Chat with Rob Neyer
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Do you think the addition of Milton Bradley will help the Cubs that much,especially in the post season when we need it?
Rob Neyer (12:01 PM)
If he's healthy he'll help. Can anyone say with any confidence that he'll be healthy in October?
Matt (Boston, MA)
You made a post in your blog yesterday bashing the idea of the A's having a publicly funded stadium but I thought the A's and Cisco were paying for all (or most) of it. Your thoughts?
Rob Neyer (12:03 PM)
Without checking, I will suggest that the A's (and Cisco) were going to pay for it like the Yankees (and whoever) have paid. Anyway, I was talking about a ballpark in Oakland; the Cisco thing was going to be in Fremont.
Rick Ankiel's two seasons basically equate to one full year of .270/.330/.510 96 R 36 HR 110 RBI. Now he has a great K/BB this spring. Could he be a big time slugger?
Rob Neyer (12:06 PM)
I don't know that he puts up a bunch of Cooperstown-level seasons. But he's been pretty good already and he's got only 749 MLB plate appearances. He's 29 now, and we shouldn't be surprised by a big season.
Hi Rob. What's your reaction to Gary Sheffield's release this morning?
Rob Neyer (12:07 PM)
Smart move, probably. Lotta money to eat, but the Tigers do seem to get the notion of sunk cost.
Do you think the double standard on PED's in baseball and football is a more a matter of the media reflecting public opinion or shaping public opinion?
Rob Neyer (12:08 PM)
More the latter. I find that the media generally follows the audience rather than the other way 'round. Especially in something as populist as sports.
So I guess I should be depressed by the stupidity of millions of sports fans rather than hundreds of sports journalists.
Rob Neyer (12:10 PM)
I don't know ... I'm kinda glad that baseball's held to a higher standard.
Brian (New York)
Hi Rob, do you think the MLB ever moves to four 4-team divisions (obviously after another expansion to even out the leagues)?
Rob Neyer (12:11 PM)
I do. But it won't happen while Commissioner Bud is Commissioner, or for a few years thereafter. So we're talking about a fairly distant future.
Mike (San Diego)
Will the Padres lose triple digit games this season?
Rob Neyer (12:12 PM)
No. They won't be good this season, but they'll be better than they were last season.
Rob, isn't pitching already bad enough w/30 teams, let alone 32? I'd rather contract.
Rob Neyer (12:14 PM)
I've never been able to understand why "bad pitching" is so offensive to so many ... and would 24 decent pitchers really be so hard to find? I'll bet we could find 12 in South Korea alone...
Even if Detroit understands the notion of "sunk cost", I'm not sure I do. How are they better with a replacement player? I know he's expensive, but if you have to pay him anyway, why not keep him on the roster?
Rob Neyer (12:15 PM)
First, they can probably to slightly better than replacement-level. And second, Sheffield's probably a guy you just don't want on the club if he's not playing every day.
Do you see the Cubs having a letdown and not making the playoffs this year? Something just doesn't seem right about this team.
Rob Neyer (12:17 PM)
In March? Aside from the odd Gregg/Marmol decision, they seem right enough to me.
Why should the Mariners let Morrow pitch where *he* wants to pitch? Shouldn't they be concerned with what is best for their team? Isn't he an employee?
Rob Neyer (12:19 PM)
Sure. But you want your employee on board with stuff, especially stuff as big as this. Because starting won't work if he's not at least moderately enthusiastic about it.
Do you think we're starting to see teams moving away from naming their best reliever "closer" and then often wasting him in low-leverage situations, and toward using the best pitcher for the situation without so much regard for rigid roles?
Rob Neyer (12:20 PM)
Perhaps, but I've been having this conversation for 13 years and not much has changed...
Jr (Tallahassee, FL)
Weiters PECOTA numbers: realistic?
Rob Neyer (12:22 PM)
Good question, Jr ... Does PECOTA really have enough history on guys w/Wieters' track record to know enough? I don't know, but because he's a catcher I'm particularly skeptical. Not that he won't get there eventually...
Tim (Burlington, VT)
Lou's reasoning aside, don't you think the Cubs are BETTER off with Gregg as closer? Marmol will be available for the higher leverage innings in the 7th and 8th (or 6th?) and he's a better pitcher right now.
Rob Neyer (12:25 PM)
Sure, as long as Marmol's on board. And as long as nobody freaks out when Gregg struggles.
Rob, Grand Rapids MI
If someone forced you to put a middle-reliever into the hall of fame, who would you pick?
Rob Neyer (12:25 PM)
Did you see that the White Sox name Dewayne Wise their starting CF and their LEADOFF HITTER. Yeah, 31 year old Dewayne Wise with that impressive .254 OBP. Do the White Sox just make these types of decisions just to screw with everybody?
Rob Neyer (12:26 PM)
Oh. Wow. I wrote about the Sox' CF candidates last week ... none of them can actually play ... Wise is probably going to be a disaster.
Is Melky Cabrera an above average 4th outfielder?
Rob Neyer (12:28 PM)
Umm, no. That would be a lovely goal for him, though.
Jacob (Columbia, MO)
What do you think of the Rays sending David Price down to the minors? Good move?
Rob Neyer (12:30 PM)
From this distance, I would have counseled a stint in the bullpen with the big club. But the Rays have more than earned the benefit of the doubt ... they probably know exactly what they're doing.
Seriously Rob, brow beating a 17 year old Japanese girl for not being a good enough pitcher?
