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August 18, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Rob Neyer

Rob Neyer
  (12:04 PM)

Ready to rock and roll? Or if you want, we can just rock. I'm cool with whatever, basically.

ish (nyc)

Boras got hosed, right? $15M was less than EVERYONE was predicting.

Rob Neyer
  (12:07 PM)

If everyone was predicting, it's because they were taken in by Boras's hype. Did he want more for his client (and himself)? I'm sure that he did. Maybe the Nats deserve kudos for sticking to their guns.

Joe (NYC)

do we really believe UZR? Could Derek Jeter's DF really have improved at age 35? Can Texiera's Rating really indicate that he's average? Answering yes to either seems implausible. To both, impossible. Really.

Rob Neyer
  (12:09 PM)

Ultimate Zone Ratings over four months don't tell us everything we want to know. Batting stats and pitching stats go up and down while actual talent does not (much, anyway); fielding metrics are going to do the same thing, but perhaps more so because the samples aren't as large. I believe that Jeter might be playing a bit better than usual this season, and I believe that Tex is a good first baseman. No big whoop.

SprungOnSports (Long Island)

The Cardinals have the NL's best hitter, a great 1-2 rotation punch and a dominant closer. Aren't they the best team in the NL?

Rob Neyer
  (12:10 PM)

I think they're right there with the Dodgers. And it's really a 1-3 rotation punch because Pineiro's having another real nice season.

Dan (Cleveleland)

True or false. Baseball has to do something with the draft before the CBA comes up? There is precedent considering they changed the drug testing.

Rob Neyer
  (12:11 PM)

Does baseball *have* to do something? No. But it would be a better sport if they do do something. It's not really that teams are spending too much money on draft picks; they can afford it. It's that it's too easy for rich teams to take advantage of the system. That's not cool.

Alex (Austin)

Staying with the Cards, has anyone explained Franklin's success this year? He went from consistently mediocre and suspended for enhancement to dominant. Any answers?

Rob Neyer
  (12:13 PM)

I think he's a good pitcher having a great season. Let's check back next summer.

Paul (KC)

Is there any good reason why Kila Ka'aihue isn't the Royals' regular DH right now? Or, alternatively, why he hasn't been traded away for something the organization values more?

Rob Neyer
  (12:14 PM)

The Royals' front office is either incompetent or dysfunctional. That's obvious, isn't it?

Boose (Louisville, KY)

How long can Dusty Baker keep his job when he runs Willy Taveras out there everyday and bats him leadoff? He is one of the worst everyday players yet could get 600 PA's. Please tell me he will be gone and Drew Stubbs will take his spot before the end of the season.

Rob Neyer
  (12:15 PM)

Dusty does have a blind spot when it comes to that leadoff spot. I don't know if that makes him a bad manager, per se. But the standings don't exactly work in his favor, either.

John (Detroit)

Rob, what does this Huff move do for the Tigers? His numbers don't look that impressive but I suppose he's better than what they had. I guess I just answered my own question.

Rob Neyer
  (12:16 PM)

You did. And before that, I answered it in the blog!

Aron (STL)

Hey Rob love thee Chats, So do you think Carpenter has a shot a the Cy or is it Haren or Lincecum's to loss?

Rob Neyer
  (12:18 PM)

I think Carpenter got kind of a late start, and on the off-chance Haren and Lincecum should falter, I'd first look at Adam Wainwright.

Brendan (Philly)

Nothing against the Dodgers and Cards but the Phils should be in the NL's best conversation. They have Lee, Hamels, Blanton all good enough to keep the Phils in the game and their offense is better then the Cards and comparable to the Dodgers. Lets not forget about the Champs, Rob!

Rob Neyer
  (12:19 PM)

Fair points all.

Phil (LA)

Rob, no one has ever answered me on this...what was the reasoning for the defensive indifference scoring rule? Were so many bases being stolen in late game, meaningless situations that the integrity of the stolen base records had to be protected?

Rob Neyer
  (12:21 PM)

I'm afraid I can't answer it, either. I'll tell you what, though ... After we're done here, I'm going to do some digging.

John (Sioux Falls, SD)

Ignoring the contracts, the Yankees trade Teix for Mauer w/out a second thought, no? So how can people make a reasonable argument that Teix was "exactly" what the Yankees needed to win?

Rob Neyer
  (12:23 PM)

Yes, and they can't. It's silly. It's just another manifestation of the fetishization of the RBI and the winning team. Someday the madness will end. Maybe even this year.

Alex (Austin)

Why is Griffey Jr still hitting at the top of the order?

Rob Neyer
  (12:24 PM)

Err, ummm, homina-homina... You'd better ask Don Wakamatsu. Speaking of blind spots.

Richie (Philly)

Is JA Happ a pitcher in this league in 3-4 years or just a mirage???

Rob Neyer
  (12:25 PM)

He's for real. The subjective evaluators missed on Happ because he doesn't throw super-hard.

Brian Edwards (Brooklyn NY)

Someone once asked Joe Sheehan about defensive indifference and he answered that you cant steal something that isnt being protected. That answer amde sense to me

Rob Neyer
  (12:26 PM)

I love it! I don't actually have a problem with the rule. I'm just interested in its origins.

Bawb (Fairview, UT)

The Braves have 22 of their last 29 games against teams below 500

Rob Neyer
  (12:27 PM)

It's a five- or six-team race for the Wild Card, but my favorites are the Braves and the Rockies.

