Chat with Jayson Stark
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com senior MLB writer Jayson Stark will drop in to chat about the MLB season.
Jayson Stark has been a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com since 2000. His regular contributions include the newsy Rumblings and Grumblings column and his tilted look inside baseball's numbers and quirks, the Useless Information Department.
Send your questions now and join Stark Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Jayson Stark (1:03 PM)
Sorry I'm a couple of minutes late, gang. I know you'll be shocked to learn this, but . . . I couldn't get off the phone! Well, I am now. So with eight days to go till the deadline, let's get started.
Is Ruben Amaro going to get something significant done at the deadline?
Jayson Stark (1:05 PM)
Boy, lots of Phillies questions already. The Phillies are positioning themselves to make another run at both Roy Oswalt and Dan Haren. They could trade Jayson Werth as part of those deals, or they could trade him independent of those deals. Or they could free-fall out of the race this week and do something entirely different. But looks to me as if Oswalt and Haren are really the only pitchers they're still seriously pursuing.
Johnny (San Diego)
I wouldn't say that the Reds are stumbling, but let's just say the Cards are steamrolling right now. What do Jocketty and co need to do to stay in the race? Assuming Volquez's control is taken care of.
Jayson Stark (1:06 PM)
The one area of their team that really needs shoring up, assuming Scott Rolen isn't going to have long-term hamstring issues, is the bullpen. And that's where they seem to be focusing their trade discussions of late. The trouble is, the bullpen market is about as weak as I can ever remember on July 23.
Does it look like the Yankees are going to add an arm for either the bullpen or rotation? Also, assuming there are takers, would they consider moving Joba at this point for the right deal?
Jayson Stark (1:09 PM)
If they had to pick one, from what I can discern, they'd take a real good set-up arm -- a guy who could do what Joba hasn't done so far. I haven't heard any talk that they'd move Joba. Don't see that as a scenario, certainly not at the moment. But the Yankees are lurking on Oswalt and surprisingly active on Dan Haren. So while I don't see them overpaying for a starter, it's still a possibility. After all, they're the Yankees. They can never collect enough stars.
Do you see the Phillies firing of Milt Thompson and promoting of AAA hitting coach Greg Gross as a sign that Dominic Brown is on his way up?
Jayson Stark (1:10 PM)
It's obvious that Domonic Brown is on the way. But the more telling sign is that they're working so hard to move one of their outfielders. Jayson Werth isn't the only guy they've shopped. They've really tried to push Raul Ibanez everywhere. And I've heard Shane Victorino's name, too. Once that smoke clears, in a week or so, you'll be seeing Domonic Brown. And that would have been true, no matter who the hitting coach was.
Don (Dublin, Ga)
Nate isn't tearing it up yet, does that lead you to believe the Braves will definitely bring in a bat for CF
Jayson Stark (1:12 PM)
I expect them to add a bat. And the guy who would be perfect for what they need is Cody Ross. He can play center, but he can also play a corner. So it gives them max flexibility. The trouble there is that there are so many teams also on him. I wrote in Rumblings yesterday I've heard a dozen teams linked with him. So if they don't get him and David DeJesus is now too injured to deal, I'm not sure that what they need is out there.
John (Cincinnati, Oh)
First Marlin to go in the fire sale is?
Jayson Stark (1:13 PM)
I'll vote Jorge Cantu. He's moved above Ross, Uggla, Nolasco, Nunez and Hensley. I'd guess Rangers, Rockies or Angels right now.
Brian (Richmond, Ky.)
If the Cards-Oswalt deal happens, don't the Redbirds still have the issue of no hitting in the middle infield?
Jayson Stark (1:14 PM)
True. And Brendan Ryan could be part of that package. But if they're going to start their rotation with Carpenter, Wainwright, Oswalt and Garcia, how much would they have to score?
Bill H (New Jersey)
What do you think the Dodgers are going to do? They need so much pitching but could use another bat. Is Russell Martin in a deal???
