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Chat: Marc Normandin

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday May 05, 2010 1:00 PM ET chat session with Marc Normandin.

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Whether you want to talk fantasy sports with Marc Normandin, or it's your fantasy to ask your questions of Marc Normandin, we aim to please, starting Wednesday at 1 PM.

Marc Normandin: Hello all! Glad to be here to talk baseball, fantasy baseball, video games, music and the like with you on this fine Wednesday afternoon. I'm currently listening to Doolittle from the Pixies. How about you?

DanDaMan (12th Place): Marc, I need some serious help. I thought I drafted really well with a bunch of 4 and 5 star guys, but here I sit in 12th place. I have Kinsler back and Wright and Teixeira seem to be turning things around, but Justin Upton, Brett Anderson, Bucholtz and Kershaw have been disappointments and Ianetta, Jurrjens, Javi Vazquez and Scherzer have been awful. There trade value is non-existent to low. Time to cut bait on any of them?

Marc Normandin: DanDaMan, it's been just over a month. Here's my take on fantasy: you get frustrated before you get worried. I try to be very patient, because if you get rid of a player that you had that much faith in just weeks ago based on a small sample, then you're going to regret it later far more often than not.

I'm currently in a super-deep AL-only league where you need five outfielders--three of mine were Jack Cust, Mike Cameron and Rick Ankiel. I'm panicking a little more in that league just because there are literally no replacements (the best available OF on waivers has 8 at-bats), but in all of my others that have bad things going on (injuries, early struggles, etc.) I'm just waiting it out. Don't panic.

Tad Tipsy (Irish Bar): Your best guess on Leake's final pitching line at the end of this year? Is he like Cueto's first year in that he will be a stud (sell high) first half, but have a rough second half as innings pile up and teams get a second look?

Marc Normandin: I was never that impressed with Cueto because of the homers, so I would say I'm much higher on Leake. I think there is far more upside with Leake, so I think he'll finish with a better campaign than Cueto did. I think he'll finish with an ERA around 4.00, maybe 6 K/9? Very, very impressive for someone with his inexperience and age, but more useful in a keeper format than a single-season one.

Will (Mactaquac): While everyone's watching Willis and Liriano in the AL Central, is Zumaya quietly rounding into the old form himself? The numbers look incredible so far.

Marc Normandin: He's looked great so far, though there's no way he goes the season giving up so few walks. It's still good to see that he's been able to keep his control and command up for 16+ innings, since the past few seasons he hasn't looked like he even knew what direction the plate was in.

Stephanie (DC): So...it may be slightly unlikely that John Jaso keeps hitting like the second coming of Barry Bonds. But how do you see his final line shaking out, as well as playing time at catcher for the Rays?

Marc Normandin: Probably better than Kelly Shoppach and Dioner Navarro's lines. I think he can hit maybe .270/.370/.430. The OBP is sexy. I'm talking to Tommy Bennett right now, he says .280/.340/.430. Obviously, he's going to slug .430 if we both say so.

lornad11 (Dumont NJ): What's Chase Headley's power potential? Is there much upside there?

Marc Normandin: I don't think Headley is going to have more than .150 Isolated Power. Partially due to Petco, partially because he's not that kind of hitter. He can draw a walk though, and has shown a much better understanding of the strike zone and pitches he can do something with this year, so I think that batting average is finally going to be up. Remember, he hit very well in the second half last year as well, so this past month wasn't out of nowhere.

I also feel better because he's admitted that trying to learn the outfield was hampering his development. He was a terrible outfielder, so it's nice to have him back at his natural position where he can concentrate on his swing.

Geovany Soto (Chicago): Why am I batting 8th with a near 500 obp and a slg to match when the guy in the 5th spotis hitting like a pitcher?

Marc Normandin: It wouldn't be the Cubs if there wasn't something to complain about. Just wouldn't feel right.

nschaef (CT): What do you do with young Tigers' pitcher Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello going forward?

Marc Normandin: I wasn't high on Porcello this year to begin with, though I don't mean he doesn't have a bright future. I just mean that I figured there would be some struggles this year (for reference, when asked about this before, I felt Brett Anderson was much further along in his development). He's going to be great, but I don't think that word applies to 2010.