Rob Neyer (12:30 PM)
I did no such thing. Did you actually read what I wrote? Just wondering...
Speaking of center fielders who have no business being leadoff hitters, Willy Taveras is the leadoff man in Cincy. Is Dusty just messing with us? Will he someday live his dream of creating a lineup based on on base percentage, lowest to highest?
Rob Neyer (12:31 PM)
It's pretty amazing how many managers still worship at the altar of the speedy leadoff man ... and how many GMs let them get away with it.
Giradi picked Nady over Swisher because of his apparent comfort with him, despite the fact that Swisher is pretty definitively a better hitter, fielder, and baserunner. While I know that this will probably sort itself by May, shouldn't the front office be distressed by their manager's unwillingness to field the best possible team?
Rob Neyer (12:35 PM)
Well, yes ... or maybe. I suspect that Girardi and Cashman spent a fair amount of time discussing the decision ... and I think you're right: before long we'll have forgotten it ever happened because Swisher will play more.
Stephen (Sacramento, CA)
Do you think Arte Moreno made a mistake by signing Scioscia deep into the next decade?
Rob Neyer (12:36 PM)
I'm not wild about long-term contracts for managers, but at least the money's not real big.
Do you see Jed Lowrie posting good enough #'s to keep the starting SS position away from Lugo?
Rob Neyer (12:38 PM)
Of course. What I don't have is access to the Red Sox' proprietary fielding metrics ... but Lugo's no great shakes there either, right?
CJ (Boulder, CO)
No love for the Twins? They seem to have finally rounded out the package. People debate whether or not they'll win the Central - I debate whether or not they'll win the AL. Top 5 starters are $money$ and I wouldn't trade the rotation for any other teams'. Scored >800 runs last season, who cares if they hit HRs? Their defense is well known as among the elite in baseball. Top closer. Liriano is looking phenom again. What's not to like?
Rob Neyer (12:41 PM)
Well, okay ... but they were exceptionally lucky to score 800 runs last season, and at the moment they're without their best player. Right now they look to me like a .500 team.
rocky (las vegas, nv)
What do you think are Jordan Shafer's chance's of winning NL rookie of the year? I think he's going to swipe a lot of bases this year and could eventually be the braves lead-off hitter.
Rob Neyer (12:44 PM)
I suppose he's young enough that anything's possible, but I don't see big enough numbers in AA -- he's not played in AAA at all -- to make me think he's going to explode as a rookie.
ken piedmont, CA
So does the A's offense score 600 runs this year? Will Chavez play even half the games? (I say no and no).
Rob Neyer (12:45 PM)
Yes and no. I like the A's, but their young starters and Chavez's body are real weaknesses.
Could you stop ending your articles with a sequence of "but this but that but this but that but this but that"? Maybe you're trying to show your intellectual cautiousness, but it just comes off as dainty false modesty. And it's just bad writing.
Rob Neyer (12:46 PM)
I'll work on it. Thanks.
On the flipside of the speedy leadoff guy debate, the Yanks are now hitting Jeter 1st and Damon 2nd, which, when you look at the numbers, makes perfect sense. They may lose credit with the Swish/Nady debate, but they have to gain a couple points back with this decision, right?
Rob Neyer (12:47 PM)
Sure. Especially if you figure Swisher eventually gets the PA he deserves. Absent A-Rod's injury the Yankees would be right on track.
Three year extension for Chipper? Seems like a risky move considering he isn't a good bet to play more than 130 games. If he doesn't stay at the elite level, it's a downright awful contract.
Rob Neyer (12:49 PM)
Yeah, tough to justify based just on the numbers. The Braves are paying extra for goodwill, and in this case I'm not sure that's a terrible thing. Remember when people said that great players wouldn't spend their whole careers with one team?
Adam (New Hartford, NY)
Why so down on Chavez? I mean hes basically had 2 seasons off. Hes had the surgeries hes needed. Hes now playing. All signs pointing to 120 games.
Rob Neyer (12:50 PM)
Gee, a whole 120 games? And how well is he going to play in those 120 games, exactly? Look, I'm on his (and the A's) side. I *want* him (and them) to do well. I just don't think it's going to happen.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
Of course, the Yankees should continue to lose points for allowing Jeter to play SS.
Rob Neyer (12:50 PM)
You mean "runs". ;-)
The reason the Angels won the last few years has been the strength of their pitching staff. Now that they're down a few starters and lost their closer, I can't see them being more than a .500 team, given their typically poor offense. Or is the AL West so lousy that a patchwork rotation and a bit of hitting can win the Division?
Rob Neyer (12:53 PM)
Yes ... anyone could win the West, way things are looking now. Might come down to which team realizes that first.
tom: (san jose, ca)
will eric chavez be the alltime homerun king for a player too never make an all-star team?
Rob Neyer (12:55 PM)
Good question, Tom ... is he on track for that? He's still 70 behind Tim Salmon, and I'll be somewhat shocked if Chavez hits 71 more.
What un-signed free agent are you most surprised is still un-signed?
Rob Neyer (12:58 PM)
I suppose I thought someone would have rolled the dice with Pedro by now ... or that he'd have taken a low-ball offer just because he wants to pitch.
Jeff (Dixon, CA)
Chavez has never made an all-star team? Really?
Rob Neyer (1:00 PM)
Yeah. Weird, huh? Thanks for all the questions, and next week we'll have real games to talk about! Until then, don't forget: "Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist."
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