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September 7, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Rob Neyer

Joe (NYC)

Braves, Phillies or both?

Rob Neyer
  (12:02 PM)

Both.

Erik (Granville OH)

Regarding the ongoing debate about Felix's chances for the Cy Young considering his win total versus his great peripherals, do you think there are many voters who might not vote for Felix to "stick it to" the sabremetric crowd?

Rob Neyer
  (12:04 PM)

Nah, I don't think so. That would be more of an ancillary benefit.

Kevin (Cranston, RI)

A pity that Portland, a very healthy market, has only professional team out of the Big 4 sports leagues. Why is it that MLB and King Selig are so against allowing an owner to build their own stadium. It's not as if these aren't some of the richest people in the country. Portland could easily take any team and give it a great home. But I suppose people like Jeffery Loria would have to put up some of their own money, and we know how he likes to spend that to increase his team's chances of winning.

Rob Neyer
  (12:05 PM)

Umm, it's not like billionaires are champing at the bit to spend their own $500M. It's true that MLB encourages the rich guys to hold out for the public handouts. It's also true that it doesn't take much encouraging.

mike (stratford, on)

I realize RBI is generally seen as a silly statistic by most baseball pundits, but I wondered what your thoughts were about A-Rod driving in 100 in 14 different seasons. Surely the fact that he's the only man to do that tells us something?

Rob Neyer
  (12:06 PM)

Sure. It tells us he's been a great player. Which we already knew.

Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)

Dear RobCould you see Charlie Finley making the Hall?

Rob Neyer
  (12:08 PM)

I don't know. Most (all?) Hall of Fame owners owned teams for longer than Finley did. He was largely responsible for building a dynasty, and deserves extra credit for that. But a lot of things that you'd like an owner to be, he wasn't.

Luke (Dallas)

Rob--why is the Coors effect used to downgrade Rockies' offensive seasons, yet are not also applied to boosting their pitchers' resumes?

Rob Neyer
  (12:08 PM)

Do you have a specific example of this unfortunate phenomenon, Luke? Because a lot of us like to look at ERA+, which does include park effects.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you think will be the AL Cy Young winner in 2010?

Rob Neyer
  (12:09 PM)

Absent a lot of bad luck (or bad pitching) this month, Sabathia's a lock.

Clay Defayette (NY)

I'm interested in your thoughts about developing Chapman to be the future closer instead of a starter. It looks like the Reds have a nice cast of young starters already, and could Aroldis throw that hard and have consistent location for 5 plus innings? It could help Cincinnati sell tickets as well. Fans could come to every game with the hope of seeing the fire-throwing Cuban. I'm almost sure you've already had this thought yourself.

Rob Neyer
  (12:11 PM)

Has any relief pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball boosted attendance? I don't know ... Maybe, but spending $40 on a ticket and hoping that you'll see a guy pitch for one inning seems like a stretch. I do believe the Reds will have a tough time convincing themselves to put Chapman back into the (or a) rotation.

Max (Tenn.)

MLB is based on past records as an integral part of the game. Sabermetrics will eliminate much of these records. For example, degrading wins in calculating perdormance defeats the most important part of the game. The World Series is the ultimate goal. Wins are the only thing needed to be champion It doesn't matter how they are obtained. Leading to the post season once again the only thing that counts is wins. All the "what ifs" don't mean a thing.

Rob Neyer
  (12:12 PM)

(That was presented to comply with Section 315 of the 1934 Communications Act. Now we return you to your normal programming.)

Matt (IN)

What's your take on this "spat" between TLR and Rasmus? None of us really know the particulars, but in my opinion I think TLR just needs to put the kid in the lineup every day and be done with it.

Rob Neyer
  (12:13 PM)

Sometimes old managers get so frustrated with young players that it becomes a real problem. And I think if La Russa can't get along with a player like Colby Rasmus, maybe it's time to try something else.

Jesse Fischer (Chimacum WA)

Why isn't Cliff Lee getting more consideration for the Cy young? He's one of the 3 or 4 best pitchers in baseball and has been on the verge of setting the K/BB record most of this year...

Rob Neyer
  (12:17 PM)

Well, he's got 10 wins, an ERA well above 3, and has two wins since the All-Star break. Does that really seem to you the profile of a legitimate Cy Young candidate? I mean, I love the guy but ...

Jeff (Indianapolis)

Should I count the Cardinals out now or is there still hope for some October baseball in St. Louis?

