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 (12:03 PM)
Okay, let's quit fooling around.
Mike W (Chiacgo)
How come the Reds aren't getting a lot of love from ESPN? They've won 10 of their last 14, are 2 games over .500 and only 3 games back from St Louis. Plus, Mike Leake is the best rookie pitcher in the game. Do you have any love to give to these pesky Reds?
Rob Neyer (12:06 PM)
What do you want me to do about it, Mike? I did make the Reds my National League dark horse before the season, I think. They do need more production from their outfielders.
The Common Man (Underground Bunker)
So is this it for Junior Griffey? An ignominious end, to be sure.
Rob Neyer (12:10 PM)
You know what would be a "fun" project? Making a list of the greatest players, then rating (or ranking) their career endings. Right now I have to think Junior's would rate pretty low (even with style points for finishing with M's).
Do you ever wonder if the league was mostly comprised of slow pitching - if Jamie Moyer would have had the success he has had - especially recently? How much - if at all - of his success should be attributed to his contrast in speed to other pitchers?
Rob Neyer (12:13 PM)
Somewhere between zero and maybe a tiny little bit, I think. Baseball players hit against Moyer's speed every day; it's called batting practice. What they don't see is Moyer's control and Moyer's changeup.
Rob Neyer (12:21 PM)
You're right, Joe; the Rays will probably have some money to spend after this season. But do you think they'll want to invest much of it in an old player who batted .227 last season and is batting .179 this season?
For what it's worth, watching the end of Frank Robinson's run was pretty painful. He was a player-manager for the Indians and he tended to use himself as a pinch-hitter whenever the game was on the line. He put up a .224/.329/.358 line and looked nothing like the player I wanted to remember.
Rob Neyer (12:22 PM)
Yeah, that wasn't a pretty one. Most of them aren't. Fortunately for the guys, most of them also tend to be forgotten with time.
Are we starting to wonder about and second guess the Red Sox offseason strategy yet?
Rob Neyer (12:22 PM)
I'm not, yet.
Just to correct Mike W from Chicago, Mike Leak isn't the best rookie pitcher, its current Jaime Garcia who has the 3rd best ERA in the NL and held two playoff favorites to 1 and 2 ER in those appearances. On that note, who is your current NL ROY?
Rob Neyer (12:23 PM)
Still probably Heyward, but Garcia's definitely in the mix and has been more impressive than league, with his microscopic ERA and zero home runs allowed.
mike in MN (Mn)
Why do the Mariners (as some have argued) owe it to Griffey to keep him on the team until he wants to leave? It's not their job to keep old, bad, slow, sleepy Hall of Famers employed. It's their job to entertain their fans (and to win games). I don't understand this argument that Stark and others are making that they "can't just cut the guy". Why not?
Rob Neyer (12:26 PM)
I don't want to respond to something Jayson might have written because I haven't seen it. But I don't believe teams owe players -- even players like Junior -- anything except respect and (generally speaking) honesty. And I don't believe that "respect" necessarily includes keeping a player on the roster when he's not able to play well.
Things are going really bad on both sides of town in Chcicago. Do you see anyone losing their jobs as far as coaching and front office go?
Rob Neyer (12:30 PM)
Hard to see both managers still in place a year from now, don't you think? But I'm not ready to jettison Guillen, who's actually handled this season pretty well. Piniella, though, is probably ready to retire to Florida with all the other old guys.
Eddie Bonine has a pretty nasty knuckle ball...do you think he should use it more?
Rob Neyer (12:33 PM)
Not sure, but I suspect that right now it's better if he just keeps using the knuckleball as a "sneak pitch" (as they used to say); essentially a changeup. Maybe if he keeps working on it, he can get to the point where he's a true knuckleballer. But right now he's able to throw 90.
Seriously. Elivs Andrus. How many 21 year old shortstops in history have played that kind of defense, stolen 40 bases, and got on base at a 400 clip? He's incredible. Spread the gospel.
Rob Neyer (12:37 PM)
I'm just now beginning to care about 2010 statistics, and won't *really* care for another few weeks. But Andrus is seventh in the league in walks. That's really impressive.
Jason (St Louis)
Buster had an interesting post on David Wright today. He says he hasn't been the same hitter since he got beaned last year. Is this something he will get over or is he forever destined to be afraid of breaking stuff? What can be done to fix him?
Rob Neyer (12:40 PM)
Only time can heal that wound, right? (And it's probably mentioning that Wright's created a lot of runs this season, even with all the strikeouts.)
