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September 23, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jayson Stark

Jayson Stark
  (1:02 PM)

Hey there. Hard to believe we're in the last six games of the regular season. Harder to believe the two wild-card races are still crazy. So let's get started. And this important announcement: There WILL be trivia about 45 past the hour.

Mark (Allentown)

Hey Jayson, I just read your piece about Verlander. I respect your opinion, but I disagree. The pitchers have their award and it is called the CY. A position player can not win that by any means. I am totally with Rollins on this one.

Jayson Stark
  (1:05 PM)

You know, Mark. I understand that in general, this is an award that's slanted toward position players. But the creation of the Cy Young wasn't intended to disqualify pitchers from winning the MVP. If that was the intent, how come a pitcher (Don Newcombe) won the NL MVP award in the FIRST year after the Cy Young was created. And as I wrote in the column, it took three decades until after the dawn of the Cy Young Award for voters to stop considering starting pitchers altogether. So I think we respectfully disagree on this one.

Jonathan (DC)

Jayson... Your unoffical poll of execs said the Nats might get Prince Fielder this summer? Are they really the front-runner?

Jayson Stark
  (1:07 PM)

I don't actually get that sense at all from the Nationals themselves. If the bidding gets to eight years and $200+ million, I don't see them taking that kind of plunge. On the other hand, any time Scott Boras has needed to find a team to work with on a big deal in the last couple of years, where has he turned? So don't rule it out. And as Mike Rizzo told me specifically earlier this earlier in the month, he isn't closing the door on anything this winter.

J (WNY)

Who gets the higher playoff seed in the event of a tie, Detriot or Texas

Jayson Stark
  (1:08 PM)

That would be Detroit. Won the season series, 6 games to 3.

Tim (ATL)

regarding verlander and the MVP... do you think petey's failure to get the votes in 99 is a good indicator of what's likely to happen again this year? how do you compare that '99 performance to what verlander has done this year? (especially considering the league's offensive numbers back then!)

Jayson Stark
  (1:10 PM)

Pedro should have won that year. No doubt about that. That was one of the great pitching seasons of modern times. I suspect Verlander won't win this year because of exactly the same thinking. After all, in the 11 years since, exactly one first-place MVP vote has gone to a starting pitcher (Santana, in 2006). But there seems to be some momentum in Verlander's direction in the last week or so from a lot of the big national voices. So he has a very real shot. And in case it wasn't clear, he'd be my pick.

J.B. (PA)

Jayson: Even if the Braves and Red Sox avoid the epic collapse (that would be part II for the Sox 33 years later), do they have enough to win in the post-season? The rotations are Swiss cheese and in the case of Atlanta, the offense has been stranding runners at an alarming rate.

Jayson Stark
  (1:14 PM)

I think the Red Sox could surprise people, actually. Beckett and Lester can beat anybody. If they can get Papelbon and Bard some rest, they can shrink the game. And their offense might actually relax once this madness is over. Remember, the team that had the worst Sept. winning pct. before entering the postseason, at least before this year, was the '98 Padres. Remember how their October went? Upset the Astros with Randy Johnson. Then beat a great Braves team and went to the World Series. So I'm not writing the Red Sox off. The Braves are another story. Hard to like their chances.

Dusty (St. Louis)

Eric Hosmer has been a monster over the last month or so. Is it enough for him to win the AL Rookie of the Year?

Jayson Stark
  (1:15 PM)

It's going to be tough to convince some voters to vote for a player who got called up as late as he did, versus a player like Hellickson who has been up all year and had a tremendous season. But Hosmer would be in my top two right now. And I'm going to take a good hard look at this in the next few days. Not convinced yet he shouldn't be the ROY.

Matt (Boise)

Has Kershaw locked up the Cy Young with his fourth win over Timmy?

Jayson Stark
  (1:17 PM)

He'd need to have a disastrous finish not to win at this point. He's your pitching-triple-crown leader, and he's 6/1000 of a point behind Hamels for the lead in WHIP. It's a performance award, and nobody has outperformed him. But Lee and Halladay are still close enough, we need to let this final week play out.

Ryan (Toronto)

Why no love for JP Arencibia as ROY? He is a catcher, who has put up 23 homeruns and 78 RBIs. That's a great year for any catcher, not just a rookie.

