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March 8, 2:16 PM ET
Chat with Jayson Stark

  (12:40 PM)

Jayson will be here at the top of the hour to chat baseball. He might be a few minutes late because the Phillies are honoring John Vukovich before their game today and Jayson is helping in the ceremony. He'll be here as soon as he can after 1 p.m. ET, so get those questions in NOW!

Jayson Stark
  (1:14 PM)

Sorry I'm so late. We're having internet-access issues here at Bright House Network Fields. And I just participated in an on-field ceremony honoring the late, great John Vukovich. So I apologize. Now let's get started.

Daniel (Columbus GA)

Jayson, what is your opinion on what will happen with the case with Gary Matthews? Are we looking at maybe 20 games or something with the course of Ray Lewis and act like nothing happened?

Jayson Stark
  (1:16 PM)

That's the $50-million question in this sport right now. It's unlikely any of the "customers" in that case will be charged with anything. So even if that link is proven, they won't be able to use the "conviction" clause to punish anyone. Which means the focus now is on whether the Angels can void the contract, or whether they'll try to. They're certainly making noises in that direction. But there will be a major fight with the union if they attempt that without more information than we have now. So stay tuned. This could be a BIG story.

mike (los angeles via south jersey)

jason - thanks for your wonderful insight into what the Vuk has meant to the phillies family. i think that people need to realize that there was much much more to him than just his .161 avg during his MLB career. i met him once a few years back at dodger stadium after a game and we talked a little about the game of baseball and the conversation went about 45 minutes. he was there with his wife and he didnt mind talking about the sport that he loved so much. phillies fans and baseball fans just lost a great man who will be sorely missed. thanks jason for a great piece.

Jayson Stark
  (1:19 PM)

Thanks for expressing those thoughts and telling that story. That epitomized John Vukovich. There are so many people in this sport who care passionately about baseball and the people in it, and who touch a million lives -- yet very few people even know their names. That was John Vukovich. It's overwhelming to hear the tales of all the people who tell you how much he meant to them, how much he helped them. And I'm one of them. So thanks for giving me the opportunity to mention this great man one more time.

frank (allentown, pa)

Any truth the rumors of the phillies trading lieber to toronto and rowand to the white sox for an outfielder and relief help?

Jayson Stark
  (1:21 PM)

There's definite smoke there, in both cases. But we're a long way from anything happening. I can't see the Blue Jays trading Alexis Rios for Jon Lieber. That's one big component. They'd think about it for Brett Myers, maybe. But there are missing pieces on that end. And I can't see the Phillies dealing Rowand for any old middle reliever. They would need someone like Mike MacDougal back. That's a guy the White Sox don't want to give up. So is something up? Yes. Do I see those deals going down as rumored? No.

Ben (Chicago)

Best team you've seen this spring?

Jayson Stark
  (1:27 PM)

Sorry for the delay. The ballpark wireless went down again. Hey, you think this spring training stuff is easy? Anyway, in answer to your question, it's strange to say a World Series team is being undersold or underrated, but the Tigers are. Yeah, that's a great division. And yeah, I think the Indians are a team to watch. But the Tigers are loaded. They have the best collection of arms around, and they just added Gary Sheffield to the lineup. So watch out.


in YOUR opinion Jayson, what will the Rocket do?

Jayson Stark
  (1:28 PM)

The latest theory in Rocketology is that he can't afford to tick off his fans in New York or Boston by picking one or the other, so he'll go back to Houston. But the truth is, it's too soon to say. It depends on dollars. It depends on who's where in the standings in mid-May. It depends on how good that Astros offense looks to him early on. Get back to me in two months!

Jeff (Virginia Beach, VA)

How does Cole Hamels look so far?

Jayson Stark
  (1:29 PM)

Well, he coughed up 4 in the top of the first today. But Buster Olney put it perfectly the other day. Cole Hamels is a difference-maker, if he stays healthy.

Matt (Douglassville, PA)

As a follow-up, do you think Pat Gillick would consider trading Myers for Rios, instead of trading Lieber?

Jayson Stark
  (1:31 PM)

That's really, really unlikely, because it would leave the Phillies' rotation in such dire shape beyond this year. But I know there were teams that asked about Myers over the winter, and the Phillies didn't say absolutely not. Nevertheless, that isn't Plan A, B, C or D.

Eric (Brooklyn)

Nice piece on Josh Hamilton. Am I worng in thinking he'd be better of in the minors this year? The has hardly played in three years and I would think he'd love ot be playing everyday, not getting spot starts and PH appearances. But with what he has shown so far, there is no way Tampa wouldn't take him back if offered, right?

Jayson Stark
  (1:33 PM)

This guy needs to play. There's no doubt about that. But the Reds know there's no way they could get him through waivers to send him out. So I think they keep him and do the best they can to find him opportunities. Playing time is their biggest challenge, unless four other outfielders crash into Ryan Freel in the same game. Which is never out of the question, by the way.

Max (New York)

As a Met fan, how worried should I be about the Duanar Sanchez ban, El Duque pitching poorly, everyone but Pelfrey and Glavine pitching poorly, and everything else?

Jayson Stark
  (1:36 PM)

The Mets didn't need this development, obviously. But let's just say the reason they were able to trade for a guy like that wasn't totally related to his work on the mound. So they knew Sanchez could have some issues. I like the fact they are dealing with that situation right now and letting him know this isn't acceptable. They need him. It's too soon to panic about the rotation. But that's clearly the one area where that team could fall off a cliff. I think they'll be able to piece it together until July and then make a deal -- and, theoretically, get Pedro back. But you never know what craziness might ensue in New York if they start out 20-28.

Stephen (NY)

Lost or Heroes?

Jayson Stark
  (1:36 PM)

Lost. Best show on television -- next to Baseball Tonight, of course.

Bill, NY

The Pirates are desperate for some kind of power to come from their bench. Do you think Brad Eldred will (finally) fill that void or should we think about using him as bait to bring in someone more reliable?

Jayson Stark
  (1:38 PM)

Brad Eldred is the talk of Florida. But where does he fit on that team if Adam LaRoche is the first baseman? The answer would have to be: Nowhere. So teams are already hovering all over that guy. He does have an option left, though. So the Pirates are a good bet to ask such a big price, he goes back to triple-A until (or is it unless?) somebody gets desperate.

scott framingham ma

any chance the astros can make a run at the cardnials without clemens?

Jayson Stark
  (1:40 PM)

Absolutely. Everyone who has seen the Cardinals this spring tells me they're as vulnerable as they've ever been. I still think they're the team to beat. But I could definitely see one crazy race, with the Astros right in the middle of it. I'd have a hard time seeing them winning the World Series if they don't bring Clemens back. But I don't see it taking 98 wins to win that division. So they're clearly good enough to win the Central if things go right.

Donnie from Louisiana

Are the Braves gonna get back to winning their division or are they still lacking in the talent?

  (2:26 PM)

Sorry folks. I just noticed that Jayson cut out. I'm guessing his wireless at the park wasn't very good. He told me before hand it's been spotty. Don't worry, we'll get him back for a chat soon.