No, it's not your fantasy or his, but Marc Normandin's settling in for a long Q&A with all comers on that best subject: baseball.
Marc Normandin: Looks like you folks are stuck with me for the afternoon, though I hope your excitement levels over such an ordeal are in line with my own. Which is to say I'm happy to be here, listening to Drive Like Jehu's excellent Yank Crime album and thinking about the beisbol. Let's have at it--I'm feeling particularly video gamey today too, if anyone wants to scratch that itch for me.
mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Cliff Lee is headed to New York (apparently) for Montero and some 23 year old AA shortstop I've never heard of (Adams). Thoughts? My first, as a Red Sox fan, is Ruben Amaro, you're such a &$%%#%.
Marc Normandin: This morning I saw this news come out of Buster Olney's Twitter account, and the swearing in my head subsided when I saw it meant Javier Vazquez could be dealt to the Padres because of it. The Red Sox can make the playoffs, of course, even with the injuries they have, but the Yankees getting Cliff Lee means they need to get through the Rays to do it. The Padres getting Javier Vazquez when teams like the Dodgers, who are chasing them, are in need of starting pitching help, would be wonderful--and would also make it easier to go a few weeks without the help of one Mat Latos.
lyndon (Columbus, OH): I hope you voted Votto.
Marc Normandin: All of my votes were for Scott Hairston and Jerry Hairston, and no one else. Voltron Hairston for life.
Rick (Cleveland): John Wooden once said "It takes talent to get to the top, but it takes character to stay there" - After watching James' narcissistic and self serving charade of a special, it is clear that he lacks that quality
Marc Normandin: You know, I think Cleveland was given a chance to have the moral high ground because of James' actions, but then they started to burn his jerseys and the police had to come out, and then Daniel Gilbert reminded me why it's a good thing he didn't win the bid on the Brewers a few years ago. The moral high ground was thrown back at LeBron before he even had time to react and catch it (which, to be honest, is also good imagery for what could happen to the non-Bosh/Wade players LeBron passes the ball to, if the Heat don't have much luck filling out the rest of that roster on the minimum).
I'm not saying the event wasn't self-serving or narcissistic, but like in most cases with the media, I think they're going overboard.
jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): Giving up Montero and other prospects for Lee seems short-sighted, but if they are able to trade Vazquez and get a decent return, that makes it a good move, no? This assumes Lee > Vazquez by quite a bit...
Marc Normandin: Funny story actually--back in March, at a Boston book event, Kevin Goldstein and I were discussing how Jesus Montero was the Yankees major trading chip, and that they should probably use it to improve the team in 2010 because Montero's future was at DH, which is not a position the Yankees have trouble filling. It may be short-sighted, but it's not exactly tossing away the future either.
Mark (Milwaukee): I've been offered Stephen Drew and Troy Glaus for Zobrist. I've needed a 1B since Morales went down. Does 2nd half Glaus = 1st half and any word on Drew's knee?
Marc Normandin: Is this a keeper league, or single-season?
tommybones (brooklyn): Yanks gonna send Montero and a happy meal for Lee, then flip Vazquez for Werth, Domonic Brown gets the call-up, Yanks & Phils settle it all once again in the World Series. Sound about right?
Marc Normandin: I hope not. Stop trying to squash my dreams of a Padres playoff run!
mcquown (Chicago): I'm blinded by my Cubs fandom. Is Aramis Ramirez back now, or was it just a case of Snakes and pitching not mixing?
Marc Normandin: Remind me next season that if Rodrigo Lopez is in the rotation to pick the team for last place. Ramirez wasn't terrible in June, though it's a small sample, and he's looked great since he came back, though it's also a small sample. Probably worth keeping tabs on or tossing a flyer to if he's available due to someone else giving up in fantasy, but I'm not convinced in the real-world yet.
dianagramr (NYC): Padres need a bat more than an arm, no?
Marc Normandin: Not really. Here's the problem--if the Padres get a bat, they need that bat to be good enough defensively (and enough of an upgrade offensively) to counter the fact that losing playing time of Will Venable or Thin Gwynn is going to hurt their defense. There is no one available on the market for hitters who fits that criteria that they can acquire without giving up far too much of their post-2010 team. The need for a pitcher is there for a few reasons--Correia is the weak link in the rotation, so an upgrade on him would be appreciated, and Latos is going to need to miss time in order to keep his number of starts down, per Jed Hoyer.
don (lansing): Is this Vazquez-to-the-Padres thing a legit rumor or just a Padres' fan's daydreaming?
Marc Normandin: Buster Olney is the one who brought it up this morning, not I. Otherwise it would be daydreaming, as you said.
Frank (Lumberton): Is it time for the Red Sox to punt Matsuzaka...he is unbearable to watch and his results are awful too.
Marc Normandin: Matsuzaka is still pitching like he has stuff infinitely worse than what he was. He pitches scared, doesn't challenge hitters--you can basically guess what he is going to do with each pitch after he gets a hitter 1-2 or 0-2, and if I can guess it, you can bet that the players who have to hit against him can guess as well. I try to watch something else on the nights when he pitches, if you want me to be completely honest.
tommybones (brooklyn): What would the Padres possibly give the yanks which would be worth Vazquez?
Marc Normandin: I was wondering that myself, but again, this is Olney's baby, not mine. I'm just hoping he's right.
Joe (Altoona): Ryan Doumit trade value is what in your opinion?
Marc Normandin: In real life or in fantasy baseball? The lines are so blurred for me sometimes!
mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): So, in light of what the Mariners got for 1/2 season of Lee and what they gave the Phils for 1 1/2 seasons of Lee, can we definitively say Ruben Amaro should be fired and/or forced to sit through infinite LeBron specials?
Marc Normandin: Ruben Amaro is a good antidote for a nasty case of the Minayas. It will be interesting to see if he decides to make a play for 2010 by acquiring Vazquez when they could have just kept Lee and been better off.
ss451 (Detroit): Will the Braves make a deal for Josh Willingham? If not, are there are any other realistic options to patch their hole in outfield offense?
Marc Normandin: I keep hearing Corey Hart is someone they are looking at--most of you know how I feel about Hart. I was so disappointed he tanked last year, but I'm elated he's back in it this year. It would be good to see him on the Braves as they try to recapture a division title for the first time in awhile.
Ryan V. (San Jose, CA): Video game Matsuzaka is unbearable, as well. In my season on MLB The Show, I play every game except his starts, because his windup is so ungodly slow that I get bored by the second inning...
I just don't get that guy. He should be SOOOOO flippin' good, but he's barely league-average.
Marc Normandin: I need to start a Dice-K Club for those who are emotionally distraught over his continued performance, existence, what have you. I'm sure members of the Red Sox front office will attend.
dianagramr (NYC): Given Lee's incredible walk rate, Strat needs a way to have a pitcher negate walks on the hitter's card.
Marc Normandin: I wish we could watch Cliff Lee face Jeff Francoeur 100 times in a row, as a social experiment. Would Francoeur learn anything? At-bat after at-bat, he would be systematically dismantled in 3-4 pitches, and probably never move the average up as you went deeper into the 100 PA count.
Bobby (Iraq): So is Feliz going to get Paplebbon'd and Chamberlain'd long term?
Marc Normandin: I don't think so, not yet. He's been great out of the bullpen, but I don't think he's been Jonathan Papelbon levels of great. It makes no sense to sacrifice 130 innings in order to keep him in the pen long-term--you have to be pretty amazing to make that worth it, something Tommy Bennett and I discussed earlier in the season.
lyndon (Forsaken, OH): How reasonable should our expectations be for Volquez and the other Zimmerman upon their returning to action?
Marc Normandin: Someone traded me Jordan Zimmermann ($1 Zimmermann!) in exchange for Jorge Posada, who I was not going to keep. I couldn't hit accept fast enough (I took over a rebuilding keeper league--Posada was kept specifically to do something like this).
