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 (1:02 PM)
Hi there. What a day. We had the Stephen Strasburg news in the morning, with Manny Ramirez developments unfolding within the hour. So we'd better get started. I may have to cut this one short.
Tony (West Chester)
Why did the Nationals bring Strasburg back after his first DL stint? He was fast approaching their inning-limit anyway
Jayson Stark (1:04 PM)
He was approaching it, but he wasn't "fast" approaching it. He had about 45 innings left when he came off the DL, so there was no reason not to bring him back. That particular injury wasn't major. And they believe this injury occurred on one pitch, although it's hard to believe cumulative workload isn't a factor with every pitching injury.
This is just horrible news for baseball and Strasburg. However, how amazing will opening day for the Nats be in 2012, with Starsburg and Harper possibly playing there first game together. At least there is something to look forward to for Nats fans.
Jayson Stark (1:06 PM)
I agree with that, Erik. In fact, I just finished writing a column about it earlier today. It should be posted shortly. The whole sport was more interesting when Stephen Strasburg was pitching in it. I always tried to make it a point to watch him every start if I could. And I know I wasn't alone. I think you're probably getting ahead of yourself to think that Bryce Harper, who is still only 17, will be ready to play in the big leagues 19 months from now on opening day 2012. But to think he gets there sometime in 2012 isn't out of the question.
Jason (St Louis)
I've got a different view to take on the Strasburg injury. Since almost every pitcher comes back from that ok and this will delay his service time, is this necessarily a bad thing? For someone throwing that hard, TJ was inevitable, right?
Jayson Stark (1:09 PM)
First off, it won't delay his service time. He'll be on the major-league disabled list for the next year, so he'll accumulate service time as if he were active. So that part doesn't help the Nationals in any way, and it will cost them millions because he won't be pitching and drawing crowds. I also don't think it's "inevitable" that a guy who throws that hard will have Tommy John surgery. Did Nolan Ryan ever have it? Look, they all get hurt. You can count on one hand the number of starters who have been around a decade and haven't been on the DL. But that doesn't mean this isn't a tough, tough day for the Nationals -- and, as I said earlier, for the whole sport.
Rob (Alexandria, VA)
Does Strasburg getting hurt and likely sitting out all of 2011 make it more likely that Dunn doesn't re-sign with Washington after this year, or was that going to happen regardless? I assume that they intended at the time to re-sign him or else you'd think they would have traded him away earlier.
Jayson Stark (1:11 PM)
I don't think they're necessarily connected, although I did mention in that Strasburg column that if he's out until 2012 it could cost them $10 million -- which might have paid for a year of Adam Dunn. But my take on the Dunn situation is that they're still interested, but they're hung up on the length of the deal. If they can convince him to take two years, plus a vesting option, I think he's back. If not, I think he's gone. At any rate, I'd say it's likely he tests free agency now. And they were heading in that direction before this happened.
Do you blame the Nationals for Strasburg's injury and do you think they overworked him?
Jayson Stark (1:14 PM)
This will be the last Strasburg question for now. But I don't see how you can "blame" anyone for this injury. The Nationals couldn't possibly have been more careful or cautious with this guy. They didn't rush him to the big leagues. They tried to ease him into professional baseball. He never threw 100 pitches in any start. He never went more than seven innings in any start. They'd said from the beginning they would shut him down once he reached his innings limit, no matter where they were in the standings. They were trying to protect him. But he throws baseballs for a living. This is an occupational hazard.
any chance Manny gets claimed by an NL team?
Jayson Stark (1:16 PM)
Never say never. But it tells us something that the Dodgers had no interest from NL teams before the trading deadline. Manny should never be allowed to wear leather again!
With all this Strasburg talk, what ever happened with another DL-ed Nationals SP, Chien Ming Wang?
Jayson Stark (1:16 PM)
As of a week ago, they were still hoping to get him to the big leagues in September. But he's had a bunch of setbacks. They also hold an option for next year, and the intention when they signed him was always to have him healthy by 2011, not to have him make a big impact in 2010.
