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January 25, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Rob Neyer

Joe (Milwaukee)

Just curious as to how long of a deal you would, were you the Cards GM, offer Pujols. He'll age well won't he?

Rob Neyer
  (12:05 PM)

Look, I'm going to say this now and maybe never again in this space, but ... There are still some reasonably intelligent people with reasonable doubts about Pujols' age. Just for the sake of argument, if he's actually 33 or 34 would you give him eight years? Nine years? Ten?

Tony (Pt Jeff, NY)

Gallaraga to the Diamondbacks?? They guy throws a almost-no hitter and you trade him? Didn't that happen REALLY fast? AND WHY couldn't the Mets get into that mix?

Rob Neyer
  (12:09 PM)

You trade him because he's a No. 5 starter, at best. The Mets didn't get into it because they didn't see him as more than a No. 5 starter, at best.

baron (chicago)

If Pujols left St. Louis, where could he go? It seems a lot of the big market or high payroll teams (Boston, New York, Philly) already have a first baseman signed and I don't see Pujols signing with the Cubs at all.

Rob Neyer
  (12:11 PM)

You're right. There aren't enough huge-payroll teams to go around. But there are plenty of St. Louises, aren't there? It seems odd to assume that the Cardinals can (sort of) afford Pujols, but none of the other mid-majors can.

Scott (Westchester)

Rob, you're very high on 2B Bobby Grich for the HOF, right? What's his most favorable stat?

Rob Neyer
  (12:16 PM)

Scott, I prefer to discourage that sort of thinking, which unfortunately has always been very popular among Hall of Fame voters. I would recommend that instead of looking at one stat, we try to figure out how many games the guy helped his team win. And Grich, with his combination of power and walks and Gold Glove defense, helped his teams win a lot of games.

Hazeltine (Las Vegas)

What are the expectations for Heyward going into this season? A jump to .300/.400/.500, around the same numbers as last season, or a bit of a sophomore slump?

Rob Neyer
  (12:18 PM)

I would expect a sophomore slump ... except he had that lousy month when he was hurt but still playing.

Otto (CA)

Not taking money into consideration, what team got better in 2011 with the Wells trade? THanks.

Rob Neyer
  (12:19 PM)

Well, the Angels. If that mega-volcano under Yellowstone explodes next winter, this trade will look great for them.

Jimbo (Fishtown, USA)

Why is 3B so vastly under represented in the HOF compared to other positions?

Rob Neyer
  (12:21 PM)

Uh, ignorant voters? Not enough great third basemen? Probably a little of both. Ron Santo and Stan Hack probably belong, along with maybe Darrell Evans and maybe even Buddy Bell.

Nigel (Cambridge, MA)

Good Day Rob - do you feel the Giants doing their own version of Hard Knocks will be too much of a distraction?

Rob Neyer
  (12:23 PM)

Nah. Though it'll be a real convenient excuse if they go 79-83 or something.

Henry (Columbus)

Rob, now that the Oscar field is set, will you be making any predictions, or maybe a blog reviewing the films you saw?

Rob Neyer
  (12:24 PM)

I hope, if someone will let me. I'm a little bummed that I actually missed one of the 10 Best Picture nominees. How could the Academy do this to me???

Mustard (Kingston, ON)

Based on the HOF of 3rd base....do you believe that the HO will have a DH representative in the next 10 years?

Rob Neyer
  (12:25 PM)

Not unless you count Frank Thomas. Edgar's just too far away, with too many candidates on the ballot in the coming years.

Oden (Motown)

Tell Tony in Pt. Jeff to look at Edwin Jackson last year. He DID throw a no-hitter, and was traded about a month later. One game does not an excellent pitcher make.A better Mets question (if i may be so presumptious) is, do you think the new Mets organization can get Reyes back to taking a walk? He had become pretty decent in that area through '09, then last year he was a hacker of the worst degree. He is SO much better when he incorporates walks into his game. Thanks!

Rob Neyer
  (12:29 PM)

Yeah, that was weird. I don't know if there's much the Mets can do about it. Reyes is a big boy. If he doesn't want to walk, he won't walk.

Matt (Fargo)

Do you think Delmon Young's hitting will continue to improve next year? The kid is still just 25.

Rob Neyer
  (12:31 PM)

The lack of walks still concerns me, but as long as the power's there he's in good shape.

Steve (NYC)

Why should players be punished because of the position they play in terms of the HOF? I'm specifically referring to DH's and relievers.

Rob Neyer
  (12:31 PM)

When you find someone who's been punished, please let me know.

Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR) [via mobile]

Gut reaction: I think Manny is done and will be released before July. You want to quibble with that?

