Chat with Rob Neyer
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at noon ET!
Josey Wales (Grapevine)
I've been having an argument with a fellow fan who says that managers are all incompetent -- that a team could grab the average fan of the street, give him access to the FanGraphs website and name him the manager, and that team would win more games than they would with 90% of the current major league managers. I think he's underestimating the people managing aspect of the game. What do you think?
Rob Neyer (12:04 PM)
I think your fellow fan has never heard of Maury Wills.
Rob, let's get the obvious one out of the way - what's your gut feeling on Lee? (When and Where?)
Rob Neyer (12:05 PM)
My gut continues telling me Rangers, though how much of that is wishful thinking I really can't say (because I don't know). And soon, I think. Very soon.
If you were the Mets, and had the chance, would you sign Pujols for 8YRs, $200M?
Rob Neyer (12:06 PM)
Sure, but he's not going to play for $25 million per season.
How does John Schuerholz compare to Pat Gillick as a HoF candidate. Gillick's teams have one more WS championship, however, Scheurholz built teams that were better for longer periods of time.
Rob Neyer (12:07 PM)
To some degree they're apple and orange, Gillick was successful in a number of different organizations. Schuerholz was incredibly successful with one club and moderately successful with another (COUGH*Mark Davis*COUGH).
What do you think of Olney's proposal that the divisions be wiped away and each league plays a balanced schedule where the top 4 (or 5) teams make the playoffs?
Rob Neyer (12:09 PM)
I think it's a fine proposal. And I would go top five teams, with Nos. 4 and 5 playing a one-game playoff to advance to "Division Series" (which would need another name, obviously).
Nelson (Puerto Rico)
HEY ROB! Doesn't this Cliff Lee Saga have a certain feel to it that tells you that a team who no one thinks can come out of nowhere and sign him, leaving the Rangers and Yankees dumbfounded?
Rob Neyer (12:10 PM)
Yeah, sort of. I just don't know who's got an extra $160 million laying around.
rick q (ft worth, tx)
in the past the owners continued to tout how poor they were and how so many teams are struggling. in this off season where $100 million dollar contracts have been seemed the norm, are the owners still whining about money?
Rob Neyer (12:11 PM)
Sure, some of them. That's what owners do. Always have, always will.
How big of a drop-off can we expect from Tampa after losing several important cogs to their team?
Rob Neyer (12:12 PM)
Their team, as currently composed, might slip to fourth place. But their team as currently composed isn't the team they'll have on Opening Day. I suspect the Rays make enough moves to win 88-92 games.
thanks for being the only one on espn (red sox central) who will admit that the crawford contract is a bad one.
Rob Neyer (12:16 PM)
I don't believe I used the word "bad" ... I do think concerns about Crawford's OBP in the out years of the deal are legitimate. Also, it seems to me his sterling defense is somewhat less valuable in Fenway than elsewhere. It's not a *bad* deal ... but it's less than great. And the truth is that with an exception here or there, the Red Sox haven't done a fantastic job with big free agents.
Anthony (San Francisco)
As constructed currently, how do you see the World Champion Giants doing next season?
Rob Neyer (12:17 PM)
Trying to get me in trouble with Giants fans again? Let's just say they'd better be real healthy next summer...
Thanks for chatting on a Monday, nothing more.
Rob Neyer (12:18 PM)
My pleasure. I'm away from my desk tomorrow, but didn't want to skip this week.
Rob (Alexandria, VA)
Has any long-term deal with a player at or near free agency ever worked out? It seems like the Crawford, Werth, and inevitable Lee deal (whatever it turns out to be) are destined to be seen as really bad deals after a few more years. And even if there are a few, it seems like for every good deal, you could name 20 bad ones.
Rob Neyer (12:20 PM)
I doubt if the ratio's quite that unfavorable to the clubs, but it's probably true that teams eventually regret the mega-deals more often than not. At the same time, if you've got a lot of money and want to win every year, overspending is probably just the price of doing business. I suspect the Red Sox *know* Crawford won't be great in 2016.
As a further to Anthony's question: Do you think Belt makes the opening day roster for the Giants, and they move Huff to LF? That might help make them "healthier" as he will be one of the few position players not taking their One-A-Day Senior Daily vitamins?
Rob Neyer (12:22 PM)
Given their recent history, I wouldn't expect the Giants to hand Belt the job in April. But yes, by May or (more likely) June he should be up, and playing first base every day.
mike in MN (MN, land of snow)
As currently constructed, have the Sox and/or Tigers passed the Twins? I really, really, really don't like the Hardy trade....
Rob Neyer (12:24 PM)
You're not alone, Mike. The Twins aren't infallible, but I can't help thinking maybe they're seeing something more in Tsuyoshi Nishioka than we are ... I mean, the guy won a batting title and a Golden Glove this year. He can probably play a little, right?
Rob (Alexandria, VA)
Is the BBWAA still on track to not vote for players who have award bonus clauses in their contracts in 2013? Because that would seem to put a serious hamper in Jeter's player option that depends upon, among other things, getting the MVP in 2013 and 2014. Seems silly to set up a contract with bonuses that are literally impossible to get, unless something has changed recently.