Jayson , The Marlins had several teams that wanted Cody Ross at the trading deadline, but they insisted on holding on to him. A few weeks later they just dumped him on the Giants for nothing as a way to save money. Couldn't they have done the same thing (save money) and at least get a half way decent asset in return by trading him when there were a lot of interested parties? Seems like this was a mistake by a normally resourceful front office (resourcesful in that they always seem to be able to retool and make a run).
Jayson Stark (1:19 PM)
I wrote about this in Rumblings this week. This was one time when the waiver process worked to nobody's benefit. The Marlins could have traded him in July and gotten something good. But the team that was awarded the claim on him in August didn't really want him. It just claimed him to block him. So they stuck the Giants with the player as "punishment" for claiming just to block. And they saved a million bucks, that they can use on a free agent this winter. But they'd have definitely done better had they moved him in July if that's your question.
Steve (Berkeley, CA)
Jayson, reverse trivia: Name the pitching staff whose starters have gone 18 straight games going 6+ innings with 3 or fewer ER.
Jayson Stark (1:20 PM)
I've got this! That would be Oakland. Know the last time one of their starters failed to throw a quality start? It was three weeks ago today! Dallas Braden. Amazing streak. The future is bright in Oakland with that group, if they can just add some offense.
Think the White sox will get Manny? If so, what's the pont? I don't think they're making the playoffs this year. Would it be logical for them to try and sign him in 2011?
Jayson Stark (1:22 PM)
I think they're still the most likely team to get him. But the Dodgers have said from the beginning they wanted to give themselves every chance to get back in the race. So if they make up any more ground this weekend, it's still possible they won't trade him at all. Meanwhile, the White Sox are very much in this race, and they have two series left with the Twins. Why wouldn't they still be going for it?
Edward (Tampa, Fl)
What is your opinion on the rays getting hawpe?
Jayson Stark (1:24 PM)
Well, it's hard to forecast that a guy who got released -- by a contender -- is going to be a major difference-maker. But there was very little to lose. Brad Hawpe has always been streaky. He was almost the MVP of the All Star Game LAST year. And I know the Rockies backed off marketing him in July because they were afraid he'd get hot five minutes after they moved him. So for less than $100,000 bucks, why not take a shot?
If the cubs really want Girardi, why not offer him a 7 or 8 year contract. If it look at clubs with success, Braves and Cox, Angels, Yanks with Torre, Mariners with Lou, they were all managers for a long time. If you believe in a guy, why not an 8 year deal. That would be hard for Joe to turn down and it gives the cubs stability at the manager spot.
Jayson Stark (1:26 PM)
I would say the Cubs' only chance to hire Joe Girardi is to blow the managerial pay scale to smithereens. If there isn't massive financial incentive, why would he leave the Yankees to take this job? In the meantime, though, in answer to what you really asked, eight years is too long to commit to any manager. I don't care how good they are or how much you want them. You have no idea how a guy will work in your town, or with your players, in your situation. I'd never give a manager a deal that long.
Do you see R.A. Dickey back with the Mets next year? Is this a fluke or is he the new Wakefield?
Jayson Stark (1:28 PM)
Absolutely. Knuckleballers often figure it out late, and he's pitched so well, and he's so affordable, why wouldn't they bring him back? But someone predicted to me the other day he'd turn out to be the Mets' version of Aaron Small. (Remember his big year, from out of nowhere, for the Yankees?) And that isn't impossible, either. R.A. Dickey is a great story, and he deserves another shot. But he's also a tough guy to predict in just about any way.
Jason (St Louis)
Think the Mets could find any takers for Beltran this offseason?
Jayson Stark (1:29 PM)
I posed this question to some people in baseball just last week. The consensus was that the Mets would have to pay down the contract considerably. But remember, it's the last year of Beltran's deal, so he'll have tremendous incentive to have a big year. Might be just enticing enough, if the money's right, for somebody.
Ali Nagib (Chicago)
If the Cubs are going to hire Girardi, they might as well cut Sandberg loose now. It's one thing to hire a guy like LaRussa or Torre instead Ryno, but picking Girardi over him just because of some "Yankee mystique" nonsense would be spitting in his eye, and I wouldn't blame him if he refused to take the Cubs job ever again in that case.
