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.
His latest book, "Wild Pitches" examines the "why" behind baseball's winners and losers to give fans a rare look inside the game. He tries to answer questions like, how do high-priced contracts impact a team's ability to compete for a title? How do sabermetrics play a role?
Send your questions now and join Stark Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Jayson Stark (1:03 PM)
Greetings. I've got a full hour to chat today, so let's get started!
Everyone talks about the Yanks needing an SP but don't you think they could use help @ 3B? Who do u think would b available?
Jayson Stark (1:04 PM)
Haven't gotten any indication they're shopping for a 3B. They're all about adding starting pitching first and everything else second.
If you are John Mozeliak, what do you do? Price seems like a totally attainable asset, granted it will come at a great cost (but I don't think it has to involve Taveras as everyone else does)...do you go for it? They've been stockpiling these young guys for a few years now, is it time to snag another ace to compliment Price since, as the old adage goes, good pitching beats good hitting? Or do you try and make a move towards a power hitter to make up for the major deficiency in both hitting for average and hitting for extra bases/home runs? Or do you try and make a slightly larger overhaul and get both at the same time?
Jayson Stark (1:07 PM)
I know they're power-challenged (and speed-challenged for that matter). But there are so many hitters with track records in that lineup, I don't expect them to go bat-shopping. And there aren't many to trade for anyway. They have the pieces to make a Price deal without Taveras being in it. Just a matter of how big a "price" they can convince themselves to pay.
Chris (Miami) [via mobile]
Hey Jayson, Is Casey McGehee up for comeback player of the year and do u think he would be? Also, at the trade deadline to expect them to be buyers or sellers?
Jayson Stark (1:08 PM)
Casey McGehee is one of the great comeback stories of the season. I don't spend much time worrying about that award, but he's got to be a big part of the conversation. I don't think the Marlins have decided yet what they'll do at the deadline. But if they're in this position after the break, I see them doing some modest buying.
How close is RAJ and the Phillies to finally entering "sell mode"?
Jayson Stark (1:10 PM)
They're still on hold. They've told teams a lot could hinge on what they do in this homestand. They don't normally decide until mid-July. But if they plummet out of the division and wild-card races sooner than that, there'd be no reason to wait. Still think they'll have a tough time making multiple significant moves, though, with what they have to sell and the contract complications attached.
Caleb (ATL) [via mobile]
Jayson, In your opinion (discounting teams) who is the better long term player, Christian Yelich or Gregory Polanco? They both seem to have very similar skillsets.
Jayson Stark (1:11 PM)
They both look like they're going to be all-stars. I think I'd take Polanco, because he's a huge man with probably more power potential. But there are no wrong answers in that quiz.
Jayson, Huge fan of your work and your books dating back to the Inky days. One thing I've heard you and others say is that teams wouldn't give up as much for someone like Cole Hamels as they would for David Price because of his contract. But that baffles me because if you're going to give up 2-3 top prospects for Price, you're going to keep him and sign him to a contract just as big. It used to be having a guy locked up long term made him MORE valuable. Why don't teams view it is this way anymore?
Jayson Stark (1:14 PM)
Hi Brian! Thanks for the kind words. As I've mentioned before, praising my book(s) will always help you get posted on these chats! I think you make an interesting point. But here's the difference: In Price's case, some teams would prefer dealing for him for this year and next, without having to sign him. In Hamels' case, you can only bid on him if you don't mind paying him for a lot of years. So it limits his market. But I doubt he gets traded. Not getting that vibe. They don't seem inclined to blow it up, even if they sell, rebuild, reload or whatever they decide to call it.
What do you make of Jake Arrieta? Seems like classic post hype sleeper material for 2014.
Jayson Stark (1:15 PM)
Top-of-the-rotation stuff. Might be a guy you ride for 85 to 90 pitches and get out of there. But it's quality for those 85 to 90. Cubs made a great pickup on Arrieta.
What happened to the Giants? They have fallen apart against a pretty unchallenging portion of their schedule?
Jayson Stark (1:18 PM)
When you think about how they built that lead, was it really sustainable? I'm not saying they can't win that division. I'm just saying they weren't going to hit 200 homers. And they need more from guys like Matt Cain than they're getting. So it's just the season wreaking its usual havoc. The fluke performances only last so long. And that power surge wasn't going to go the distance. Was it?