Scherzer's velocity seems to be down a bit, but it's early so I'm having a hard time getting too worked up about it. I'm sticking with him in my AL-only league (though I may have to deal him for an outfielder given my previously referenced situation. Le sigh).

YD (Philly): Hiya Marc! Think Heyward's going to have long-term keeper level potential, even in one-keeper leagues? And have you heard anything on the rumors that FROM is working on Demon's Souls 2, aiming for a release sometime THIS YEAR?!? My desire for that game borders on unhealthy...

Marc Normandin: I haven't heard more than what you've heard. No one knows if Atlus or Sony will publish it either.

Heyward is pretty fantastic, and the kind of player you build around in both real-life and fantasy. Right field is also a very deep position though, so keeping him in one-keeper leagues has more to do with your thoughts on positional scarcity than my own ideas.

dianagramr (NYC): Hey Marc ... this may be more of a Goldstein question, but the demotion of Alex Gordon got me thinking. Which current AAA player has had his career screwed up the most by his organization (more than his own performance)?

Marc Normandin: Homer Bailey, possibly? He was never ready for the big leagues any of the times he was called up, but that didn't stop the Reds from using him to plug holes over and over again. Anyone else have any ideas?

John (KC): Do you have any thoughts on the Royals sending Gordon to trip A to learn LF? If his bat never played at 3b...

Marc Normandin: I think it's the kind of thing that I don't even flinch at anymore when it comes to the Royals. Par for the course.

Andy M (Minneapolis): What do you do with Juan Rivera, Cody Ross, and Carlos Lee in a 12 team mixed roto league? They're KILLING me!!

Marc Normandin: Sacrifice Carlos Lee to the gods in the hopes that it appeases them, therefore improving the performance of your other outfielders.

I was down on Lee a bit this year since he started to slip in 2009, but this seems kind of dramatic. Then again, given his body type and comps and all that, I guess it wouldn't be a surprise if he fell off the planet all at once.

gaphitter75 (cubelandia): aaa: iannetta

Marc Normandin: I think it's the kind of thing that I don't even flinch at anymore when it comes to the Royals. Par for the course.

Wait, the Rockies did that? Jesus Christ.

dianagramr (NYC): True or false: By season's end, Mark Teixeira will have a higher batting average than Austin Jackson? (small sample alert question of the moment)

Marc Normandin: Actually a pretty good question. I have much more faith in Jackson keeping his batting average around .290-.300 than I do his power sustaining itself (at least in 2010). I'll say Teix gets it back up, just because I know if I don't he'll hit .370 in the second half instead of .330.

Andy M (Minneapolis): Update: I dropped Juan "play it off the wall" Rivera for Ghostface Kila Ka'aihue. He's got to get playing time or why bother calling him up?

Marc Normandin: Ghostface Kila! Oh man. I'm actually mad I didn't come up with that myself.

Seriously though, did you just assume the Royals would do the the right thing? I try to avoid drafting any of their non-Greinke players if I can. Of course if he plays my worries are voided, I think he'll be pretty good.

Geovany Soto (Chicago): Being a cub fan is like walking miles with a pebble in your shoe. If you don't vent the frustration early, it builds to an intolerable state as time goes by. That the pebbles are in endless supply is our sisyphus-like fate. Did I mention I have a 488obp?

Marc Normandin: I'm kind of shocked that Cubs fans haven't had some kind of Bastille Day reaction to the front office yet.

Andy (Chicago): I've got Kinsler, Tulo, Zobrist, and Ian Stewart in a 14 team mixed league. Tulo and Zobrist have really let me down and I'm in dire need of saves and power and there's definitely a market for each of those guys...which, if either should I cut bait on and trade?

Marc Normandin: Tulo is a beast, and Zobrist should come along. Tulo is at the position that it's harder to get production out of, but Zobrist can move around a bit, so I guess it depends on whether you want flexibility or a hold on positional scarcity.

I don't think I would deal either for Saves unless I had no other choice whatsoever, but I'm stingy when it comes to acquiring Saves. If that's all you're missing and dealing one won't kill your other stats, I can see it. Try to get back more than just a closer, they are both studs despite the slow start.

ericj (sf): my rotation is clayton kershaw, javiar vazquez, max scherzer and jonathan sanchez. who shouldnt i be worried about?

