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June 14, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jayson Stark

Jayson Stark
  (1:02 PM)

Good afternoon! Or, if you're out west, good morning! It's been quite a week in baseball. So let's get started.

Ken (Boston)

Trivia, please!

Jayson Stark
  (1:03 PM)

Sure. Let's toss a trivia question out there in the second half hour of this chat. Stay tuned.

Tim (Dallas)

Why is MLB waiting so long to hand out the suspensions from the Diamondbacks/Dodgers brawl?

Jayson Stark
  (1:04 PM)

What I've been told is that they had so many players on the field, mixed up in this, they had many more "situations" to sift through than in your average brawl. They'll get it figured out today, though. Should be interesting. I'll be fascinated to see how many games Ian Kennedy got. Remember, Zack Greinke got 8 games for the Carlos Quentin incident, and I haven't been able to find any suspension longer for an HBP in my research. But this could be the time.

Jeremy Goldstein (Baltimore)

What do the Orioles need to do to be able to win the AL East?

Jayson Stark
  (1:06 PM)

It's almost all about pitching. They need to straighten out their bullpen, which hasn't been nearly as good this year. And I think they need to trade for one more impact starter. I really thought their pitching would be a strength this year. Hasn't turned out that way.

National (league)

Who do you think is the better OF over the next 5 years/career? Heyward or Dom Brown.

Jayson Stark
  (1:07 PM)

That's a really fun question. I think I'd take Heyward. Better defender. Better baserunner. And younger. But right now -- and I didn't think I'd find myself saying this -- Brown is more advanced. That would be a great question to pose to a bunch of people around the game.

Dre (Richmond)

Any idea if MLB will be handing down the Dodger suspensions today?

Jayson Stark
  (1:08 PM)

That's my understanding. Any time now.

Andrew Z. (Struthers, OH)

How big of a loss is Tulo's injury to the Rockies?

Jayson Stark
  (1:10 PM)

It's gigantic. Tweeted about it earlier. He might have been the MVP in the National League if the season ended yesterday. His Offensive Winning Percentage is .838! That means a lineup of all Tulos, with average pitching and defense, would go 136-26. And he's still an impact defender. He makes that team go, on many levels. Crushing to lose him.

JJ (MPLS)

When Reyes gets back do you think he's the spark plug the Jays need to climb back into the race somehow or is it close to over for them?

Jayson Stark
  (1:12 PM)

I think they'll play better with him, but I think if you just do the math, it's too late for that team to get back in the race. Too many good teams in that division when you're this far buried. They play something like 47 percent of their games against the Red Sox, Rays, Yankees and Orioles. So it's hard to imagine they could go 60-35 the rest of the way, or something in that neighborhood. Which is what it would take -- at least.

David (Louisville)

The Reds strength was supposed to be their bullpen. Is Dusty Baker's refusal to use Arodis Chapman for anything but 3 out 9th inning saves going to hurt them?

Jayson Stark
  (1:15 PM)

I think it's their lack of dependability in front of him that's become the big problem. And that's shocking. I loved the arms out there going into the year. But Marshall got hurt. And Hoover and Broxton have been way too inconsistent. On Chapman, there's no use expecting him to be one of those managers who uses his closers in non-traditional situations. Just not who he is.

Brian (CA)

Can the Giants weather the storm? Between the injuries and the ineffective pitching, I don't see them lasting long enough to get reinforcements.

Jayson Stark
  (1:17 PM)

I always think the Giants will figure it out. Matt Cain looked like himself last night. So if they could just get Cain and Bumgarner rolling, I don't see them falling so far out of it in the next few weeks that they wouldn't be buyers at the deadline. Then it could just come down to which team in the West makes the best deal.

Will Myers (Tampa)

When do i make it to the show?

Jayson Stark
  (1:18 PM)

The Rays are in no hurry. Unless they pull the plug on Luke Scott, there's no clear spot to create enough playing time to make calling you up the right move in the short term, Wil. Sorry! You might want to learn to spell your own name, by the way.