Even though ATL is only 1 game out it is clear to me that this team is not capable of winning it all. Do you think Wren will mortgage the future for someone like Price like he's done in the past? I hope not. We need a lot more than a frontline starter. I think the Braves need to stand pat and retool the O in the offseason.
Jayson Stark (1:19 PM)
It's not their style to mortgage the future unless they really think they're capable of winning the World Series. But they're definitely capable of winning the division. So they're clearly buyers. But buyers of someone like David Price? I'll bet no on that, even though they're interested.
B Mand (Sarasota, FL)
I think it would be prudent for the Red Sox to traded away some veterans and give extended looks to some of their younger players so that they can go into next season with some questions answered. What are your thoughts?
Jayson Stark (1:21 PM)
The Red Sox are one of those teams that could conceivably buy and sell at the same time. Not sure what the market is for guys like Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront and A.J. Pierzynski. But I would expect them to explore it, without writing off this season, barring a massive freefall between now and the deadline.
M Swindell (Ft Worth)
What value does Domonic Brown have on the open market and if the Phils decide to move him what could they expect in return?
Jayson Stark (1:23 PM)
Whatever value he once had, it drops daily. They've had a bunch of scouts watching them over the last couple of weeks, and he's had as bad a stretch, offensively and defensively, as he's had in the last two seasons. They're trying to sell him as a guy who did it once so he can do it again. But at this point, they'd have to hope they can find some change-of-scenery candidate just like him to swap him for. I have no idea who that is, though.
B Mand (Sarasota, FL)
Now that they have all of their big pieces healthy, are the Reds capable of winning the Central?
Jayson Stark (1:24 PM)
I think they are. They're right on the Cardinals' heels. And as much as I love the Brewers, their depth could be an issue if they don't stay as healthy in the second half as they did in the first half. The NL Central could wind up being a really fun race before this is over.
With his slow start does Andre Ethier have any trade value? Especially if the Dodgers will only eat half or so of remaining contract?
Jayson Stark (1:25 PM)
I don't think he gets traded in July. I think he's more likely to get dealt in the offseason. But you're right. He has to pick it up for that to happen. I seriously doubt that the Dodgers will open next season with both him and Matt Kemp on the team. Somebody has to go to make room for Joc Pederson.
Whats your opinion of Evan Gattis? Is what were getting right now real? Can he still develop because of the crucial years he missed? ( Searching online to buy your book as we type!)
Jayson Stark (1:27 PM)
Oh, it's "real." It's just hard to say how much more is in that tank. He'll always be limited by his defensive glitches. And I'm not sure if guys with his body type hold up over the long haul. But he's done nothing but hit like this since he reached the big leagues. So as long as he stays healthy, he'll be a force.
Stros Fan (Hell)
With the bullpen woes of some contenders (Tigers/Angels in particular), do you think the Stros should trade Qualls and Sipp? Personally, I would sell high considering how fluky relievers can be.
Jayson Stark (1:29 PM)
I think you're in tune with Jeff Luhnow on this one. The Astros view almost all relievers as interchangeable parts, ones you can sell high every July. So I think they'd be much more likely to deal away guys like that than they would a Keuchel or McHugh.
Brian (Fort Wayne)
Could it be a god send for Detroit that Scherzer turned down the Tigers offseason offer since Porcello could be extended for less money? Plus, he's younger and pretty durable.
Jayson Stark (1:32 PM)
Hadn't thought about it quite that way, Brian. The up side of Scherzer is a different plateau than Porcello. So if Porcello is a cheaper buy, there's a reason for that! He's an excellent No. 4 starter. But Scherzer is a dominator. So he'd be a big loss whether they wind up extending Porcello or not.
What do you think of Todd Frazier? On pace for 30/20, is this a breakout season, or can this be considered a fluke?
Jayson Stark (1:33 PM)
Todd Frazier seems to get better every year. I'm a big fan of guys who play with a smile on their face every day of the season. And that's him. He isn't going to be Mike Schmidt. But he should be an all-star!
Jayson Stark=Best Author Ever! (USA)
Wild Pitches is a must read for EVERYONE! Jayson Kenny Giles showed me a lot in the Marlins series in his ABs against Giancarlo every night. Does his emmergence make trading Pap easier and more likely (oh yeah and Paps contract).