Marc Normandin: I wouldn't be worried about any of them. Say it with me people: we're one month into the season.

This isn't in response to your question ericj, but for those of you spamming the chat queue with the same question over and over, I'm either going to ignore you or wait six hours to answer you. Quit it.

Susan (Philly): How many more great/good seasons does Halladay need before he's a lock for the Hall Of Fame?

Marc Normandin: He's got 153 career wins and fewer than 100 career losses, a career ERA of 3.38 and over 2000 innings pitched--I'm pretty sure he's already on track to get in barring horrific injury or a complete reversal of his previous performance level. He was very underrated for a long time, but the last few years I think people have realized just how ridiculous this guy is.

Aaron (YYZ): Marc, do you have any concerns about Ubaldo Jimenez holding up over the course of the season given the high pitch counts that Jim Tracy has been letting him run up? Is he someone to consider shipping out if you can get back a Verlander-type return?

Marc Normandin: Wasn't there a study a few years ago that said that 180 innings at Coors felt like 200 innings elsewhere because of the way the air was? I'm not *concerned* I guess, but if you can get someone of equal value or better for Ubaldo, it may be worth exploring. I'm much more of a softy when it comes to pitch counts (as long as their mechanics aren't changing at 110 or 120 pitches, I'm not that broken up about it) but the consistent chase of 120-130 or so for Ubaldo this early is a bit disconcerting.

Could it be possible that Jim Tracy didn't ride down from the heavens on a unicorn to manage the Rockies, and that he actually just took control of a really great collection of talent that started playing well like it should have?

jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): How much of Robinson Cano's hot start is just a BABIP spike? Any chance he maintains the added power?

Marc Normandin: From last October's Player Profile of Cano (which is actually the second one I've written):

"The difference for Cano between 2008 and 2009 is in the results, not the approach. What does that mean going forward for the Yankee second baseman? Given how well he has hit in the second half each season—numbers that look a lot like his full 2009 campaign—it would make sense that Cano has a few years like 2009 in him. He is in his traditional peak-season period, after all, and 2008 was a campaign mostly marred by poor luck and some bad swings (OK, a lot of them). If he can keep his swing in check, and not succumb to the first-half woes that have plagued him for most of his career—seriously, Robbie, stop swinging at bad pitches outside and letting pitchers kill you inside; it'll work in April too, not just in August—then he should remain as productive as he's been for New York this year for at least the next few seasons."

I don't necessarily think all of this power boost is for real (he has a .347 ISO, which screams "Hi, I have 112 plate appearances") but it looks like his first-half struggles are over and done with, meaning he's a fantastic player in both head-to-head and roto leagues instead of just the latter.

YD (Philly): Given his performs in the second half last year and the beginning of this season, do you think we can actually start to trust Barry Zito?

Marc Normandin: More important than Barry Zito, I'm listening to The Giraffes now that the Pixies are finished with.

Back to Zito though, he has a 2.45 ERA, 7.3 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and just 0.6 HR/9 since July 18 of last season (121 1/3 innings). I don't think that the ERA is realistic, but he sure seems to be back on track nowadays.

Unrelated, but I just traded Heath Bell and Jason Marquis for David Freese and Mat Latos in a keeper league. I took over someone else's roster, so this year is for rebuilding. I like that return, especially since keeping closers isn't my bag and both of those players are cheap cheap.

Aaron (YYZ): Anyone who thinks Jim Tracy's Manager of the Year award wasn't largely a case of "Right place, right time" must have missed his stints in Pittsburgh and LA.

Marc Normandin: Again, this was before he traveled to Mt. Olympus, earned the power of the gods, got his six-pack abs back and brought the sword of Justice to Colorado along with superb managerial skills. We can't compare the two, they are just too different.

David (CT): Six starts and 36.1 innings into the season, Livan Hernandez has an ERA (0.99) and a K/BB (13/11) both under 1.00. Is that the most awesomely unsustainable early-season stat line you've ever seen, or what? I think we all need to stop and admire it.

Marc Normandin: That is splendid. Well done, David.