Jayson Stark (1:15 PM)
They're focused on pitching - starters and relievers. They're still on all the big starters to some degree, from what I've heard -- including Oswalt and Haren. Also in on Lilly, Sheets and even Paul Maholm. I'd be very surprised if they don't trade for a starting pitcher in the next week.
Ben Sheets (Oakland)
Will I get traded?
Jayson Stark (1:17 PM)
No better than 50-50, Ben. I had a quote from one executive in Rumblings saying you "looked like Livan Hernandez" last time out. But your team is so willing to deal you, the law of supply and demand still works in your favor.
Are the Royals really open to trading Zack Greinke? If so, what are his contract terms and would the Phillies be interested?
Jayson Stark (1:18 PM)
I've seen no tangible evidence that the Royals are planning to trade Greinke. Don't believe every rumor you hear and every name you read this time of year. They think they're going to contend before the end of his contract, so they're looking to build around him, not deal him.
If the Cardinals are really interested in Oswalt, where do they find the money for Pujols's next contract?
Jayson Stark (1:21 PM)
That's the question everyone in baseball is asking. Next year, assuming they deal for Oswalt and give Albert his $30M a year, they'd owe him 30M, Matt Holliday 17M, Chris Carpenter another 15, Kyle Lohse 11.875, Adam Wainwright 6.5 and Yadier Molina 5.25. That's close to $90 million just for seven players. And it's just as heavy the next year if Oswalt doesn't restructure his contrac, except that Wainwright and Molina go up more than 4M. It's a lot of bucks. But Bill DeWitt was quoted in the St. Louis P-D today saying they could expand the payroll to add an impact player. So they know their finances better than anyone else.
Can the White Sox pull off a trade for Prince Fielder that does not include Gordon Beckham?
Jayson Stark (1:22 PM)
Buster has been writing about this during the week. I don't see how. I don't think the Brewers see how. And I'd be shocked if that happened.
The Hamburglar (DC)
What is a "fair" deal for Dunn?
Jayson Stark (1:23 PM)
Not sure if you're talking about a trade or his contract. But as I wrote in Rumblings, his contract is going to determine whether he stays or goes. If they know in a week they can get him signed, they'll keep him. If not, they'll deal him. I've heard he asked for $60M for four years, but I'm sure that's negotiable. The sticking point will be the years. Don't see Washington guaranteeing him more than two. He's never had a deal longer than two years, and that's important to him. But he loves it there. So I'm guessing they get something done. Maybe two and an easily vesting option?
Mike (New York)
Do you see the yanks including Montero in any deal for a starter?What's your personal opinion about the guy? Real deal?
Jayson Stark (1:25 PM)
They would have included him for Cliff Lee. We know that. Not so sure they'd include him for Haren or Oswalt. I think they'd lean toward no. They'd have a tough time dealing him for anyone who isn't a premium player.
Why would Washington want to keep Dunn anyways? I doubt it's likely (though maybe possible) that they're contending in two years. Wouldn't they be better off flipping him for talent that will help them contend in 3-4 years?
Jayson Stark (1:27 PM)
They disagree with that. They're getting Jordan Zimmerman back in a few weeks. They're hopeful Chien-Ming Wang will help them before the end of the year and beyond. They love Ross Detwiler, and he returns by September. So all of a sudden, in a year, they'll have plenty of starting pitching, assuming that Strasburg guy stays healthy. And then, if they line up Zimmerman, Dunn and Willingham 3-4-5, they'd be fine with that as the middle of their order. That's their thinking, anyway. And I'm not sure they're off base.
Christian (Washington, DC)
Will the Nationals make Josh Willingham available to other clubs? I would have to think that the Braves would be interested in his services (over Ross).
Jayson Stark (1:28 PM)
OK, final question in the Nationals trilogy. That's very, very, very unlikely. Somebody is really going to have to pay a heavy price to get them to consider dealing Willingham.
Since when is Dan Haren not a premium player?