Chuck (Los Angeles)

Better overall player: Cap'n Jetes or Barry Larkin?

Rob Neyer
  (12:29 PM)

I think Larkin might have been slightly more talented, but Jeter's obviously been significantly more durable. How you balance those things, I don't know exactly.

Josh (Auburn)

Red Sox or Rangers?

Rob Neyer
  (12:32 PM)

The Red Sox are still the best team in that situation. But it's a race that will now last for less than seven weeks, so it's about 70 percent skill and 30 percent luck.

Mike (LA)

Kendry Morales surprising people? He sure is filling the void Teixeira left. Comments? Thanks.

Rob Neyer
  (12:34 PM)

For some reason I thought he'd be pretty good this season, but I didn't think he'd be *this* good. Credit to the Angels for sticking with him for a few years.

Stanley (Duluth, MN)

Mauer is at .380 and shows no signs of stopping. What do you think he'll need to have for a final season stat line to lock up the MVP?

Rob Neyer
  (12:36 PM)

I'd go broke if I tried to make a living predicting the behavior of MVP voters, but if Mauer plays (almost) every day and keeps his average above .370, I don't know how you don't give it to him.

Tony (SF)

Is Kyle Blanks for real?

Rob Neyer
  (12:37 PM)

You see that blast he hit last night? Man. The only thing holding him back -- aside from his size and Adrian Gonzalez -- is the strikeouts, and he might mature his way out of that one.

Sean (NYC)

Are you ready from the backlash from the Jeter fans on your Larkin comparison? Has it begun?

Rob Neyer
  (12:40 PM)

I think they'll be pleased with my next blog post, which will show up 15-20 minutes after this chat ends.

bruinsinruins (nyc)

So now that we have determined that Kyle Blanks is for real, I guess that makes Gonzo available this off-season, no?

Rob Neyer
  (12:41 PM)

That's a tough one for the Padres, as they have a terrible record and Gonzalez is their marquee player. I'd trade him, though, unless Blanks can play a passable left field (and he's in the absolutely wrong ballpark for that).

Mike (San Diego)

Who is the best 1-2 punch? Carp-Wainwright, Lincecum-Cain, Beckett-Lester, Lee-Hamels? Someone else?

Rob Neyer
  (12:44 PM)

I'm going with Beckett-Lester by a nose over Carp-Wainwright and the others. Tough competition!

Nick (New York)

Regarding UZR, I'm not sure I'm buying. You think Tex is a good first baseman, this year? Stats say he is average. So what is your opinion based on? "Watching him play?" "Intangibles?" Dont we have to either live or die by statistics and not pick and choose? Isnt that what we acuse the BBWAA of constantly doing?

Rob Neyer
  (12:46 PM)

It's about confidence levels, Nick. Teixeira has *been* a good first baseman, statistically. We just can't have the same confidence in UZR over four months that we would have in hitting or pitching stats over the same period. This really isn't so difficult, Nick. Really it's not.

Scott (SC)

Does Strasburg pitch in the majors this year?

Rob Neyer
  (12:47 PM)

If this were 35 years ago? Absolutely. He'd probably be starting tomorrow. Today, though? Probably not. I think we'll see him next May or June.

Jeff (NY, NY)

Do defensive metrics account for where a player is positioned to when the ball is delivered or do they assume that each player at a given position starts at the same place?

Rob Neyer
  (12:50 PM)

It depends on the metric. Essentially, though, the new metrics measure the location, the trajectory, the speed of each batted ball, and then figure the likelihood of a major league fielder making that play. And so on.

Steven (Allen, TX)

I see the Rangers as a real powerhouse this year. What do they need to do to continue this?

Rob Neyer
  (12:50 PM)

They need to hit better -- they're middle of the pack in scoring -- and their pitchers need to rack up a few more strikeouts.

Jason (NJ)

Why are a picther's runs given up unearned, if the pitcher is the one who made the error in the inning (like with Scherzer yesterday)?

Rob Neyer
  (12:53 PM)

ERA is designed to measure a pitcher's performance as a pitcher, and not a fielder. Simple as that. But it's fair to look at *all* unearned runs (and not just those that result from his miscues).

Matt (Wausau)

Will the Brewers be able to come back and win the NL central or wildcard

Rob Neyer
  (12:55 PM)

I suspect that teams with negative run differentials in the middle of August don't often wind up in the playoffs.

ALan (Vassalboro, ME)

Do you think the 3 years remaining on Omar's contract make it hard for the Mets to move forward? Also, would it be smart to give Bobby V another shake as Mets manager?

Rob Neyer
  (12:56 PM)

I know Minaya makes good money for a general manager, but really it's just a rounding error for the Mets, right? As for Bobby V, that'd be a good story for a franchise that could use one.

Mike (Boston)

Buchholz or Tazawa? Callis says Tazawa... I disagree...

Rob Neyer
  (12:58 PM)

My head agrees with you, but my heart's starting to wonder if Buchholz will ever throw strikes in the majors. With the Red Sox, anyway.

Mike (CT)

CC and AJ have to be in that discussion right?

Rob Neyer
  (1:01 PM)

Not this year, they don't. Thanks for all the questions, please check out the blog in a few minutes, and until next time don't forget: It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission!