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 (1:04 PM)
Greetings! If you have any thoughts about where Bryce Harper and Mike Trout fit in the all-time rookie pantheon, I'd love to hear them, since it's the subject of my Rumblings & Grumblings this week. But there's lots of great stuff to chat about. So let's get started.
Henry Sandman (Washington DC)
Jayson,As a Nationals fan I am very interested to see what the Nationals will do with Stephen Strasburg and his innings limit. I see them pushing him a little beyond the 160 mark, but I don't think they will let him get close to 200 innings. Do you think they should start to try to get creative and start skipping starts to limit his innings?
Jayson Stark (1:05 PM)
Unless they do a total about-face, there's no doubt they're going to shut him down. But I'm hearing there's definitely a little wiggle room in that 160-inning figure. I've heard 180 might be a possibility, but that still wouldn't be enough to get him into late September or October at this rate. Too bad. They have a chance to win the World Series if he keeps going out there.
Alex (West Virginia)
If Larusa is serious about wining the all star game why in the world would he take chipper over harper? Harper is a no brainier there
Jayson Stark (1:06 PM)
I think there should be a spot for both of them, and this allows me to get back on my favorite soap box and campaign once again for a Living Legend roster spot and a Rising Star roster spot. Make Chipper your living legend. Make Harper your rising star. And presto -- they're both on the team. Problem solved.
Chooooooooch (Philly, PA)
Jayson can you explain what Chooch is doing and are we looking at some historical numbers from a catcher? Is the rest of the world seeing what we've known in Philly?
Jayson Stark (1:07 PM)
In the last 50 years, two catchers have hit .360 or better: Mike Piazza and Joe Mauer. Period. Pretty good club to be hanging out in. But catchers wear down, so I wouldn't count on him winding up in the .360s.
Why so many Hamstring & Oblique injueis this year? A change in off season training? A fluke year?
Jayson Stark (1:09 PM)
Glad you asked that. When I wrote my big column on injuries a few weeks ago, I didn't have time to get into the oblique epidemic. But how 'bout this: Before last year, the most players ever to hit the DL with oblique issues in any season was 29. We almost have had that many already! It's time for baseball to study this problem, rather than guess at the causes. Don't you think?
Have you heard any trade talks lately involving Matt Garza or Felix Hernandez with the Yankees?
Jayson Stark (1:11 PM)
First off, Felix isn't getting traded. So wipe that name off your chalk board. Second, the Yankees aren't in make-a-trade mode yet. They expect CC back in two weeks. He's not that seriously hurt. And they'll have Pettitte back in September. So they'd prefer to find somebody from the Garcia/Phelps/Warren depth pool who can keep them afloat temporarily, and not overpay for somebody like Garza. But they won't be making that call for a few weeks.
Do you think it might be worth the White Sox signing Youk long term?
Jayson Stark (1:13 PM)
How can they decide that yet? The guy's been banged up and mixed up at the plate for a year and a half. They'd need to see him give them consistent production for an extended period before they can even think about signing him long-term.
Fact or Fiction: Mike Trout wins AL MVP if Angels win the AL West.
Jayson Stark (1:14 PM)
There's an excellent case to be made. Since he got to the big leagues, he leads the AL in hitting and steals. And the only player in the league who has reached base more than he has is Miguel Cabrera. Plus, they have the best record in baseball since he joined their lineup. So right now, for me, the AL MVP is either him or Josh Hamilton.
Jayson, what does your gut tell you about what the Phillies do before July 31?
Jayson Stark (1:16 PM)
I talked to Ruben Amaro Jr. yesterday, and you can find some quotes in today's Rumblings column. But basically, he's waiting for his team to tell him what to do. They have three to four weeks to convince him to be a buyer. Otherwise, he could still sell. But he has to wait until he gets the band back together (Utley, Howard, Halladay). So he's not close to hanging a For Sale sign yet.
Can the Yankees survive without Pettitte?
Jayson Stark (1:19 PM)
Of course. They have a five-game lead, and CC will be back soon. And they have the resources to make any kind of deal they need to make. But you make a great point. It's amazing that when Andy announced he was coming back, he seemed like a luxury item. And now he feels like a guy they need to win it all.
Dan (Atlantic City)
There has been talk that an impending free agent such as Hamels or Greinke wouldn't yield a big return since their new teams couldn't get draft pick compensation if they bolted after the season; but, doesn't the second wild card in each league make this a seller's market?
Jayson Stark (1:22 PM)
We don't know yet how this market will play out. It's absolutely a seller's market, because there will be so few sellers. But you won't see the volume of deals for, say, marginal rent-a-relievers that you've seen in the past, because there's no draft pick waiting on the other end. I still think a guy like Greinke represents such quality that a team trading a player like that will get an excellent return. But somebody in that next tier - a Francisco Liriano, for instance - might be another story.
FYI there is a SportNation poll up asking about your Rising Stars roster spot suggestion. 60% like it.
Jayson Stark (1:23 PM)
Cool! It makes so much sense, I can't believe it hasn't happened. They could have fans vote on it next week after the rosters are announced. It would be awesome.
Hey Jayson, If Jarod PArker keeps up his curent play would he be a legitimate ROY candidate?
Jayson Stark (1:24 PM)
Sure. But he'd need to have like a 1.00 ERA to beat Mike Trout. Wouldn't he?
Jayson D.Johnson state's that T.Moore will be given more PT for Nationals in days to come. How do you view Moore as a player and his chances of playing more down the road? Thanks alot!
Jayson Stark (1:27 PM)
I wrote about him a few weeks ago in Rumblings. He has big power, legit power. And he gives them interesting options. They can play him in first, or play him in left. So as they try to figure out where to put their future chess pieces, he's another intriguing moving part. If Harper could play center (big if), they could use him at first and Morse in left down the road, or vice-versa. Or he might be a big-time trade chip later.
Am I crazy for thinking Andrew McCutchen should seriously be considered for NL MVP?
Jayson Stark (1:27 PM)
Heck no. One of the most underappreciated players in the whole sport.
Is this first move the Royals make after the All-Star game to bring up Wil Myers?
Jayson Stark (1:29 PM)
Only if they trade Jeff Francoeur. Doesn't sound like they're in a hurry to rush him to the big leagues.
Do you think the Pirates will fade again like last year or can they legitimately fight for the LN central crown?
Jayson Stark (1:30 PM)
They're going to have to add offense. They were on pace to score under 600 runs last time I checked. And no team in the live-ball era has ever won a postseason series while scoring that few runs.
Do the Diamondbacks do anything about their recent string of injuries to their pitching staff? Or will replacements like Bauer, Corbin, and Skaggs (if needed) be enough to keep the D'backs in contention for the NL West crown?
Jayson Stark (1:31 PM)
Talked to Kevin Towers this week. They love their young rotation arms. So I don't get any sense they're looking to deal for a starter. They'd shop for a bullpen piece if they keep winning, but they'll see where Bauer and Corbin take them for now.
Jc (Fort Myers, FL)
Seeing as how the rest of the NL East with the exception of the Nats has gone through some long losing streaks can we finally admit that the Mets starting staff is one of the best in the NL. That being said the pen needs some work can you envision a scenario that Mets spend a little and buy a rental reliever?
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
I can admit that, absolutely, especially with the way Chris Young is pitching. But they have to address that bullpen, and they know it. They're looking, but it's a rough market.
Jayson, any truth to the O's looking to add Garza, Dempster and Soriano in one large trade?
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
All of them? No way. They have definite interest in Garza, though.
Ichiro seems to be slowing down a bit. Would the Mariners be wise to shop him while they can stil get something god in return?
Jayson Stark (1:33 PM)
No chance. He can veto any deal, and there appears to be no shot he'd approve one.
Edmond (New Orleans)
Name one pitcher that you think will turn it around in the 2nd half
Jayson Stark (1:34 PM)
Hard not to pick Cliff Lee. As one of my scout friends pointed out the other day, he and Cole Hamels have almost the same stats -- and Hamels has 10 wins, while Lee has none. I wouldn't bet on him going like 0-14 this year. Would you?
CAN WE GE JAYSON IN THE MAIN WINDOW PLEASE?
Jayson Stark (1:36 PM)
I'm told that if you click on a chat, it will move it to the main window. Give it a try.
Why wouldn't Dodgers attempt to blow away Rockies with prospects in a trade for Cargo? The ship be sinking!
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
Two things here: 1) The Rockies aren't going to trade Cargo. 2) The Dodgers' prospect pool is too think to even think about making a deal that humongous. They're positioned to take on anybody's money dump in July, but not to make a 4-for-1 mega-prospect deal
Who is the best reliever the Mets can get? Who would he cost?
Jayson Stark (1:39 PM)
As Buster Olney wrote in his blog today, the best reliever out there who's available right this minute is Grant Balfour. But the A's don't have to do it now unless they get their price.
Hi Jayson. With the Jays fading fast, do you think they should trade Encarnacion while his value is at his highest. Could they expect a decent return?
Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
He's a hot topic out there. This is tricky because the Blue Jays haven't given up, and you don't see many teams deal away a player who's in the top five in homers while they're trying to contend. On the other hand, he doesn't fit into their long-term plans. He can play first, third or even the outfield if necessary. And there's not much righthanded power out there. So I'd watch that one closely.
Is the former leo Nunez available?
Jayson Stark (1:42 PM)
No. Won't be back from his suspension until mid-July. And the Marlins are looking at him as the equivalent of making a deal for a big-time reliever, from what I've heard. Of course, they need to start winning between now and then, or that could change.
Shane Victorino (Philly)
Is there any chance that I get traded this year if we dont turn things around?
Jayson Stark (1:44 PM)
I'd say yes. As I mentioned earlier, the Phillies aren't selling, and won't even make a decision on whether to sell for at least three weeks. But of all their free agents, I think Victorino might be the least likely to return. And he'd have definite value if they decided to shop him.