Andrew (Atlanta)

If I were the Braves GM Frank Wren I would trade Paul Maholm to try and shore up the bullpen once Beachy comes back. I say this knowing that Sean Gilmartin, another lefty, is waiting in AAA to become a part of the Braves rotation and could become a spot starter like Delgado last year before Beachy's injury. What would you do once Beachy comes back?

Jayson Stark
  (1:19 PM)

That's clearly not out of the question. As Buster wrote this morning, I think the most likely "solution" in the short term is to shift Medlen into the bullpen as they ponder their options -- on the trade front and otherwise.

Greg (LA)

Ian Kennedy's suspension - plus/minus 15 games?

Jayson Stark
  (1:21 PM)

Minus. There's no precedent for a suspension that long for a "crime" like this. As I said, eight games is pretty much the max sentence we've seen in recent years. But it's possible a guy who threw two pitches that close to guys' heads could get slightly more. But not 15. I'll take the under!

Taylor (St Joe, MO)

How will the HOF veteran's ballot logjam be handled with Cox, Larussa and Torre all being eligible? Can you see them all getting in at once or do the rules limit the number of vets elected in one year?

Jayson Stark
  (1:23 PM)

Very difficult to predict what that committee will do. But in a year in which Maddux and Glavine are likely to be elected, and possibly John Schuerholz as well, how cool would it be to add Bobby Cox to that class?

Andrew Z. (Struthers, OH)

Ian Kennedy's suspension just got handed down at 10 games. Fair?

Jayson Stark
  (1:24 PM)

As I said, eight games has been the max for HBP offenses. So 10 in this case is more than fair, I think. I bet they appeal to try to get it knocked down, to be honest.

Dave (Boston)

What happens to Tim Lincecum after the season? Is he even a servicable 5th starter on a good team anymore or does he move to the bullpen?

Jayson Stark
  (1:26 PM)

I think that's totally unclear -- even to Lincecum himself. If you go back and look at his quotes to Andy Baggarly a couple of weeks ago, it looks as if even he's wondering if he might be better in the bullpen. But the Giants will give him the opportunity to figure out a formula where he can still have a place as a starter. Even if he does, though, it's hard to view him as a top-of-the-rotation starter anymore.

Jerome Robinson (Saint Augustine, FL)

With the downslide of Vernon Wells, Overbay and Hafner, will the Yankees look for a trade by the deadline?

Jayson Stark
  (1:27 PM)

They're always shopping. And barring injuries to their pitching staff, bat-shopping would be at the top of their list next month.

Brian (Davenport, IA)

What do you think the Cards will do in the offseason in regards to their surplus at 2B and 3B between Carpenter, Freese, and Wong?

Jayson Stark
  (1:28 PM)

I think there is going to come a time when David Freese gets traded. I know how much he wants to stay in St. Louis. But there hasn't been any momentum toward a long-term deal. And the Cardinals have other options at third. So if you read the tea leaves, I think you can see where this is heading.

Tim (Sacramento)

The A's are on fire and once again they are flying under the radar. How legitimate is this team and how do they keep winning with all the restraints they have financially?

Jayson Stark
  (1:30 PM)

We pay way too little attention to the A's. Trehemdous pitching and pitching depth. Lots of parts that fit. This is what the Rays get a lot of love for being, only the A's have done it better. Jeff Passan tweeted last night that they've won 108 games in the last calendar year. Amazing.

Mad Mike (Houston)

Jayson: I think 10 games is light, that is only two starts, really no deterrent for what amounts to head hunting, certainly on Greinke. MM

Jayson Stark
  (1:32 PM)

"Only" two starts? There's no recent precedent -- none -- for a starting pitcher to get suspended for 10 games/two starts. So this is a heavy sentence, considering that precedent.

John (Houston)

Hey Stark, how in the world did Yasiel Puig avoid any suspension?!?! Dude threw punches!

