Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

April 22, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jayson Stark

Jayson Stark
  (1:01 PM)

Hi there! It's been another action-packed week. So we'd better get started, in case Bud Selig decides he needs to take over any other franchises today.

Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)

If you put Braun's two contracts together (eight years for $45 million and five years for $105 million) then it works out to a 13-year, $150 million contract. The Brewers severely underpaid for Braun through 2015 but they prematurely overpaid for 2016 through 2020. You can't ask for a nicer face for a franchise than Braun but I fear that the Brewers invested too much money in Braun prematurely. Is there any question that Braun would have signed a similar extension in 2014?

Jayson Stark
  (1:03 PM)

I think Ryan Braun is a great player. I've made that case many times. But 10 years is too long a deal -- for any player. And when a guy is five years away from free agency, there normally would be no urgency to make a deal. But there's an extenuating circumstance in this case. And we can describe it as: Prince. This officially anoints Braun as the face of the franchise. It's also a way to tell fans that if Prince Fielder leaves, it's his fault, not the Brewers' fault. Big factor. But I think this deal is still too long.

CP (Reno)

As a life long Dodger fan( tough lately) I am so happy that MLB FINALLY stepped in. My question is what's next. Does this having staying power and if we are Out of the race can we sell, in the race can we add salary?

Jayson Stark
  (1:05 PM)

Those are questions nobody can answer yet. Not even Bud Selig, I suspect. Not sure what you mean by staying power. But if Frank McCourt sues, as expected, this could take a long, long, long time to play out. So that means MLB will be running the club for months, maybe more than a year. You'd think the Rangers would be the model here, since clearly, the commish's concern is that he wants to restore the Dodgers to their place as a model franchise. But you never know.

Noonan (Philly)

With a health Chase Utley, how big are the Phils' hitting concerns?

Jayson Stark
  (1:08 PM)

That's a big assumption to begin with, isn't it? A "healthy Chase Utley?" I think you'll see Utley back within the next month if nothing goes wrong. But I have no idea how healthy he'll be. And with or without him, this is an offense on the decline. Two years ago, they hit 242 homers. The other day, when I computed this, they were on pace to hit 142. And they have two players in the entire lineup -- Victorino and Rollins -- with above-average, or even average, speed. So they'd better learn the art of situational hitting, or pitch their tails off. With pitching this good, you don't need the kind of offense they once had. But they're sure putting a lot of pressure on their arms.

Shane (Knoxville)

Jayson, how 'bout for the new playoff format we have a best of 3-5-5-7 for the four rounds? How many managers would disagree with that?

Jayson Stark
  (1:10 PM)

I'd say all of them! There's no sentiment for changing the LCS back to best-of-five, so that won't happen. And I'm opposed to best-of-three in the new wild-card round, too. I don't want to see the first-place teams waiting around for four or five days to play. I love the drama of opening the postseason with two win-or-go-home games. And I think that greatly increases the incentive to finish first, which is the reason I support this concept in the first place.

Mike (San Diego)

I'm not sure if you've decided on a schtick for Mike and Mike trivia, but another good one could be correct answers vs. innings where Dice-K throws fewer than 15 pitches.

Jayson Stark
  (1:11 PM)

They get like one question a year right now. You like their chances on a pitch-count question? What's the answer to that question, anyway? Zero?

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

When do the Rockie's officially begin to panic about Ubaldo?

Jayson Stark
  (1:12 PM)

Wow. It's great to see the panic meter is alive and well, even in Denver. Two starts, with a DL stay in the middle, is no cause for alarm. Yet. But his lack of velocity and command is certainly something to watch.

Jason Hall (Pittsburgh,PAS)

Are the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics possibly be on the move of relocating if they cannot get a new ballpark in the near future?

Jayson Stark
  (1:15 PM)

Move where? That's the question. They're sure to threaten to move. But when the Marlins made that threat a few years ago, they didn't find a whole lot of options. San Antonio? The Rangers and Astros wouldn't approve it. New Jersey? The Yankees and Mets wouldn't approve it. Las Vegas? Bud Selig probably wouldn't approve it. Portland, Ore.? Maybe. Oklahoma City? Maybe. Mexico City? Possibly. But I think baseball would prefer to figure out a way to keep the A's in the Bay Area and the Rays in the Tampa area if there's any way that's doable.

Mike (San Diego)

Are your loyal chatters going to get any trivia questions this year?

Jayson Stark
  (1:15 PM)

I just might have one for you in a half-hour. Make sure to remind me if I haven't posted it.

Mike (San Diego)

Crazy thought here, but let's say the Mets fall out of the race soon (likely). Would the Rockies, who are clearly a contender this year, have a potential package together to bring David Wright to Colorado? Would the Mets even consider trading him?