Grizzle (My Nizzle): What do you think Wieters' stats will look like by the end of the year? Also, do you think Trembley is playing him a bit too much (wearing him out)? Looks like the Orioles brought out their Sunday lineup mid-week...

Marc Normandin: I like him for about the same AVG and OBP he has now, but with a bit more power. .280/.340/.430, maybe .440?

Unless of course Trembley pulls a Russell Martin on him and burns him out by July.

ravenight (Boston): I have Travis Snider, Adam Jones, Colby Rasmus, Nate McLouth and Hunter Pence in a 10-team mixed league - how good/worthless do you expect that outfield to be by the end of the season?

Marc Normandin: I think Pence, McLouth and Jones are definite candidates to improve on their poor starts. Colby Rasmus has been doing a better job with the strike zone this year and seems to have a better understanding of pitches he can do something with, so I think he's finally going to have that breakout year we've been waiting for. Snider I'm hopeful for, but if you make me pick one he's probably the one I think the development will be slowest for.

Steve (Clearwater, FL): Now that "BP" has become a dirty word thanks to the Gulf spill, are you guys going to change the logo? I suppose Baseball Prospectus now knows what the AYDS Diet Candy people felt like in the early 80s.

Marc Normandin: Presented without commentary.

mikeduin (Seattle): Hi Marc - thanks for the chat. Grady Sizemore is finally at least showing signs of life, with two hits in three of his last five games. Is this the beginning of a turnaround? I asked Clay about Grady last week, and Clay expressed concern that Grady may never revert to his former self after what he went through last year. Do you agree or do you have a more optimistic outlook to offer me? :) Thanks!

Marc Normandin: I thought enough of Grady to splurge on him at auction this offseason, so I have faith he'll revert to form. These things take time sometimes (see: B.J. Upton).

Mark (CT): So what reason would dictate having your best OBP and SLG player bat 5th? There is a team that does this...

Marc Normandin: Who is doing that?

Wade (Tampa): Oswalt or Blanton?

Marc Normandin: I like Oswalt better than Blanton for everything except wins, given the huge difference between the two clubs. So I guess it comes down to how desperate you are for wins, though Oswalt may still be worth it with the longer track record if you're forced to choose between the two (and there aren't any $ involved).

Andy (Chicago): Can a rotation of C. Lewis, W. Davis, W. LeBlanc, J. Garcia, J. Niemann, C. Bucholtz, and B. Matusz survive the season with respectable, albeit it not league leading numbers? (Even if you don't answer this one, thanks for the chat & the answer on my Tulo/Zobrist question!)

Marc Normandin: I think so. Matusz should finish strong in the second half, as should Buchholz. LeBlanc isn't *this* good, but he's definitely average to above. You may not have a serious ace on the club, but you've got a lot of very good pitchers who can have great performances or stretches.

lornad11 (Flushing): ladies and gentleman your New York Mets. David Wright hitting 5th.

Marc Normandin: I'm a little more concerned with the number of times I've seen Alex Cora batting second. I follow a lot of Mets fans on Twitter, so when lineups are announced you see a flood of hatred daily.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Red Sox: Over/Under 91 wins? (for the record, I had them at 99 going into the year - oops!)

Marc Normandin: Over. I had them for 95 to start the year.

Will (Mactaquac): I'm staring at using Alex Escobar or Ian Desmond every day at SS in an OBP/SLG redraft league. Maintain the course with two of my favorite preseason SS sleepers, or upgrade quickly?

Marc Normandin: I would upgrade if you can, but SS is an easy position to punt as well. I have Cesar Izturis in an AL-only league and don't even feel bad about it.

batts40 (IL): Carlos Lee: buy-low candidate or not worth one's time?

Marc Normandin: I'm probably guilty of confirmation bias with him, because I expected him to slip, but if the price is right there's no reason not to take a flyer on him.

tommybones (brooklyn): If both players stick, who ends up with better numbers by the end of the season, Smoak or Ka'aihue?

Marc Normandin: I think Smoak, though part of that may just be playing in Texas. I like Smoak a whole lot, and though I think 2011 is when we will see him really break out, he should be pretty good by year's end here.

JayT (San Francisco): I only get four bench spots in my main league, and I've got Aroldis Chapman eting one of those spots. Do you see him making a contribution this year, or is he just going to be a September call up? As it stands right now I don't have any open bench spots for spot starts, or offensive replacements.