Paul (SF, CA)
Not that I'm saying this argument wins the day, but hypothetically, if you treat great players badly on the way out, it might mean that your current great players will be less likely to help out when they are asked to make sacrifices for the team. At the end of the day the solution to this problem is for Jr. to retire and take the decision out of the team's hands.
Rob Neyer (12:41 PM)
But I don't think releasing a player who's not producing is treating him "badly". I do think most of Griffey's teammates recognize that he's not helping them toward their ultimate goal.
Mike (San Diego)
Every week I expect the wheels to fall off for the Padres and every Monday when I go into work, it seems like my co-workers and I are talking about how the Pads just took 2 of 3. Can these guys really win the division?
Rob Neyer (12:44 PM)
Stranger things have happened. But Jon Garland and Wade LeBlanc with sub-2.00 ERAs? Probably not...
Rank the endings of these slugger's careers: Junior, Bonds, Big Hurt, and Sosa.
Rob Neyer (12:47 PM)
Well, Junior's career hasn't ended yet. Who knows? Maybe he'll hit a game-winning grand slammer and retire immediately. But right now I'd have them 1. Hurt, 2. Sosa, 3. Junior, 4. Bonds.
In your 15 years at ESPN, have you ever been tempted to use PED's?
Rob Neyer (12:48 PM)
Does green tea count? When I was in college, I experimented with caffeine pills. They gave me a sore tummy.
Rob, what are your thoughts on the situation with Posey? Do you think Sabean is right for not bringing him up? Personally I think he would be a great boost to their lineup - especially with Molina trying to work off an injury.
Rob Neyer (12:49 PM)
It's easy for the Giants to resist change when they're 18-12 and Molina's hitting better than he ever has.
Paul (San Francisco)
Why do so many hitters take on 3-0? I guess I can do the research myself, but I bet a strike is thrown more often than a ball. And so often it seems to be a right down the middle kind. Shouldn't you be more inclined to hit those pitches than take them?
Rob Neyer (12:51 PM)
Yes, but that's balanced by the decrease in the chance of drawing a walk, either on the fourth pitch or a subsequent pitch. I studied this a long time ago and concluded that hitters swing at the 3-and-0 pitch about as often as they should.
We can't go through this whole chat without a Castro question. Did the Cubs bring up Castro too early? Will he join Patterson, Pie, and ect in the Cubs Prospect Hall of Bust
Rob Neyer (12:53 PM)
I don't think they brought him up too early, except they might have cost themselves some money down the line and they might have damaged Fontenot's trade value. I would have waited for a few weeks.
Nora (St. Louis)
Dave Duncan has really "Dave Duncaned" the Cardinals' pitching staff this year....third fewest walks allowed and least amount of home runs allowed in MLB. Also, fewest steals allowed. Now that's run prevention!
Rob Neyer (12:56 PM)
You think Duncan's just now peaking, at 64?
Jared (New York)
What should the Twins do with Ramos?
Rob Neyer (1:05 PM)
They should send him somewhere to play every day. And yes, his slump since those first two games is really quite stunning.
Does firing Trey Hillman really make a difference at this point?
Rob Neyer (1:05 PM)
Only if he's replaced by someone better.
Why don't all pitching coaches do whatever it is Dave Duncan's doing? Obviously it's not that simple or they would. I guess what I'm asking is, his strategy sounds pretty simple, so why is he so much better than everyone else at implementing it?
Rob Neyer (1:10 PM)
Remember high school, Andrew? College, maybe. Some teachers are just better than others.
What can be attributed to Grady Sizemore's slow start. Not a single HR and we are at May 10th. He was a regular 30-30 guy. Is it the lack of talent around him that he's just not seeing the pitches or is he still a little hurt from his injury last year?
Rob Neyer (1:13 PM)
My guess is that he's just physically not the same as he was, and maybe never will be. Which makes me a little sad.
Why aren't there more sinker ball pitchers? Everyone is trying to raise their groundball to flyball ratio...the sinker ball is the way to do it, right?
Rob Neyer (1:14 PM)
If it was that easy, everybody would do it.
Jonathan (Boston, MA)
Still think the Indians could surprise people? It would be REALLY surprising at this point. 2007 seems like a long, long time ago.
Rob Neyer (1:14 PM)
Yeah, I think that was probably a big miss by me. Again, with them.
Rob, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Do you have a clever, semi-obscure quote you'd like to leave us with?
Rob Neyer (1:16 PM)
Sure: "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."