Chat with Rob Neyer
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com MLB Insider Rob Neyer will drop by to chat some baseball.
Neyer's book, "Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends," can be ordered now!
Send your questions now and join Neyer on Tuesday at noon ET!
Rob Neyer (12:00 PM)
You want to do this again? Really?? Okay.
The Cubs have played below expectations. As they regress to the mean, they should climb in the standings no?
Rob Neyer (12:02 PM)
It's probably safe to assume they'll get more from Soriano and Ramirez than they have, but they face a great deal of competition in their division. I'll only suggest that they're in this fight to the end.
At 5-0 (in 8 starts) w/ a 3.00 ERA, has Tommy Hanson gotten himself into the NL ROY discussion?
Rob Neyer (12:03 PM)
Nah, he got too late a start. Without checking, I have to think there are some solid candidates who are going to wind up with at least five months of action.
Daniel (Las Vegas, NV)
Shouldn't the Mets be sellers by this point? What good is it gonna do to have anyone returning mid august, heck even returning today probably wouldnt do much good
Rob Neyer (12:07 PM)
Sure, but who would they sell? Livan Hernandez? Yes (if anyone wants him). Luis Castillo? Yes (ditto). Gary Sheffield? Double-yes (and double-ditto). But it's not like they're going to restock the farm system that way.
What do the Yanks need to do to pull off winning the division... Bullpen help and what do you think they should do about 5th spot in the rotation?
Rob Neyer (12:10 PM)
I know you're not going to like this answer, Lee ... but the Yankees just need to be luckier than the other teams. Aside from trading for Roy Halladay or something, there's not really any move they can make that will make them the obvious favorites. At this point everybody's just throwing dice and hoping for the best.
So, will you finally pick the Phils next year to win the division?
Rob Neyer (12:11 PM)
Probably ... but let's see what the Mets do this winter. ;-)
After the (almost) perfect game and now striking out 8 in his last start, has Jonathan Sanchez showed that he is much better than everyone believed, or are these last couple games just anomalies?
Rob Neyer (12:12 PM)
Too early to say. You'd like to see him continue this (so far, short) run, but there's that whole body of work before the last couple of weeks...
Do you think Matt Holliday will stay in Oakland the rest of the year? He put on quite a show last night
Rob Neyer (12:13 PM)
I think he'll be traded, because a couple of prospects are worth slightly more than a couple of draft picks.
You mentioned it briefly in your post on Wilson and Sanchez, but why are teams still unwilling to pay for defense when the metrics for measuring glove work is vastly improved and we have a much better idea who does what well in the field?
Rob Neyer (12:16 PM)
Well, that's the next step, right? But the market for fielders won't match their true value as long as you've got GMs like Dayton Moore who don't believe in the metrics.
Tyler Smith (Atlanta, Ga)
How much can Oakland really expect to get for Holliday? Do you think they will get more than the Braves did for Tex last year?
Rob Neyer (12:19 PM)
Umm, no. They might be able to snag a couple of Grade B prospects. Holliday's just not been playing well enough to merit a top prospect.
Brian (Long Beach, CA)
Hey Rob! How long do you think it normally takes for a player's true BABIP to appear across a career? Panda's BABIP has looked unsustainable, but he's now over 500 PAs to start his career with a BABIP of .353.
Rob Neyer (12:21 PM)
Players as a group don't conform to any particular rule, except that their skills lead to a fundamental BABiP. I don't know that Panda's fundamental BABiP is .353, but that doesn't mean it's .300. He's probably an outlier (in a good way).
Rob, I take umbrage with your "the M's have to get Griffey out of the lineup" comments. Seattle's not going to win the series with - or without - Griffey. As a fan, I like seeing him in there, even if he sucks hitting wise. This is a situation where the emotions *should* override the statistics. Plus, you have to admit, 'umbrage' is a pretty cool word to use in a chat.
Rob Neyer (12:23 PM)
Umbrage is an awesome word. Kudos to you, sir. And kudos again. You're probably right about the M's not being good enough to win, regardless. But if they do finish within two or three games of first place -- again, unlikely -- we might look back and wonder why they didn't play Mike Carp or Mike Saunders instead of Junior.
jeff (NY, NY)
How long until the Sox give up on the Smoltz experiment? If Bucholtz is the better option, I don't understand why they wouldn't make the move, and if they don't believe that he is a better option than shouldn't they trade him far a bat?
Rob Neyer (12:26 PM)
I don't know that they'll officially give up on Smoltz anytime soon, but if he doesn't pitch better they'll invent some mysterious injury for him.
If the Phillies got Halladay somehow, is it the equivalent of the Angels getting Tex last year - little or no impact on regular season but hopeful difference for the playoff run?
Rob Neyer (12:28 PM)
Well, yeah ... But the real impact comes in 2010, as Halladay's signed through next season. If a good team gets him, that's why.
Once again Brandon Phillips fails to hustle and gets thrown out at 2nd, and once again I'm sure he'll be in tonight's lineup. Well, at least Dusty used some strong words toward him in front of the media.
Rob Neyer (12:31 PM)
Well, we'll see. I would agree that the best way to handle a non-hustler is to bench him for a game, assuming that you've previously made clear to him the consequences of his inaction. Apparently this is not the first time for Phillips.
Back to Smoltz- he's looked good the first time through the lineup in each of his starts... think he'd go back to the bullpen as an 8th inning guy, and give his rotation spot to Buchholz?