Rob Neyer
  (12:18 PM)

Six games out in the Central, five out in the Wild Card ... They need some sort of miracle.

Chad (San Diego)

Rob, Why aren't more people talking about Starlin Castro for ROY? He's in the Top 5 in Batting Average in the NL and only 20 years old. What are your thoughts?

Rob Neyer
  (12:20 PM)

He's a fantastic candidate. So are Jason Heyward, Jaime Garcia, Gaby Sanchez, and Buster Posey. Essentially there's not a wrong answer this year.

Kyle (Tempe, AZ)

Does Carlos Zambrano's recent "resurgence" make it more or less likely that he starts 2011 in a Cubs uniform?

Rob Neyer
  (12:20 PM)

Gee, I dunno ... But I'll say less, because this little bit makes it easier to trade him?

Ryan (Chicago)

Obviously, the Cubs are entering the dreaded "rebuilding mode." Now, I know there is more talent in the minors now than there has been for years, but is there enough for a relatively short turn around? What players in the system give you the most hope?

Rob Neyer
  (12:23 PM)

The Cubs can reasonably target 2012 in terms of being competitive for a playoff spot, I think.

Ryan (Chicago)

Should Cubs fans just stop wishing for a Fukudome trade? There's so much money on that contract, and he's been such a disappointment that it's hard to see another team paying any more than 1/5 of his salary. At that point, aren't the Cubs better off hoping for the best with him on the roster?

Rob Neyer
  (12:25 PM)

Also, he's not a terrible player. He's obviously not worth the money he makes, but he's fine as a platoon right fielder.

Rob Neyer
  (12:25 PM)

Also, he's not a terrible player. He's obviously not worth the money he makes, but he's fine as a platoon right fielder.

Josh (DC)

Is it just me, or does it feel like Joe Torre checked out this year? As a Dodger fan, and really a baseball fan, Torre seems to be one of those managers who doesnt do a great job with the strategy, but more with managing personalities. That seems to be the Dodgers' weaknesses and Torre just seems not to care. I cant wait until the Dodgers put me out of my misery...

Rob Neyer
  (12:26 PM)

I'm sure he cares. But he's not a young man and that's been a difficult situation this season...

jed(stl) [via mobile]

Rob, if you where to rank the NL ROY class who are your top 5 in order?

Rob Neyer
  (12:27 PM)

I honestly don't know, as those five guys have all been so good ... If I tried, off the cuff, I could easily get them in exactly the wrong order.

Jesse Fischer (Chimacum WA)

What do you think about the NERD statistic at fangraphs? Do you think that there is value in Cistulli's projects over there?

Rob Neyer
  (12:29 PM)

I think there's value in just about everything that Cistulli does. He's got an original mind and we'll ignore him at our peril.

jack (LA)

Rob, a couple times in your chat/columns you have mentioned that you would like baseball to be "seen" a different way. Am I correct in assuming this is regarding camera angles for games on tv, and if so what would you change?

Rob Neyer
  (12:30 PM)

I have? The one thing I've railed about is the center-field camera angle - I think every team should use the straight-ahead shot. I love watching Twins broadcasts for that reason.

Mike (SF)

Bumgarner is hitting 94-95 on the radar gun again. Maybe Sabean was right (for once)?

Rob Neyer
  (12:31 PM)

Yeah. I wish I could take back most of the things I wrote about Bumgarner last spring.

Ryan (Chicago)

Has there ever been a season that was the (potential) end of so many great manager's careers? We stand to lose Cox, Torre, Piniella, and maybe La Russa at the end of this season.

Rob Neyer
  (12:31 PM)

No, this is absolutely unprecedented.

Neil (NYC)

why is there outrage when people ask the question "Could Bautista's big year be related to PE's"? It seems to be a very legitimate question to ask in this day and age. Players are not tested in the offseason and the Dominican Republic has been a hotbed for legal PE's. It's almost dumb not to ask the question.

Rob Neyer
  (12:32 PM)

One, I missed the outrage. And two, Bautista's surge actually began last September during the season.

Jesse Fischer (Chimacum WA)

What do you think will happen with Derek Jeter next year? Just how much value should be tied to his marketability or to the brand of other such players by their GM's?

Rob Neyer
  (12:37 PM)

In his case, almost none because the Yankees are SO much bigger than any single player. I still they'll spend whatever it takes to keep him. The money's not an issue ... but eventually, playing time will be. This will eventually be the manager's problem, not ownership's.

