Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

June 11, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Rob Neyer

Buzzmaster
  (11:44 AM)

Rob is back on to chat Thursday at noon ET everybody! Send in those questions!

Rob Neyer
  (12:01 PM)

Hi. Sorry about the two-day delay, but when your servers get gummed up by gremlins ... well, you know. Forward and onward, and all that.

John (Toronto)

Has this season finally settled the debate over Halladay vs. Santana? Halladay has a slighly higher ERA but has 21 MORE INNINGS PITCHED!!! and plays in the toughest division and in the much tougher league

Rob Neyer
  (12:02 PM)

John, at some point in the last couple of weeks my brain started telling the rest of me that Halladay's the best pitcher going.

Danny Shapiro (Shoham, Israel)

What's the logic of having David Wright, with his 450 OBP and 4 HRs, hitting 5th?

Rob Neyer
  (12:03 PM)

I think the supposition is that he'll start hitting homers again someday. Which he probably will.

Earl (Centerport, NY)

Earlier this week in a broadcast game against Tampa, Michael Kay mentioned the Ray's current "closer by committee" bulllpen. Then he took what appeared to be a stab at Bill James by saying his "big idea" for Boston in the same vein didn't work in 2003 so they had to acquire Keith Foulke to get the job done. The "closer by committee" idea wasn't what James suggested though, was it? I thought he suggested that teams should use their best relief pitcher at the most critical time late in the game, not just in the ninth. Or was it something else?

Rob Neyer
  (12:03 PM)

I was watching that game, and was dismayed to hear Kay bring up that old chestnut. It's beneath him.

Jesse (Springfield, MA)

Rob, What do you think about the recent buzz about Tim Wakefield's chances of making the all-star team this year?

Rob Neyer
  (12:04 PM)

I'd love to see it, but I suspect that by the time All-Star time rolls around, there will be better candidates.

Mike Ketchen (Boston)

Rob,I know some still believe the Yanks are a lock for October, but they are 4th in the division in RD, 3rd in UZR and have a FIP of nearly 5. How can they not be outside looking in at Tampa and Boston.

Rob Neyer
  (12:06 PM)

Well, I suppose that depends ... Do you think we've seen the Yankees at their best yet? I don't.

Steve (Blacksburg, VA)

Do you see the Rangers hanging on in the West and taking that division? Or will they falter.

Rob Neyer
  (12:08 PM)

I'm sure they'll fall into second place at some point, but they've got as good a chance as anyone of winning the thing. There's just no reason to think the Angels are going to make a big push this season.

John A. Valenti (Tampa)

What do you think of the Rays pitching woes and the departure of Edwin Jackson?

Rob Neyer
  (12:11 PM)

Between Kazmir and Sonnanstine ... Sheesh. And yeah, Jackson would probably have helped. Not to mention the non-contribution of Matt Joyce. Sometimes they'll fool you.

Andy (NYC)

What a surprise. Rob taking a shot at the Angels. What exactly DON'T you like about them?

Rob Neyer
  (12:13 PM)

Well, they've been outscored by 11 runs. I suppose you might reasonably argue that Lackey and Santana are going to come around, and you'd probably be right. I'm not saying they won't be in first place at some point. I'm saying there's nothing that's going to separate them from the Rangers by a lot, and that the race should go deep into the season.

Steve (Blacksburg, VA)

Listening to Keith Law yesterday.. he said that he thinks the Nubinals should simply offer high on Strasburg, and put the pressure on him.. Saying we'll give you 'x' million if you sign today, and for every day you wait it goes down half a million dollars.. Do you think this is a good idea? Is it practical?

Rob Neyer
  (12:14 PM)

I suspect that Scott Boras would not respond positively to such a ploy.

Rich (NYC)

Hey Rob, I read your post about how the Giants shouldn't trade Sanchez for a quick offensive fix at first base. But my question is do you really think Sanchez is part of the Giants' future? With Lincecum, Cain, and Zito locked into the rotation, and Bumgarner and Alderson quickly rising, I just don't see how Sanchez and his career 5.19 ERA is irreplaceable.

Rob Neyer
  (12:19 PM)

I don't think I said any such thing. My point was that the Giants probably aren't going to win no matter who's playing first base. That doesn't mean you don't trade Sanchez if someone offers hitting talent.

John (Goshen,NY)

Hi Rob, why is everyone saying the A's could keep Holliday all year and just take the draft pics. Would they actually risk his accepting arbitratrion?

Rob Neyer
  (12:21 PM)

They might ... Even if he accepts, you can still trade him during the off-season.

Jon (Grand Rapids, MI)

As of today, is the duo of Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson the best 1-2 in all of baseball?

Rob Neyer
  (12:27 PM)

I'd say it's a bit early for that. Shoot, some might prefer Meche and Greinke. Not to mention Beckett and Lester or Shields and Garza or Lincecum and Cain or Haren and Webb (when he comes back) or probably a few other combos.

