Chat with Rob Neyer
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Rob Neyer (12:01 PM)
Free t-shirt to the first person who figures out exactly how many chats I've done during my time w/ESPN...
Hey Rob, what do you think of the underhanded tactics employed by some Pujols voters to ensure that he won the MVP award? Knocking Howard way down on their ballots, or even leaving him off completely so he can't close the first-place gap with secondary votes... I think it's disgraceful. Such writers should have their voting privileges revoked.
Rob Neyer (12:02 PM)
Ummm, do you have some sort of proof of this, Kevin? Because a reasonable person could make a reasonable argument that Howard wasn't one of the 10 best players in the league. I'm just saying.
Tommy (Green Bay, WI)
Rob, you have done 251 chats here at ESPN.
Rob Neyer (12:03 PM)
Not even close!
Jason (Washington, DC)
Any thoughts on Phil Sheridan's MVP article? He seems to think the BBWAA actually relies on things like VORP rather than real, hard numbers like runs scored and batted in.
Rob Neyer (12:06 PM)
Yeah, I saw that . . . Sheridan's wrong, in that the *typical* voter doesn't spend a great deal of time looking at modern metrics. His problem is that a *few* voters do, and he thinks that number should be zero. As a friend suggests, we're now in Flat Earth Society territory...
So whats your take on the first free agent signing of the year by the Giants?
Rob Neyer (12:07 PM)
Affeldt's good, one of the few lefty relievers who averaged a strikeout per inning this year. Nice get.
Doesn't MLB do a disservice with all the awards well AFTER the season is over? At this point, I could care less who is MVP, I'm more interested in the FA rumors...
Rob Neyer (12:09 PM)
Well, it's not MLB's call. The BBWAA can announce the awards whenever they like, and do. I suspect that nobody's actually thought much about the timing in a long, long, long time. Which of course is in character with the organization. (ba-da-bing!)
Art (Andover, MA)
From Sheridan's article: "But Howard got hot in September, hitting 11 home runs and driving in 32 runs to carry the Phillies into the playoffs. That's the very definition of valuable." That's actually the definition of "valuable in September." Turns out they play a whole season.
Rob Neyer (12:12 PM)
They do, indeed. And while it might make sense to give a player a little extra credit for surging in September, I have an opposite take . . . If you play terribly in the spring (as Howard did) you might actually discourage your team from making moves to promote its postseason chances. That is, on a macro level, first-half performance might be more valuable than second-half performance.
In your opinion, which is the best modern metric: WPA, win shares, VORP?
Rob Neyer (12:13 PM)
I would go with Win Shares or WARP, because both measure defense. You could also take WPA or VORP and add someone's good defensive metric. The trick is to count *everything*.
Dane (Nashville, TN)
How is Joe Mauer not the AL MVP? He has very similar offensive numbers to Dustin Pedroia and plays in a much tougher park for hitters than Fenway. And he plays the more premium defensive position, and plays it extremely well. This feels like 2006 when the debate was over Morneau vs. Jeter, but Mauer was similar to Jeter offensively while playing much better defense at a more premium position. Personally, I think Mauer should have won the MVP in 2006 as well. Your thoughts, Mr. Neyer?
Rob Neyer (12:15 PM)
I thought Mauer should have finished first or second in 2006. I think he should finish first or second in 2008. This year I would vote for him, but Pedroia is a fine candidate as well. I'll have much more on this subject in my blog (now FREE) shortly after the results are announced.
I see that you think Mauer should win the MVP, but if you were a bettin' man, where's your money?
Rob Neyer (12:16 PM)
Pedroia's going to win in something of a landslide, will probably get twice as many first-place votes as anyone else.
Toby (Harrisburg, PA)
Why isn't Billy Wagner's 2009 $10.5 mil salary covered by insurance?
Rob Neyer (12:18 PM)
It's not? If not, it's simply because the Mets couldn't find anyone who would take their money. A few years ago the insurance companies became more cautious about insuring long-term contracts for pitchers.
