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!
Padres, Braves, & Reds. Three teams that nobody really gave a chance. Do you think all three hang on?
Rob Neyer (12:03 PM)
I do. But I think it's worth separating those three teams. The Braves were rightly regarded as legitimate contenders, before the season. The Reds were considered up-and-comers with a chance to surprise some people. And the Padres ... well, they were supposed to finish last.
Rob - how much of the Clemens "situation" is his competitiveness to win - against whomever he deems he is against? I obviously can't prove anything personally, but my guess is this will turn out to be the text book definition of Arrogance when it is all over. Your current thoughts on this situation?
Rob Neyer (12:07 PM)
I don't know if any of us are smart enough to get into Clemens' (or anyone else's) head. But I see adolescence more than arrogance.
Thanks for linking the R.A. Dickey interview yesterday. He's obviously a very insightful, self-aware gentleman. However, he didn't answer the $64,000 question: How on Earth does he throw a knuckleball that induces ground balls? Has any knuckleballer ever had a 2:1 gb/fb ratio?
Rob Neyer (12:11 PM)
I'm embarrassed to admit I don't know anything at all about knuckleballers and ground balls, but it seems to me that a knuckleball consistently thrown low in the zone will result in a fair number of grounders.
Is Heyward reasserting himself as the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year?
Rob Neyer (12:18 PM)
Yeah, I think so. Even if his numbers are no better than Gaby Sanchez's, he's going to get some extra credit for the spring-training hype. But Buster Posey's going to be heard from, too.
Bill (Lubbock, TX)
Has Feliz solidified himself as the AL ROY?
Rob Neyer (12:20 PM)
Considering he's going to set the rookie saves record, I think he's the odds-on favorite. But there's something to be said for Austin Jackson.
Just when it felt like Sabermetrics were taking over mainstream, we get caught in this triple crown hype. If Infante wins the "batting crown" could that be the impetus needed to move past this nonsense?
Rob Neyer (12:21 PM)
I don't have a problem with Triple Crown talk, at all. It connects us to the game's great history. I think there's room for everything.
Stephen (Rancho Mirage)
Will the Ryan Howard extension be an albatross for the Phillies...$145 million guaranteed for 2011 through 2016 for a power hitter that appears to be declining quickly. His walks this year and last are way down...are pitchers/managers no longer afraid to pitch to him? Is he tradeable with this contract?
Rob Neyer (12:25 PM)
Most of us thought it was an albatross the day Howard signed it. Granted, if the Phillies keep winning pennants all will be forgiven.
You were just in SF. Is it possible that a heat wave can really turn ATT into a hitters haven or was that just a fluky week?
Rob Neyer (12:27 PM)
I think it was probably a fluky week. But the pitcher-friendliness of that ballpark has been consistently overstated.
Sam (Ann Arbor)
Are you actually an Austin Jackson fan or do you just like the value he brings while he's signed on the cheap? I've never seen so many of my fellow Tiger fans so excited over empty batting average.
Rob Neyer (12:29 PM)
No, Jackson's hitting stats probably aren't sustainable. But he's been good this season and he brings a great deal of value with his glove.
Brett (Hot Springs, AR) [via mobile]
White Sox are 4 back with 5+ weeks to go. With Manny and assuming the pen stops exploding, do you think they've a decent shot at catching the Twins?
Rob Neyer (12:32 PM)
Depends on how you define "decent," right? Four back is a lot, plus the Twins have the easier schedule *and* they do figure to get Morneau back eventually. I'd rate the White Sox' chances somewhere south of 10 percent.
Hi Rob, Do you think it would be smart for MLB to add another wild card team for the postseason?
Rob Neyer (12:37 PM)
Smart? I don't know. I don't think it would increase fan interest a great deal. Maybe someday, when there are 32 teams and eight four-team divisions...
JB (New York)
Omar Minaya on baseball in NY "It's not a market where you can go young." That explains a lot, right?
Rob Neyer (12:40 PM)
I suppose that it does. I think Minaya's a bit misguided, though. The Yankees went young in the early '90s, didn't they? That worked out okay in the end.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
What are the Indians going to do with Travis Hafner? He's an untradeable force with 2 incredibly overpaid years remaining on that monsterous contract.
Rob Neyer (12:41 PM)
I think you answered your own question, Chris.
James (NY, NY)
Alot of stuff on SC this morning about the Rays attendance problems especially last night. If they happened to move where could it possibly be? Brooklyn Rays, Manhattan Rays?...it would make for an even greater rivalry
Rob Neyer (12:42 PM)
There's nothing wrong with that market. There are plenty of people down there and the Rays' TV ratings are solid. It's just a ballpark problem, and eventually that problem will be fixed.
