Chat with Jayson Stark
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com senior MLB writer Jayson Stark will drop in to chat some baseball.
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)
Greetings! I only have about 45 minutes today because I have to get to the ballpark, so let's get started.
Joe (Arlington, VA)
Jayson,Why hasn't Edwin Rodriguez received the same criticism as Riggleman for resigning and "not honoring his contract"?
Jayson Stark (1:04 PM)
Two different situations. The Marlins were in a freefall, and Edwin Rodriguez didn't issue any ultimatums. He told Larry Beinfest he didn't think his team was responding to him and offered to step aside. That's a lot different than a team playing its best baseball of the season and having the manager tell the GM he needs his contract option picked up or he'd quit. Don't you think?
This Riggleman thing is pretty weird. I almost thing the Nats were using him as a teacher, to improve the team, and had planned on letting him go eventually anyway once the results were achieved. Thoughts?
Jayson Stark (1:07 PM)
It was getting increasingly clear that he wasn't going to be the man there long-term. In fact, I was told by one of his friends he thought the Nationals were getting ready to fire him if they hadn't gotten hot. There was significant clubhouse unrest there, and that's why he was pushing for more backing from the top. When he didn't get it, he thought it was time to go. Don't agree with the decision, but I understand why he felt the way he felt.
Dont you think you guys are kinda of reaching for a story by talking about how the injury to Pujols will effect him in free agency and the rest of his career?
Jayson Stark (1:08 PM)
Well, Albert certainly thinks so! The reason I've talked about it and written about it is simply because people within the sport are talking about it. Albert isn't just any other player. He's looking for possibly the biggest contract in history. So if he comes back and hits like two home runs in August and September, you don't think it would make teams reluctant to give him 30 million bucks for 10 years? They were reluctant before!
Should the Pirates try and hang onto Maholm and Hanrahan and try to reach .500 or do the right thing and trade them since .500 should not be the goal?
Jayson Stark (1:10 PM)
I actually think that for this franchise, at this point in their history, they should do everything in their power to finish .500 and allow the rest of the planet to change the subject from Life Since Sid Bream.
If Johnny Damon reaches 3000 hits somehow, is he a HOF to you? I never viewed him in that manner before but he may be the first real test against the magical number standards employed to election - your thoughts?
Jayson Stark (1:11 PM)
I never like to make firm judgments on any player until his career is over. But if Damon gets to 3,000 hits, he's a lock for me. Maybe he wasn't a great defender. But he was a difference-maker for two teams that won the World Series, and he was one of the best top-of-the-order forces of his generation. So case closed if he gets to 3,000 hits. And he has a great case already.
Bawb (Fairview, UT)
Why don't teams start addressing missing parts earlier in the season rather than waiting until July 31st? It is obvious that a few teams are out and have some talent to deal, why not grab those players now to impact your team over half the season instead of just one third of the year?
Jayson Stark (1:12 PM)
You can't shop if the store isn't open. And nobody's store is really open. But I do get the sense the Padres are getting ready to jump the market and deal guys like Heath Bell and Ryan Ludwick, sooner and not later.
Ruben Amaro was quoted as saying that he was most worried about the Phillies bullpen because they lack experienced relievers. But isn't he ignoring history in saying that? I can think of K-Rod, Wainwright, Palpabon, and Jenks just in the last decade who closed for championship teams either as rookies or in their first few years in the majors.
Jayson Stark (1:14 PM)
Ruben had some similar thoughts to me in today's Rumblings and Grumblings (which is now posted, by the way). He's not down on guys like Mike Stutes and Antonio Bastardo. He just doesn't want them to bear all the responsibility of protecting leads late on a team with win-it-all aspirations. If he gets Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras back, or he was even confident he'd get them back, that would be one thing. But the prognosis on both guys is uncertain.
What do you think the Sox should do with Big Papi in the next 11 days?
Jayson Stark (1:16 PM)
I don't like the idea of playing Adrian Gonzalez in the outfield. So I think theire best alternative is to play Big Papi at first once in every series and pick a good spot for Gonzalez to pinch-hit and then come in for defense. I have some other ideas on this, but I'll unveil them next week!