Jayson Stark
  (1:18 PM)

.282 OBP, .222 batting average. Talented guy, but he isn't in the top three in this race. And remember, there are only three spots on the ROY ballots.

bcat (Toronto, Canada)

jayson i am a big Yankee fan but not sure what to make of our rotation in the playoffs, do you think this team has a real chance givent eh playoffs are all about pitching?

Jayson Stark
  (1:20 PM)

The Yankees are being massively underestimated. Best run differential in baseball. Best offense in baseball. Great back of the bullpen. So they can beat any team's ace. And they can shorten any game where they get a lead. Just because their rotation is all jumbled up doesn't mean they can't play over that and win this. My theory is, you have to dominate one end of the game. And while they might not dominate the first six innings, they're certainly capable of dominating the last three.

Rob (NY)

ROY.....IVAN NOVA 16-4 3.61 ERA on a team that was expected to do nothing?

Jayson Stark
  (1:21 PM)

Wait. The Yankees were a team "that was expected to do nothing?" By whom? Red Sox fans? Nova is going to get a lot of top-three votes. But I don't think he's your winner.

Clay (Charlotte)

What's your personal opinion of the use (or over-use) of Venters and Kimbrel?

Jayson Stark
  (1:24 PM)

Look, they've definitely been over-pitched. Venters has pitched more innings than any reliever in baseball, and Kimbrel has pitched more innings than any closer in baseball. And in retrospect, that looks like mismanaging. There have been times - like Sunday, when Kimbrel pitched in a game they were trailing - where I've wondered what Fredi was doing. But this is a team that hasn't gotten any length from its starters, that hasn't scored enough to win many blowouts and has constantly found itself in games where the bullpen innings piled up. So in many ways, this has fed on itself.

Mark (Allentown)

Before you go too deep into the chat, any trivia today?

Jayson Stark
  (1:24 PM)

I already announced we'll have trivia in about 20 minutes. Stay tuned!

Tarek (NYC)

No way Nova is above Hellickson and I'm a Yankee fan.

Jayson Stark
  (1:26 PM)

You're correct! Hard to argue with 140 hits allowed in 183 innings, a 1.13 WHIP and a 2.90 ERA, despite the low strikeout rate.

Chief Nokahoma (Atlanta)

Why do I still feel like the Cardinals have the upper hand in this wild-card thing?

Jayson Stark
  (1:27 PM)

Because you're the Chief! They might have had the upper hand until the ninth inning yesterday, but not anymore. If the Braves only go 3-3, the Cardinals have to go 5-1 just to tie. And while the Phillies will play their every-day lineup in Atlanta next week, their starters might only go 3 innings or so. So I like the Braves' chances now better than I did 24 hours ago.

DJ (Cuse)

If the Braves do make it I know Huddy and Beachy will pitch game 1 and 2 but please tell me that Fredi will not throw game 3 away pitching Lowe. Gotta go Delgado or Minor and pray thay can go 5 innings

Jayson Stark
  (1:28 PM)

To be determined. They haven't even wanted to face those questions till they get there, and I don't blame them. One of their two quality starts in the last three weeks WAS by Derek Lowe, remember.

Erik (pittsburgh)

should i be concerned regarding the Phillies recent losing streak?

Jayson Stark
  (1:30 PM)

Of course! Some of this means nothing, because they haven't had their real team on the field and the regulars who have been out there have been mailing in ugly at-bats for the most part. Again last night, they didn't have a single inning that went more than 11 pitches against Brad Peacock thru the first five innings. The other thing to remember is that they'll have the better of just about every pitching matchup through the whole postseason. Nevertheless, the postseason record of teams that clinch early and then drift like this through late September isn't pretty.

Jason (Birmingham)

Jayson, yesterday Jim Leyland announced that he would not pitch Verlander in a game 4 in the division series. What do you think of this, and why would Leyland take that card off the table now? I don't think he's bluffing in light of him holding back Kenny Rogers in game 5 of the 2006 Series.

Jayson Stark
  (1:32 PM)

Remember, Verlander has never pitched on short rest in any game, regular-season or postseason, in his career. Also, even if the Tigers are down 2-1, they would need to win two games, not one. So why not pitch Verlander on regular rest in Game 5? In recent history, we've seen very few starters who won on three days' rest in October. And it's too risky to abuse a guy this important who has never done it.