I'm not sure if he'll be great in 2010--especially since he may be out until September, but if you're in a keeper league he's a guy worth looking at. Volquez has great stuff but has been a bit overrated because of his first-half performance in his rookie season. I think he'll be good upon his return, but the idea people have in their head of what he is capable of seems distorted to me.
Lane (Austin): Where do you see Latos being drafted next year in a 12-team league?
Marc Normandin: If he keeps it up, I think he'll be picked along with the second-tier of starters. Unlike this season, where he had an average draft position in the Joe Blanton range. I think a lot of people were surprised he was this good, but I was debating buying a Latos jersey heading into the season, so I own him on all of my teams except AL-only.
Upset Fan (Pittsburgh): Give me one good reason why I should spend my hard earned money to watch the Pirates this season.
Marc Normandin: Because you're a fan of the team, and for once, you have a front office that knows what they are doing when it comes to rebuilding. The front office is acquiring assets that they can build up and flip in order to bring in new assets they can build up and flip, slowly building up the product on the field while at the same time their farm system improves and starts to churn out the players that will matter when the team is relevant again.
It's going to be a long process, but don't blame the front office for a continuation of rebuilding. If the last few regimes hadn't failed at rebuilding, they wouldn't be in this position (and may not even have the jobs they currently hold). You've put up with losing longer than anyone, but now is not the time to give up--things had to be *completely* blown up and rebuilt before they could truly improve, and I trust this front office to bring in the right players and develop talent on the farm more than I ever thought the previous people in charge could.
The Flying Bernard (Narragansett, RI): What should a team expect if they trade for Ted Lilly? I've always liked him, but I noticed his strikeout rate is down this year, and his BABIP seems unusually (unsustainably?) low. Should I expect him to regress in the second half?
Marc Normandin: For most of Lilly's career--2009 being the exception--he's been a guy who should have had (or had) ERAs in the low-to-mid four range. Now that he's missing the strikeouts, I don't expect that to improve. In the right park I would like him, but given his tendency to give up homers, the falling strikeout rate and his need to be perfect with his control, I wouldn't want him being acquired in exchange for much of value.
DanDaMan (Sea Cliff): Marc-
Thanks for the chat. My team is finally playing well and making a surge. Having said that, I'm thinking of selling high on Latos and Bucholtz. Good move? And can you give me a couple of buy low candidates? Appreciate it, Dan
Marc Normandin: I would sell high on Buchholz (unless it's keeper) but Latos is an excellent pitcher with a great defense and the best pitcher's park in baseball behind him. Keep that guy around.
Karen (NY): Combined career all-star appearances for Brandon Wood, Andy Marte, and Cameron Maybin, 0.5, Over or Under?
Marc Normandin: Now there's a depressing thought. I never thought Brandon Wood's approach would translate to the majors--I've been harping on this for five years or so, seriously--but I also didn't think he'd tank *this* hard. Cameron Maybin's ceiling seems to have quickly fallen from "Eric Davis, maybe?" to "Mike Cameron, maybe?" to "Let's just keep our current outfield out there for now". Such an odd situation.
Gigantes (SF): what's your outlook for Madison Bumgarner in the 2nd half? Does he stick w/ SF? And is he worthy of a roster spot in deep mixed leagues?
Marc Normandin: I think he'll stick with San Fran, but yes, the league would need to be deep. He has some potential problems against right-handers, the kind of thing that once major league managers catch the scent of he won't be able to shake (ask Justin Masterson how that works for him with lefties) and his strikeout rates don't translate well into fantasy unless everything else is going perfectly for him. I think he'll be a good pitcher, but he still has a lot of work to do in his development.
Leroy (Brownsville): Last question to sum up all my Padres questions... Seriously, it's July and they're in 1st place. Best record in the National League, no less. We're past fluke territory. My question is: how? I love the Padres, but seriously... how are they doing it? Winning all their games 3-2? I'm having trouble seeing how the pitching and defense is making up for that lineup. The roster is full of waiver bait and unspectacular AAA players. Some BP analysis is long overdue on this topic.
Marc Normandin: My Twitter account has basically been BP's response to why they are in first place (and as those of you who follow me know, I never shut up about it). I actually recorded an episode of the podcast last night with Kevin Goldstein and Jason Parks to talk about this very subject, so keep an ear out for it. At some point I'll go into full detail about it on the site though, promise.
Marcus (Sweden): If you were the projected number 1 pick in the upcoming draft, you would choose Scott Boras as your advisor right?
Marc Normandin: There is no other agent, as far as I'm concerned. (Sorry, everyone else).
Strasmas (DC): I've been offered Javy Vazquez for Garza straight up. I've been inclined to turn it down, but if Javy goes to Petco, should I reconsider?
Marc Normandin: I'm pretty sure Javy Vazquez would be unstoppable in Petco. Every homer in New York would be a long fly out, and the defense behind him is as good as the one he would leave behind, if not better. I have to stop thinking about this, because if they don't end up dealing the Yankees help in the bullpen (Note: I realized the Padres currency in a deal with the Yankees means bullpen help, which they need and the Padres are literally overflowing with) I will has a sad.
rawagman (Toronto): Marc - very excited for the potential of a BP fantasy game. When do we get our next hint?
Marc Normandin: When my bosses take the duct tape off of my mouth. I really, really want to tell you guys about it, but we're only at the teaser trailer stage, not the trailer with substance stage.
Fellow Padre Fan (Badass and Worldwide): Padres have the best run differential in the NL. League-average offense (seriously, check Baseball Reference) and an above-average pitching staff. How does a fan of both the Padres and BP not know this? Leroy, I'm disappointed.
Marc Normandin: We have them as a bit below-average via TAv, partially due to some of the injuries they have encountered I would think. But the point stands--the idea is to outscore your opponents, and the Padres have been doing that.
It's not like they batted Jose Lopez cleanup for months or wasted at-bats on players everyone just wished would retire so they could stop ruining their personal memories of said player. Also, the Padres defense is better than that team's, and so are the pitchers.
Henry (Rochester): who's a better fantasy bet for next year, Lindstrom or Gregerson?
Marc Normandin: Depends on if Mike Adams is the guy who gets traded by the Padres in exchange for a hitter/pitcher this year. If Adams is still around I think he'll be the closer before Gregerson.
don (lansing): Bud Norris: really nice K rate plus ridonkulous BABIP and LOB equals him a much worse ERA than he should have - you buying in a 12 team league?
Marc Normandin: Norris still has no idea where the ball is going when he throws it, and Houston's defense is horrendous. They're converting 62 percent of balls in play into outs. Toss Norris in a vacuum, free of his current context, and I'm buying. As an Astro? I think this analyst has the right idea:
TMZ (Philly): Do you think that any of the Jayson Werth rumors involving teammates wives are true? All over the internet today.
Marc Normandin: I was going to call Delonte West later to see how he felt about the issue. No comment as of now though!
James (Fairport): Is there any doubt that Bruce is a better keeper than Huff next year (same price)?
Marc Normandin: No doubt at all, but you could probably move Huff for a shiny bauble given his current performance.
Stu (Boston): Next to Baseball what is your favorite sport to watch?
Marc Normandin: Basketball! Basketball is actually my favorite sport to attend in person, though baseball is my #1 overall.
SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): i am pretty sure Werth can do better than West did with LBJ's mom.
Marc Normandin: I'm sure Mrs. LeBron is a perfectly nice woman.
Aaron (YYZ): Marc, any thoughts on DQIX for the DS? Worth a pickup to fill the commute time on the train?