Eric (Bronx, NY)
Speaking as a Twinkie, I like your pick for MVP... but curiousity prompts me to ask, of the Red Sox players, who's most deserving of MVP?
Rob Neyer (12:20 PM)
Youkilis had a great year, but on balance I think Pedroia's got him by a half-win or something.
How is it possible that Utley finished 15th overall, and behind two players on his own team??
Rob Neyer (12:20 PM)
Since CC hasn't accepted the Yanks offer should we assume he will go somewhere eles?
Rob Neyer (12:21 PM)
Oh no, not at all. There's plenty of time for some other team to swoop in, but the Yankees aren't going anywhere.
Craig (ShysterBall, Blogosphere)
Wait, you're free now? On behalf of free-bloggers everywhere, I must go on record saying that I do not like this unnecessarily field-levelling development.
Rob Neyer (12:24 PM)
I'm not sure exactly why, when, or how. But yes, I seem to have been freed. Eat it, Blogger Boy!
Rob, if you had to venture a guess, what do you think the Red Sox do about their catching situation?
Rob Neyer (12:25 PM)
I maintain my last-summer prediction that the Red Sox will make a trade for one of the Rangers' many catchers. Though I wouldn't rule out a one-year deal with Varitek.
According to the ESPN archives, this is your 243rd chat (tell me if I'm wrong and I'll stop posting)
Rob Neyer (12:25 PM)
You're wrong; the archives don't go back nearly far enough, as I've been doing this to you since 1996.
Hey Rob, a question on your NL MVP pick of Lance Berkman. Now I may love Lance even more than you do, but it seemed like you preferred him to Pujols because of his clutchiness. I myself was shocked that Howard didn't win, since he owned Pujols in HR and RBI despite trailing by 200+ OPS. While Berkman's season was great, I'm not sure that his superior baserunning and lucky clutch hitting negates a .128 advantage in OPS. I mean holy crap, Pujols hit .357/.462/.653!
Rob Neyer (12:27 PM)
I know, Dave. I don't know exactly why the sophisticated metrics pushed Berkman ahead of Pujols, but they did. I guess it's just a lot of little stuff: baserunning, defense, durability, clutchiness...
Rob, is there any truth to the rumor that either Nate Robertson or Dontrelle Willis could be headed to Boston for Julio Lugo? If its true, who benefits from this?
Rob Neyer (12:28 PM)
Probably nobody, but teams sometimes just like to trade headaches. Hurts a little less when it's someone else's. Also, Robertson may have a decent bounce-back in him.
What are the Twins going to do about 3B? Not sure if the Buscher/Harris platoon is the answer (actually, I'm sure it's not the answer) P.S. you've done 762 chats . . .
Rob Neyer (12:30 PM)
762, you think? Could be. I have no idea. Re: the Twins and third base, supposedly they're going after Casey Blake. Which would be an improvement, at least in the short term.
Chris D (Capital City)
Rob, You wrote of a probalbe Nick Swisher bounceback next season. Could it be that he really has fallen off a cliff? His bat seemed awfully slow, and he was in Rob Deer "home run on a mistake" or K territory before Guillen benched him.
Rob Neyer (12:35 PM)
I'm not nearly smart enough to know whether Swisher had a "slow bat" . . . but if I were going to make that argument in the context of a personnel decision, I'd sure want some proof, along with an explanation. When a guy's hitting in poor luck, inevitably you'll hear that "he's got a slow bat" or is "not seeing the ball well."
Rob you talk about the sox going after one of the rangers catchers. I keep hearing the sox prefer salty, but to me i think teagarden is the best prospect? Any thoughts?
Rob Neyer (12:38 PM)
I would agree with you, except the Sox are a lot smarter than both of us put together. Probably.
What exactly is the case that a "reasonable" person makes to leave Ryan Howard off their top 10 list?
Rob Neyer (12:39 PM)
Low on-base percentage, poor defense, sub-par baserunner, million strikeouts. Is that enough?