Rob Neyer
  (12:32 PM)

Not really. There is a wide range of possibilities here, and disaster's certainly one of them. That's why the Rays' investment is so small.

Henry (Columbus)

Rob, I give you permission. If there isn't an article before the Oscars, I'll ask again and you can put your thoughts/predictions in then. Sound like a deal? =)

Rob Neyer
  (12:33 PM)

Sure, except the predictions don't really interest me. I just like writing about the movies and the performances, leaving aside who's actually going to win.

Patrick (Pittsburgh)

Kansas City is going to be the worst team in the majors this year. Next year, they will be a little better, make the playoffs in 2013 and win it all in 2014. God, I hope I'm right. I would love for them to win a World Series in my 40th year of life, considering I was only 11 the last time they did.

Rob Neyer
  (12:34 PM)

It's a real leap from worst team in the majors to the playoffs in just two years. But yeah, if you're a fan that's what you have to be thinking.

Wes (North CA)

With all of the A's additions, can they challenge the Rangers? Do you like what they have done?

Rob Neyer
  (12:34 PM)

If their young pitchers are healthy they've got a real shot. But what are the odds?

Jon (Tulsa, OK)

With Kazmir, Abreu, and Sarge, Jr. (!) coming off the payroll next year, and desperation evident in the Wells deal, does anyone really think the Angels wouldn't push for Pujols and move Morales to DH? And if the Cards don't offer him the money he wants and the Cubs do, does "I don't see him signing with the Cubs at all" have any basis in reality? There are a couple of major market clubs right there.

Rob Neyer
  (12:35 PM)

Yup. Plus (as someone else pointed out, behind the curtain) the Dodgers.

George (Texas)

Do you think part of the problem with third basemen in the Hall is that offensive expectations are too high? It seems that there is a perception that 3B is just another "corner position" that requires big time offense. But in reality, there just aren't nearly as many big time hitters that can handle third base defensively as there are at other corner positions (RF, LF, 1B).

Rob Neyer
  (12:36 PM)

Yes, that's it. I think Bill James has pointed out that voters just haven't ever quite figured out what to do with third basemen. It was like there weren't any great ones between Pie Traynor and Brooks Robinson.

Brian (NJ)

Rob, I saw 8 of the 10 nominated pics and thought Toy Story 3 was easily the best movie of the year. Just throwing that out there.

Rob Neyer
  (12:37 PM)

It's at the top of my list, too.

Trevor (Glendale, AZ)

Cashman mentioned that he thinks Jeter could transition to CF at some point. Ignoring all the problems with that for a second, if that was to happen, could the Yankees potentially go after Jose Reyes next winter to fill in at SS, and give the team a legitimate leadoff hitter?

Rob Neyer
  (12:38 PM)

I think Jeter will be too old to learn a new position. Maybe Cashman's thinking about a couple of dozen games a year, as Jeter becomes a Super Utility man or something.

Greg (LA)

Goldstein wrote a piece which describes what happens if the Rays take 11 guys at or below slot, and the statistical minimal impact those players will have on the major league level. Rather than that, wouldn't it make more sense to pick only over-slots and see who you can convince to take for slot or near over, and punt on signing more guys? Wouldn't you rather have 6 really highly rated guys over 11 appropriately rated guys?

Rob Neyer
  (12:40 PM)

Yes. And I think the Rays will spend what they have to spend to get the top guys.

Ryan (DSM)

GMDM has sucked at the big league level since getting the job. That said, late this offseason he is starting to make little moves that suggest maybe he's figuring things out (not overpaying for pitching for a change, cheap reclamation projects that he may be able to flip at the deadline). He still should trade Soria if the right deal comes along. Do you think he's doing a better job or are you still concerned with his management of this team?

Rob Neyer
  (12:41 PM)

I'm waiting for one great trade. Just one.

Jeff (Oakland)

The A's bullpen signings: A new inefficiency being exploited? Or a team that had to spend money and couldn't find anywhere else to put it?

Rob Neyer
  (12:42 PM)

Yeah, the second one of those. And if they're not contending in July they can flip relievers for prospects.

Hazeltine (Las Vegas)

With all of the 3B chat, what about Scott Rolen? The only thing that seems to be keeping him out of the HOF is his own back, right?

Rob Neyer
  (12:43 PM)

In my mind, he's already in the Coop.

Dave (Wayne, NJ)

Hi Rob! Noticed the discussion on third basemen, and it led me to thinking. My son and I were recently talking about the best players at each position, and third was kind of tough. The best we could do was Mike Schmidt; was I forgetting someone obvious? I also wasn't thrilled with picking Joe Morgan at second, but I couldn't come up with anyone better there either, at least in the last 75 years. Can you help there as well? Thanks so much!