Todd (Philly)

Rob - I can understand Ibanez being offended, but isn't this exactly the kind of reason why other players should have spoken up via the union to strengthen penalties? Realizing that when one person offends, it impacts the UNION? Which is exactly why Manny's comments the other day should be more the focus of Ibanez than some blogger? Any thoughts?

Rob Neyer
  (12:29 PM)

I don't think it's fair to expect Ibanez to see the big picture. Like most of us, he's programmed to focus on his own little universe.

Evan Johnson (Salt Lake City, UT)

Can the Braves actually contend? They have a great rotation that's only getting better when my man Hudson comes back. Is the lineup good enough to score some runs?

Rob Neyer
  (12:29 PM)

I'm certainly not counting them out yet, but they'll need some help from the Phillies or the Mets.

Phil (Charlottesville)

Why don't the Mariners just trade for some hitting instead of trading away Bedard and Washburn? Don't they have the pitching pieces in place to win the weak West?

Rob Neyer
  (12:31 PM)

Well, maybe ... But who would you have them trade for that hitting help they need? Some of their best prospects? The M's are looking into the future beyond 2009, which I think is the best course.

Evan Johnson (Salt Lake City, UT)

Yout thoughts on Tom Glavine? I thought the Braves made the right move but handled it very poorly.

Rob Neyer
  (12:32 PM)

It's not easy to handle these things well. There is a long history of veterans being miffed when told their time had come. Glavine will get over it.

Noah (Kalamazoo, MI)

Mauer and Moreau: best back to back combo in baseball?

Rob Neyer
  (12:37 PM)

Sure. I was thinking about this last night. Those guys are like Maris and Mantle, or Morgan and Bench, or Manny and Papi. If Mauer hadn't missed April they'd both be legitimate MVP candidates.

Jeff (Prague, CR)

It's nice to see the Royals stocking up on Pitching, but when are they going to realize you also need an offense?

Rob Neyer
  (12:39 PM)

The Royals don't believe in hitting, Jeff. Haven't you noticed?

Brian (Brooklyn NY)

You (very surprisingly) were ready to proclaim Zimmerman better than Wright back in early May. Have you changed your mind?

Rob Neyer
  (12:41 PM)

Boy, I hope I didn't do that. I think I said I might be willing to *consider* the notion ... but I've now considered and rejected it.

Dan (York, PA)

Do you believe that young Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen has the ability to develop into a star?

Rob Neyer
  (12:45 PM)

Sure. He's still a baby, and probably will grow up. He's got a lot of growing up to do, though. As a hitter, I mean. His minor-league stats were not all that impressive (w/o considering his youth, I mean).

Nick (Boston)

Mauer and Morneau like all those other 1-2 combos!? HAHAHA. Those other players are Hall of Famers, Morneau and Mauer will be foot notes in MLB history. Try a combo like Utley and Howard.

Rob Neyer
  (12:48 PM)

Mauer's just as good as Utley, and Morneau's better than Howard. Quite a bit better, actually. I suppose that Morneau might not be a future Hall of Famer, in which case your general point may have some merit.

er (lakeville,ma)

rob would you ever want to work for a team/have you ever been approached to consult?

Rob Neyer
  (12:50 PM)

Still waiting, my friend ... Still waiting.

Tom S (Horsham PA)

Will Chase Utley ever win an MVP award? He's always lurking in the conversation, but never seems to emerge as the front-runner and he's in his prime years right now.

Rob Neyer
  (12:52 PM)

It's tough 'cause he plays in a lineup with a big RBI guy. But Utley doesn't need to win an MVP for us to know how great he is.

ben (boston)

Rob, Seems to me that Jon Papelbon doesn't have a solid second pitch. He doesn't trust his splitter, and his slider is only so-so and not very consistent. He thrives mostly by locating his very good fastball. Do you agree, and what does this mean for his future? Will he age well as he loses a couple of MPH?

Rob Neyer
  (12:53 PM)

Gee, I don't know ... That formula worked well enough for Gossage for quite a long time.

Joe (Asheville)

The Rays are 1 behind the Red Sox in AL Run Differential, and should regain the lead this weekend against the Nats. Shouldn't they be favored over the Yanks for AL Wild Card?

Rob Neyer
  (12:55 PM)

Well, again, I have to say no because a lot of that Yankees' RD came when they were without A-Rod. The Rays are in the conversation, for sure. But right now they're the third-best team in that division.

Mike (Chicago)

Rob, lets get out of the AL/NL east, how about showing my Reds some love 1.5 games out of first. Do you see them making a trade for a 3B or OF and since its hard to get a Reds question in here, how many players do you see them getting into the all-star game?

Rob Neyer
  (12:56 PM)

I'm not sold on the Reds yet, but maybe that's just because I haven't paid enough attention. Tough competition in that division, though.

Rob Neyer
  (12:59 PM)

Thanks for all the questions, and I'll be back in my normal slot next Tuesday. Be there or be a rhombus.