Jayson Stark (1:31 PM)
That's not all this would be. It's not just "Yankee mystique" that appeals to them with Joe. He's from there. He's played there. He has a feel for the forces at work in their universe. And my guess is that they'd bring Sandberg in as a coach to work with him. But I'm also dubious this ever happens. Eric Wedge or Fredi Gonzalez -- or someone in that mold -- are much better bets.
Jason (Fort Worth, TX)
What's your take on Cliff Lee's recent struggles? Is Manny even on the radar here in Texas if CWS dont claim him?
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
I think it's very similar to what he went through last year in Philadelphia -- in late August, I believe. Think of all the innings this guy has pitched. Plus the Rangers have been starting him on the fifth day in every start since he's been there, while rotating the rest of the starters around him. I think they need to back off a little and let him recharge. That's what happened last year in September, and you saw the results in October.
Dan (New York)
Any comment on the AP Story regarding the leak of the Pirates operating figures. Seems to me this gives alof of creedance to the thought that alot of teams are "pocketing" revenue sharing funds. Should the MLB put more pressure on these team to "prove" they are trying to win?
Jayson Stark (1:34 PM)
That was the main topic in Rumblings this week. If you're interested in this, you should read the whole column. I think the leak of this data is going to change baseball. I see teams like the Pirates getting less revenue sharing in the future. I think they'll be virtually required to spend a certain minimum on payroll or get taxed if they don't. I think there will be a change in the stipulations on how revenue sharing money must be used. And the sport will be better if all that happens.
Jim (Lincoln, NE)
Jayson, theGiants post season dreams are dependent on Lincecum returning to form, correct?
Jayson Stark (1:36 PM)
Couldn't agree more, Jim. Their offense is better than it's been in years. But the reason to pick the Giants to go deep into October has to be starting pitching in general and Lincecum in particular. If they can't outpitch you in the postseason, they're in trouble. They need to get his delivery issues ironed out.
Would The RedSox even entertain the idea of claiming Manny?
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
This is a topic we've been kicking around for a few days now. On some level, you could see them claiming the guy to block him from going elsewhere, knowing Manny would never waive his no-trade to go back to Boston. Theoretically. On the other hand, if you claim a player, you have to be prepared to wind up with him. And there is no way they could ever let Manny walk back into that clubhouse after the way he left it, right?
Please say something nice about the future of the Orioles (I buy alot of your books)!!!!!
Jayson Stark (1:39 PM)
I'm a big fan of anyone who buys my books. Here are two "nice" words about the future of the Orioles: Buck Showalter. I'm a big fan of Buck's, and I think he'll get more out of what they've got there than anyone else they could have hired. That said, they need more talent!
Forcing the Pirates to spend money... how is that better if they sign fringe free agents just to hit an arbitrary number? Why not let them use the money to build academies in the Dominican, go overslot, sign internationally, etc? If the Pirates are (slowly) improving because of recent drafts, why force them to change strategy?
Jayson Stark (1:42 PM)
You should read the column. I wouldn't force them to do anything. The "minimum" payroll tax I proposed would allow teams to go under that minimum for a year to begin rebuilding, and would only impose a modest tax in year two. But if you stay under that minimum year after year after year, that isn't rebuilding. That's ineptitude. Plus, if it's a tax as opposed to a hard floor, it's your choice. But the intent of revenue sharing was always for teams to spend it on players, not to make payments to their partners. And the Pirates have admitted that's where some of this money went.
Alot of talk about King Felix winning the AL Cy Young...has there ever been a winner with a sub .500 record? Also, what is your take on the AL/NL MVP to date?
Jayson Stark (1:44 PM)
This is going to be one verrrry interesting vote. I think we've come a long way as voters in minimizing the significance of wins in appraising Cy Youngs. I doubt we've come that far. Right now Felix is 10-10. But otherwise, he's the most deserving candidate in the field. Nevertheless, if he finishes with eight or nine fewer wins than CC or David Price, and especially if he has a losing record, I have a tough time believing he'll get enough votes to win.
Jason (St Louis)
I love your idea of cutting revenue sharing to teams who don't spend. It doesn't seem fair to teams like the Cardinals, who have a similar market size to Pittsburgh, to profit less and draw over 3 million fans when by having a bad team and low payroll, the Pirates owners make out like bandits. And the Marlins, making a profit before even selling a ticket, that's just crazy.
