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July 16, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jayson Stark

Jayson Stark
  (1:03 PM)

Hi. I had a dream the National League actually won the All Star Game. That can't be true, can it? You can let me know as we chat along. So let's get started.

Tommy (Athens, GA)

Do you think the Braves, as constituted, are built to win in the postseason? From the looks of the possible competition in the National League, the Cardinals are really the only team I wouldn't be too happy to face because of that rotation

Jayson Stark
  (1:04 PM)

The Braves look as if they're built to win any time. They've lost one series since the first week of May, and that was to the hottest team on earth (the White Sox). Pitching wins in October, and I love their pitching. I think their lineup can be pitched to. But if Jason Heyward is healthy again, that changes everything. Also, they're still bat-shopping. So stay tuned. They're the NL favorites in my mind right now.

Kevin (NJ)

Jesus Montero is starting to rake again. We will see him in the Bronx this year? Also, what do you think of Pedro Alvarez for his career. Adam Dunn lite or can he be a a .285-.290 guy?

Jayson Stark
  (1:07 PM)

Montero could certainly show up in the Bronx, but it probably wouldn't be before September barring a crisis. He actually hadn't done anything to earn a call-up till recently. And Pedro Alvarez's strikeout rate is a little scary for me to project he'll hit .285-.290. And he might whiff MORE than Adam Dunn, which isn't easy. He's going to hit home runs, but the rest of the package is a little shaky at the moment.

BeerSnob (Arlington, VA)

The Phillies haven't hit well since the binoculars incident. Coincidence?

Jayson Stark
  (1:08 PM)

That's a very interesting question. I've had a surprising number of scouts and even coaches say it's not a coincidence. But we're talking about players with track records, who have hit for their whole careers and who have hit home and road. So that seems like a little too simple an explanation for me. Nevertheless, there have been rumors about the Phillies and sign-stealing for years. So I'm not dismissing anything.

Jon (Anaheim)

Are there any bats that may be traded soon that we havent heard off...similar to the Escobar trade?

Jayson Stark
  (1:09 PM)

There hasn't been much talk about Jorge Cantu. But I'm now betting he'll be the first Marlin to get traded. Lots of buzzing about him. Rockies, Rangers, etc.

Kevin O'Brien (New York, NY)

What's more likely for the Nationals? Trade Dunn, trading Willingham, or neither. And if trading either, what are some of the offers being tossed around? If not trading either, what's the chances of signing them to extensions?

Jayson Stark
  (1:11 PM)

I'd bet on Dunn. Keep hearing that when teams ask about Willingham, they're told the Nationals are more open to trading Dunn. Not saying it's impossible they move Willingham, but it's a sign there's going to be a very heavy price tag on him. Remember, they can trade Dunn and then bring him back as a free agent over the winter. That's another reason I think moving him is more likely.

kd (charlotte)

What is the trade verdict on Oswalt and Fielder? Yea or Nay? If so, where?

Jayson Stark
  (1:14 PM)

If I were a betting man, I'd bet nay on both. Sounds like the Astros are only willing to eat a few million dollars of Oswalt's contract, and that still leaves over $20M left. Add in his no-trade, and his lack of enthusiasm for going to the American League, you're not talking about very many destinations. Prince is only going to get moved for a heavy price tag. And as Buster alluded to this week, clubs are wary of his defense and body type. And they pretty much know they can't sign him, because he's a Scott Boras client, meaning he's heading for free agency no matter what. So that's a tough sell. But he's more likely to go than Oswalt.

710James (Kansas City)

What do you think of possibility of Podsednik, Butler and DeJesus being traded? Seems every time Royals get good solid players they trade and get an old timer about to retire. grrr..

Jayson Stark
  (1:16 PM)

They're not trading Billy Butler. He's a centerpiece player for a team that thinks it can contend by 2012. The other two are very available. But sounds like the price tag on DeJesus so far has been more than teams want to pay. There's no reason for the Royals to rush to deal him. So that one could go right to the deadline.