Scott (Houston)

Very silly question but why do lefty bats seem to have more trouble vs. lefty pitching than righty bats vs. RHP? Is it b/c there are less leftys all together so it just seems a bit more pronounced?

Rob Neyer
  (12:39 PM)

Hmmm ... Are we sure this effect actually exists? I feel like I wrote at length about this a long time ago, but of course I've forgotten more than I know ... We might theorize that left-handed hitters struggle against lefties because they didn't see many left-handed pitchers when they were growing up.

Jack (Toronto)

If people are outraged at Bautista, why aren't they equally as outraged when Joe Mauer's home run totals go 7, 9, 28, 8 in the past four years? Noboby was outraged when he tripled his home run total in 2009.

Rob Neyer
  (12:41 PM)

Let's not use the term "outraged", okay? Seems like Glenn Beck territory and baseball's usually a somewhat happier place.

James (NY)

Rob, how long will Josh Hamilton be out for? And will this effect his chase for AL MVP at all?

Rob Neyer
  (12:42 PM)

I don't know how long he'll be out, but I think his MVP chances are almost dead.

Mike (Pitt)

Should Neil Walker get more consideration for NL ROY? Top 5 batting average, higher SLG than Heyward, and doing it at second base.

Rob Neyer
  (12:43 PM)

Sure, you can toss him in the pile too. Now we've got *six* candidates. Have fun.

AP (PA)

Which NL ROY would you rather have on your team five years from now?

Rob Neyer
  (12:48 PM)

Now that's an easy one. Heyward. Er, I mean Castro. No. Heyward.

Tim (Toronto)

Isn't it rather convenient to use Bautista's September as the beginning of his power surge, rather than the common "Small Sample Size" that seems to get tossed around so often these days? Seems you get to decide when a sample size is small if it doesnt meet your criteria, but it's not a small sample size when it fits your argument.

Rob Neyer
  (12:49 PM)

I was merely stating a fact, Tim. Bautista began hitting for a great deal of power last September. Our sample size isn't September. It's now September, March, and five months of the 2010 season.

Jonathan (Columbus)

What do you make of the Tigers' second base situation going forward? I love the hustle and grit of Will Rhymes, but the Tigers don't seem to think he can play every day. Guillen is a veteran with a lot of money coming his way. Finally, Scott Sizemore is still just middling around at AAA. How do you think it shakes out?

Rob Neyer
  (12:51 PM)

I don't know how it shakes out, but I believe it's way, way, way, way too early to give up on Sizemore.

Luke (Saint Paul)

With all the NL ROY talk, I dont want the AL to feel left out. Austin Jackson and Feliz are the obvious favorites, but should Valencia get more talk. If he finishes where he is now, he dominates Jacksons rate states(with no where near the 150 Ks he will have)

Rob Neyer
  (12:53 PM)

Valencia just won't have the playing time, Luke. This is Jackson vs. Feliz all the way, but I'm guessing Feliz wins.

Bill McNeil (Newsradio, NY)

Don't try to confuse me with the facts, sir!

Rob Neyer
  (12:54 PM)

I'm working on it.

Speedy (Chicago)

Jackson's been doing it longer, but Valencia has been great and a difference maker in that division. Hope he continues to help Twins hold off the Sox.

Rob Neyer
  (12:56 PM)

That's funny, I've had a bunch of people telling me this morning that Jim Thome's been the difference maker. Francisco Liriano's been pretty good, too. Once we start pulling on that thread, I'm not sure where we'll end...

Steve (mystiqueandaura.com)

Rob, your Venditte piece was bad. You essentially accused Brian Cashman of keeping him down for fear of being embarrassed. Have you had any time to rethink that piece?

Rob Neyer
  (12:57 PM)

Unfortunately, I've been plumb out of time lately. Maybe in November...

wesley (lubbock, tx)

The difference maker for the Rangers has beeh Hamilton and Wilson. Now Josh is hurt and CJ looks to have hit his innings wall... Do you think the team is done?

Rob Neyer
  (1:00 PM)

I don't. They're blessed with a big enough lead that they can spend the next few weeks getting (or trying to get) healthy. Even if they finish the season with 84 wins, a healthy roster could give the Rays or Yankees trouble.

Scott (Washington, DC)

You're the most surly of the ESPN writers. Smart, but not too much patience for some of the more inane comments.

Rob Neyer
  (1:01 PM)

I accept your evaluation in full. Until next time, don't forget: "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay."