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.
Send your questions now and join Stark Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Jayson Stark (1:06 PM)
Sorry I'm a few minutes late, but I'm available for the full hour, so we'll have plenty of time. Three things before we start: 1) A new Rumblings and Grumblings just posted on our site. What we've learned from the season so far.2) I guest-hosted Buster's podcast today. Lots of good talk about Clay Buchholz, what constitutes "cheating," the Blue Jays & other stuff, with Tim Kurkjian and Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star.3) The new scouts wing of the Hall of Fame opens this weekend in Cooperstown. Check it out next time you're in the neighborhood!
Jayson Stark (1:06 PM)
Now on with our chat!
Will the Red Sox continue their hot start or will this be another hot start with a disappointing ending?
Jayson Stark (1:07 PM)
I don't think they can keep up this pace. But if they stay relatively healthy, this team is much better than people thought. The big worry is depth, and especially pitching depth. So keeping the rotation healthy is a major priority.
Which team looks like the best October team right now? Tigers? Braves? Red Sox? Reds? Rangers?
Jayson Stark (1:09 PM)
Every one of those teams could win the World Series. But I always believe that to win it all, you need a pitching staff that can dominate one end of the game -- either dominant starters or dominant relievers. The Tigers have the rotation, but do they have the bullpen pieces? The Braves have the bullpen, but do they have a starter you fear? The Reds are the team that might have both, if Cueto comes back and Cingrani keeps this up. But let's see what happens on both fronts.
Rich (Sun Valley, ID)
Thanks for the chat Jason. In a move that surprised many, the Cardinals have called up Carlos Martinez from AA to replace a demoted Mitchell Boggs. Is he being rushed, and how do you see this settling out? The only thing about this that makes me feel somewhat confident is the fact that his battery mate is the best catcher in baseball-and speaks Spanish.
Jayson Stark (1:11 PM)
They had to do something to address that bullpen, and getting Boggs straightened out in farm land is a good place to start. I've never seen Martinez pitch. I've only heard about him. But I know how excited they are about his arm and his ability to make an impact. And you're right. The fact he's working with Yadi maximizes his chances to succeed.
Hey Jayson, I love the work Ross Detwiler has been doing so far but I have to wonder: is it possible for a starter who throws his fastball 90-plus-percent of the time to have sustained big league success once he starts losing a couple MPH? Seems harder to adapt later if you're such a one-pitch guy
Jayson Stark (1:13 PM)
I saw Curt Schilling, when he first moved into the Phillies rotation, throw 90 percent fastballs and dominate. We saw David Price do that to a great extent when he first came up. Those guys evolved and developed a repertoire that enabled them to stay ahead of the hitters' adjustments. I think Detwiler needs to evolve, too. But it's incredible how good he's been with mostly just one pitch.
Rob (Lime Rock, CT)
Do you think this is FINALLY the year the Bucs get to .500 or better? Having Cole and possibly Taillon potentially getting promoted at some point could be a boost too.
Jayson Stark (1:16 PM)
I wrote a piece in spring training that outlined five reasons to think this could be the year. Some of that looks like it's happening. Starling Marte has taken a step forward. Jason Grilli has shown he can close. The rotation is about to get Morton and Liriano back. (And I hear Morton is throwing unbelievably in his rehab starts. Hit 98 the other night.) And I really believe the manager and coaching staff are great spreaders of positive energy. I don't think they're one of the three most talented teams in that division. But I really like what I've seen so far.
Jason (St Louis)
Who do you think would be most bothered by Wrigley being taken down? My thinking is roof top owners first, followed by tourists. Which to me says they need to get it over with and get a new park. Thoughts?
Jayson Stark (1:17 PM)
Spoken like a guy from St. Louis. I'll bet you a deep dish at Uno's that Wrigley isn't going anywhere.
Brian G (NY)
As a Mets fan, I'd like to see Sandy give Terry Collins at least a 1-2 year extension. He's done a nice job with what he's been given. Thoughts?
Jayson Stark (1:18 PM)
Wrote about this a week or so ago. I think Sandy likes Terry. But he's made this clear: He reserves the right to watch this season unfold and make a judgment then. A lot depends on what he gets out of this group. A lot depends on how ready they think they are to contend in a year. But there's no extension coming, from what I can see.
Do you see Nick Castellanos replacing the Dirks/Tuiasosopo platoon in LF for Detroit if Dirks still can't hit and injuries nag him and Tui regresses?
Jayson Stark (1:19 PM)
The only question about Castellanos is when. I think more and more, they're convinced he'll be able to handle LF. And they know he's going to hit. So sooner or later . . . Just don't know if sooner means this year. Yet.
Wilberforce (New York City)
If (GASP) the Phillies are sellers-- other than Cole, whom do they keep?
Jayson Stark (1:22 PM)
Excellent question. I think Ryan Howard is untradeable. So he's not going anywhere. Jimmy Rollins has to approve any deal. Lee and Utley can veto trades to all but eight teams. I couldn't see them moving Domonic Brown, Galvis or Papelbon. Almost anyone else would have to require a long, fascinating conversation.
Is Albert Pujols making any progress with his plantar fasciitis?
Jayson Stark (1:23 PM)
I was told this week he's made enough progress that he thinks and they now think he's going to be able to play through the pain. But that's an injury that never stops flaring up if you don't rest it. So stay tuned.
Jason (St Louis)
Ok, fair enough. But don't you agree it's absurd that the roof top owners are keeping the Cubs from putting a video board up and joining the rest of baseball in this century? That was my primary point.
Jayson Stark (1:24 PM)
I do. Absolutely. I understand their side of the argument. But I think it was Buster who wrote the other day this is the only business in America whose future could be determined by people on the outside, who depend on making money off that business.
Talk a Blue Jays fan off the ledge. If you can.
Jayson Stark (1:25 PM)
Not me. Sorry. I'm out there with you. I picked them to win. Can't comprehend how awful they've been -- at everything. Next to last in the league in OBP. 28th in baseball in ERA. Second-most errors in the AL. It's been a total meltdown. Richard Griffin and I had a great talk about them on the podcast today. Check it out.
Is the Royals start to this season a fluke or are they the real deal?
Jayson Stark (1:26 PM)
I made this point in Rumblings: This is the first rotation the Royals have had in like 20 years that gives them a chance to win almost every night. That's the part that's real. And it changes everything.
Justin (Los Angeles )
What's up with Mike Moustakas? This was supposed to be his year. Do you think he can turn it around?
Jayson Stark (1:27 PM)
Two Royals questions in a row! Always been streaky. Too pull-conscious. Was told by one scout he looks like a guy trying to live up to expectations instead of just playing.
How do you not put the Giants in your discussion of team to win the World Series? Based on your criteria of having the pitching to be able to dominate either the front or back end of a game they certainly qualify. That is exactly how they have won 2 of the last 3 world series.
Jayson Stark (1:28 PM)
I was just answering a question about those teams. Of course, the Giants fit that criteria. And they have the rings to prove it.
Jon (Bozeman, MT)
Manny Machado has been fantastic at the plate and in the field. Will he stay at 3B and what is his ceiling?
Jayson Stark (1:29 PM)
He practically has no ceiling. His baseball aptitude is off the charts. And his tools are eye-popping. I hope you read the piece Jerry Crasnick wrote about him the other day. It was awesome and revealing. They haven't made up their minds yet where he'll wind up -- because they don't have to.
Jagger (St. Pete)
Back to the Phillies: How long does Manuel have? This team is not his type of team and it shows.
Jayson Stark (1:30 PM)
I really don't get the impression he's in any imminent danger of getting fired, if that's what you're asking. But if this is how the season is going to go, it's getting more and more clear they'd like to try a different voice in that gig.
Do you think Giancarlo being on the DL hurts or helps his chances of being dealt in 2013? Seems like his value is getting lesser and lesser the longer they wait.
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
I thought the chances were slim before. I think they're close to none now. In Rumblings this week, I quoted an executive of one team as saying that if they try to deal him in-season, they'd only get prospects. And it's hard to see them making that kind of deal. So the offseason is more realistic.
What do you think happens with Anthony Rendon? Do you think his bat is big enough to take over 2nd base or are we looking at a shift of Zimmerman to 1st base. Is it next year for Rendon?
Jayson Stark (1:34 PM)
He has to wind up at third base, given all of Zimmerman's throwing issues. The problem is the La Roche contract. They couldn't even move him if they wanted to before June 15. Against the rules. This is all the ripple effect of Rendon missing almost the whole season last year. Had a big effect on their decision-making, knowing he wasn't ready.
Brady (TX) [via mobile]
Stanton to the rangers? Could it happen?
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
When the time comes that they decide to move him, I guarantee they'll be standing in line. But as I said earlier, that time is very unlikely to be this July.
Ike (Sarasota, FL)
What are your favorite MLB stadiums to watch a game. Any minor league parks that stand out for you? Thanks!
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
Camden Yards and AT&T Park, because they're amazing ballparks with a great feel to them -- and because they have two of the best press boxes in baseball to watch a game from. I love Fenway, but for someone sitting in the press box, it's not a great place to watch a game.
What can the Braves do with Dan Uggla? He has had 3 straight sub-par years and doesn't appear to be returning to the Uggla we saw with the Marlins. In additiona will BJ Upton turn it around this year or is he another Uggla for the Braves?
Jayson Stark (1:39 PM)
I can't believe how bad Uggla looks, despite that home run last night. I had one scout describe him to me recently as "almost useless." Not sure how you fix a guy with his swing and his approach unless he's willing to go back to square one. He's signed for a long time, so not sure which way they turn. BJ gets some time to adjust to a new league and new team after spending his whole career in one place, with a manager and environment unlike any other team in baseball. But do I think that will turn out to be a good contract? I'm skeptical, to be honest. Such an enigmatic player.
Tim (Cleveland )
How is PNC Park not number 1!!!
Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
It's a beautiful park. But the press box is hanging from the clouds! He asked me MY favorite places to watch a game. So where I sit has to be a part of the rating system. Right?