Greg (sarasota )

Do you think the Rays are going to acquire a big bat for the second half

Jayson Stark
  (1:18 PM)

There's no doubt they're bat-shopping. And they'd prefer a guy who can play right field, which would allow them to move Ben Zobrist to second full-time. But they also have payroll concerns. And they like controllable players. So I don't know that Jayson Werth is as perfect a fit as he might seem. And I haven't gotten the sense they're in love with Corey Hart. They always think outside the box, so watch that team carefully.

kyle (denevr colorado )

are the rockies gonna make an effort to get dan uggla ??

Jayson Stark
  (1:20 PM)

It's not a coincidence you've seen them connected to him in so many rumors. But A) the Marlins are pushing other players (i.e., Cantu) first, and B) he's not the only name on their list. So that's not a done deal. And it's not a fait accompli.

Greg (Sarasota)

Who do you think has a chance to contribune more down the line...Wade Davis or the new kid Jeremy Hellickson

Jayson Stark
  (1:21 PM)

I really like Wade Davis. Haven't seen nearly as much of Hellickson. But my sense from scouts who have seen them is that they think Hellickson is the guy with more upside. Wouldn't be shocking to see the Rays trade Davis if they got an impact bat back who's controllable for at least a couple of years.

Jason (St Louis)

Is the Kung Fu Panda ever going to hit another homerun?

Jayson Stark
  (1:24 PM)

By "ever," I'm assuming you mean, "before my fantasy team gets eliminated," correct? I think this guy will hit again. But at some point, he's going to have to refine his approach, don't you think? You can't swing that hard at just about every pitch they throw you and think anyone will throw you a strike. The league has really adjusted to him. He's going to have to make adjustments back, because the Giants need him.

Tom (ATL)

Any chance the braves find a real center fielder before the deadline?

Jayson Stark
  (1:25 PM)

I expect them to give Nate McLouth a chance to show he's the guy they thought they traded for last year, not the sub-Mendoza Line disaster he was early this year. If they don't like what they see, that could change the shopping plans. But for now, they appear to be more interested in a left-field type bat, not a centerfielder.

cs1946md (Leesburg,VA)

Do you think the Red Sox will make any moves? Maybe for Jason Werth or a middle reliever?

Jayson Stark
  (1:28 PM)

I think they're more likely to add a bullpen piece or pieces than they are to add somebody like Werth. But they're tough to predict because they're in on EVERYTHING. And on everybody. I know they like Jayson Werth, but I'd guess they're more likely to sign him this winter than trade for him this month. The Phillies are dangling him, but as long as they're in a race, they'd need to fill multiple needs and somehow replace his righthanded bat to move him. Very unlikely unless they lose a lot of games in the next two weeks.

Chris (Philadelphia, PA)

Wouldn't the sensible move be keeping Jayson Werth and moving or releasing Ibanez to make room for Dom Brown? Why won't this happen?

Jayson Stark
  (1:30 PM)

OK, let's clear out the Jayson Werth questions and move on. Obviously, the Phillies would love to move Ibanez. But it's too much money and too little production, so there's just no interest. And I don't see them releasing him, because they owe him so many dollars, he's always been streaky and, amazingly, he's currently hitting THIRD for them. They're gauging interest in all their outfielders to clear a spot for Brown. But it's very, very difficult to give up their only righthanded threat (Werth) and nearly impossible to move Ibanez. So they're not in a good spot.

Dan (Chicago)

How much do you really think Beltran will impact the NL East race, if at all?

Jayson Stark
  (1:32 PM)

That jury is still out. He's a great player. But he admits he still isn't fully healthy. So he's not going to be able to run the way he used to. And it's hard to say how he'll hold up playing every day. This was a serious operation, remember. It wasn't your basic arthroscopic tuneup. So he's still one of the great X factors in the second half.

Dan (MN)

Any idea where the Twins can buy a real starting rotation?

Jayson Stark
  (1:34 PM)

The regression of that whole group, aside from Carl Pavano, has been one of the most surprising developments of the first half. Rick Anderson is a great pitching coach who has always had success with these types of pitchers. But the problem the Twins have now is that Cliff Lee is gone, and there might not be anybody out there who really gives them what they need. I know there's been Jake Westbrook talk. But I had one scout tell me this week: "They don't need a Jake Westbrook. They need a Cliff Lee."