Jayson Stark
  (1:34 PM)

I wondered what they'd do about Puig and Greinke. Greinke didn't even get ejected. Puig did. So I'm surprised he escaped the suspension police. The impression of people I talked to was that the Dodgers were more aggressive during that scrum than the Diamondbacks. But the discipline doesn't seem to reflect that.

Scott (Austin, TX)

Phillies/Cardinals trade idea: J-Roll for Freese. Possible?

Jayson Stark
  (1:36 PM)

Interesting. That would never happen in-season. And not sure it's feasible after the season. Rollins would have to approve a deal, and I'm guessing he might only want to go to the west coast. And the Cardinals always seem to prefer their in-hour options. But it would be a fun rumor to talk about anyway.

Andrew Z. (Struthers, OH)

Should Major League Baseball clamp down on benches clearing brawls like the NBA/NFL has? Or is it part of the game?

Jayson Stark
  (1:37 PM)

I thought that's what they just did. They've actually done a good job of that in recent years. You almost never see hitters charge the mound anymore. And when you have eight suspensions for one brawl, like this one, that sends a message that if you want to do this stuff, it might really hurt your team.

Jon (DC)

In regards to Kennedy, you could make a pretty good argument that throwing at Puig was worthy of suspension, and then throwing at Grienke was a second act worthy of suspension. So (a la Biogenesis scandal) there's an argument that Kennedy should get a double suspension.

Jayson Stark
  (1:38 PM)

I suspect that some version of that logic was applied, actually. The second pitch at the head got him those extra games. No doubt about that.

Josiah Schwartz (Los Angeles)

Is there a conflict of interest with Joe Torre being the guy who hands out suspensions since he managed the dodgers so recently, hand groomed Mattingly himself, and knows over half the guys in that clubhouse?

Jayson Stark
  (1:39 PM)

This was actually Joe Garagiola Jr.'s jurisdiction. Of course, he was once the Diamondbacks GM. But that was a long time ago.

Michael (KC)

Are any other teams planning on using Billy's Hit It A Ton BBQ Sauce? Seems to be doing magical things in KC...

Jayson Stark
  (1:40 PM)

If you think the Royals are playing better because of that barbecue sauce, I have a case of salsa I'd like to sell you!

Alex (Denver)

I dont see how this is sending a strong message. Most of the people who were suspended, other than the guy who instigated it in Kennedy, where coaches. Players start brawls, not coaches. Simpel rule, if you leave the dugout you get suspended. That would solve the brawl problem.

Jayson Stark
  (1:42 PM)

That would solve it, I guess. But this isn't hockey, where you let two guys duke it out in the middle of the field and nobody else can get into the fray. That rule seems too harsh to me. Stiff suspensions are the answer. I think eight suspensions from one brawl sends that message, although I could quibble with who got what.

Alex (Seattle)

Please dont forget the trivia.

Jayson Stark
  (1:43 PM)

OK, here goes. Everybody ready? I asked Mike and Mike a Manny Machado question yesterday. So here's another one. He's on pace to finish with more than 60 doubles this year. Can you name the only three active players who have ever gotten at least 55 doubles in a season?

Zirinsky (SF)

Hi Jayson, love the columns. Any rumblings or grumblings about the Yankees doing anything to improve their offense other than waiting for Jeter/A-Rod/Granderson to return?

Jayson Stark
  (1:44 PM)

Too soon for specific names. But I see them hunting for righthanded-hitting outfield bats at some point.

Mike (Glendale)

I wish people would actually watch the Puig/Kennedy AB(s) before accusing Kennedy of throwing at Puig. He had struck him out with a similar pitch in his previous AB & had 2 strikes on him when he was hit. The ball simply got away from him.Question: How is it a pitcher(Greinke) can intentionally throw at a batter 4 times before succeeding in hitting him, avoid a suspension?

