urbina or Colorado is trading Chacon. Jorge Julio of Baltimore is a long shot to get dealt, but stay tuned. The Cubs are not giving up on this year because of one bad week against the Cardinals.
Bill: (Philly, PA)
You mention in your artice that the Phillies and Marlins are being the most agressive in the pursuit for Finley. Who do you think will end up winning the sweepstakes? (assuming he wants to be traded somewhere other than the Padres) It would seem to me he would be an expensive rental if he plans on signing with Arizona again next year....
Jayson Stark (12:12 PM)
I keep hearing Florida on this. The Diamondbacks have been scouting the Florida system, and Florida has had one of their top scouts there recently. But it's all Finley's call. He can veto any deal. He's hinting now he would prefer to go to any NL contender. So that makes the Marlins the favorite, with the Phillies, Padres, Giants and Dodgers also interested.
Jimmy (Cerritos, CA)
What do you think the Dodgers will do before the deadline? Has there been any word on an extension for Beltre?
Jayson Stark (12:16 PM)
Paul DePodesta told me recently he only wants to deal for an impact player and doesn't care if it's a starting pitcher or a middle-of-the-order bat. They'll wait another week or so to see if Carlos Beltran goes back on the market, I'm sure, because they were one of the teams involved on him before Houston traded for him. If Beltran isn't available, they may have to debate Larry Walker's pros and cons. They love Steve Finley, from all accounts. But Arizona doesn't seem to want to move him or the Unit inside the division. If LA deals for a hitter, it could turn around and deal someone like Dave Roberts for a starter.
Sal (Westport, CT)
Have you heard about the new rumors on a three way trade with the angels, yankees and d-backs that would send prospects from the yanks to the angels for ortiz then yanks would send ortiz ot the d-backs for Johnson. but today I have heard D-backs want Posada too? How true is all of this?
Jayson Stark (12:17 PM)
Yeah, this has been going around. And there are indications the Angels and Yankees have talked. But what's in it for the Angels to help the Yankees get Randy Johnson? They don't match up. And there's no real incentive for any AL team to help the Yankees win the World Series. Arizona wants a catcher, but they're not crazy enough to ask for Jorge Posada.
Jim (Boston, MA)
Any truth to the rumor that has the Red Sox and Philly trading Lowe for Milwood?
Jayson Stark (12:19 PM)
That deal was definitely discussed, but the Red Sox aren't that high on Millwood. Very doubtful.
jacques (Springfield, MA)
What do you think the Cardinals will do to get their left field position filled with an everyday player?
Jayson Stark (12:20 PM)
The Cardinals are addressing bullpen first. Ive heard them on Mesa, Urbina and Luis Vizcaino (Brewers), among others. They'll address bullpen first and worry about left field later. They're good enough offensively and defensively that it can be a secondary priority.
Ryck (Elmira, NY)
There's been lots of talk about the Mets searching for a pitcher this summer (Benson, Lowe, etc.) ... any talk about offense? With Piazza injured and Phillips hitting poorly, there seems to be a gaping hole at first base.
Jayson Stark (12:22 PM)
They're all about pitching right now. I expect them to trade for one starter and one reliever. Before Piazza got hurt, I was hearing their plan was to play Wigginton at first until they traded him and move Piazza back behind the plate. That's not a bad lineup they run out there now, with Hidalgo, Reyes and David Wright in it. Their need is pitching. If they make the right two deals, I think they can win the division.
The Deege (Champaign)
Why aren't the Red Sox doing everything possible to get Randy Johnson? Are they already out of the Big Unit sweepstakes?
Jayson Stark (12:26 PM)
If you read Peter Gammons' column this week, he does a tremendous job of summarizing why the Red Sox can't add a $16-million contract and still have the ability to fill all their other holes. Would the Red Sox be all over Randy if they could rent him (and if they thought he'd approve a deal)? Sure. But what people often miss, about the Red Sox and a lot of teams, is that if you're not the Yankees and there's no sky on your payroll, you can't tie up all your money in six to nine stars, then have no money to fill out the rest of your roster. With all their free agents, the Red Sox need to maintain some flexibility for next year. Last time I checked, their ballpark still had 33,000 seats. So their ability to produce money is still finite.
any chance the Red Sox go after Frank Catalanatto to play first base? What would it take to get him?
Jayson Stark (12:27 PM)
The Blue Jays have told teams in the last week they're not trading Frank Catalanotto. Very affordable. And a great veteran presence on an otherwise young team. So that isn't going to work for the Red Sox. That's why they're talking about Larry Walker. They even looked into Olerud, but he prefers to stay on the west coast.
Greg (Stone Mtn, GA)
Now that they are back in the race for the East what moves are the Braves looking at making?