Rob Neyer
  (12:44 PM)

The correct answers are Schmidt and Morgan, along with Gehrig and Wagner.

Steve (NYC)

I'm referring to people (and there seem to be many) who think that someone like Hoffman isn't a hall of famer because of his limited role in an over-glorified position, and the fact that his best WAR was 4.0, which basically anyone with 200+ IP and a sub-4.00 ERA will get you. Not saying that is a bad season but I'd say Hoffman had a far greater career than Jeff Fassero or Andy Ashby, yet his best years didn't stack up to theirs.

Rob Neyer
  (12:50 PM)

Yes, and Hoffman's going to get some significant Hall of Fame support, while Fassero and Ashby obviously haven't (or won't). Anyway, you're fudging the numbers to make a point. Any pitcher, starter or reliever, would deserve election if he averaged 4 WAR per season for 15 or 20 seasons. None of these guys did that.

Ben (SF)

Rob, the common thinking seems to be that the Giants just stood pat this off-season, with a team that just barely squeaked into the playoffs, and they are unlikely to get all the breaks they did last year. But it's not exactly true, they stood pat with the team that won the World Series, which greatly outperformed the team they trotted out on Opening Day. The Giants were 27-24 at the beginning of June, which is roughly when Posey and Burrell started logging heavy playing time, just a month after Torres became a regular starter, and a month before Bumgarner kicked Wellemeyer to the curb. For the remainder of the year, the Giants went 65-46. That's a 95 win pace. Isn't it likely, if the Giants do regress somewhat (as people keep predicting), that they'll actually end up back where they finished last year, in the neighborhood of 90 wins? And they have just as good of a chance of improving on last year's numbers, if Sandoval and/or Belt step up. So I guess what I'm asking is, isn't it a stone-cold lock that the Giants will be repeat World Series Champions!?!

Rob Neyer
  (12:51 PM)

Yes.

Ryan (DSM)

Getting Tim Collins by dumping Farnworth and Ankiel doesn't count as a great trade?

Rob Neyer
  (12:51 PM)

I loved that deal, but without seeing Collins pitch well in the majors it's a little early to count this one.

Trevor (Glendale, AZ)

I really enjoyed reading the new Mickey Mantle biography you mentioned to me in your last chat. That being said, assuming it's well written, which current player would you most want to read a biography about once their career is over?

Rob Neyer
  (12:56 PM)

Good question, Trevor ... unfortunately, I don't have the foggiest idea. I'm too close to these guys -- not personally, but temporally -- to have any real perspective. My gut tells me that neither Alex Rodriguez nor Roger Clemens nor Manny Ramirez are complex enough for a great biography ... but then, the Mick wasn't exactly complex, either. I think somebody might write a good book about Mike Piazza someday.

Ian (OK)

Did you know of next years new HOF class, Brad Radke has the best average WAR/year at roughly 3.5 WAR/season. That's actually a better WAR average than several HOF pitchers. Get Brad a vote!

Rob Neyer
  (12:57 PM)

Career wasn't long enough. But yes, I had noticed how high he scored among next year's first-timers.

Muzzy (Leicester)

I loved your column about Moyer and his special-ness. That 89-90 Rangers pitching staff had a lot of unique pitchers who pitched well into their 40's (Hough, Ryan, Rogers, and of course, Moyer). Did you know the five 200 game winners on that staff (adding in Kevin Brown) averaged 183 wins after turning 30?

Rob Neyer
  (12:58 PM)

I did not. The Express Effect?

Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR) [via mobile]

Last week you told me you thought the Rays would win 85+, does that now go up or down with their two Friday signings?

Rob Neyer
  (1:02 PM)

The new number is 88.

chris (nyc)

"Sure, except the predictions don't really interest me. I just like writing about the movies and the performances, leaving aside who's actually going to win."Isn't that the exact opposite fo what you do with the HOF?

Rob Neyer
  (1:05 PM)

Sort of. Actually, when it comes to the Hall of Fame I write about both: Who deserves to be in, and who's *going* to get in. And it's different, because the Hall of Fame has standards (however loosely followed by the voters). Another difference: My job sort of demands that I write about certain baseball subjects, but when it comes to movies I can write whatever I like (on those rare occasions when I write about movies).

Robert (Vancouver)

Rob, is it just me, or do you see a real possibility that if things break a certain way, the Yankees could be 90 game losers as easily as 90 game winners? If Petite doesn't come back they have a very poor rotation, and imagine if CC got injured... plus they are aging at key positions, guys with some injury histories... Thoughts?

Rob Neyer
  (1:06 PM)

It's MUCH more likely that they win 90 than lose 90. But there have been teams with great records one year and lousy records the next. That's why they make everyone play the games.