Mike (Blue Springs)
Any chance Grienke returns to KC after the year is over? They could definitely use a starting pitcher next year.
Jayson Stark (1:45 PM)
Did you read Sam Melinger's column on this in the KC Star a couple of weeks ago? I think he nailed it. Very unlikely. But not impossible, either.
Chris (Long Island)
If Cashner is able to put his shoulder woes behind him, what kind of pitcher are we looking at long term? He seems to have gotten his BB's under control, and his stuff is filthy. New ace in San Diego?
Jayson Stark (1:47 PM)
He has ace-type stuff. That's clear. And he's pitching in the right park and the right division. And the guy the Padres traded for him tells you exactly what they think of him. The only reason he wouldn't be a dominator is health. It's pretty much that simple.
Joe (Pasadena MD)
Are the Orioles on their way back to reality loser of 7 of 9, struggling Offense, Defense and Pitching? Who should they be targeting?
Jayson Stark (1:48 PM)
We've been talking about this all year. It's a shaky formular for winning when three of your five starters have ERAs over 5.00, you have the worst defense in the league and the offense is built around the home run. It's made them an amazing story from the beginning. But if they had to make one deal, it would be for starting pitching. No doubt about that. That's what they're shopping for, anyway.
Julio (Dominican Republic)
Hi Jayson. Can we Braves fans expect a trade for a starting pitcher AND a bat? After Beachy went down and the inconsistencies of Minor and Delgado, this is an obvious need. But they lack of consistence in the offense, especially when Chipper Jones isn't in the lineup.
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
Money is too big an issue to think they'll trade for both. They're prioritizing an "impact" starter. That's what I was told. But remember, they hate dealing for rent-a-players. So they'll need to be creative, in more ways than one.
Jake Stone (Raleigh)
What do u see the Red Sox doing with Ryan Lavarnway?
Jayson Stark (1:50 PM)
I've heard they've talked to a few clubs about trading Kelly Shoppach, and that would clearly be to create an opening for Lavarnway. So stay tuned.
How about a Giants questions: Thoughts on the four straight shoutouts? Best staff in majors?
Jayson Stark (1:52 PM)
It's an amazing achievement. They're the first team in history to throw four straight shutouts, all against teams in first place! So that tells you something, even though that Dodgers lineup, minus Andre Ethier, is about as shaky as it gets. I picked the Giants to win the West, and if the last two starts are a sign that Lincecum is ready to get it going, I'll feel awfully good about that pick.
Once we get through the all star break why wouldn't the Rox dump just about anyone not named Cargo/Tulo call up any able body and see if there is any real talent in the organization. This season is a supreme bust and next year is probably lost as well.
Jayson Stark (1:53 PM)
I expect them to do some massive selling. But there isn't really that much veteran flotsam and jetsam with value. Scutaro, Betancourt and then who?
Matt Hardman (Fontana, CA)
Jayson, which division do you think is the best in baseball and which team that is contending now do you think will fall out of the race as the season progresses?
Jayson Stark (1:54 PM)
I'll go: Al East/Pirates. What do I win?
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
The Braves have tons of young pitching but it all seems just a bit mediocre. Do you think they have a core for the future, or should they move something to have a real ace or star going forward?
Jayson Stark (1:56 PM)
You have to remember that guys like Teheran and Delgado are very young. I don't think "mediocre" is the right word. They just have a lot of growing, and growing up, to do. I like their core a lot. But not sure they're ready to win without making a significant deal.
Any chance the Nats look to add a bat before the deadline?
Jayson Stark (1:56 PM)
Absolutely -- if it's a bat who can play center field beyond this year.
What are at the Cubs waiting for? I know you want the right offer to come along but the Dempster injury hurt his value.
Jayson Stark (1:57 PM)
I'm going to guess that Dempster would have been dealt by now if he hadn't gotten hurt. Now we'll just have to wait and see how he throws once he comes back. He couldn't have been hotter when he went down.
Charles (San Jose)
Jayson, do you see any available 3B the Snakes could bring in for some of their pitching depth?
Jayson Stark (1:58 PM)
They're a definite fit for Chase Headley if the Padres are willing to trade him within their division. Not sure there's much else out there that's an upgrade.
Do you think the Reds win the NL Central?
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
I'm still on the fence. So many strikeouts in that lineup. So many guys who have quick at-bats or seem to have no plan at the plate. I love the talent, and Votto is special. But if the Cardinals get anything out of Carpenter and Berkman in the second half, I still think they'll win that division.
Jayson Stark (2:00 PM)
Hard to believe time's almost up, but I only have time for one more.
The Braves need a SP with young pitching to spare. The Cubs have Dempster and/or Garza to offer. How is that not a perfect match?
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
Dempster is a rental. Garza just doesn't seem like their kind of guy to me. A little too, what's the word, flamboyant? Tempestuous? But in this market, I don't know if they can afford to be too picky. They need an arm. And I expect them to find one.
Jayson Stark (2:02 PM)
Thanks to everybody who checked in. Have a great weekend! See you down the road in Chat Land.