Marc Normandin: I can't wait to get it, honestly. They are going to be supporting it with DLC as well, which is almost unheard of for a handheld game. I haven't started Persona 3 Portable yet because I know once Sunday comes around I'm going to dork out with Dragon Quest IX Ichiro style.
stewbies (rochester): Who would you rather have in your lineup for the rest of this year - Jose Lopez, Wigginton or Thome? Obviously Wiggie takes a big hit if he's traded into a reserve role. And isn't Demel getting closer to getting his closing shot in AZ?
Marc Normandin: Thome! Jim Jam likes to mash taters, and all that good stuff. Thome has been a beast since coming back to the American League years ago, but no one noticed it seems.
Zooey (LA): What is a better small gift for my BF, getting cheap seats for a Dodgers game or tickets to Inception?
Marc Normandin: Dodgers game! Any seats that aren't directly behind a support beam are good seats in my opinion. I can't wait to see Inception, but Dodgers game wins out here.
Howie Mandel (Holding a metal case): If your infield is dramatically improved, you are a groundball pitcher, and you have a low BABIP don't those factors sort balance out and not scream regression? See Clay Buchholz.
Marc Normandin: Yes and no. Buchholz is well past the point of this being due to his infield--I don't expect to fall all the way back to his SIERA, but I also don't expect him to keep his ERA where it is.
mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): With Lee that means the Yankees have six starters for five slots. Barring an injury we don't know about, it would seem that Vazquez would be the odd man out, but do you think there's any chance the Yankees are self-defeating enough to move Phil Hughes back to the pen?
Marc Normandin: I don't think the Yankees would mind separating themselves from Vazquez, and he's the most probable one to move due to his contract, whereas Burnett is firmly rooted in New York because his isn't running out as soon. Hughes will most likely stay in the rotation.
Jquinton82 (NY): Speaking of your Cliff Lee experiment with Francour.... Lee Vs Ted Williams 100 PA's - How does that one turn out?
Marc Normandin: Assuming Williams is as good now relative to the league as he was in his day, I would say about as well as Pujols vs. Lee for 100 at-bats. Hitters inherently fail more often than they succeed, but I'm sure Teddy would make a show of it.
Franny (Salingerville): The Yanks' offer seems a lot for rental, but then maybe there is a bit of an incentive for a team like the Yanks to overpay in such deals, thereby creating a stronger seller's market for this year and years beyond since they are not as reliant on their farm as other teams are. Crazy?
Marc Normandin: I just don't think Montero means as much to New York in a Yankees uniform as he does in the uni of another team--they're aware of this, and are fine with dealing him. They keep some of their prospects and they deal away the ones they don't think they need, it's pretty standard Cashman procedure.
Nordburg (Golfing carrying memorabilia): Who closes in Seattle? Is League still the next best thing if Aardsma is traded or continues to blow saves?
Marc Normandin: Brandon League is supposedly their best trade chip, so neither of them might stay. I don't think the Mariners are too worried about who is going to close games.
Prediction Man (Predictor Land): Do you trade Gregerson for Vazquez straight up?
Marc Normandin: Sure, if Vazquez signs a long-term deal before he puts on a Padres uni. Otherwise the Yankees can get their grubby mitts off of Luke. He's strong in the Force, that one.
Richard Christy (Brunch): What type of 1B would you target if you dealing Ubaldo in a keeper league with no restrictions on the amount of time a player can be kept?
Marc Normandin: Before his ERA climbs any higher, I would go for the Miguel Cabrera/Adrian Gonzalez of the world. Cabrera may be tough because he's also having his best season, but Ubaldo looks like a shiny prize to many right now. He'll regress/is already regressing, so you have to move fast to make this work.
Lane (Austin): Have the Braves reclaimed the crown as far as evaluating pitching talent goes? They fell off for a while (trading Wainright, etc) but now their system is once again completely loaded with pitching talent. Do you feel they should use some of it to acquire a bat?
Marc Normandin: They could--their offense is above-average, but not their strongest suit. The Braves front office has some very bright people in it who I respect, and I don't think people noticed how good they were the past few years. Injuries have slowed their rise to the top of the division considerably. If they have arms they don't think they will miss and they can get a hitter they need, they will do it, I think. But only if their present day need outweighs the future repercussions of dealing young arms.
Ichiro (Seattle): True or False, if I wanted to, I could have a .300 BA or higher even if I was 45 years old while playing in the majors.
Marc Normandin: Let's just say that if Ichiro wanted to be the all-time hits leader, I think he could be, and do so without inserting himself into the lineup in order to crawl his way to it.
Randy (Seattle): Would you rather have BJ Upton or Delmon Young for the next decade? Seems like the Rays might not end up wanting either of them.
Marc Normandin: Upton, easy. He's one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball, and while I wish he'd hit a bit more, you can't argue with his production. People like to put him down because they think he should be something greater than he is, but that misses the point. He's still valuable, and you can't ignore that.
Marky (Kansas City): Is Dayton Moore the biggest prospect GM bust in the past 2 decades?
Marc Normandin: Moore is so difficult to categorize. I can see what he's doing, which is slowly rebuilding the team Rays' style, but I don't think he has the chops to be in charge once the prospects who can change the franchise's fortunes are in place at the major league level. Someone else is going to need to step up and put the final pieces in place, if his past history is any indication.
Tim (San Diego): Bigger first half surprise, the Padres tied for the best record in the NL or Jose Bautista as your HR leader?
Marc Normandin: Jose Bautista, to be completely honest. I had the Padres in last place but finishing with around 80 wins, a decent team in a tough division. I didn't have Jose Bautista finishing with anything besides a dull whimper.
Hell Boy (AAA): David Price is currently the ___ best pitcher in baseball?
Marc Normandin: David Price is really good, and has a lot of upside, but he's not so good that his mid-2's ERA isn't the product of luck.
Jason (Blaine, MN): Dynasty Points League question: I stand to lose Yovani Gallardo as a FA after the season, and we have a rule that FAs can't be traded after August 15th. I'm in second and competitive. Given that my fellow owners know my dillema, what sort of arm or what sort of bat should I expect?
Marc Normandin: Depends on how much of a collective jerk your fellow owners are.
Kirk (AZ): Are we in for the Adam LaRoche show per usual this summer?
Marc Normandin: I hope so! I wish his brother had some of that second-half magic (as I'm sure the Pirates wish as well).
Tony (Boston, MA): Does Chris Perez have the goods to be a solid Closer in the years (months) ahead for the Indians?
Marc Normandin: I don't think he'll be as frustrating as Kerry Wood has been, but he's not an elite option for the position. He will however pick up saves, and if that's what you need, he should deliver.
Daniel (Ether): Is Andy Marte destined to haunt BP forever? Your #1 overall prospect ranking led me to keep Marte on my keeper team for three years before finally cutting ties. Now I'm gun-shy about Jay Bruce, whom I also hold.
Marc Normandin: To be fair, I think the entire world thought Andy Marte was the Next Big Thing. Everyone except the Braves and Red Sox were collectively wrong about Marte.
Jack Black (Hollywood): So who is the Real Kungfu Panda? Sandoval seems out of shape and lost compared to last season.
Marc Normandin: Jack, I just want to say that I loved you in Brutal Legend. Tell Tim Schafer I said hi!
Goose (Chicago): So now that the Cubs are in a position of strength with Ted Lilly, how will Jim Hendry screw this up? Maybe offering him a late no trade clause like half the team already has? Why are the Cubs letting a lame duck GM control the July trades?
Marc Normandin: You know, you guys should use Cleveland to make yourself feel better. I'd like to see a depressed fan-off between you two.
Rich Gedman (RI): What do you think we get out of Josh Beckett and what types of SP's would you lump him with for a second half ranking?
Marc Normandin: If his back is okay, he'll be as good as he always is. He's not Lester, but he's pretty great. If his back isn't okay, well...it may be a long summer of Dice-K in Boston.
caseyj15 (Medford, OR): Is Alex Gordon going to die in Triple A?