Jason (Milwaukee)

Every year there is a team that nobody expected to be good who makes a run at the playoffs but falls just short. Last year it was the Padres. This year it will be....

Rob Neyer
  (1:07 PM)

Ask me in March, okay? I haven't done that work yet.

Matt (Cleveland)

Schmidt over Brett? Really? Could make an argument for Eddie Matthews too no?

Rob Neyer
  (1:12 PM)

Yeah, you could. And when you get a minute, see how long it took Mathews to get into the Hall of Fame.

Rob Neyer
  (1:13 PM)

Oh, you mean Mathews as as the greatest third baseman? No. Scmidt's defense sees to that.

Dave (Boston)

Albert Pujols needs a better nickname. Any suggestions?

Rob Neyer
  (1:14 PM)

Gramps?

Dave (NJ)

At this point, isn't the Pujols age speculation as substantiated as the Bagwell steroids speculation?

Rob Neyer
  (1:16 PM)

Yes, that's fair. I guess the difference is that even if I knew Bagwell had used PEDs, I would still vote for him. But if I know Pujols is 34, I wouldn't give him an eight-year contract.

Dan (DC)

Rob - can you explain to me how they calculate WAR historically? Does anyone have the data to actually calculate Babe Ruth's UZR? Or can we honestly assess Eddie Matthews' defense other than based on reputation?

Rob Neyer
  (1:17 PM)

Smart people still can evaluate the old-time fielders, just not as accurately. It doesn't mean you don't try.

JYT (Boston)

Rolen is a HOFer? Really?

Rob Neyer
  (1:17 PM)

Really, really, and really again.

Brian (Louisville, Ky.)

Musial was "The Man." Pujols is "El Hombre."

Rob Neyer
  (1:18 PM)

Yeah. That's a pretty good one.

Please Answer (This Question!!)

Rob, why would anyone dismiss the possibility of the Cubs signing Pujols?? They have Pena signed, conveniently enough, for one year. They certainly have money. Further, it would be a double-gain for the Cubs as a division foe would lose their best player. And I have a feeling they might just like to stick it to the Cards in particular... I hear there is a bit of a rivalry there.

Rob Neyer
  (1:18 PM)

So they say.

Pierce (Tulsa, OK)

Albert doesn't like "El Hombre". Says it disrespects Stan Musial, the real "The Man".

Rob Neyer
  (1:19 PM)

Fortunately, we don't let players choose their nicknames.

Bas (Denmark)

If Rolen is a Hall of Famer then isn't Jim Edmonds one as well?

Rob Neyer
  (1:25 PM)

The case isn't quite as strong for Edmonds, because of their positions. But we shouldn't dismiss him (or Kenny Lofton).

Mike (Long Island)

Aren't we giving people like Edmonds and Lofton (and yes, Jack Morris) serious HOF consideration only because we seem to have let the HOF devolve into the HORG (Hall of Really Good)?

Rob Neyer
  (1:28 PM)

That all depends on your definition, doesn't it? It's been a long, long time since the Hall of Fame was just for Honus and Cy and the Babe.

Scott (Denver)

How much of a factor do you think Pujols' "age" is playing in negotiations? Do you think that is primarily why it has taken this long to get an extension done?

Rob Neyer
  (1:29 PM)

I don't know, Scott. But I suspect if anyone knows for sure how old Pujols is, it's the Cardinals.

BJ (Indiana)

Are there any good pieces out there on baseball players lying about their age? How common is this?

Rob Neyer
  (1:32 PM)

BJ, I'm ashamed to admit that I should have written a really good piece about this years ago. As far as I know, I'm the first researcher to discover that a HUGE percentage of players -- something like 50 percent, I believe -- lied about their ages in the 1930s and '40s. The practice mostly died out in the '60s and '70s, then exploded again in the '80s.

Jeff (Clearwater, FL)

Which movie did you miss? My guess is "Winter's Bone".

Rob Neyer
  (1:33 PM)

Nope. Saw that one and loved it. I missed "The Kids are All Right." Just looked a little too Hollywoody for my tastes.

Tom (Bronx)

Thanks, Rob. You are one of the best writers on ESPN, and the internet in general. What specific area of baseball research/analysis do you think leaves the most room for development, moving forward?

Rob Neyer
  (1:36 PM)

Thanks, Tom. I think the eternal quest to keep young pitchers healthy will continue. And of course PITCHf/x and FIELDf/x are going to open up incredible possibilities.Thanks for all the questions today, and for the many, many thousands of questions over the last (nearly) 15 years. I'm sorry I haven't answered more of them. Until next time we meet, don't forget this Chinese proverb: "A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song."