Are we getting trivia today? And how did you let Mike and Mike win on Tuesday? We all had to be subjected to that horrendous dancing by Golic that has given me nightmares this week.
Jayson Stark (1:42 PM)
No trivia today. Sorry. Busy day. But I can't believe you're ripping the Golic dance. Coolest thing that happened all week! If you haven't seen it, check out the Mike and Mike page at ESPNradio.com. As soon as this chat's over, I mean.
John (Los Angeles)
what do the Braves do with Evan Gattis when Brian McCann returns next week?
Jayson Stark (1:43 PM)
McCann isn't ready to catch seven days a week. He might not even be ready to catch five or six days a week. So they'll find Gattis playing time. And on the days they don't, what a weapon to bring off the bench.
Did you ever see a game at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto and what did you think of the stadium?
Jayson Stark (1:45 PM)
I did, actually. Strangest layout of any stadium I ever watched a game in. If you sat in one of those football seats, you could literally have been 600 feet from home plate! And the seagulls descended in late afternoon. It was different!
Do you think the Red Sox will make Ellsbury a serious offer after the season? He hasn't played close to his 2011 level the past two seasons so he's got to be more affordable now.
Jayson Stark (1:47 PM)
I wouldn't say the chances are zero that he stays. But close. He's a Boras client. He'll take the most money. Don't see it coming from them, not with Jackie Bradley Jr. waiting in the wings.
With Interleague every day, the dreaded DH will eventually make it to the NL. How about this, the DH is only for the starting pitcher. The starter comes out, the DH comes out. It will keep the NL decisions in the game, while eliminating 2~3 pitcher AB's per game.
Jayson Stark (1:48 PM)
I'm a big fan of outside-the-box thinking, and this is a fun idea. But it'll never happen. Too gimmicky for the rule-change crowd. Good try!
Jon (Bozeman, MT)
Jayson, if the Rays are still in striking distance around the trade deadline, do you see them going for it or trading Price for a huge prospect package?
Jayson Stark (1:50 PM)
Depends on your definition of "striking distance." This is a very realistic front office. If they don't think they have a legit chance to win their division, they're likely to listen at least. But they keep telling teams they don't feel like they have to move him, even if they get ready to listen. So if they don't get their, uh, price, they'll just keep him.
True or false: Mike Scioscia is still employed at the end of the month?
Jayson Stark (1:51 PM)
True. You remember he's signed for five more years, right?
Hey Jason, big fan. Does Kershaw win his 2nd CYA this year?
Jayson Stark (1:52 PM)
Have we reached the point where it's become like Tiger and the Masters -- Kershaw against the field? He's the best pitcher in the league, based on ability and track record. But there's a lot of dominant pitching out there. And some of it isn't even named Matt Harvey.
Jordan Zimmermann might pose a threat to Mr. Woods, er Kershaw.
Jayson Stark (1:54 PM)
Good name. He's better than Strasburg and Gio right now. And it's not close.
Does anyone realize Madison Bumgarner is younger than Matt Harvey, has 2 rings and is pitching almost as well as Harvey so far this season?
Jayson Stark (1:55 PM)
Another excellent name. Incredible how young this guy is -- and how good.
Alex (San Diego)
Please, please, please do not add the DH to NL games. The lack of a DH makes the game much more strategic and adds an element to the game, and the use of the bullpen much more relevant in the NL.
Jayson Stark (1:57 PM)
You're preaching to the choir. But there are forces at work that endanger the current state of DH affairs. Year-round interleague play is one. All the free-agent mashers signing in the American League is another. Nothing will happen as long as Bud Selig is commissioner. But get back to me in a couple of years.
Max (Kansas City)
Jayson: If Hosmer and Moustakas get going what is the ceiling for KCs lineup? I feel like it is incredibly high.... Agree?
Jayson Stark (1:58 PM)
They need Hosmer and Moustakas to take that next step if they're ever going to be a great team. I couldn't agree more. But we're not seeing them actively take it at the moment. That's for sure.
What do you think of the Bucholz allegations? It may just be out of context, but those clips did look like he was touching his arm an awful lot.
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
You should listen to our podcast. I made this point, among others: Almost every pitcher in baseball has some sort of "foreign substance" on his cap or his glove or his pants or somewhere, mostly for grip, in some cases for other purposes. But they're all doing it. There's no evidence I've seen that suggests he was doing anything out of what's become accepted as ordinary. Also check out the Sweet Spot blog on this topic. Great work by Dave Schoenfield.
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
It's that time again, gang. I'll try to cram in one more.
Daniel (North Richland Hills, TX)
Is Yu Darvish the next Daisuke or do yu think he's proven to have more staying power? Inquiring minds must know!
Jayson Stark (2:02 PM)
Better than Dice-K. Best pitcher from Japan since Nomo, I think. Big-time swing-and-miss stuff, amd getting better all the time.
Jayson Stark (2:02 PM)
Thanks to everyone who checked in. Great questions this week! Seeya down the road in Chat Land.