Ryan (NY)

On twitter, you re-tweeted something about the Pirates failure since their 100th game, but the link doesn't work. Can you direct me to the right spot? Thanks

Jayson Stark
  (1:34 PM)

Sure. Here it is http://bit.ly/rsN5CD

Patrick (Corona, CA)

What about Matt Kemp for the NL MVP. Should be a no-brainer. He could get the Triple Crown with a strong close. He is also leading the league in Runs Scored, OPS and WAR (by a long shot). Add 40 stolen based and strong play in CF with 11 OF Assists and he should be a shoe in. Can he win though on a 500 team?

Jayson Stark
  (1:36 PM)

Sorry, it's NOT a no-brainer. Even if he wins the triple crown, it isn't automatic.Ted Williams won two triple crowns and didn't win an MVP award. Lou Gehrig won a triple crown and didn't win the MVP. Matt Kemp has been tremendous, but when people tell me he's carried the Dodgers, I keep asking: Carried them to what? When you stack his season up against Ryan Braun's season, for a team that's going to win, there's not as much difference as you think.

Pete (Philly)

The Phils haven't had an off day since August and have played at least two DH in that time. Is this fatigue and post-clinching syndrome, or are you seeing something else?

Jayson Stark
  (1:37 PM)

I think fatigue is a big part of this. It's grueling to come to the park this many days in a row, deal with rain and doubleheaders and already have everything clinched. Also, until this homestand, their only other homestand in September was three games. So the fatigue factor has been underplayed, I think. But that doesn't mean they get a pass on how they're playing.

erik (pasadena, ca)

Kemp has carried the dodgers to where they are at on his own. Granted Braun has his team in the playoffs, but he is doing it with Fielder behind him and in a hitter park. Kemp for MVP shoe-in no?

Jayson Stark
  (1:40 PM)

Let me say this again: He's not a shoe-in, or a shoo-in. I understand the argument against Braun, just like I understand the argument against Kemp. But for me, even though Braun has help, there's a difference between numbers a player compiles when every game means something, versus numbers that are compiled mostly just to compile numbers. Doesn't Braun deserve some credit for how he's played in the biggest games of his life?

J.B. (PA)

Kimbrel still get your NL ROY vote? The kid is running on fumes.

Jayson Stark
  (1:40 PM)

Yes. He's still had a historic year, and nobody else in the running can say that.

Lawrence (MA)

What will the Red Sox do about the Big Papi in the offseason? I think he's had a great year, but shouldn't the Red Sox look to get younger?

Jayson Stark
  (1:42 PM)

I think he's back there, probably on a two-year deal. He's had a great year. He wants to stay. And he'll have just enough offers to use for leverage. As I wrote in Rumblings last week, don't be surprised if the Yankees take a run at him, for the same reason Brian Cashman had dinner with Carl Crawford's agent! Read that story on our site if you haven't read it already. A classic.

Dave (Cleveland)

Any thoughts on Manny applying for re-instatement?

Jayson Stark
  (1:44 PM)

Yeah. There's a better chance of Lindsay Lohan playing in the big leagues next season than there is of Manny playing in the big leagues. Who's going to sign a 40-year-old guy who just quit on two teams in two years and has to serve a 100-game suspension? Unbelievable story.

JoeD (CT)

Gut feeling, is Reyes a Met next year?

Jayson Stark
  (1:45 PM)

A month ago, or two months ago, I would have said yes. Now, I'm not getting that vibe. The Mets will take a big run at him during the exclusive negotiating period. But if he wants to go out there and test the market and drag it out, they'll move on. So this ball is in his court. How much does he really want to be there?

cp (reno,nv)

I read that the offer Mccourt received has expired...What's next and can Baseball force a sell?

Jayson Stark
  (1:46 PM)

It didn't expire. He just ignored it. And there's a lot of skepticism about how real it was in the first place. Baseball would love to smoke him out of the office. But this is in the bankruptcy court's hands for now. So it's just more of this entertaining limbo we've grown to know and love.

Jayson Stark
  (1:47 PM)

OK, it's trivia time. Carlos Lee just became the sixth active player to drive in 500 runs for two different teams. Can you name the other five? Sure, you can!

Jim (NY)

Any news lately on the Oakland A's wanting to move to San Jose and the SF Giants ownership blocking them?