Marc Normandin: Alex Gordon will star in a remake of Bull Durham, right when he's about to set the minor league record for homers, and also after the Royals have decided he's not an outfielder and should now catch.
Then when he's *finally* recalled, he'll back up Jason Kendall, a job that sees less action than a police officer stationed in Sandford, England.
dianagramr (NYC): Did you see "Toy Story 3", and admit it ... did you shed a couple of tears at the end?
Marc Normandin: I haven't seen it yet, but I would like to. Pixar, generally, comes out with some excellent movies.
Ryan (Chicago): Does Dom Brown's K-rate concern you at all? 63 Ks in roughly 325 PAs?
Marc Normandin: Strikeouts only bother me when the way they pile up is counter productive. There's a huge difference between Ryan Howard striking out nearly 30 percent of the time (he's patient, waits for something to drive, doesn't always get it) and Brandon Wood doing it (Brandon Wood has no idea what he is doing at the plate). Why does Brown strike out?
Aaron (YYZ): Any thoughts on how to introduce some sort of free agency into a "keep everyone forever" type of dynasty league without removing all the fun from the top teams by gutting the rosters they've developed?
Marc Normandin: Do me a favor--shoot me an e-mail, and we'll get some feedback from the other fantasy guys for you.
Stuey (Ireland): Which team is LeBron going to sign with?
Marc Normandin: The Michigan Tropics.
Jim (Iowa): Suppose you are the GM for a not-so-good club. Not one of the bottom feeders, but the next tier up (Cubs, KC, Oakland, Florida). Next year's draft is loaded at the top. Do you throw in the towel (start playing the kids,resting the vets, innings limits on young pitchers, longer stays on the DL for the injured) to try and nab a top 5 pick, or do you keep the pedal to the floor?
Marc Normandin: There's some debate right now as to whether current performance and placement in the standings affects attendance and fan interest enough to make that more problematic than useful. Jack Z seems to think it's problematic, which is one reason they traded for Russell Branyan. I'm curious to see how this discussion plays out amongst the analysis community, honestly.
Trevor27 (Miami): Think Ben Zobrist could pull off a 15/30 type season when all is said and done?
Marc Normandin: I do love Zorilla. His power has kind of cratered this year, but I don't know if it's gone forever. I can see that happening for sure.
sharkey (MPLS): In re: Aaron's question about dynasty leagues, the way my league does it is to charge a $3 premium each year you keep a player (get him at auction for $8, pay $11, $14, $17, etc.). It works pretty well for us in that the super-premium guys rather quickly reach $60+, while still providing incentive to grab and develop youngsters. Just an idea.
Marc Normandin: What he said.
No, I don't want to trade Adrian now (San Diego): Can you be the one stathead out there with a forum to collectively tell the rest of the community, that, as a fan, there's real happiness in a playoff run even if your team isn't built to win a World Series?
Marc Normandin: As long as you aren't hurting your future while gunning for the playoffs--and the Padres are intent on balancing the now with the later--then it is a fantastic feeling to be in the hunt, even if you think the chances of reaching the ultimate goal are slim. Everyone has been trying to bring me down about the Padres since April, but they're playing with house money, and I'm loving every second of it. I can't tell you how many times I've used the hashtag #FirstPlacePadresFever on Twitter, which is a combination of previous efforts from myself and Jeff Sullivan (who, by the way, you should all be reading.)
Ben B (San Diego): Vasquez has a limited no trade clause covering the NL and AL West, so he'd have to want to come to San Diego. Seems like that would be a large obstacle, especially when apparently East Coast teams like the Phillies are interested in him.
Marc Normandin: While true, my hope is that Vazquez's no trade to the NL West has more to do with the Arizona and Colorado's of the world than the San Diego's. Petco is your friend Javy, trust in the Petco. It will take care of you, I promise.
Rob (Alaska): I'm not sure there's an answer to this or if it's even a question, but as a fantasy owner what Colorado is doing to Chris Iannetta is actually making me root for him to be dealt to Florida for Uggla even though I'm a Rockies fan. Will there be an end to this suffering??
Marc Normandin: The answer is I have Miguel Olivo and don't want Iannetta to play, even if I know it's wrong of me to want the better player to be sitting. I agree with you though, I wish they would deal him somewhere if they aren't going to use him.
Snack Flag (NY): Favorite Kyuss album? How do you feel about Acid King?
Marc Normandin: I go back and forth between Welcome to Sky Valley and Blues for the Red Sun. Whichever one I'm currently listening to is my favorite, though if you pressed me, I would say Sky Valley is my preference. I haven't listened to Acid King--I assume this is something I should fix?
Jack (Boston): How'd you end up liking Just Cause 2, and what interesting sandbox-style games are out there or on the horizon? RDR just isn't hooking me (terrible voice work from the main guy isn't helping)
Also, iPhone games. Got any recs? Not your beat?
Marc Normandin: I haven't played Just Cause 2 much--there was a wave of games I was interested in that released all at once, and I spent a few weeks with those. Sin & Punishment 2, DeathSmiles, Transformers: War for Cybertron--all great. I also played Crackdown 2, though I'm not as enthused by that despite loving the original. iPhone's not my beat, sorry! I'm an Android guy, so I don't get a chance to see those.
Red Dead is sitting on my shelf unopened still. I'll get to it eventually, but I just haven't bothered yet.
Ryan (Chicago): You are the expert...why does Brown strike out?
Marc Normandin: Not for any reason that will cause long-term damage. He'll whiff plenty, and he's not going to be a high batting average guy like he has been in the minors, but it's not going to cause any problems in his performance.
shamah (NYC): If you're in a draft league, you can also do a 2-round (or 3, or whatever) penalty based on draft round. So if you draft a guy in the 11th round, to keep him the next season you forfeit a 9th rounder (or 8th rounder, etc). Keeps the premium players in the draft, since you can't keep players drafted in the first two or three rounds, and makes other keepers get prohibitively expensive pretty quickly.
Marc Normandin: More ideas!
Nick (Yonkers): Do you agree that if the Washington Generals signed Lebron James everything would be different today? Like, Dan Gilbert couldn't possibly write that nasty letter. We'd all understand.
Marc Normandin: Colin Wyers and I were discussing this last night--everything LeBron James did is justified because it made Daniel Gilbert write that letter, and the world is a better, happier place because of the existence of that letter. It's utilitarianism at its finest--Cleveland (the small) is suffering, but everyone else (the big) is overjoyed because of the letter, and it's all thanks to LeBron's actions showing us that Daniel Gilbert believes in black magic and cursing. Also that he loves quotation marks.
sharkey (MPLS): In my aforementioned dynasty league: we score heavily based on OPS. What are the odds that Dexter Fowler becomes are more valuable keeper than Denard Span by the end of the year, assuming they will cost the same coin?
Marc Normandin: I still don't like Dexter Fowler as a source of stolen bases, especially relative to Span. And I still like Span's power potential over Fowler's, though he hasn't shown much in that regard this season. Fowler's stock is rising for sure, but I'm a big fan of Span.
dianagramr (NYC): Speaking of "cratering power", do you think Twins or Mets will move fences in next year?
Marc Normandin: Of course that field probably isn't helping Span either.
doog7642 (Blaine, MN): Re: Gallardo -- Hopefully self-interest wins out. Are either Haren or Verlander a fair return in a dynasty league?
Marc Normandin: I wouldn't trade Verlander for Gallardo, but you might be able to get someone to bite on Haren. Unless of course the Verlander guy is in the same situation as you and needs to deal him.
Johnny (New York): so is it fair to say that Dice-K has been a bust?
Marc Normandin: Why do you have to be such a downer, Johnny? :-(
Snoop (Green Day): So um are you going to be rooting for the Dutch to win the World Cup because of the "gift" a certain lady is offering?