Jayson Stark (1:29 PM)
Dan Haren could pitch for my team. But he's not Cliff Lee. Seen his numbers this year?
Mike W (Chicago)
You talked about it being a thin reliever market, which relievers do you see being available?
Jayson Stark (1:31 PM)
The most sought-after reliever on the market is Scott Downs of Toronto, but he's massively overpriced. The Indians are going to have a market for Kerry Wood when he comes off the DL. Arizona is looking to dump Chad Qualls. Octavio Dotel is very available. Seattle would move David Aardsma. That's about the best of the bunch. Read Jerry Crasnick's Starting 9 column this week if you'd like some more names for your entertainment pleasure.
At this point, it is apparent the Phillies really won't land Oswalt. Outside of Haren, who are options for the Phillies? I don't think that Sheets is an option due to him being a FA at the end of the year.
Jayson Stark (1:33 PM)
I don't think that's "apparent" at all. I think it's less likely than it looked a few days ago. But remember this: The Astros really, really don't want to trade him to a team in their own division. So they're not going to have many other feasible options. J.A. Happ is as good a big-league-ready pitcher as any team is offering. It will take more, but there's still the makings of a deal there if Oswalt will go. He can't force them to trade him to St. Louis, no matter how many cards he holds.
No mention of Farnsworth in your reliever question. Are his days of pitching in meaningful games over?
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
I told you to read Jerry's Starting 9 column. Look, he's available. He's ALWAYS available. He's one of those guys who's available July 31, Dec. 31 and just about every other day of the year. Let's just say he's not at the top of anybody's list. But he could still get traded this week. It's almost a July tradition.
Von Hayes (Wilmington, DE)
I don't see the Cards being able to put together enough of a package to land Oswalt. True?
Jayson Stark (1:36 PM)
We don't know that yet, either. But doesn't sound as if the Astros are cool with the package they've offered so far. I've heard they led their offer with John Jay and Brendan Ryan, plus prospects. And that won't get it done. The fact that Houston is still talking with several other teams is all the proof we need of that.
Is Jeremy Guthrie going to be dealt, the Mets could really use him, he'd be a solid #3 start on a contender, what will it take??
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
You really think he'd be a "solid" No. 3 starter? He lights up the radar gun, but I don't think "solid" describes him. He's clearly available, but the Orioles drive a hard bargain. He's about the sixth or seventh best starter on the market. So he'll be somebody's Plan D, E or F if he gets traded.
Jayson, why have none of the Braves pitchers been mentioned in rumors? With a 6 good starting pitchers on their 25-man already, and the seemingly endless pipeline of young studs waiting in the wings, and with their obvious need for another bat in the OF, doesn't it make perfect sense to unload someone - specifically, Kenshin Kawakami? I mean, the guy is just wasting away in the bullpen, having been used only once since his departure from the rotation.
Jayson Stark (1:39 PM)
Oh, they would obviously move Kawakami. But how big a market do you think there is for a guy who's 1-9, 4.75? It might take Kris Medlen to get a legit bat. And that's a tough guy for the Braves to trade right now.
Does the incredibly weak bullpen market, combined with his pending Type A status, make a Scott Downs return something more than what would have initially been expected? What about the likes of Gregg or Frasor (the latter of whom I assume has the least value)?
Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
So far, the price tag on Downs has been tied to his Type A status -- meaning they want the equivalent of two first-round picks for him. And I don't see that happening. The price on the other guys is lower, but even that's been too high for the clubs I've spoken with. Say they're asking for the equivalent of a sandwich pick for Frasor. Is he worth trading, say, the 35th best player in the draft for? Nobody has thought so yet. I bet he gets traded, but not for what they're asking right now.
What have you heard about the Phils interest in Cody Ross? Do you think it would be a good idea?
Jayson Stark (1:42 PM)
As I said earlier, there are about a dozen teams on Cody Ross. So get in line. If the Phillies aren't bringing Werth back, they'll need a right-handed hitter with some thump next season, right? And the pickings are slim. So of course they're interested. But I don't see that one happening.