Rob Neyer (12:26 PM)
Gee, I'd forgotten all about that. And I'm sorry to say I don't have any idea. I'll ask around.
As a Cardinal fan, I'm disappointed to see Brendan Ryan replaced by Ryan Theriot. That being said, though, that I don't get why Seattle showed interest in B Ryan, considering his and Seattle's offensive shortcomings. Does Seattle expect him to be an everyday player?
Rob Neyer (12:27 PM)
Ryan's a solid low-cost option at shortstop, considering his defensive value. I think the M's are figuring Ryan gives them a healthy version of Jack Wilson. Which isn't a bad thing at all.
Max (Chicago, IL)
How about the White Sox offseason so far??
Rob Neyer (12:31 PM)
What's not to like? As things stand now, have to consider them co-favorites in Central.
I like Olney's idea about breaking up the divisions, but that would lead to less games between rivals like Sox-Yankees. And for revenues that is bad. This is why I don't think it will happen. Am I wrong?
Rob Neyer (12:34 PM)
I think it's probably a consideration. But don't the Yankees and Red Sox sell out most of their games, regardless of who they're playing? One aspect of playing in smaller ballparks is that -- in the absence of dynamic pricing, anyway -- the opposition has less impact on revenues. Also, why do they get to decide? It's actually the other teams that sell significantly more tickets when the Red Sox or Yankees come to town.
Where do you think Manny will sign? I have not heard much about him at all?
Rob Neyer (12:36 PM)
With the A's apparently signing Godzilla, there aren't many landing spots left ... You're looking for an American League contender with an open DH slot, basically. Tampa Bay? Texas? Orange County? I think he'll play if he wants to, and put up good numbers in 120 games.
Cliff Lee's terrific, but I can't see how it's ever prudent to give a 32 year old pitcher with back problems a seven year deal. I think the Rangers are doing the Yankees a favor if Lee signs with Texas.
Rob Neyer (12:38 PM)
Yes, but only in the long term. In the short term the Yankees win more games, the Rangers fewer. And as a wise man once said, "Long-term thinking is antithetical to human nature."
How do you think the MLBPA would handle doubling the amount of West Coast Games (and the corresponding increased travel) on Busters no Divisions idea?
Rob Neyer (12:41 PM)
The travel implications would probably be a concern to the union (also, thanks for the additional carbon emissions!). That said, players don't exactly fly coach class on Southwest. An extra hour or two on their team planes, a few extra times per season, wouldn't kill them.
Do you think that if the Yankees fail to sign Lee, they will use Montero in a trade to get Greinke?
Rob Neyer (12:44 PM)
I don't. The Yankees sort of need a catcher, and the Royals sort of don't. Maybe they do go after Greinke, but they probably would go deeper into their farm system for prospects. Maybe the Yankees have an extra outfielder down there?
Is Manny's defense so bad that a team like the Phillies would not even roll the dice on him? They need a RH bat to hit fifth and Manuel and Manny are supposed to have a good relationship from their Indian days...
Rob Neyer (12:45 PM)
Well, there are two things to consider ... How bad is his defense? (bad) and How many more games will he play if he's restricted to DH duties? (unknowable)I'm inclined to keep him out of the outfield.
Twitterers are reporting that Lee's agent contacted Texas minutes ago to say that he is staying - have you heard similar reports.
Rob Neyer (12:48 PM)
Uh, I've been here with you for the last 48 minutes. But I would love for my prediction to come true!
Who's the baseball equivalent of Brett Favre? Roger Clemens? Derek Jeter?
Rob Neyer (12:49 PM)
My first impulse was Cal Ripken, but that's not quite right ... I think Favre might be unique, b/c of all the comebacks. Not to mention the lovely photos.
Why are people giving up on the Rays? Really they only lose Crawford and have a star in the making in Jennings. Pena was terrible last year and while they lose a bit in the bullpen that is surely the easiest thing to replace.
Rob Neyer (12:52 PM)
Yeah, but Jennings isn't nearly as good as Crawford right now, and *somebody* has to play first base. And pitch in the ninth inning. They've got some real work to do, and haven't yet started.
Brett Favre is a southern, white superstar playing into his forties. He has flirted with retirement for five straight years. He has left the team he became known for a division rival and has a sexually-based controversy (Clemens and alleged affair with underage country star). Brett Favre IS Roger Clemens
Rob Neyer (12:54 PM)
Hmmm. I think it's more than alleged. I mean, seriously ... You're right, though. Probably works, except Favre seems a lot smarter and more personable than Clemens.
Not to mention that Tampa also needs to find someone to pitch the 7th and 8th innings as well.
Rob Neyer (12:54 PM)
Yes. I was trying to be wittily soulful. But yes.
Scott (Albany NY)
Care to give your prediction on who makes into the Hall this coming year?
Rob Neyer (12:55 PM)
Sure. Blyleven for sure and probably Alomar, Bagwell coming up a little short this time. With that I gotta run, but don't forget what Casey Stengel said: "Good pitching will stop good hitting and vice versa."