Do you think the Orioles trade Jeremy Guthrie? What would a team have to give up to get him
Jayson Stark (1:17 PM)
I continue to hear they're not anxious to trade him. And even though it isn't his fault he's 2-9, it isn't helping his value. He's one of those guys whose value to his current team is probably greater than his value on the market, but that could change.
Jayson, a lot of shots have been taken at Wrigley Field lately. What's your opinion?
Jayson Stark (1:19 PM)
I love Wrigley Field, as a place to watch a game. I can't say I love it as a place to work. I'd love to see the Cubs do with Wrigley what the Red Sox have done with Fenway. But I'm hearing increasing talk that that isn't possible, because it's deteriorated so much and the layout of the park, within such tight neighborhood confines, really limit their renovation options.
Jayson - Rank of Prince Fielder's most likely destinations in 2012? Cubs, Orioles, Brewers, Angels, Rangers?
Jayson Stark (1:20 PM)
He should really go to the American League, shouldn't he? Nevertheless, I'd make the Orioles No. 1 and the Cubs No. 2. Very dubious he'd wind up with any of the other teams on your list.
Jose..... Seattle [via mobile]
What happens with the Dodgers? Is there a good chance Cuban jumps in to clean up this mess? Kemp for all-star!
Jayson Stark (1:22 PM)
Thanks for setting me up to mention I wrote about Mark Cuban in today's Rumblings, and why he's verrrrrrry unlikely to wind up owning that team, unless this turns into another bankruptcy auction. Read it and see what you think. I'd be happy to chat about this after people check out the column.
Jack (San Diego)
Can there be any more battle-tested team than the Giants? They win a title in 2010 thanks to a slew of one-run victories during the race and playoffs. Now, they've lost half their team at some point and are playing with a AA-offense, but still in contention. Great pitching aside, the mental toughness they need to play all those tight games is astounding. Or do you forsee them crumbling?
Jayson Stark (1:24 PM)
If we're making a list of teams with a chance to win the World Series, they're on it, all right. But they're going to have to upgrade their offense to do that. And the vibe now is that they're going to find a way to do that. Lots of teams bearing down on their prospects, as I mentioned in Rumblings today. So it's clear the potential sellers think so, too.
% chance that both leagues have a DH by 2030?
Jayson Stark (1:25 PM)
I'll go zero. Better chance of no DH in either league than of DH in both leagues. But amazingly, baseball seems to like it the way it is. We'll see if that changes if realignment happens.
Jayson, The braves have a lot of starting pitching depth in the minors..Do you see them making a move for a bat at the deadline?
Jayson Stark (1:27 PM)
I'd be very surprised if they don't, to be honest. I'm just not sure it will be for one of The Usual Suspects. They hate to make trades for rent-a-players. Somebody like Hunter Pence would be right up their alley, but I'm dubious that the Astros trade him.
Gary (Buckeye Az.)
Good afternoon Jayson, do you see the Cubs being sellars in the trade market and if so who?
Jayson Stark (1:28 PM)
They're not getting back in the race. That seems obvious now. But to me, their most attractive trade chip looks like it will be Carlos Pena. Zambrano and Dempster have trade vetoes, and I doubt they'll exercise them. And Soriano and Ramirez are untradeable.
Thoughts on Oswalt's comments last night... it appears as if he thinks it's possible his career is over. How much does a long DL stint hurt the Phillies? And, if he were to retire mid-season, would the Phils be able to use any of that money for a bat or bullpen arm?
Jayson Stark (1:30 PM)
He's clearly been hurt for a while. I also think he's scarred by the storms that have rolled through his hometown, and he's worried about his friends and family. But until we hear the MRI results -- which could happen tonight, by the way -- it's tough to know what to think. Do I think he'll retire and give back the money, though? No way.
If the mets stay close to the wild card at the deadline. Should they be buyers or sellers?