Mike Moustakas - closer to Alex Gordon or Evan Longoria? Royals fans are scared of your answer. . .
Rob Neyer (12:44 PM)
I don't see any real similarities among those three guys, except all of them were (or are) fantastic prospects.
Bob (Bob City)
So does that mean you support expansion?
Rob Neyer (12:45 PM)
I do. I think more baseball is better for everyone, and this country could easily support two more teams.
Jason (St Louis)
Where would you put the two teams? One in Texas, on in one of the Carolinas?
Rob Neyer (12:48 PM)
Honestly, I'm not really up to speed. It's about more than market size. You have to consider how much of the market is within 30 minutes drive of your ballpark, and per capita income, and potential corporate support. But in the long term, Portland has to be near the top of the list.
Rob - have stricter regulations and harsher penalties for using PED's contributed to the influx of youth this year (their ability to bounce back quicker during the dog days of August for one reason)?
Rob Neyer (12:51 PM)
I wouldn't suggest that those things haven't played some role in this drama. But I think the bigger role has been played by baseball executives who decided to stop overpaying for veterans when younger, cheaper, and often better players are available.
Can you remember more perverted home/road splits than those housed in Cargo's garage? HIs OPS is FIVE HUNDRED points higher at Coors!
Rob Neyer (12:53 PM)
That's a little nutty, huh? Makes the A's giving up on him look a little less embarrassing...
Rob is there a possibility that MLB fiddled with the density/composition of the balls again, producing the so-called "Year of the Pitcher"
Rob Neyer (12:57 PM)
I really don't think so, Nate. This season is just the continuation of a trend that began in 2007 or '8. We can argue about what's caused the trend.
Rockies have won 7 of 8, and have made up a ton of ground, on everyone in fron of them this week. Do you think they make the playoffs?
Rob Neyer (12:58 PM)
I think they're still underdogs, but they figure to be in the Wild Card mix into the last week of the season.
Jeff (Cleveland, OH)
Rob, do you actually believe that Aroldis Chapman can throw a baseball 105 MPH? I know that one particular radar gun says he can - do you think this is a legit number?
Rob Neyer (1:02 PM)
Actually, it was supposedly *two* radar guns. So I'm not willing to completely discount the number. I'm also not ready to completely accept the idea that a human being is capable of throwing that hard.
I get the impression you're down on Garcia as a RoY front-runner. He looks to have a sub 2.50 ERA with 14 or 15 wins (an overrated stat, of course, but you've suggested it's important in voters' eyes) Seems to me that he's been more durable and more consistent than Heyward, and has been around longer than Posey (whose numbers have been inflated by one great month).
Rob Neyer (1:05 PM)
Well, he hasn't won 14 or 15 games yet; he's got 12 and hasn't pitched all that well lately. But if he wins 14 or 15 -- or better yet, 16 -- he's obviously an excellent candidate.
If Morneau doesn't come back this race isn't over. All you have to do is make up one game per week.
Rob Neyer (1:07 PM)
I know, but that sounds a lot easier than it is. Particularly considering each team's schedule the rest of the way.
Terry (Boulder, CO)
How is John Russell not fired yet? I know his contract was extended for a year this past offseason, but the Bucs play lately has been totally uninspired. I know the team is young, but as a manager you've got to get your players to play hard. Say what you want about Lloyd McClendon as a skipper, but at least the team always seemed to play hard for him.
Rob Neyer (1:08 PM)
Three seasons does seem like a lot. Tomorrow morning I'll have a link that addresses Russell's performance in some detail.
Eddie (Hoboken, NJ)
Uh Rob, Yankee fan here but Garcia had 2 bad starts after all the brilliant starts. In his last 2 starts , 14.1 IP, 0 Runs, 13K
Rob Neyer (1:09 PM)
Duly noted. I'm a little behind, it seems.
Paddy (St. Louis)
Hey Rob, Any news on getting rid of the ridiculous broadcast restrictions that MLB has that excludes viewers in cities like Las Vegas from watching games on MLB Extra Innings? For all the progress in the game, this one puzzles me.
Rob Neyer (1:12 PM)
No news, no movement, no hope for news or movement. Epic fail for Commissioner's Office.
Thoughts on a Bud Selig statue, shouldn't it be reserved for a retired person or dead person or hall of famer???
Rob Neyer (1:14 PM)
Nah. You know I've been as rough on Selig as anyone, over the last 14 years. But a statue in Milwaukee is perfectly appropriate, considering what he's meant for baseball in that city.
Becky (denver co)
who would you pick for Cy Young? Ubaldo or Wainwright?
Rob Neyer (1:19 PM)
I would have to take a serious look at all the candidates, but the last time I checked my favorite was Halladay. Thanks for all the questions today. Until next time, don't forget what Will Rogers said: "A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people."