Jayson Stark
  (1:16 PM)

I've heard a lot of David Wright questions lately. I don't get any sense the Mets are of a mind to trade him, no matter what the package or how bad it gets this summer. So it's a moot point, I think.

Ryan (Milwaukee)

Why all the hate towards the Braun deal? How do you expect a small market to keep it's marquee players without such deals? Or would you rather have only the Sox and Yankees afford the franchise players?

Jayson Stark
  (1:18 PM)

I don't hate that deal. I understand it. I applaud the Brewers' willingness to make that kind of commitment, and you have to love Ryan Braun for wanting to be a Brewer. I just think it's too long. For any player. Or any team. Why is that small-market hating at work.

Brian (NJ)

Its so dumb when teams make moves based on fan perception (Milwaukee with Bruan extention re. Prince). Fans care 99% about one thing: winning. Stupid moves for PR reasons are just that...stupid.

Jayson Stark
  (1:20 PM)

Well, I should say that this isn't just about fan perception. There are other forces at work. And one of them is that you don't want a player who's 30 or 31, as Braun will be at the end of his deal, to knock on your door then and look for a seven-year or eight-year or 10-year contract. But most of these recent extensions have taken players through their age 35 season, at most. This one carries Braun through his age 36 season, barely before his 37th birthday. So in that sense, it's even riskier than the Tulo contract.

Aaron (Engineering Building in Columbia MO)

Do you see Kyle lohse and Kyle Mclellan keeping up what they are doing all year?

Jayson Stark
  (1:22 PM)

I'm bullish on both of them, to be honest. Lohse looks healthy for the first time in three years. His stuff has always been great. And he's pitching with tremendous confidence. Kyle McLellan has pitched this way since the first day of spring training. The only worry on him is how he'll hold up through the marathon after making that transition from reliever to starter.

Rich (NYC)

Do you think the Giants will be a major player for Jose Reyes? Sabean seems to like shopping in the bargain bin more often then not.

Jayson Stark
  (1:23 PM)

That's my theory, too. Everyone wanted him to make a huge deal for a bat last year, too. Instead, he picked up Burrell and Ross for nothing. They're not one of those teams noted for the monster deadline deal. And I don't see that changing.

Shawn (Work (on Good Friday, what gives!?))

Who gets to the majors first, Teheran or Banuelos? Both are playing for potentially contending teams, yet the Yankees pitching outlook is substantially worse.

Jayson Stark
  (1:25 PM)

I'll go Banuelos. Slightly more advanced. Looked ready to pitch in the big leagues right now when I saw him this spring. And the Yankees figure to have a need midseason way more than the Braves. But Teheran is so talented, you never know.

D. Delaney (Work)

Who cares if the "first-place teams waiting around for four or five days to play" under a new--and, in my opinion, worse--expanded playoff format. Almost always a Wild Card team has a better record than one (or two) division winners. A single-game elimination "playoff" makes a mockery of a 162-game season. The best format would be to seed the post-season by record--and not expand the playoffs.

Jayson Stark
  (1:26 PM)

One of the reasons to do this, in my view, is to make the season more meaningful. What the Yankees did at the end of last season, when they sat regulars down the stretch because they didn't even care if they finished first, made a mockery of the season. You think they'd have handled it that way if they knew the alternative was a one-game survival game against the Red Sox and, probably, Jon Lester? No chance. I have no problem with the wild cards walking the tight rope. If you don't like it, go out and win your division.

Matt (Astoria)

More possible new team locations: Charlotte/Raleigh, New Orleans, Memphis/Nashville, Salt Lake, Vancouver, Connecticut, Indianapolis, Louisville.

Jayson Stark
  (1:28 PM)

Maybe. But the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox would veto Connecticut. And the Reds would oppose Indy and Louisville. Have to admit it's been years since I heard any of those other sites having a serious interest.

Michael (Charleston, SC)

Do you think the Bucs should lock up McCutchen (Andrew, not Daniel) long-term a la Braun, Longoria, etc?

Jayson Stark
  (1:29 PM)

Wouldn't surprise me at all if that happened. There's no question at this point about McCutchen's ability or aptitude for the game.

Cody (Philly)

What you think of Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa? Could they be a good middle infield combo in a few years?

Jayson Stark
  (1:31 PM)

Like them both. Desmond has tremendous tools and a great presence. Still makes a lot of sloppy mistakes that he'll need to grow out of. Espinosa can really hit. Let's see how he settles in at second base. But they're probably the most talented young DP combination in the big leagues, in terms of what they are already and what they could be down the road.