Marc Normandin: I have no idea what you're talking about. Seriously. What?
Marc (Summer School): Do you have any second half sleepers or buy low candidate you would target?
Marc Normandin: Upcoming article!
Victor31 (San Diego): Keeper League 5x-5x, what kind of return should Span get back?
Marc Normandin: A thing to remember with Span--his rate stats are low due to a horrific start, but he's been more aggressive on the basepaths in terms of how often he runs, and he's been more successful in terms of how often he is caught. He's a better bet to steal bases than his current totals show in the future, assuming he doesn't start each season by throwing away 100 at-bats.
Span isn't a top-tier outfielder, but you should be able to acquire some solid second-tier talents in return for him. I'm perfectly happy to keep him at $17 in a mixed league, if that helps you any.
Grease (Marleyville): It seems like there are more CGs this year than in years past. Am I crazy?
Marc Normandin: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and all of those no-hitters sure make it seem like a common occurrence, eh?
The Flying Bernard (Narragansett, RI): Have you played any decent games on the iPad?
Marc Normandin: I don't own one, so I haven't played anything on the iPad. I <3 my Toshiba NetBook.
DS (LA): Hi Marc, thanks for the chat and your great work. Just wanted to get your thoughts on Wandy Rodriguez. Do you think he's a good bet to bounce back the second half and a good bet to be a quality starting pitcher over the next few years?
Marc Normandin: I'm concerned by the drop in strikeouts and the defense behind him, but I still like Wandy for a rebound. I'll write something up about him soon--I've been looking at his numbers lately to try to get a feel for what it is we can expect.
Jack (Boston): Ok, if you can't supply any iPhone game recs to get me through the next 1:45, how about PSN or XBOX live downloadables? Preferably something accessible with simultaneous multiplayer. Looking for games I can get into and out of quickly with the lady or when friends come over
Marc Normandin: Castle Crashers! Perfect Dark! Geometry Wars Evolved! South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play!
dcoonce (bloomington indiana): Padres fan here. The only complaint I have with the media regarding the Padres is that they continually argue that the Padres pitching is illusory, because of Petco, but ignore the converse - that the Padres hitting may just be better than they think, because of Petco. It works both ways.
Marc Normandin: I am so annoyed at people referencing their offense as being one of the worst in the league and then citing counting stats as proof. Yes, things don't look amazing via adjusted stats like TAv either, but there's a huge difference between "a bit below-average" and "worst in the league".
Snack Flag (Ny): Acid King is pretty heavy, female singer and guitarist...seems to be up your alley. Check out Busse Woods and/or III.
Should the Red Sox go after anyone this summer, or are the injuries too much? Is a guy like Werth or Dejesus enough of an improvement over what we're trotting out there?
Marc Normandin: I'm kind of content to sit back and let things work themselves out, given the injury situation. Maybe they sneak in this way, maybe they don't, but spending your future in a bridge year is not something I want to do.
nschaef (NYC): You and I agreed on holding on to Adam Jones back in May, and it panned out. What are your expectations for Sandoval for the rest of this year? Too talented to fail?
Marc Normandin: I still think Sandoval is a lot like Nomar Garciaparra, but he's been having a down year for sure. In single-season leagues I may think about replacing him, but unless his price is unbearable, I would hold onto him in keeper leagues.
Brian Cashman (NY): I will run over old ladies in my quest for another WS ring.
Marc Normandin: You wouldn't run them over, you would just trade them whatever parts you weren't using in your own system to acquire what you need.
don (lansing): I play in a couple dynasty leagues where this is handled well. There's a salary cap and each player is assigned (roughly) his real life salary, such that it costs 25 times more to own A-Rod than it does to own Longoria. Each player has a contract term ranging from 1-5 years, and when a contract expires, you can only re-sign him at a premium price (for example, to resign a guy with a $10m real life contract ends up costing 1/6 of your total cap allowance). Which makes for some hard choices every off-season, and plenty of interesting guys end up going back into the draft pool every year. It's a great way to allow teams to keep the guys they love - if they're ready to pay for them - and get a lot of talent moving around the league.
Marc Normandin: You guys are great.
Snoop (Green Day): Marc, google Bobbie Eden and World Cup. NSFW warning
Marc Normandin: You know, sloppy seconds is debatable enough--do we really have people excited about sloppy 23,000ths?
dcoonce (bloomington indiana): Could Javier Vazquez for Blanks seem reasonable? Blanks hasn't contributed to the Padres at all this year, isn't an outfielder and the Yankees could turn him into the DH he is probably born to be, with occasional guest spots in Left Field.
Marc Normandin: I don't think that would do it for New York, unless it allowed the Padres to give up a lesser reliever. Hoyer is intent on developing the young hitters they have, and Blanks is one of them.
sharkey (MPLS): So, Jurrjens has been a disaster so far, but do you think he can be a useful starter in the second half? I'm a bit below pace for our IP limit, so he wouldn't have to replace anyone I've been using to this point.
Marc Normandin: He was definitely overrated thanks to 2009, but this is much more regression than I expected. His peripherals should even out and drop his SIERA and ERA eventually.
SeanDoyle (Toronto): Re: Snoop's World Cup question, there's some adult film star offering her "services" to her Twitter followers if the Netherlands win.
Blue Jays question: do you see a market for Alex Gonzalez or All-Stars (!) John Buck / Jose Bautista if the Jays are sellers at the deadline?
Marc Normandin: I just wanted to post a question with "adult film star" and Alex Gonzalez in it. Gonzalez? Not a worthwhile market. Buck, maybe, since catching is at a premium. Bautista--I don't know if anyone wants to touch that. In my mixed keeper league, Bautista is still a free agent. I would hope that every GM in baseball is at least that aware of how these things work.
Mark (Vegas): Who do you think is going to win the Stanley Cup next season?
Marc Normandin: Andy Roddick.
Jquinton82 (NY): Doesn't the Cliff Lee strengthen the Yanks bullpen by default since Lee tends go deep into games like CC?
Marc Normandin: Yes, but as Boston likes to continuously prove, you can never have too many bullpen options. *grumble*
Aaron (YYZ): Cost accelerators make a ton of sense in a Keeper League, but the big draw for me in a Dynasty League is the larger retained roster and the idea that if you love Kevin Youkilis and have tracked him since he was drafted, you can keep him as long as you want, grow old with him, shed tears as he retires...
Marc Normandin: I'm so much more heartless than that.
mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Your idea of a great hitter vs. a great pitcher is a great one. I would love to watch Lee vs. Pujols or Sabathia vs. Pedroia for 100 at-bats. That'd be some must see TV.
Marc Normandin: Remember the old Home Run Derby show they used to run on ESPN Classic? They should do that again, except with the intention of the pitching getting the hitter out.
Orville (NOLA): Where do you stand on the Vlad resurgence and will this come to a crashing halt or could he continue for even years in Texas as a productive force in that lineup?
Marc Normandin: The most encouraging thing about it is that he's also hitting on the road--not as well as in Texas, obviously, but he's very productive outside of Arlington. I like this to continue in 2010. Sticking at DH as often as he has may be paying off for his health.
Nick (NYC): What do you think of Pedro Alvarez the rest of the year, and as a keeper option for next year and the year after?
Marc Normandin: I like Alvarez in NL-only this year, but he's not a keeper in mixed leagues yet. Deep leagues though, he's someone to keep an eye on already, despite early struggles.
Ben L (NYC): If you can pick just one, which Metroid action figure do you think of as "the one that got away?"
Marc Normandin: Ben Lindbergh, everybody! Seriously though, I had to stay off of Play-Asia for months until a limited edition Samus Aran figure was no longer available. It cost about $130, but seriously, look at this thing.
statham (Toronto): I am attending a game this evening in which the Jays will be employing Jose Molina as their "designated hitter". What historical significance is this likely to have? Should I buy extra seats for my small children?