Jayson Stark (1:34 PM)
Best Chat Name Ever! If this is what Kenny Giles is going to be, he has closer written all over him. Still hasn't allowed a hit on the slider all year. And hit 101 on the gun last night. I absolutely think the Phillies will step up their efforts to move Papelbon because of his emergence. Now is the time to move him, too, because this is as well as he's pitched since he left Boston.
Rick (Virginia Piedmont)
What do you think it will take for the Tigers to resign Victor Martinez? Perhaps 3 years and $44M?
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
Looks like they're reluctant to guarantee that third year. And given his health history and age, it's hard to blame them. But try to imagine what that lineup would look like without Victor. So how about $29M for two, with a vesting option?
Brewers fans appreciate any attention the team gets from the national media, so needless to say, I was really pleased to see the article this morning. But man, I shouldn't have read the comments. People outside of Wisconsin really hate them! What do you think about the Brewers? Are we in for a let down, or do you think the team has a chance to hang come October?
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
Time for you to make a "note to self," Nils: Don't read the comments! It's all about health, I think. If they can stay healthy, there's no reason that team can't win. But as I said earlier, I worry about their depth if Stuff Happens in the second half.
Doug Galveston [via mobile]
Do innings pitched matter in the cy young award? Say kershaw has slightly better peripherals than wainwright, but wainwright ends up with 40 or 50 more innings. Shouldn't the more durable starter win if their stats are close?
Jayson Stark (1:38 PM)
It factors in for me. Then again, I weigh everything when I vote. If two pitchers have similar numbers but one has carried a much heavier load, I always give extra credit for that. But the innings difference on Kershaw is all about that stay on the DL after the Australia trip. Their innings per start aren't that different. So that would be a tricky one.
Why is nobody talking about Anthony Rendon in the conversation with great young players? He's on pace to have a 6 win season at age 23-24!
Jayson Stark (1:39 PM)
Not sure what you mean by "nobody." I've heard lots of discussion about him on Baseball Tonight, and read nothing but glowing praise for him on our site. He's a rising star. No dispute on that. Is there?
Does a package of Lucas Sims, Alex Wood and Bethancourt get David Price? Best place to buy your book?
Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
I can't speak for Andrew Friedman. But I would think long and hard about an offer like that if I were him. And you know that expression, "anywhere books are sold?" It applies to "Wild Pitches." And if you tweet at me or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I can tell you how to order a signed, personalized copy. Thanks!
do you think the Rays will deal within the division. Stroman and Sanchez enough for Price?
Jayson Stark (1:42 PM)
Their official posture is that they'll talk to anybody and that includes the rest of the division. But to trade David Price in the AL East and have to face him 6 or 7 times over the next year and a half, it would have to be a massive overpay. Probably even more massive than Stroman and Sanchez.
Jayson, if you were Jed Hoyer/Theo Epstein, what players would you ship out and which would you retain as July 31 approaches?
Jayson Stark (1:44 PM)
In a perfect world, they'd keep Samardzija and extend him, not trade him. But that's not happening. So they have no choice but to deal him and Hammel. Beyond that, they don't have a lot to sell. Barney. Russell. But it's mostly about those two starters and what they can get back, I think.
Hek (Wilmington, DE)
Can Harper put the Nats over the top in the NL east?
Jayson Stark (1:46 PM)
He's a difference-maker, so sure. They're the most talented team in the division when he's on the field. That's for sure. But he'll also cause a worrisome ripple effect defensively. Zimmerman clearly doesn't want to play third anymore. And I'm not sure he still can. But it's hard to take Span or LaRoche out of the lineup to accommodate him in the outfield or at first. So this is going to be a real challenge for Matt Williams, juggling a bunch of guys who deserve to start.
Brandon (Simi Valley, CA)
Speaking of CY Young, who do you think takes the award for NL and AL?
Jayson Stark (1:47 PM)
I'd vote Cueto and Tanaka right this minute. But it's close! A Wainwright/Felix ballot wouldn't exactly be embarrassing, either.
Are the Red Sox are A.) Still very much alive B.) On life support C.) Done and cooked and ready for next year?
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
Somewhere in between A and B. They need a bat. And they need more consistent starting pitching. But I still think they have a run in them.