Eric (NJ)

Hey Jayson-Love the chats. Here's a random question. If Cliff Lee had been traded to the NL, would he have lost his allstar status? Let's assume all the roster spots have been filled and then someone is traded to the other league, what happens? That guys loses his spot and the AL manager would get to pick someone?Rock on!

Jayson Stark
  (1:37 PM)

Boy, I've gotten asked this question a lot. The answer is still unclear. But there was a precedent a few years ago when Carlos Beltran appeared on the AL ballot, got elected but was in the NL by the time the team was announced. So he was placed on the NL team. But he was easier because he'd changed leagues well before the date the team was named. In Lee's case, he would have gotten traded after being named to the AL team but before the game. My guess is, if there was a spot open, he'd have been on the NL team. If not, he'd have been there but not as a player eligible to play in the game. Nevertheless, nobody I asked was 100 percent sure.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

If you were in the Yankees front office, would you send Joba down to Scranton and call up Albaladejo for at least a three week trial to see what he can do? Can't be much worse, right?

Jayson Stark
  (1:38 PM)

I don't hear any talk the Yankees are planning to send Joba down. But somehow or other, they've got to figure out some way to straighten this guy out.

Jon (Jacksonville, Fl.)

Jayson, Hicks or Freeman for you over their career? Thanks and have a good weekend.

Jayson Stark
  (1:38 PM)

Haven't seen enough of Hicks to know. I think Freeman is going to be a real good player, though.

Maurice (Tucson)

Jason, do you think the Tigers will be shopping for a starter or shortstop, and if so, who would be available that won't cost them the farm?

Jayson Stark
  (1:40 PM)

I think they're shopping for both -- and bullpen, too. Sounds as if, in their conversations with Arizona for instance, they've asked about all of the above -- Stephen Drew, Chad Qualls and Haren. Qualls is affordable. The other guys -- not so sure.

Ryan (Seattle)

Is it just me or are the Cubs and Tigers perfect trading partners? Lilly and Theriot?

Jayson Stark
  (1:41 PM)

That's another example of the talks the Tigers are pursuing. The question is whether Theriot is really a shortstop, or at least an upgrade at short. The Cubs obviously weren't so sure he was. That was a big reason they called up Castro.

Ben (Oakland, CA)

Jayson, do the Rangers have enough ammo to follow up the Lee trade with a Dunn trade? They'd be very frightening with him.

Jayson Stark
  (1:42 PM)

They still have a ton of prospects. What they don't have is money. I don't see how they can add another dime in payroll, so that would make Dunn a very unlikely fit for them. Wouldn't it?

Brian (SC)

The Braves reportedly gave Alex Gonzalez a standing ovation when he entered the clubhouse last night. Just how toxic was Yunel Escobar to that clubhouse?

Jayson Stark
  (1:44 PM)

Doesn't that tell you all you need to know? It wasn't just the manager who had had it with him. His teammates had had it. The guy is still a super-talented player. And I wouldn't be surprised if he became a star someday. But the Braves have a certain type of player they want and a special climate they demand. And Escobar didn't fit either. Obviously.

Jon (Syracuse)

Is Hughes going to suffer from the same problems as Joba by being bounced around too much?

Jayson Stark
  (1:46 PM)

Doesn't the season he's had this year answer that question? That light bulb has gone on. And he's just gotten better. So I don't see that. Just because this was how it turned out with Joba means this is how it will turn out with Hughes. They're also handling Hughes a little different, in part because of lessons learned from what went wrong on the Joba front. I don't think you'll see Phil Hughes making any three-inning starts this year, just so they can say they sent him out there.

Jim C (Houston)

I think while getting traded away from a league knocks you off their all-star team, it doesn't automatically add you to the other.

Jayson Stark
  (1:47 PM)

That's exactly right. But my guess is that, because Lee had already been named to one all-star team, he at least would have been invited to attend the festivities if he'd been in the other league by game time. Whether he'd have actually wound up on the team is a different question. And as I said earlier, it's not one I've been able to get a definitive answer on.