Jayson Stark
  (1:47 PM)

You actually make some good points here, Mike. This is exactly the Diamondbacks' position on this. Puig has been diving out and trying to hit everything to the opposite field. So the Diamondbacks pitched him in all series. You can see Montero setting up way inside on that pitch, so clearly they wanted to come way in and, at the very least, move him off the plate. Kennedy also has been totally out of whack mechanically all season. So I expect that to be part of his defense. Nevertheless, two pitches in that area -- the second one clearly intentional -- merit a long suspension. Still not sure, though, why Greinke wasn't ejected or suspended.

Jayson Stark
  (1:47 PM)

OK, let's field some trivia answers

Dave (Denver)

Well Todd Helton is the answer to all trivia questions so I will go with him as one.

Jayson Stark
  (1:48 PM)

Yep. He's one of them. Two to go.

Chris (Boston)

Joe Mauer

James (WV)

Votto? Markakis? Jeter?

Jayson Stark
  (1:50 PM)

Nope. On all three of them. And on Mauer. Good names!

Michael (KC)

Carlos Beltran

Jayson Stark
  (1:50 PM)

Nope. Never been close.

Tarek (NYC)

Brian Roberts

Jayson Stark
  (1:51 PM)

Had a flood of Brian Roberts guesses. That's correct. Once upon a time, he was quite the doubles machine. One more to go.

Logician (Logicville)

Biggest Papi?

Jayson Stark
  (1:51 PM)

Good guess! Never had more than 52, though.

Jeff (Detriot)

Miguel Cabrera?

Jayson Stark
  (1:52 PM)

Sorry. Never more than 45.

Rick (Cape Cod)

Pedey?

Jayson Stark
  (1:52 PM)

Great guess. But Pedroia's high was 54. I'm tough!

Dan (LA)

Billy Butler!

Jayson Stark
  (1:53 PM)

Another excellent guess. But never got more than 51.

Will (Livingston MT)

Its Lance Berkman, I am 100% positive

Jayson Stark
  (1:54 PM)

Yep. He's the one. Back in 2001. Actually had a lot of Lance Berkman guesses. Couldn't scroll back fast enough to find the first. but if you got him, nice going. Thanks for playing!

Clay (Charlotte)

Is Simmons officially the best defensive SS in the majors now?

Jayson Stark
  (1:55 PM)

By any statistical measure, he is. And by the eyeballs, he absolutely is. It's not only amazing to me the balls he turns into outs, but how easily he turns them into outs. He has an incredible ability to read the ball off the bat.

cody (kc)

Brian Roberts should never count as active.

Jayson Stark
  (1:56 PM)

He's about as inactive as an "active" player can be. But he still topped 55 doubles!

Jonathan (Overland Park)

Even though they are playing great now, should the Royals fire Ned Yost? He seems to not know what he is doing... A LOT

Jayson Stark
  (1:57 PM)

I love these questions. They're playing great now. So obviously, they should fire the manager anyway? Why? Because they should be playing greater? I don't get any vibe that the Royals are thinking about firing the manager. Moot point.

Jon (DC)

Yes, but Desmond is entering conversation as best all around SS, no?

Jayson Stark
  (1:58 PM)

Definitely in the conversation. Love watching him play.

Lyle (LA)

Do you think it's time to have a written version of the "unwritten" rules?

Jayson Stark
  (1:59 PM)

I'd love to get a copy. You're in charge, Lyle. When you're finished writing them all down, you'll make a fortune!

Jayson Stark
  (1:59 PM)

Wow. Where'd that hour go? I only have time for one more. Sorry!

Alex (Chicago)

Now that we are getting close the halfway point of the season, what has the feeling on interleague games everyday? It seems to have lost its luster.

Jayson Stark
  (2:01 PM)

It was something that had to be done. But I agree with you. This has ceased to make any interleague matchup magical, other than the rivalry games. And I know some teams are grumbling that they couldn't count on the attendance boost from those marquee June interleague games. So I'm with you. But unless they expand to 32 games, there's no way to fixt this. We're stuck with it.

Jayson Stark
  (2:01 PM)

Thanks to everyone who checked in. Great questions today, as always. And fun trivia. See you down the road in Chat Land.