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
It's New York. They have to be buyers. I don't think it's realistic for them to think they're good enough to play in October, and I don't think it's in their long-term best interests, either. But you can't pull the plug on the season if you're close, especially in New York. Plus, that team has played its tails off. Those guys deserve to have management add pieces if they hang in there.
The main reason people don't like Interleague play is beacuse, the DH/no DH rules so why dont they go with either both leagues always play with no DH or vice versa?
Jayson Stark (1:33 PM)
As I said, I think baseball likes having the constant debate about this topic, especially at interleague time. Maybe sometime way down the road, when somebody else is commissioner, this might change. But there's no real momentum to change it now, from what I hear.
If they braves did manage to snag Hunter Pence for a few pitchers and minor leaguers, what would that do to their OF? Would Martin Prado move back to the infield to make room out there or would they just bench their current struggling CF's
Jayson Stark (1:34 PM)
Sounds like Prado would go back to being a super-utility guy who played all over the field. That's where he has his most value anyway. Don't you think?
Jayson, what about Sean Marshall being a trade chip? Seems like a shutdown lefty reliever is a luxury for a non-contender.
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
That's a really interesting name. I haven't gotten any indication they'd make him available, though.
How are the Royals possibly going to contend in the next couple of years without any semblance of starting pitchers? The upcoming FA market for pitchers is already very weak.
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
That's their biggest challenge, and they know it's their biggest challenge. They obviously were praying they'd get a high-end college pitcher in this year's draft, and it didn't work out. But if you have as many prospects as they have, it gives you the ability to trade for a big arm. And that's one option. It's hard to see them overpaying to sign one, but here's a thought: How about they make a run at Zack Greinke when he becomes a free agent, after he can see that all their position-player prospects are the real deal?
Do you see the Tribe being buyers at the deadline?
Jayson Stark (1:38 PM)
Unless they fall apart in the next few weeks, they've consistently said they'll be buyers. And there's no reason to doubt them. They have an opportunity to win this year, and that has gigantic potential value for the franchise.
Joey (West Palm Beach)
What would be the fallout of the Yankees trading for Jose Reyes and demoting Jeter to super-utility/SUPER-cheerleader? I know it wouldn't happen, but wouldn't it be the better baseball move? How can the Yankees expect the gap between them and the Sox not to widen if Mr. Epstein is smart enough to make his decisions ONLY based on what is best for winning games and Mr. Cashman is not allowed to do the same?
Jayson Stark (1:40 PM)
Look, when they re-signed Jeter and agreed to pay him 17 million bucks a year for at least three years, they were committing to him on some level. At some point during the life of this contract, if he continues to show his age, there's a good chance they'll decide they have to go to Plan B. But they're not there yet. And to be honest, they shouldn't be there yet.
Can you give some insight into Desmond Jennings? The Rays are contending so why not add his bat to that lineup? What's the holdup?
Jayson Stark (1:43 PM)
He really hasn't had a great year in Durham. He hasn't forced their hand yet. And I think people are coming to the conclusion that, talented as he may be, he's not the reincarnation of Carl Crawford. They're in position to win. And there's no guarantee he's an upgrade. But if they trade B.J. Upton, either he or Brandon Guyer have to wind up in the big leagues. And so far, Guyer has had the better year.
Jayson Stark (1:43 PM)
Hate to make this dreaded announcement. But I only have time for one more. Sorry!
Even with Riggleman gone, the Nationals have to be strong contenders for the playoffs next year with the additions of Strabsurg and Harper, right?
Jayson Stark (1:45 PM)
They're positioned to be the next great team in that division. Not sure it'll be next year, because you can't count on Strasburg to be himself in his first year back from Tommy John, and Harper would only be a late-season call-up. But they have big pieces in place, or on the horizon, at practically every position and some great arms on the way. So that's a team the rest of that division should fear by 2013.
Jayson Stark (1:46 PM)
Thanks for all the great questions. Sorry I had to go early. Check out the Mark Cuban stuff in Rumblings and Grumblings, and hopefully, you'll have a better understanding of Bud Selig's reservations about him. See you next week in Chat Land.