ESPN's Jayson Stark recently chatted with fans about several topics, including these hot stove-related items…
- Stark predicts there won't be "a lot of difference-making starters" available at the trade deadline this summer, so a lower-tier arm like Jason Marquis could garner some interest if Washington makes him available.
- It has been widely assumed that this is Jonathan Papelbon's last year in Boston, but Stark isn't so sure the stopper will find a better deal elsewhere. "He'll test the market," Stark writes, "but you'll have a ton of closers out there this winter. [Papelbon] might not get what he thinks he'll get."
- Stark hears from teams who have "kicked the tires" about acquiring Derek Lowe that the Braves want to keep the veteran right-hander. (Stark's ESPN colleague Buster Olney reported the same earlier this week.) Atlanta values its starting pitching depth, which has already been tested this season with Brandon Beachy's current DL stint.
- The Phillies "can't add anybody who makes even modest money unless ownership signs off on it," which could leave them unable to make a major acquisition at the trade deadline.
- Stark has heard from some general managers that "eventually, there will be a push to get rid of the DH" to get both leagues playing under the same set of rules. Such a rule change would be years away from being implemented, however, since teams have spent a lot on players who they intended to use as designated hitters now or in the future.
- The Orioles don't seem like they'd be willing to trade Jeremy Guthrie, and Luke Scott "isn't an easy guy to deal" given his controversial political views.
- Jesus Montero "isn't ready" for the majors yet, according to some International League scouts.