I didn't mean to imply Rendon was being completely ignored, but I do not hear him in the same conversation as guys like, say, George Springer who Rendon is actually younger than. I think Rendon could not only be a perennial All Star but a superstar. The approach is advanced way beyond his years and for a small guy he has serious pop. Consider this: he's hit homers off Alex Wood, Michael Wacha, Zack Greinke, Craig Kimbrel, AJ Burnett and Tyson Ross among others. That's seriously impressive when you look at it.
Jayson Stark (1:51 PM)
I'm with you! Look, Springer reached the big leagues as a franchise-changing figure on a team that waited so long to call him up, that became a raging topic. Rendon just came up and blended into the fabric of a really good team with bigger names around him. But don't confuse the narrative with all of us "ignoring" a guy like Rendon. I plead "not guilty" to ignoring him -- on behalf of all of ESPN!
So you dont think LA moves Joc for something this season? I would imagine he would be the price for any trade?
Jayson Stark (1:52 PM)
They've been telling teams they're not moving him or Seager. So I doubt that seriously.
Pablo playing better do Giants give him the FAT contract he wants pardon the pun or see what is worth on the open market?
Jayson Stark (1:53 PM)
The Giants always seem to re-sign their guys. The fact that they haven't been able to sign him to an extension tells you all you need to know about how wary they are about guaranteeing him a lot of years. So how much does he want to stay? That's my question. If he demands six or seven years, or maybe even five, I can't see them doing that.
Has a player ever made a jump from high A to the MLB like the Twins' Jorge Polanco just did?
Jayson Stark (1:55 PM)
Albert Pujols essentially did that. He did play three games in triple-A the year before he made the Cardinals. But he spent that whole season in A-ball. So it happens. But if your point is that it's rare, I think we're in agreement on that!
Rick (Virginia Piedmont)
Jayson, are the Tigers kidding themselves by thinking Joe Nathan can take them into a deep October run?
Jayson Stark (1:57 PM)
I've asked a lot of people this question. They don't think Joe Nathan is done. But he's getting up there. So he's a guy whose workload probably needs to be watched closely if they want to have him closing a bunch of games in October. I don't get any sense they're shopping for a closer. So that tells you something, right?
Paul (Albany, OR)
I understand the common sentiment in baseball is that "every" contending team needs to make a trade by the deadline to get there, or to show the current players that management is in it with them. I have to admit, I am not a buyer of this philosophy. At times it messes with current chemistry, and at others it impacts the farm long term. Teams that are contending now in part because they are improving as the season progresses don't ALWAYS have to make a move. What is your opinion? Thank you
Jayson Stark (2:00 PM)
You make an interesting argument, Paul. The trading deadline is overrated. I've thought that for years. There's all this frenzy and all this pressure for GMs to make a move by "the deadline." But a lot of years, the best buys and most important deals are made in August, during the waiver period. If I were a GM, I'd do my best to tune out the media and social-media noise in July, and only do what made sense -- not what public pressure says you should do.
Will (Los Angeles)
ALWAYS loved you work with ESPN and as well as books, keep up the fantastic work! I know you said you don't really care about Comeback Player of the Year but what about Josh Beckett? Let's show him some love.
Jayson Stark (2:00 PM)
Put him on the list! I agree. He's had a tremendous year.
Jack (San Francisco)
Is Mookie Betts the next Springer/Polanco to hit the Major Leagues this season?
Jayson Stark (2:02 PM)
They need to figure out his position. The bat is going to translate. If he can play center field, that solves a lot of issues for the Red Sox on a bunch of levels. But I don't know that we can safely say that yet.
Confused about your comment that you think Brewers may falter due to injuries in second half. They've had injuries in the first half and been just fine. Braun on DL, Ramirez on DL, Gomez was out about a week with back issues, Thornburg and Henderson from bullpen are currently on DL. They've got depth to handle injuries. if a starter goes down, Jimmy Nelson is ready in AAA.
Jayson Stark (2:04 PM)
I didn't mean to imply they've had no health issues. But their Opening Day rotation has made every start but one. The average team uses nine or 10 starters a season. Do they have the depth to handle something like that? Not sure they do. But so far, so good! I hope it happens. That's a really fun team, and there's a great vibe in that park every night.
Jayson Stark (2:05 PM)
Whoah. I went way past 2 o'clock. How'd that happen? I've gotta run. But thanks for all the great questions. See you down the road in Chat Land!