Marc Normandin: He'll be called up. He's already in Triple-A, so I think if he can keep the walks under control that he'll be called up sooner than later. I'm holding on to him in an NL-only, but if you're in a mixed, non-keeper and have someone who can help you just as much (and sooner) it may be worth it to get them.

Gregjitsu (Cal): I'm in a shallow 8 team league with some friends. I drafter Chipper, but grabbed Headley on the waiver wire. Do I drop Chipper and grab a pitcher? Jaime Garcia, Brad Penny, Phil Hughes, Brett Cecil, and Wade Davis are all available. Bonus round: I already snagged CJ Wilson off the wire. Do you like any of the guys I listed better than CJ? Thanks!

Marc Normandin: I like C.J. Wilson a lot. I think he's like Buehrle with more strikeouts (more walks too, though). I wonder why he started out as a reliever, because he's got the stuff and repertoire to be a starter.

Hughes, Cecil or Davis would all be worthwhile IMO. Cecil will probably give you the fewest wins though, when the Jays remember they are the Jays.

Jquinton82 (NY): How long till heads roll for the Mets?

Marc Normandin: Whose heads?

willjosh09 (Washington): What do you think about Brett Gardner's improved K rate? Can he keep it up and stay a good enough hitter to allow his baserunning and defense make him a good player?

Marc Normandin: Well, he made strides in that regard in 2009 as well, and has almost hit the PA floor where we can start to trust his K%, so I think that it's a good sign. He definitely needs to keep his strikeouts reasonable given his lack of power.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Is Nick Johnson this bad (.134/.363/.224) or is this SSS at work?

Marc Normandin: I think his ISO will be a little better, and he's definitely a better average hitter than that. SSS!

Jquinton82 (NY): Jerry Manuel or Omar's... I don't think they're that good and someone is going to end up being the sacrificial lamb when the fans call for blood. So who gets sent to the chopping block?

Marc Normandin: I get the feeling Omar isn't going anywhere for a bit. I don't know why. Jerry though...I mean, he deserves to be canned, but I don't think it will happen unless they need a scapegoat. Maybe if the team is generally healthy but not performing well by midseason.

YD (Philly): Hughes, Cecil and Davis over Garcia?

Marc Normandin: Garcia is fine too. Basically anyone but Penny there. I like Penny in his current context, but with those other options available he's invisible.

Josh (Wyoming ): Would it be possible for BP to publish roto dollar values of players at the conclusion of the season? I always thought it would be fun to compare the dollar value of a player's actual performance with the price I paid at auction.

Marc Normandin: I'll put it on the list!

Aaron (YYZ): Toronto has always known just how good Halladay was. A couple of freak injuries have held him down as well... he'd have won a second Cy if not for the Kevin Mench line drive of doom breaking his leg right before the All Star game some years ago.

Marc Normandin: Oh, I know Toronto has known. And we knew, too. But everyone else seems to be on board now.

Reed (Rochester, Minnesota): What's wrong with the depth charts and PFM? The PECOTA numbers used seem to vary player to player (some use weighted mean, some 30%). Also, pitcher strikeouts are high across the board.

Marc Normandin: I'm not sure, but we're working on a fix for that. I know we're still working out some things with the PFM since we switched servers recently, so it may be because of that. No worries though, it's being worked on as we speak.

Jquinton82 (NY): Two questions Marc: 1) Phil Hughes, really this good or are we going to some regression and growing pains as the league catches up? 2) Jenrry Mejia, does the continued presence in the bullpen stunt his development or is really a valuable learning experience? ... I think he'd be better served pitching in the minor every 5th day given his upside.

Marc Normandin: I'm with you on Mejia. He's not going to have time to mess with his array of pitches if he's in the bullpen pitching every now and again. That's the Mets for you though.

I like Hughes a lot and have for a long time now. His walk rate is still a bit high for me, but you have to love the strikeout rate. I think he's pretty legit (with obvious SSS ERA caveats).

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Hey Marc, ever make it out here to Portland, OR? I just moved out here and its great. We got a Red Sox bar and everything. They even brew their own beer there.