Marc Normandin: Buy them all something to remember the game by, and record every at-bat. Cherish this moment.
sharkey (MPLS): So we touched on Dom Brown earlier, but what's a realistic line for him if Philly indeed moves an OF to give him some playing time this summer?
Marc Normandin: .280/.350/.475
ekanenh (capitol city): More likely to show up at a baseball game this season: Oliver Perez or Amelia Earhart? My HackingMass team would like to know.
Marc Normandin: Amelia Earhart always had better control than Perez.
Ben Lindbergh (NYC): How dare you blow my cover like that.
Marc Normandin: Oh, it's on Lindbergh. Now that you're chatting, our fake rivalry can flourish and hopefully bring in page views.
Namdies (Philly): Hey Marc, I just added you on Twitter and ... dude, has anyone ever told you that you look like Charlie from Always Sunny? I love that show! I love your chats! Please tell me you own some kitten mittens.
Marc Normandin: Yes. Except I (generally) wear pants, and I don't sniff glue or eat cat food.
JD Sussman (ny): Marc, here are some great Dynasty with FA and minor rules from my league http://metsrock.50webs.com/rules.html. He can e-mail me if he has any questions, email@example.com
Marc Normandin: This one's for you Aaron. JD is good people.
mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Latest from Joel Sherman is the Mariners are backing off the Yankees offer and it doesn't look like Yankees are in it any more. Please let that be true!
Marc Normandin: He also said another team has come on hard--the concern is over Adams' ankle. I wonder who that other team is. Obviously someone with prospects to trade at the upper levels...
mwball75 (Cinny, OH): Who would you rather have in a lifetime keeper league:
Marc Normandin: I like Domonic Brown a lot, and as much as I think Hellickson is a success waiting to happen, I don't like to bet that much on pitchers when there's a more sure thing waiting on the offensive side of the ball.
mwball75 (Cincy, OH): Need a MI till utley comes back in a h2h points league. Waiver wire:
J. Hairston (that one's for you dude!)
Marc Normandin: It has to be Callaspo, as long as he keeps getting at-bats.
Mike W (Chicago): Sandford - nice reference.
Wouldn't it be cool if the Yankees draw this out and then drop it, and it turns out it was all just a way to duck Lee this weekend? Now that's Evil Empire stuff.
Marc Normandin: I don't know if anyone else got it, or if they just don't care. Either way Edgar Wright is upset with them, and the only way to make it up to him is to watch Scott Pilgrim when it comes out.
mwball75 (Cincy, OH): OK, Callaspo or Gordon Beckham (I'll have to waive Gordon)
Marc Normandin: I'm getting ready to give up on Gordon in one league, but I can afford to wait the year because it's a rebuilding team. This is short-term, so go with Callaspo.
Phil (NJ): More likely to make an impact at the major league level this year: Alex Gordon or Dom Brown?
Marc Normandin: Well as long as Ruben Amaro doesn't decide that Dom Brown is actually a third baseman and needs to go back to the minors, Dom Brown. Assuming room is made for him.
sharkey (MPLS): Jake Arrieta or Edinson Volquez for the rest of 2010?
Marc Normandin: Arrieta's K/BB ratio isn't inspiring much confidence, and he has to face the rest of the AL East.
Unrelated, Arrieta is 22 days older than I am, apparently.
Jake (Seattle): I have read various reports that the Cubs intend on keeping Andrew Cashner in the bullpen longterm...so why were they stretching him out as a starter in the Minors. If you say experience I am going to lose it.
Marc Normandin: I would prefer not to get into the head of the Cubs front office.
Mike W (Chicago): Scott Pilgrim will rock. Epically.
Marc Normandin: I heard Michael Cera plays a character besides Michael Cera for once. I'll believe it when I see it, but that's promising.
Goose (Chicago): Blackhawks, debate over...plus the Cubs will be good again for certain some day, Indians...questionable.
Marc Normandin: Ouch. You going to take that, Cleveland? I mean, this is a Cubs fan saying it.
Mike W (Chicago): If (wait, when) the Brewers trade Fielder, what would it take to shake loose Ka'aihue from KC? He'd be a nice cheap solution for them, and the Royals obviously don't value him highly.
Marc Normandin: I'm of the mind that the Royals don't value their own players properly relative to their other players, but will ask for a lot in exchange for guys like Gordon or Ka'aihue when it comes to dealing them outside of the organization. Which of those is a bigger problem for the future of that team is a matter of perspective, I guess.
Mike W (Chicago): Gregerson's hit a speed bump lately - mid-season tiredness from much usage, or random noise?
Marc Normandin: He's not as good as his ERA suggested, but he's still an excellent arm. I think this is just regression in play, but he's still one of the most important arms in the pen.
Phil (NYC): ESPN is reporting that Cliff Lee has been traded to the Miami Heat.
Marc Normandin: Cliff Lee might end up being part of that rotation too, if they don't get lucky on the free agent market.
Andy (Chicago): I'm currently being sunk by a duo of 3Bmen Sandoval/Stewart with Cantu being only marginally better for me. Should I try to keep any of these guys, or resist including them as part of deals to upgrade my offense?
Marc Normandin: I think Sandoval is worth holding onto, and Stewart has potential. Problem is you would be selling low on all of them. Best to see what the offers are before you make a decision.
ramjam36 (Fort Worth, Tx): I love the fact that the Rangers are winning, but is Ron Washington not the worst game manager in baseball? I mean David Murphy in the 3 hole, Bengie Molina batting betweeen Hamilton and Nellie Cruz. I know that he's a "player's" manager and all, but you could see the disgust in Hambone's face when Wash bunted Molina to get to Cruz after a leadoff double...ok done ranting...thoughts?
Marc Normandin: I haven't seen enough of his day-to-day nature to know if he's a problem in that sense, but I've heard some odd things about sac bunts and lineup placement this year.
P (Cleveland): Extremely unlikely that a Cleveland fan is going to take anyone up on that. They seem to relish their status as the most tortured sports city. And in a twisted way it, makes sense--if you can't be happy, at least try to claim you're tougher than anyone else.
But how awesome is Carlos Santana and his .548 secondary average?
Marc Normandin: I love Carlos Santana! I drafted Lou Marson and Santana in an AL-only league (AL catchers are horrific) and was very excited to finally ditch Lou. Santana's going to be special--hell, he already is.
Dan (Milwaukee): You know Kenny Williams is going to do something. What, though . . . your guess?
Marc Normandin: Hopefully send four more pitchers to the Padres in exchange for an injury-prone player.
Neil Peart (Canada): I am the best rock drummer in history (please excuse me Mr. Moon and Mr. Bonham)
Marc Normandin: At worst, you can claim to be Canada's best.
DS (LA): Wanted to get your thoughts on a couple of more pitchers if you have time. How do you like Kris Medlen and Ian Kennedy going forward? Do you think they will develop into starting pitchers who can keep their runs allowed per 9 IP to around 4? Thanks again!
Marc Normandin: I would like Kennedy more if the homers weren't a problem--that's going to make it tough to keep his ERA where you want it long-term. Medlen's numbers wouldn't be as impressive if his walk rate wasn't Cliff Leesian in its appearance, so I'm not sure either of these guys are going to do it for you.
Joe (Altoona): Ryan Doumit's real life value. He's pretty good when he's healthy. Offensively at least.
Marc Normandin: I think Doumit is one of the better catchers around thanks to his bat. Catching is still a weak position across the majors, which makes Doumit valuable. The Pirates could probably pull in something good for him.
Geddy Lee (Canada): Peart kicks ass, no doubt. Too bad I write so few good tunes for him to play on.
Marc Normandin: Ouch. Let's not make fun of Rush, I'll have to tell Jonah Keri so the two of us can gang up on you.