Reports here are the Cubs are minutes away from signing Dempster to 4 years $50-52 mil. Do you like the move? Who else do you see the Cubs going after?
Rob Neyer (12:41 PM)
Seems about right, in terms of the market. My only concern, personally, is that I don't know exactly what separates the Dempster of 2008 from the Dempster of 2001-2002.
What about Carlos Quentin? Even without the whole month of september he had monstrous stats and his team would not habe made the playoffs without him. I know he won't in but he played 130 games and should some votes. A top five finish?
Rob Neyer (12:43 PM)
Oh, I don't know. Maybe. Missing a month makes it tough. He'd have won if not for the self-inflicted injury.
Our local writer, Tom Haudricourt, has been taking some heat out here for voting for Pujols 7th, and even I think it's pretty ridiculous. I can understand penalizing him for not making the playoffs, but he had one of the best seasons in recent memory. He has to be higher than 7th. (FYI, your pick Berkman wasn't on his ballot at all)
Rob Neyer (12:44 PM)
Some guys just don't like non-playoff players. I happen to go completely the other way in that debate.
A reasonable argument that Ryan Howard doesn't make the top ten is Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran, Hanley Ramirez, Chase Utley, Brad Lidge, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Ryan Braun, Carlos Delgado or Aramis Ramirez ... and I'm not even counting CC Sabathia, Manny Ramirez or Johan Santana.
Rob Neyer (12:45 PM)
Right. There's that, too.
"I don't know exactly why the sophisticated metrics pushed Berkman ahead of Pujols, but they did." I am by no means an old-schooler, but isn't blindly trusting stats, however "sophisticated" they may be, as bad as just relying on things such as RBI and HRs?
Rob Neyer (12:48 PM)
Yes, it would be. So it's a good thing I don't do that.
Some people think Pitchers should be eligible for the MVP award while others think they should only contend for the Cy Young award.What are your thoughts on it Rob?
Rob Neyer (12:50 PM)
I think if a pitcher is the most valuable player in his league -- that is, he does more to help his team win than anyone else -- he should be the MVP. But that's incredibly difficult for today's pitchers because they're generally limited to 220-230 innings. They just can't do what the 300-innings guys used to.
Alex (Austin, Tx)
A (bad) argument for Pedroia seems to be his base stealing. If you add steals/caught steals to the total bases equation of slugging and look at the revised OPS, can't we nullify his running proficiency?
Rob Neyer (12:52 PM)
Look, 20 steals and 1 caught is impressive. But oddly enough, he was not a good baserunner otherwise, actually 7 bases *worse* than average this year.
Adam (Columbus, OH)
Rob, you've done exactly one chat at ESPN, because in the world of the internet we all know that if it didn't happen 30 seconds ago, it's old news.
Rob Neyer (12:54 PM)
Good answer, Adam. I used to print out my columns and keep them in a binder, but I haven't done that in a long time, and much of my stuff is now practically gone forever. So far, nobody seems to be missing it...
rob, elaborating on your response to Tony, who is the last pitcher who should have won the MVP?
Rob Neyer (12:57 PM)
Probably Pedro Martinez in 1999, when he was absolutely jobbed by a couple of know-nothing voters.
Jack (Owensboro, KY)
Any news on Juan Cruz, he is filthy and could even close. There isn't a team out there he couldn't help. Was hasn't Minaya signed him yet????
Rob Neyer (12:58 PM)
Well, it's awfully early in the season yet. But I do think there's a feeling out there, fair or not, that Cruz isn't a big-money pitcher.
On what planet does Lance Berkman run the bases and play defense better than Albert Pujols? Did you watch any NL Central games this year?
Rob Neyer (12:59 PM)
I'm just looking at the numbers, my friend. I would love to watch every baseball game every season, but there are a lot of teams and a lot of games...
You're just a Phillies hater. Musta been hard for you to watch them dominate their way to the World Series title.
Rob Neyer (1:01 PM)
It's even harder for me to watch Chase Utley get screwed by the MVP voters every year. Cheers! And until next time, don't forget: "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die."
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