James (Detroit)

We all know the Tigers are aggressive with their young pitching, but would they consider bringing up Jacob Turner at some point this year even if it's just for a spot start?

Jayson Stark
  (1:33 PM)

I don't think there's any doubt about that. They're very aware that their young pitching depth is one of their strengths as an organization, and this is such an important year for that team, I have no doubt they'd give Turner a chance if he continues to do his thing.

Eric (Chicago)

Pirates claimed Brandon Wood off waivers today...good move? Also, can we some trivia?

Jayson Stark
  (1:35 PM)

Maybe there's someone in Pittsburgh who can unlock that tool box. But I haven't seen any evidence he's going to make it work. Scary offensive approach. Too much swinging and missing. But nothing to lose, I guess, if you're the Buccos. Trivia at 45 past!

Dan (Philly)

Do you think there is any chance that this winter the Phils let Rollins walk and sign Jose Reyes? Rollins better days seem to be behind him.

Jayson Stark
  (1:37 PM)

There's certainly a chance they let Rollins walk. But I really don't see Reyes as their kind of player. Had somebody describe him to me this way recently: He's a great talent, but he's not a great player. And I think that wouldn't really fit the Phillies' MO. But they don't have a shortstop in the system who could replace Rollins. So I suppose anything is possible.

Dan (Philly)

Will Utley ever be fully healthy without surgery? I really don't understand why the Phils won't just give him surgery even if it means hes out for a little longer so that this won't be a reoccuring problem every spring training.

Jayson Stark
  (1:38 PM)

If he has that surgery, he's done for the year. It's an 11-month rehab. And there's no guarantee of success. He just wasn't willing to write off this season without trying it another way. The problem now is, if he breaks down, he'd jeopardize this season and next season.

Zach (NYC)

How many more solid starts do you need to see out of Beckett before you feel comfortable saying he is back (not necessarily to his 2007 form but at least 2009)?

Jayson Stark
  (1:39 PM)

I'm there. This is three consecutive dominating starts, with tremendous velocity and life on the fastball and his best breaking-ball and breaking-ball command in years. You never know about health. But his stuff is back.

Bawb (Fairview, UT)

Did Troy Glaus retire? Or is there really no team that could use his service?

Jayson Stark
  (1:40 PM)

He didn't technically retire. Wasn't enthused about the low-level interest he got over the winter. Has told teams he's thinking about making a midseason comeback. But that didn't work real well for Jermaine Dye.

John (Indy)

Jayson, would MLB have taken over baseball operations had the team in trouble had been, say, the Padres or Astros rather than the Dodgers? For that matter, what's different between the Dodgers situation and the situation with the Mets? MLB picks and chooses who to help is my point.

Jayson Stark
  (1:41 PM)

That's going to be Frank McCourt's argument in court, exactly. And I bet you'll work cheaper than his lawyers!

Ryan (San Jose)

Do you think that once Greinke and Hart come back the Brewers will seriously contend with the Cards and the Reds for the division?

Jayson Stark
  (1:42 PM)

At that point, you'd have to love their talent level at the big leagues. The problem is zero depth below the big leagues. They're more susceptible to injury than those other teams. But if they stay healthy, with their rotation, they should be in this to the finish.

Rob (Oh)

If the Mariners start shopping King Felix what do you think the chances are that the Reds have a shot. We sure could use an "Ace" and do you think that would give them a better chance to make it to the big game?

Jayson Stark
  (1:45 PM)

First off, as my buddy Buster wrote this week and we've all said and written repeatedly, there's zero evidence that the Mariners will shop Felix unless he forces his way out. But as for the Reds' part of that equation, they're definitely in the market for a No. 1 type starter and have been for some time. And they've certainly got enough prospects to make that kind of deal if the fit is right. But they weren't able to reel in Greinke or Cliff Lee in the last year. And they'll be a lot of teams in that ace market this July, with probably not much available. So it won't be easy to find that kind of pitcher in midseason.

Chris (Austin)

Are you worried about Yovani Gallardo at all? Just hasn't looked himself lately.

Jayson Stark
  (1:46 PM)

Just saw the Brewers. The feeling I got is that he still hasn't made that commitment to greatness, despite all his talent. And he'll always be inconsistent until he does.

Jayson Stark
  (1:47 PM)

OK, I promised you trivia. Here it comes. I had this one ready to go after Manny "retired" and never hauled it out. Ready? There are now four active righthanded hitters who have won both a home run and RBI title at some point in their careers. Want to try to name them? You've got 13 minutes!

Nathan (Kentucky)

What are your thoughts on Pedro Alvarez so far? Should we buy his 3-4 performance last night or is he going to stay around or below .200 BA with limited power numbers for a while?