Current indications are the Rangers are the team gunning for Cliff Lee now--I hope they don't do something silly, like trade Justin Smoak within their division.
Roy Halladay (Philly): If I were to retire after this season, would I make it into the HOF?
Marc Normandin: You were/are one of the preeminent starting pitchers of your generation, I'm pretty sure they could find room for you. You were underrated before, but the world appreciates you for your awesomeness now.
Kyle2099 (On a Dock in the Sun): Marc, how would you rank closers in a keeper league? I find that they are often under valued. Who would be your top 5 closers over the next 5 years. Thanks!
Marc Normandin: I'm the wrong person to ask about this, because I try not to spend keeper picks on closers. You need to be super-elite, well above everyone else in order for me to want to do so (unless you're in a league where you get to keep 50% of your roster or something).
P (mn): Should there be any concern that Cleveland is running Carlos Santana into the ground? He's played seventeen days in a row and counting with only one of those games at DH. My team would gladly trade a few off days for a rested, productive catcher.
Marc Normandin: That is worrisome, but let's see if it develops into a Russell Martin-esque trend before we panic too much.
Neil Peart (Canada): Geddy writes lyrics? Since when? Check out our biggest hits ... I'm the mind behind them!
Marc Normandin: Rush is fighting live in front of us. Don't do this in front of the children, Rush!
Tooky (Golden State): I'm starting to get a little bit of a bust vibe from Matt Wieters. Do you still think he will become a franchise player ala close to Joe Mauer?
Marc Normandin: I think Daniel Gilbert might have tried to curse the Baltimore Ravens for skipping town, but instead his black magic missed and he hit the Orioles. I'm not touching that team until their horrific luck stops.
Mo Rivera (NYC): Give me a good reason why I shouldn't get a 100% vote for the HOF?
Marc Normandin: There's no good reason for most of these guys to not reach 100% of the vote.
Kyle2099 (Still on the dock): Don't have to use picks, we protect players. So if you are looking at 5 closers which 5 would be locks for keeping over the next 5 years?
Marc Normandin: Jonathan Broxton, Mo Rivera, Heath Bell. Closers are way too easily replaced and their performance ever-shifting for me to go any deeper than that. Those are the only guys I trust in the entire league.
Padre Fan Wishing Our Farm was Deeper (SD): Reportedly the Rangers are now willing to include Smoak. That's the trump card, right?
Marc Normandin: I would think so. Montero's a future DH, and Smoak is fine at first base. Chris Davis is basically a future Russell Branyan though, so I'm not sure what they think they are doing here, unless Cliff Lee is more than a rental.
Geddy Lee (Canada): Neil's lyrics are often well-reasoned and thought provoking (especially for radio rock), but my actual tunes *stink*. And since we're writing rock songs and not poetry, that's a real problem. Sorry, eh! I'll go back to playing scales on my bass now.
Marc Normandin: Just keep playing YYZ, Geddy. And Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary.
Laura (Florida): What improvements or new features would you like to see in MLB 11 The Show?
Marc Normandin: I want them to implement park effects so that hitters and pitchers talents are better represented when they switch teams in franchise mode.
dianagramr (NYC): Given the Rangers sale quagmire, how is a Lee trade to Texas going to (be allowed to) happen?
Marc Normandin: The excellent Pete Abraham just brought this up on Twitter. Hmm. I wonder if the M's are going to pay salary in order to get a better player back.
Steve (Office Slave): When will this chat end? I have to get some work done today.
Marc Normandin: We're at 3 hours and 40 minutes and this is question #140 that I have answered. When do you guys want it to end?
Bert (Joliet): Ely's past ~25IP have been brutal. Send him to the waiver wire in a very deep mixed league or wait and see if he stabilizes?
Marc Normandin: Ely is having trouble stranding runners--he's been fine with runners on overall, but hitters are teeing off with RISP. Small sample worries, I would say--wait for him to stabilize. He's not amazing, but he's helpful.
Chip (Sf): I am stubborn and stuck with Wandy Rodriguez...is the corner being turned or is it just a bunch of weak opponents? 2nd half outlook for him?
Marc Normandin: I mentioned this earlier, I'll be writing about Wandy soon. I like him a lot, so I'm optimistic, but we'll see if some deeper digging changes my mind.
Dennis (LA): Keeper league question: Assuming you have the space, would you cheaply obtain Jake Peavy this season and stash him away for next year?
Marc Normandin: I'm not so sure. I don't like him in US Cellular still, and he hasn't been keeper-worthy this year even before his shoulder fell apart. If he doesn't cost much, and doesn't keep you from holding onto someone else who may be useful, sure.
dianagramr (NYC): BP Pizza Feed at Citi Field .... how about it?
Marc Normandin: I'm not a New Yorker, but if the New York folks were interested we could see about organizing something. It's not just up to us, of course.
sharkey (MPLS): Keep going; your chats rock. To shoehorn in a question: Delmon Young, over or under 20HR?
Marc Normandin: 19-20 sounds right to me. I still wish he'd develop some patience, but this season is the first actual development he's had in years.
Andy (Chicago): Which closer loses his job first, regardless of cause (injury/ineffectiveness/etc):
Axford, Simon, Street, Wagner
Marc Normandin: Alfredo Simon. John Axford's mustache precludes him from long-term ineffectiveness, and also acts as a self-healing miracle worker.
Phil (NJ): Snider - buy low while he's still on the DL?
Marc Normandin: Si.
frank (vegas): does wheel'n'deal Neal have anything left of value to trade??
Marc Normandin: Doumit? Dotel?
By the way, the Reds are apparently in on this Cliff Lee thing, too.
sweet lou (Pitt): why continue to play Church over Milledge? Certainly there may be something left to see of Milledge that makes this an easy answer (except for John Russell)?
Marc Normandin: I think I've given up trying to figure out what Lastings Milledge's deal is. He hasn't done squat for three years running now.
Tom Waits (SD): TWENTY-FOUR HOUR CHAT!
Marc Normandin: Maybe if someone orders me a pizza and brings me a six-pack.
Cliff Lee (Seattle): I'll be taking my talents to ________.
Marc Normandin: Cuba. Jack Z is going to trade you for the Cuban National Team in order to rebuild the farm system.
Paul the Psychic Octopus (Water): I picked Spain in the final. Who ya got?
Marc Normandin: I honestly had to Google "Spain Final" to even know what you were talking about. I don't know, does Spain have anyone offering sexual gratification in exchange for victory?
dianagramr (NYC): "We're here at the Marc Normandin Chat Telethon ... ummm .... Telethon ... raising funds so that Marc can afford to chat for 24 consecutive hours ... he needs a pizza ... a six-pack ... a good massage ... these things take money people!"
Marc Normandin: We need to make this happen. If people will bring me pizza and beer, I will chat all day long.
Stoney18 (Lincoln NE): Keeper league - would you rather have Josh Johnson & Matt Cain or Strasburg & Latos?
Marc Normandin: Strasburg/Latos. I love Josh Johnson, but that's not even close for me.
DS (LA): Do any comps for Brennan Boesch come to mind? Would you sell high on him in a keeper league?
Marc Normandin: Keeper? Yes. Unless you had Choo and had to pick up Boesch because you're afraid no one else on waivers was going to hit. Not that this happened to me recently. :-(
He's going to be good, but this is way over what he should be producing.
Phil (NJ): Beltran - take a stab at his triple-slash and games played for the 2nd half.
Marc Normandin: 40 G, .280/.380/.475. Not the baserunner he was though.
frank (vegas): best baseball player named Marc? Marc Hill? Marc(us) Giles?? Marc Antony???
Marc Normandin: Players name Marc are rare and kind of suck, unless I'm forgetting someone. There are a bunch of Mark's though. But whatever, they have K's in their name.
Mike Gianella (Philadelphia): Does the Lee trade clarify the Oswalt market or speed things up on that front?