Jayson Stark (1:46 PM)
I think there should be a revamping of the system to help teams like the Cardinals, and even teams that are decidedly in the middle markets -- like the Brewers and Astros. And I think you'll see a big internal fight among owners to redirect more money into the hands of teams like that. Should be fascinating to see how that one turns out.
Do the Braves have enough firepower in their lineup to win in October? I think the bullpen might have been overworked!
Jayson Stark (1:48 PM)
I've been getting vibes from scouts that their every-day players and relievers are definitely wearing down. So that's something to watch these next few weeks. Do they have enough firepower? I don't think they do. But that isn't how they win anyway. They win because they outpitch almost every team they match up against. I'm not taking that Colorado series as a barometer, but if their bullpen continues to show signs of overwork, that would be a major issue for this team.
So mlbtraderumors says multiple teams claimed Manny. When should we find out who it was?
Jayson Stark (1:50 PM)
I've been on this chat, so haven't looked into any of it yet. But this stuff tends to leak out. It's not supposed to. MLB drops heavy-duty threats on anyone who leaks waiver information. But my guess is that, as word gets around, somebody will leak it -- maybe even to me! Seems as if more waiver news has gotten out this August than any year I can remember.
If Ozzie Guillen ever got to manage Manny Ramirez, it would be a DISASTER. We know how Manny is, and we know how Ozzie is...and also, I get the feeling Manny wouldn't necessarily see Ozzie as an authority figure, he probably wouldn't listen to him. Kenny Williams is just asking for trouble...right?
Jayson Stark (1:52 PM)
Hey Reggie, it would only be for a month. And it would be a month where Manny is playing to market himself for a payday this winter, not to mention for October. I guarantee he'll be on his best behavior if he gets traded. And don't underestimate Ozzie's ability to connect with a Latino player in a situation like this.
Jeff (Boston, Ma)
Hello Jason,Read and enjoyed your article on revenue sharing. Running a small business I was very interested in pirates P&L. The concept of revenue sharing is good and any business needs to be profitable and I think 10% net that the Pirates bring in is very reasonable and fair (even as a Redsox fan). I think there is a simple fundamental change that can be made to the revenue sharing system. If a team accepts revenue sharing money then there is a cap on its profitablitiy. For example if you except revenue sharing money then the net income can not exceed say 8% (I just picked a number).
Jayson Stark (1:54 PM)
That's an interesting idea. But I have a hard time believing teams would actually vote to put a cap on their income. It's never that simple in that sport. But you've got the right idea, Jeff. Thanks for proposing it.
Jason (St Louis)
Why is the waiver wire supposed to be so hush hush?
Jayson Stark (1:55 PM)
Good question. Not sure why we even have this process. But it's always supposed to have been confidential. And to be honest, most of the names that float through that wire are meaningless. They were never on there with the intent to get traded. Every player in baseball gets placed on waivers. So some of the reporting on this has been misleading, I think.
Jim Thome has close to 600 HR's but some people still are on the fence about him and the HOF. WHY?
Jayson Stark (1:57 PM)
I don't get that, either, Nick. He has the best home run ratio of any active player. His career OBP is over .400. His career SLG is over .550. He's played for winners, had a big postseason against the Yankees one year, and maxes out the character-and-integrity points. He's an easy Hall of Famer for me.
Do you think its a forgone conclusion that Cliff Lee will end up with the Yankees next year?
Jayson Stark (1:58 PM)
Nothing's 100 percent. But I bet this one's 95 percent. When the Yankees set their mind to outbidding the world for a guy they really want, when do they not get him?
Don't look now but the Rockies are only 3 back in the loss column for the WC race. Odds they get in?
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
They're dangerous. But I need to see them win on the road and hit on the road before I buy in. I love the talent on that team and the makeup of that team. But their home/road splits are ridiculous.
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
Well, it's that time again. Let's take one more.
Nora (St. Louis)
You didn't answer the question about who you think is in the lead for NL/AL MVPs.
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
Seems like I answer that one every week. NL practically a dead heat between Votto and Pujols. AL is Josh Hamilton for me right now. But the season isn't over yet!
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
Thanks to everyone who checked in. Lots of great comments and questions this week. Sorry there was no trivia. Too busy. See you all down the road in Chat Land.