Jayson Stark
  (1:49 PM)

Had a scout say to me last week that Pedro should just go the Carlos Pena route and forget even trying to hit for average. Just let it fly on every swing and hit some bombs. Then maybe he can mature into a better hitter for average down the road. But he's really feeling for it right now.

Al (DC)

pujols

Jayson Stark
  (1:49 PM)

Yeah. That's one. Obviously. Three to go.

jim (toronto)

A Rod

Jayson Stark
  (1:49 PM)

That's the easy No. 2. Two to go.

Matt (Astoria)

Pujols, Helton, Howard, Arod

Jayson Stark
  (1:50 PM)

What part of that word, "righthanded," didn't you understand?

Michael J (Chicago)

Do you see Hanley Ramirez coming out of his slump soon???

Jayson Stark
  (1:51 PM)

Yes. Hanley's having good at-bats. Check the walk-strikeout ratio. Just has a mechanical issue with his swing, so he isn't getting good results from getting himself into all those hitter's counts yet. But that'll change!

Eric (Chicago)

Miggy Cab

Jayson Stark
  (1:51 PM)

That's No. 3. Excellent work. One to go.

Eric (Chicago)

David Wright

Jayson Stark
  (1:52 PM)

Nope. Never led in either category.

Kevin (San Jose)

Bautista

Jayson Stark
  (1:52 PM)

Fraid not. Didn't lead in RBIs last year.

jesse (florida)

vlad

Jayson Stark
  (1:53 PM)

Had a million Vlad guesses. But nope. Never led in either.

Sean (FL)

Konerko

Jayson Stark
  (1:53 PM)

Good guess. . . . And wrong. Never led in either.

Eli (manchester, ct)

Andruw Jones actually led the NL in 2005 in both HRs and RBis

Jayson Stark
  (1:54 PM)

Way to go, Eli. You cheated, right?

Jayson Stark
  (1:54 PM)

Sorry if anyone got it before him. Got bombarded with more answers than I could keep track of.

Eli (manchester, ct)

Cheated and proud of it!

Jayson Stark
  (1:55 PM)

Thought so. You're an embarrassment to trivia fans everywhere, pal.

kid123 (ny)

Barry Bonds cheated too Eli!

Jayson Stark
  (1:55 PM)

All right, kids. Behave now. Willya?

JA (Phoenixville)

Hey Jayson, love your work...In your honest opinion, do you consider Hamels to be an ace pitcher? Lots of talk to the contrary, and I'm not sure which side of the fence I fall on...thanks!

Jayson Stark
  (1:57 PM)

He was an ace in October 2008. He was an ace the second half of last year, when he had the lowest ERA of any lefthander in baseball after July 1. Hasn't always been an ace in between. But he's more ace-like than about 15 teams' "No. 1 starters." I'll say that.

Mike (San Diego)

The answer to every trivia question is Todd Helton and Roy Oswalt. Doesn't matter what the question is. It's just a fact.

Jayson Stark
  (1:57 PM)

Not really. Sometimes it's Lance Berkman. Or Tim Wakefield.

TJ (NYC)

Can the Rays contend with such a awful lineup? Longoria and maybe Upton and 7 replacement level hitters?

Jayson Stark
  (1:58 PM)

They have the starting pitching to contend. They have a great, ultra-competitive vibe. They catch the ball. But it's hard not to have issues with their lineup.

kid123 (ny)

haha thank you for posting that, made my day! Biggest Sellers at the trade deadline? Baltimore and San Diego?

Jayson Stark
  (1:59 PM)

I'll vote Baltimore. So many marketable players on the last year of their contract. And not much chance they'll contend.

Joseph (Sacramento, CA)

Is it time for Tampa to deal BJ Upton? It seems he may need a change of scenery, and dealing him now may bring back his highest value. It was reported that the Nats had scouted him.

Jayson Stark
  (2:00 PM)

Nats did scout him. But Rays aren't ready to deal him. He frustrates them, but they'd have to get a big-time centerfielder back. And much more.

Jayson Stark
  (2:00 PM)

OK, let's try to sneak in one more.

Eli (Manchester, ct)

If you were Ozzie Guillen, who would you use as your closer? Would you play the matchups, or try and stick with one guy?

Jayson Stark
  (2:01 PM)

I'd let Chris Sale try it and commit to him for an extended period. Doing it the way Ozzie is doing it now shows faith in nobody. And he's getting rewarded for it accordingly.

Jayson Stark
  (2:01 PM)

Hey, thanks to everybody who participated -- except for Eli, who cheated on the trivia. You get a 50-game trivia suspension, Eli. See the rest of you next week in Chat Land!