All of the talk in Houston has been about Oswalt, but what about Berkman and Myers? Any updated rumors flying about those two guys?
Jayson Stark (1:45 PM)
I wrote in Rumblings that the Astros are telling teams they'd need to be "overwhelmed" to trade Myers. They hold an option on him for next year, so they're not that anxious to deal him. And there has been surprisingly little action on Berkman. He makes a lot of money. There's an option for next year. He hasn't had a good year. But I'd take him for a couple of months as long as the Astros pick up a ton of the money, plus the buyout ($2M).
Come on Jayson - get out of old school mentality. Haren is throwing well. xFIP of 3.39. Been insanely unlucky with a BABIP of .350 when his career is around .300.
Jayson Stark (1:48 PM)
I appreciate the education, Tim. If you'd read Rumblings, you'd see I cited his BABIP. So I'm well aware of that. But his home-run rate is also way up, which is a sign he's left a lot more balls in the hitting zone. And scouts have consistently said he doesn't execute the same percentage of quality pitches he used to. I love looking at BABIP, but I think you can also read too much into it. Some guys induce more funky contact than others. If you really watch Haren pitch, he's making more mistakes than he did last year. So don't get carried away. I've said I'd take the guy. I love everything about him. But no matter what mentality you use, he hasn't been as good as last year.
Can I get a Giants rumor? How about answer one Giants question since they are in the hunt?
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
Still bat-hunting, but not interested in paying a whole lot to get one. Lots and lots of Jose Guillen talk is what I hear on them.
What are the chances the Blue Jays move position players like John Buck or Jose Bautista?
Jayson Stark (1:50 PM)
Both available. What I hear consistently is that the prices are too high on all their players right now. But outside of Scott Downs, just about everyone else they're marketing qualify as most teams' second, third or fourth choices. So no impetus to overpay -- not now, at least.
What do the Phillies want for Werth exactly? What team seems to be the front runner for him?
Jayson Stark (1:52 PM)
It depends. What they want are young players with upside who are controllable beyond this year. They've asked for prospects -- either to replenish the system or to spin in a pitching deal. But they've also taken a shot at Wade Davis and B.J. Upton. So a lot depends on what happens on the field the next few days, and whether they think they have a legit shot to get a pitcher.
Is it more likely the White Sox add a pitcher or a bat?
Jayson Stark (1:53 PM)
Bat is their top priority, from what I hear. But they're in on everything and everybody, so priorities change fast there.
Any chance the Braves make a move for a first basemen as Troy Glaus has done nothing since his hot May? He is a guaranteed out right now.
Jayson Stark (1:54 PM)
Haven't heard any talk about that at all. They're focused on outfield bats.
Would you name the Cardinals or Braves as prohibitive favorites in the NL right now? The Cardinals rotation is scary even without Oswalt, but both teams are dominant at home.
Jayson Stark (1:56 PM)
Interesting question. I'd go with the Braves for two reasons: 1) They're a much better bet to win their division, given the gap in the standings and the way the Phillies and Mets are trending. 2) They still haven't lost a series to a National League team since the first week of May. The only series they've lost in the last 2 1/2 months was to the White Sox in interleague. What team in the league has been more consistently good than that? Correct answer: Nobody.
Jayson Stark (1:57 PM)
Hate to do this, but I have to quit a few minutes early today. So I only have time for one more.
Are the Rangers done dealing this season, or are they still looking to make some moves?
Jayson Stark (1:58 PM)
Absolutely still looking, especially for a right-handed bat who could play some first base. I've heard Ty Wigginton and Jorge Cantu with them. And there's always Mike Lowell, though that obviously isn't real hot. My one question is how they can make a move without adding any payroll. They're about tapped out after the Lee deal.
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
Thanks for the fun hour of chatting, gang. A week from now, we'll only have 26 hours to the deadline. And won't that be an action-packed time. Seeya down the road in Chat Land.