Marc Normandin: I wanted to go sometime to check out the Padres Triple-A team, but I guess if I don't do that now I'll never get a chance given they are moving away :-(

nschaef (CT): Do you think Brennan Boesch is going to get enough ABs? It looks like he could provide some solid pop in mixed leagues. Also - have patience with Adam Jones, I'd imagine?

Marc Normandin: Boesch was impressive at Double-A last year and started the season very hot at Triple-A, so he's definitely worth a look if you have the roster spot for him. I'm a little nervous about his lack of hitting against LHP though, so even if he ends up with a permanent spot in the bigs he's either not going to play everyday (or be a required sit against left-handers).

Patience with Jones, yes. He's got a ton of upside and has shown in the past he can hit.

Matt (Chicago): Thoughts on T.Colvin's upside?

Marc Normandin: I picked him up very late in my NL-only experts league. I like his bat a lot, he just doesn't get the playing time to let it shine, which is a shame. If you're in a deep league he may be worth holding onto in case he gets a chance to play more often, but right now he's bench material.

Tad Lucky (Vegas): Heath Bell will be traded by _____. My two favorite 8th inning guys that will soon become closers are ______ and ____.

Marc Normandin: July. Mike Adams or Luke Gregerson, maybe? I thought Ryan Madson would be one of the answers to that question, but now he's out for 8 weeks thanks to a temper tantrum. Poor form, Mr. Madson. Someone should have tazed him before he made contact with that chair.

YD (Philly): Who is this person dressed up like Jason Varitek, and what have they done with the real one?

Marc Normandin: It's the same Jason Varitek from the beginning of 2009. Don't worry, his shelf-life is limited.

scott (chicago): What to do with Adam Lind? Snapped his 0-18 streak today (a single!) and looks like the player that was unnecessarily jerked around by Toronto for years before 2009. Thoughts?

Marc Normandin: I like his bat too much to give up on him, especially after a month. Patience, patience!

Aaron (YYZ): Marc, as someone that does a lot of game writing, I'm curious on your perspective regarding the iPad as a gaming device. Do you think we'll see anything like a Hi-Res version of Baldur's Gate or Planescape?

Marc Normandin: I haven't paid any attention to the iPad honestly. I don't think I'm the target market. For non-core gamers, it may have more appeal, given they don't already have giant game collections and consoles.

shmikdog (my office): Hey, on Sherzer... I went and did a little goofing around on PitchF/X, and it seems like his FB velo has declined to 90/92 from 95+ when you compare this season to his hot streak w/ ARI last season. Even in 2H09 as his numbers got worse, he was down around 93ish, so below the 95+, suggesting this isn't a temporary dead arm period. Should we be worried about injury? I've heard his motion risks the shoulder, and a velo decline usually => shoulder issue.

Marc Normandin: I think we were all worried about injury before--that's why Arizona dealt him in the first place. There's a risk, sure, and I'm definitely more nervous if his velocity stays down consistently. This is something to look into, for sure.

scott (chicago): Last Play: A. Lind homered to deep left, A. Hill scored. Patience exhibited!

Marc Normandin: For once, something I said didn't come back to bite me in the ass immediately.

Billy Beane (Oakland): Am I still considered a top 5 GM anymore?

Marc Normandin: Honestly, I don't know. What's the public consensus? There are so many bright new GMs out there nowadays that it's tough to crack the top five. There are only a handful of them I wouldn't want running one of my teams, which is impressive.

Charlie (Bethesda, MD): Is Nick Johnson this good? 2 for 2, a homer and a double, 2 walks today. Or is this a case of extremely SSS?

Marc Normandin: Nope, he's definitely a 1.000/1.000/.WhateverTheSluggingWouldBe guy.

Kevin Butler (Sony): Well played, Normandin.

Marc Normandin: You still game for that late May fishing trip, Butler?

mafrth77 (Boston): You're not wooried about Vasquez? His fast ball was 85 mph in the 2nd inning during his last start.

Marc Normandin: If there's a potential injury, then yes, I'm worried. I think I'm having a hard time getting worked up about this because of how much noise comes out of New York every time he has a start.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Two questions for you: 1) How long do the Sox wait for David Ortiz to start hitting, and 2) what do they do if he doesn't pick it up? I'd be shocked if they just cut him, but if he can't hit then he's just taking up a roster spot and they have to pay him anyway... If I haven't said it yet, thanks for the chat.