Rob Neyer (12:32 PM)
Is that his choice? But yeah, it makes sense to me. And if the Sox don't want him, they should trade him to the Yankees so Phil Hughes can start.
Dustin (Sioux Falls, SD)
What is your opinion on getting instant replay in a larger scale than it is right now? That twins game last night is a perfect example of why we should!
Rob Neyer (12:33 PM)
It will happen eventually, but probably not while Commissioner Bud's running the Show.
Joe (Orlando, Fl)
Was Bert Blyleven better than Nolan Ryan?
Rob Neyer (12:34 PM)
Well, he sure wasn't worse.
Andy Marte is killing AAA pitching. Is there hope for him?
Rob Neyer (12:35 PM)
Yeah, I think so. He's still only 25 and sometimes guys just don't develop as quickly as we think they should. I suspect he'll enjoy at least a few solid seasons in the majors.
What are the chances Bud and the powers that be decide to scratch division formatting and just allow the top 4 records in each league to get playoff berths? Frankly, it's an embarrassment that the Rays will likely miss the playoffs in lieu of a lesser team.
Rob Neyer (12:37 PM)
I doubt if you'll ever see the end of divisions or division winners in the playoffs. I think you might see a second Wild Card team in each league, with a best-of-three Wild Card round before the quarterfinals begin. Post-Bud, of course.
Ben (Lincoln, NE)
Ok Rob, it's nearing the end of July, is it time yet to admit you were wrong about Scott Podsednik?
Rob Neyer (12:38 PM)
Get back to me in September, 'kay?
Over/under on Dontrelle Willis' future wins as a major league pitcher: 10
Rob Neyer (12:40 PM)
I guess one should bet the over, as he's got a lot of years to win more than 10. But I won't be surprised if he wins zero more games.
Tarek (Queens, NY)
Rob, what is a winning "ballplayer"... Talking heads were saying that Omar didn't bring in enough winning ballplayers and that's why the Mets are failing.
Rob Neyer (12:43 PM)
I'm not sure, exactly. Except I'm pretty sure that Oliver Perez isn't a winning ballplayer; he's got only 2 wins!
Let's clarify your thoughts on the Phillies trading for Halliday, using the assumption that they'll have to give up their 4 top prospects: Keith Law seems to be against it, while Buster Olney has said repeatedly he would absolutely overspend if he was the Phillies GM. What would you do?
Rob Neyer (12:45 PM)
Depends on the prospects, of course. Again, though, I do like what Halladay gives a club in 2010. For a franchise, 2011 probably feels like a long ways off.
Remember when Bobby Abreu, coming off a .296/.371/.471 year, couldn't buy a contract offer and ended up signing for only $5M? Why does everyone assume that if the A's offered Holliday arbitration, he wouldn't accept it? He's making $13.5M this year so arbitration could net him $15M vs what he might get as a free agent in the current market - maybe $10M. Not trading Holliday could really backfire on the A's. They simply MUST trade him.
Rob Neyer (12:46 PM)
Great point, Chris. Unfortunately, the same factors may limit his trade value, right?
James is wrong... Keith Law is not against it, but rather thinks that those 4 aren't enough to get Halladay. He's very down on the Phillies prospects.
Rob Neyer (12:47 PM)
Thanks, Mike. I'll have to go read for myself, when we're finished here.
Phil S. (NJ)
What do you think of the "flags fly forever" argument for mortgaging the farm system for a big acquisition like Halladay?
Rob Neyer (12:47 PM)
I don't think much of slogans and cliches. They tend to end discussions rather than advance them.
I'm with you on not liking slogans and cliches. Oh, and I eagerly await the quote that you'll end this chat on...
Rob Neyer (12:50 PM)
Rob, do teams spend any time scouting umpires?
Rob Neyer (12:51 PM)
I don't that anyone bothers much these days, as you can get all that information -- well, most of it anyway -- from the Pitchf/x data.
Dombroski made a great comment when he traded Miller and Maybin for Cabrera, pointing out that many of even the best prospects don't turn into difference makers. Too many people fall in love with potential - Halladay's the best bet to put you over the top.
Rob Neyer (12:52 PM)
Well, yeah ... But Cabrera had a great deal of potential. Oh, and isn't Dombrowski the guy who traded for -- and gave $29 million to -- Dontrelle Willis? Just saying.
In case you were wondering....the first result for LSTM is "Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine"....
Rob Neyer (12:53 PM)
I know. That's what I meant. I get paid $50 by the LSTM every time I work them into a chat.
Will Alex Gordon come back strong?
Rob Neyer (12:54 PM)
Jason, at this point I assume that everything associated with the Royals not named Greinke is toxic. So you're probably asking the wrong guy.
Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)
Hey Rob, any chance Freddy Sanchez in still dealt?
Rob Neyer (12:54 PM)
Absolutely. Him and Jack Wilson both, maybe.
Sujay (New York)
Rob, what sort of perks do you get as a writer that most other people wouldn't? For example, MLB TV, Awesome Tickets to ANY sporting event.
Rob Neyer (12:56 PM)
Baseball executives usually respond to my e-mail messages. That's not bad. Oh, and publishers send me baseball books. Also not bad.
Joba Chamberlain: Better as a starter or reliever?
Rob Neyer (12:59 PM)
Adam, it's elementary: Joba's better as a reliever, but more valuable as a starter. Thanks for all the wonderful questions, and next time I promise I'll bring my A-game. Well, B anyway. Until then, don't forget: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it."