Vinnie (ATL)

Is this Chipper's last season? He has played well since he met with management and "retired".

Jayson Stark
  (1:49 PM)

Boy, I can't remember a week with as many Braves questions. I had a nice chat with Chipper last week. And while he isn't answering that question anymore, he really does sound like a guy who's ready to walk away. We'll see what happens, but that's definitely how he sounded.

shane (illinois)

quick question why has there been no mention of jamie garcia or david freese for nl rookie of the year? all i hear about is strasburg and heyward...

Jayson Stark
  (1:50 PM)

Shane, you've been reading way too selectively. I named Garcia my midseason ROY just last week, on a site known as ESPN.com. So better pay attention. There's going to be a quiz next week!

Derrick (Tulsa, Ok)

Do you still post your Rumblings and grumblings column? I haven't run across it in a long time.

Jayson Stark
  (1:52 PM)

Get this question every week. Rumblings and Grumblings WILL return. I've just been in a crazy cycle of travel, other assignments and vacation. That column takes three days to report and write. So we had to put it on temporary hiatus. But the big word there was "temporary." Hey, it's good to know so many people have missed it, at least. And me, too!

Mark (San Diego)

Are the Padres to move Adrian Gonzalez in the off season if a contract cant be agreed upon? It would seem to be the smart thing to do. They could probably get a huge package in return.

Jayson Stark
  (1:53 PM)

That's what I think almost has to happen. They're not going to be able to sign him. And they certainly can't trade him now, when they're in first place. But this winter will be a time to establish once and for all that he's not signable (by them, anyway). And once that's out there, I think even the people in San Diego who love him will understand that they have to deal him.

Mike [via mobile]

Any trivia this week?

Jayson Stark
  (1:54 PM)

Getting a million requests for trivia. I didn't have time to prepare anything this week. But if you didn't hear me on Mike & Mike today, this is the question I asked: Can you name the only two active players who have led their league in all three triple-crown categories at some point in their careers, though not in the same year?

Matt (Plano,TX)

Who besides Lee will be the big pitcher for the Rangers? Tommy Hunter, Colby Lewis, or C.J. Wilson. They are all good. Do you think they will all stay pretty good the rest of the way?

Jayson Stark
  (1:57 PM)

We don't know yet how Wilsono is going to hold up after converting to the rotation from the bullpen. And I really like Tommy Hunter. But Colby Lewis is the man for me. That's the best under-the-radar signing of the offseason.

Eamon (DC)

Trivia: Manny and Helton?

Jayson Stark
  (1:57 PM)

Manny is correct. Helton never led the league in homers. Good try!

Jamie (Canada)

Miggy and Tex?

Jayson Stark
  (1:58 PM)

Miggy is way off. Only led in RBIs. Teixeira is a good guess, but never led in average.

Dan (Denver)

Pujols

Jayson Stark
  (1:59 PM)

I thought everybody would guess Pujols. But that's wrong. Never led in RBIs.

Jeff (Indianapolis)

Manny and Oswalt? (ARod)

Jayson Stark
  (1:59 PM)

You guys are catching on. It's mandatory to answer Roy Oswalt to every question. But good going, Jeff, because you not only worked Oswalt in there, you also got the answer. ARod is the second name. Good work!

Jayson Stark
  (2:00 PM)

OK, let's cram in one more now that we've got the trivia out of the way.

Bill ((Baltimore))

Hey Jayson. Any rumblings that would get an O's fan excited?

Jayson Stark
  (2:02 PM)

I don't think "excited" is the right word. They have lots of interest in Wigginton, and some in Tejada. But Andy MacPhail likes to take his time. And while I understand that, the interest of teams like the Phillies and Rockies in his infielders actually diminishes with time, rather than increases, because it makes the return of their injured players closer, and more manageable. They'll get Wiggy traded at some point. Not so sure on Tejada or Guthrie.

Jayson Stark
  (2:02 PM)

Thanks to everybody who checked in. Always fun chatting with you. See you next week in Chat Land.