Marc Normandin: They have already waited too long, in my mind, and that's coming from someone who was very patient with him last year. They have other bats they can use, and they should use them, especially since the higher Lowell's stock is, the easier it will be to move him so Hermida can take over at DH. Honestly? I would DFA him and see if he clears waivers, and let him go to a no pressure Pawtucket for a bit. If it's something mental like last year, he can work it out there. If it's ability, then he shouldn't be playing anyways.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): RE: Nick Johnson, I think it was a fair question. He's older and injury prone. He's the kind of guy who's production could just fall off a cliff one day.

Marc Normandin: Oh, I know. But I thought that was a funny follow up!

Delmon Young (Minny): Is my potential franchise player tag still there or has that ship sailed away?

Marc Normandin: I still get a kick out of the Manny Ramirez comps from a guy who had no plate patience or strike zone recognition. Never been a huge fan, and I think the upside is above-average player, not superstar.

rsambrook (Vancovuer): Hi Marc Do you think Matt Laporta will come around this year? How long will the Indians stick with him?

Marc Normandin: 2009 was a good start, but he's off to a rough 2010. I think the Indians will stick with him though, because if his bat starts working like it should, the payoff will be worth the struggles.

Zooey (LA): Brandon Wood, future all-star, 4A player, or somewhere in between?

Marc Normandin: Quad-A guy. I'm the wrong guy to ask because I've been skeptical about him pretty much since he was a topic to be asked about, but I don't think he's a major league hitter.

dcoonce (bloomington indiana): How about the Rockies having Morales - a lefty - intentionally walk Gonzalez last night to get to the switch-hitting Headley (who then won the game with a single). First bonehead managerial move in the impressive Tracy run, no? (BTW, currently listening to Leonard Cohen)

Marc Normandin: I sometimes wonder when "It's Headley!" Mel Brooks references stopped being funny for Chase. Do you think it was middle school, high school, or did people leave him alone because he was better at baseball than everyone in his circle of family and friends?

Finishing up Mastodon - Blood Mountain right now, and then putting on the Dillinger Escape Plan EP featuring Mike Patton before I wrap this up.

Zooey (LA): Is it fair to say AJ Burnett's career has been a slight disappointment? I assume most people thought he would have at least 1 Cy Young award by now and/or been the staff ace of a team.

Marc Normandin: For the stuff he has, yes, I think you can say he's been a disappointment. Still had a very good career, but he's rarely consistent with his greatness.

Maybe he'll win a few big World Series games before this thing is over though, and then we can see about putting him in the Hall of Fame next to Jack Morris because he pitched to the score.

buffum (Austin TX): How much would it cost for someone to build me a time machine, then I send my Dad back in time to NOT take the job at the Akron Beacon Journal, and then I don't grow up in Akron and don't become a Cleveland fan and then I don't feel like hopping on a plane, flying to Cleveland, and doing something ill-advised to the entire Indians roster (shaving Chris Perez' head, tying Luis Valbuena in a sack, turning Russ Branyan into a newt, etc.)? This is feasible, right? My spleen ... my spleen is weeping inconsolably. I used to love my spleen. I feel like a bad caretaker.

Marc Normandin: You actually just won the Internet. The whole thing.

Yunel Escobar (DL): Have you seen my bat? It was here just last year but I can't find it...

Marc Normandin: 89 plate appearances! That's like, 1/6 or 1/7 of what he'll pick up on the year.

Ed (Cranford, NJ): Hi Marc Do Dotel and Hoffman remain as their team's closers for the season. If not, who replaces them.

Marc Normandin: Dotel, sure, until he's traded. Hoffman...it's been an ugly start for him. I'm sure if I say he's done he'll just start dropping his velocity further and throw 50 mph changeups that screw people into the ground, extending his career another year. I don't think there is an obvious candidate to replace either pitchers yet, though that may be the small April/May samples for relievers talking.

Marc Normandin: It's been fun folks, but I need to get going. Hopefully we can do this again soon--thanks for the questions, and I'll try to get to some of the ones I missed in a mailbag soon.


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