Jayson Stark (12:29 PM)
They don't have a lot of financial flexibility. But they're looking at lefthanded relievers (Ron Villone, Mike Myers, maybe one of the Baltimore guys). And they would like to add a platoon-type first baseman/bat off the bench. They're another team that has inquired about John Olerud.
Are the Mariners going to be able to trade any of their leftovers? Guardado, Villone, Myers, Spiezio, Boone?!?...
Jayson Stark (12:31 PM)
I doubt Guardado will be traded. Ron Villone has a ton of interest, from what I've heard, because he's so tough on lefthanders. I haven't heard much at all on Spiezio and Boone because of contract issues. There were some Dodgers rumors on Boone a while back, but they're happy with Alex Cora. I don't see the Mariners making a flurry of moves. But they can deal their lefthanders in the bullpen if they get enough back.
The Giants (Sabean) always plays his cards close to chest. We KNOW he is making calls, but no clue who is listening to him- any rumblings on what Giants might get and give?
Jayson Stark (12:34 PM)
The Giants aren't willing to trade Merkin Valdez or Matt Cain, their two best pitching prospects. And other clubs are telling me they're not wild about their system other than those two guys. They're working hard right now on the bullpen and on another bat. I hear they're in on Mesa and Vizcaino. And they love Steve Finley, but I don't thnk Arizona will deal him there. Brian Sabean and Ned Colletti always find a way to get something done, though, and they will again.
Hoping to win bet, NYC
jayson, Help me settle a ongoing topic of discussion: Would you vote Randy Johnson into the Hall of Fame ON THE FIRST BALLOT?
Jayson Stark (12:34 PM)
absolutely. what do you win?
Is Livan Hernadez on the block? He sure would fit nicely here in Texas!
Jayson Stark (12:36 PM)
I've gotten mixed signals on that. I've heard Omar Minaya will talk about almost anybody. But because they're selling and moving that team, he wants to hold onto guys like Hernandez. So they're pushing Armas, not Livan.
what other starting pitchers besides benson and johnson do you see getting traded? maybe miguel batista?
Jayson Stark (12:39 PM)
GMs are complaining this is the most mediocre starting-pitching crop, behind those two, they can ever remember. Anaheim hasn't even decided whether to move Ramon Ortiz. Same with the Reds and Cory Lidle/Paul Wilson. Toronto isn't trading either Batista or Lilly. So it's Armas and Shawn Estes, then Brian Anderson and Darren Oliver and folks like that. I keep hearing people talk about Barry Zito, but that's ridiculous. Maybe this winter, but not now.
Do the Indians have a legit shot at winning the Central and who do they need to trade to help them with that push?
Jayson Stark (12:41 PM)
The Indians are thinking more about next year than this year. If a decent bullpen guy _ whom they could keep beyond this season _ fell into their laps, they'd do something now. But I don't look for them to be too active.
What would it take for the Jays to acquire Morneau from the Twins?
Jayson Stark (12:43 PM)
Minnesota isn't trading Morneau or Michael Cuddyer, because when you operate with a $55-million payroll, you graduate some seniors every year, and you need young guys (translation: cheap help) to replace them. With Corey Koskie departing and a possibility Doug Mientkiewicz could do the same, the Twins have to keep those two guys.
Jason, Are the Phillies going to move their leading prospect Ryan Howard or will Ed Wade remain conservative at the trading deadline as in the past ?
Jayson Stark (12:45 PM)
The Phillies originally told teams they would deal Ryan Howard only if they got someone they could keep beyond this season. But they offered him for Kris Benson, and that should tell you they understand the urgency to win. At this point, in the right deal, they would trade anybody but Chase Utley, Ryan Madson, Gavin Floyd and Cole Hamels. That includes Howard and Marlon Byrd in a big deal. I think Ed Wade is being as aggressive this July as I've ever seen him before the deadline. Every team I talk to says it's spoken with him. So he's trying - harder than people in Philadelphia seem to want to believe.
Jayson Stark (12:46 PM)
I apologize, but I only have time for one more.
Why haven't we heard more of Bret Boones' name being thrown around in trade talks?
Jayson Stark (12:50 PM)
Bret Boone's only drawbacks are 1) his salary and 2) his massive dropoff in performance. He has a vesting option for $9.25 million next year, and he'll definitely lock it in unless something happens. (And no, I don't think he'll get released.) So teams are looking at that price tag on a player whose OBP is under .300, whose slugging pct. is under .400 and who has almost as many strikeouts as hits, and thinking he's not the answer. He still plays 2B as well as anybody, and I think he's a winner. But he's more likely to move next July than this July. Not that it's out of the question they could find a taker for him if they're willing to digest a lot of the money.
Jayson Stark (12:51 PM)
Thanks for all the great questions. I apologize for not getting to all 1,300. But I can't type that fast! Hopefully, we'll do another one soon. Thanks again. It was fun.
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