Jayson Stark
  (1:49 PM)

Same old same old. The one new wrinkle is the Giants installing Larry Baer atop their flow chart. But even if they wanted to use that for leverage, Bud Selig seems to view this situation as so complicated on so many levels that I'm hearing nothing is likely to change any time soon.

nb (philly)

Has to be Oswalt, right?

Jayson Stark
  (1:49 PM)

Thanks for getting that out of the way. This is an Oswalt-free trivia zone this week. Sorry.

J.B. (PA)

Giambi

Jayson Stark
  (1:50 PM)

Yep. That's one. Yankees and A's. And have you seen Moneyball?

Clay (Charlotte)

Tex?

Jayson Stark
  (1:50 PM)

Nope. Doesn't have 500 for the Yankees yet. Just got there.

Bawb (Fairview, UT)

Arod

Jayson Stark
  (1:50 PM)

Of course! What took you guys so long?

J.B. (PA)

Thome

Jayson Stark
  (1:51 PM)

Hey wait, you just answered. But that's incorrect anyway.

Gus (Boston)

Vlad

Jayson Stark
  (1:51 PM)

Positively. Expos and Angels. Good work.

Scott (MD)

Torii Hunter?

Jayson Stark
  (1:51 PM)

Good try. Doesn't have 500 with the Angels yet.

Doug (Tampa)

Konerko

Jayson Stark
  (1:52 PM)

Nope. What's the second team? He only spent like 10 minutes with the Reds and Dodgers.

Bawb (Fairview, UT)

Abreu

Jayson Stark
  (1:53 PM)

Nope. Just with the Phillies.

Blue Jays (Backer)

Miggy?

Jayson Stark
  (1:54 PM)

Boy, lots of Miguel Cabrera guesses. But he only did it with the Marlins. He'll get there early next year with the Tigers. Still two to go.

Charles (San Jose)

Jeter. Just kidding.

Jayson Stark
  (1:54 PM)

Best answer yet! Wrong of course. But excellent!

Mike (Tampa)

Ordonez

Jayson Stark
  (1:55 PM)

Hey, very good, Mike. Magglio is in fact one of the two left. Haven't seen anyone else guess him, so good work. One to go.

Greg (LA)

Pudge

Jayson Stark
  (1:56 PM)

Sorry. Did it with Texas. Never more than 300 with anybody else.

Chris (WI)

Beltran?

Jayson Stark
  (1:56 PM)

Winner! Carlos Beltran is in fact the final correct answer. Thanks for playing!

Jayson Stark
  (1:56 PM)

OK, let's try to get a couple more actual baseball questions in before we run out of time.

Jeremy (DC)

Jayson, do you get a sense of where Michael Morse fits into the Nats' longterm plans? With Werth and eventually Harper in the outfield corners, can Morse stick around at 1B or should the front office apparently pursuing Prince tell you otherwise? Is the guy destined to be trade bait?

Jayson Stark
  (1:57 PM)

They're not sure yet. Depends how the offseason goes. If they go get an outfielder, they probably keep him at first and try to move LaRoche. If a first baseman comes along, they play him in left. His flexibility, and Werth's, make a lot of things possible.

Tom (LA)

Have you seen enough from Danny Duffy this season to consider him a solid rotation option in 2012?

Jayson Stark
  (1:58 PM)

Yes, depending on what you mean by solid. Just needs to work on command and confidence. But they were happy with his progress on both fronts this year.

Wayne (State College PA)

Do the phils play a platoon in left next year with Brown and Mayberry? Roster seems fairly set minus questions of Rollins, Oswalt and Madsen.

Jayson Stark
  (1:59 PM)

That depends on Brown. They'd love that to happen, but not sure Brown will be ready.

Charles (San Jose)

Who in the NL do the Phillies fear the most?

Jayson Stark
  (1:59 PM)

Cardinals. Haven't scored against any of their starters all season.

Keith (Missouri)

Hi Jayson,What are the chances the Royals make a big splash this off-season and trade for a James Shields or Gio Gonzalez to complement their strong young core of hitters?

Jayson Stark
  (2:01 PM)

I don't see Shields getting traded, but I see them making a run at guys like Gio, absolutely. It will be interesting to see which prospects they're willing to give up, because they have no interest in trading the upper tier. So I wonder if they'll have enough high-end depth to make a big deal without changing that stance.

Jayson Stark
  (2:01 PM)

Time's up! Thanks for all the great questions. And good work on that trivia question, as usual. Seeya down the road in Chat Land.