Marc Normandin: Not unless someone trades him while Drayton McClane is taking a nap.
Ryan V. (San Jose, CA): Wow! Let me just express my extreme enjoyment at leaving to grab some lunch (and a few Fat Tires as well), only to come back and find you still chatting. Well done, Marc! You've just secured a spot as one of my heroes!
Marc Normandin: Everyone's a hero in their own way / Everyone's got villains they must face / They're not as cool as mine
Positional Versatility Addict (Betty Ford Center): How do I break my fantasy addiction to players who can fill at least 2-3 fairly different possible positions? It's not that guys like Zobrist and Prado are bad, but they don't seem to be the secret sauce to winning a league either...
Marc Normandin: Having one of them is always important, I feel, especially in leagues with daily changes or in h2h. But overdoing it can cause problems, too. Versatility is part of their value, but versatility isn't a category.
Tom Waits (SD): Marc Kroon? Threw hard, within 90 degrees of home plate most times.
Marc Normandin: I don't like that "most times" there at the end.
Marc Sullivan (Hub): You are forgetting me! I was a whole lot more than just Haywood's kid.
Marc Normandin: My career ended in high school. This isn't going anywhere.
dianagramr (NYC): Mariners go for Deep Purple angle, as the Seattle club prefers Smoak on the Water.
Marc Normandin: I think Daddy's Junky Music used to kick you out if you played the riff to that song on a guitar in the store.
Marc Summers (Orlando, FL): I was pretty athletic on Double Dare, especially while wearing my omnipresent sports coat. But all that dirt on the ballfield OH GOD MUST STAY CLEAN
Marc Normandin: Is Marc Summers still doing that show with food?
Riley Steele (Chatsworth, CA): Marc, if this chat reaches 10hrs, you will receive a special "service" from me.
Marc Normandin: Even though this isn't the real Riley Steele, I would like to think this is the first time a BP author has been propositioned mid-chat.
Nickles (Dime Store, USA): Looks like Lee is going to Texas. Does this mean is ERA will go up a run?
Marc Normandin: The park won't help him, but Texas' defense is the equal of Seattle's, according to Defensive Efficiency. So there's that.
Chip (sf): Lee to Rangers just confirmed.
Marc Normandin: I was right about the money, according to Olney--Seattle is sending the Rangers $2.5M to offset Lee's remaining money in exchange for better prospects.
Henry (Fairport): keeper league - is Ryan Madson a good bet to close next year? trying to decide if I should pull the trigger on a deal...
Marc Normandin: The Phillies have a club option for $12.5M on Lidge--I find it hard to believe they'll pick it up, considering the money trouble they claimed to have run into this winter when it came to keeping Lee. Madson's the man if that's the case, but if Lidge keeps dealing, who knows?
buffum (Austin TX): Can Jason Donald actually play shortstop? Because he hasn't thus far. Who plays 2B for CLE in 2012, Jason Kipnis? Should the Tribe let Jhonny Peralta play SS for two weeks in a desperate attempt to show off his "versatility?" (But seriously: Donald is an atrocious SS.)
Marc Normandin: What's wrong with Asdrubal? Is he going to be gone in 2012, guaranteed?
Henry (Fairport): I think Lidge is signed for 2011 and the 12.5m option is for 2012 - can you double check your answer?
Marc Normandin: Thanks for that--Henry is right. The option is for 2012. So, no, Madson is not a guaranteed closer for 2011, unless Lidge stops pitching well.
frank (vegas): could a small-market team try to get competitive by taking the Petco advantage to the max (ie, fast outfielders, decent pitching, move the fences to 425' in L/R and 475' to CF, etc). Or is the 1/2 season uptick not enough to make it even worthwhile to consider?
Marc Normandin: Seems to be working for San Diego. I don't know if enough teams take advantage of their home field.
mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): I began this chat by asking you what your thoughts on Cliff Lee going to New York were. So, how about your thoughts on Lee going to Texas? Are they a legit World Series contender now?
Marc Normandin: I thought they were a legit World Series contender before the trade, so yes, absolutely. I'm still a little worried about the price they paid--that's a whole lot of talent for a rental. Curious if they'll be in on the bidding to retain his services once a new ownership is in place.
Alex (SF, CA): Is Smoak actually better than Montero? Shouldn't you just try to get the best prospect back?
Marc Normandin: I like Smoak better, honestly. I see visions of a switch-hitting Justin Morneau at his peak.
stewbies (rochester): Fantasy wise, would you agree Texas is probably the worst destination for Lee out of NYY, Seattle and maybe even Cincy?
Marc Normandin: There's really no winner here. Cincy is in it but has the best chance of falling out of it. Texas and New York are both contending with offenses behind them but in parks that will damage his numbers. Seattle stinks, but is in a good pitcher's park, and Lee apparently doesn't need more than 1 or 2 runs a night.
Justin Smoak (On A Airplane): Why do people like me so much? I'm nothing more than a switch hitting Lyle Overbay.
Marc Normandin: I would like to hear your side of the story on that one.
stewbies (rochester): Is Luis Durango a possible starter next year - trying to decide if he's still worth a roster spot in a keeper league?
Marc Normandin: He hasn't hit at all in Portland, so I'm not sure the Padres are in a rush to bring him up. Cunningham seems like the next guy in line, and Blanks is also in the minors again, and they want him to come back eventually.
Guido (WV): Any thoughts on Jose Tabata? Think he'll hit well enough to be a top-of-the-order guy?
Marc Normandin: Yes, though maybe not in 2010.
statham (Toronto): Is Chris Davis going to hit this time?
Marc Normandin: To be fair, he did hit in the second half of 2009, but Texas has a very short leash with him. Not that they can afford to do that now that they dealt Smoak.
mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): If you're the Red Sox, what is your priority at the deadline? Or do you just hope the injured guys coming back is enough? Thanks for the long chat, Marc. I hope someone has brought you that pizza by now. You've certainly earned it.
Marc Normandin: No pizza yet! I think they're just waiting on injured guys to come back. This reminds me of years past where they were content to see how things went and save their ammo for next year.
Jenna Haze (LA): Any team going to call the Jays about Vernon Wells?
Marc Normandin: Even the Vernon Wells Renaissance of 2010 doesn't justify the later years on his extension. Maybe if Toronto wanted to foot (at least) half of the bill.
buffum (Austin TX): Asdrubal Cabrera will be the SS in 2012, AFAIK. Unless Jhonny gets re-upped, then all bets are off. But at 2B, you have Cord Phelps, Jason Kipnis, Jason Donald, and Luis Valbuena. None of whom I want to see on the other side of the diamond.
Marc Normandin: Well there's always trades and free agency I guess.
Estee (Ireland): What's wrong with Aaron Hill this season?
Marc Normandin: I just so happened to write about that this morning: Ask and you shall receive.
I'm thinking of calling it quits in 30 minutes, folks. The fingers, they want to stay, but my stomach disagrees with their sentiment.
frank (vegas): after seeing what the Mariners got in return, is the Phils GM hiding under his desk, or crying in his beer, or ???
Marc Normandin: He's adding a second extension to Ryan Howard's contract to make the bad feelings go away.
Justin Smoak (On A Airplane): Take a look at my minor and MLB resume. I've never been able to hit HR's. I'm a plus defender who works the count and draws a lot of walks.
Marc Normandin: Doesn't mean the power won't come. Can we at least upgrade Lyle Overbay to John Olerud?
sweet lou (Pitt): seriously, how much longer do I need to wait until the Bucs have a .500 season? any Padre-type miracles in the near future?
Marc Normandin: It's hard to say patience to someone who has been waiting since the time before Barry Bonds was considered a Hall of Famer, but that's what it's going to take. I don't know if a Padres miracle is there--they need to fix the defense first. It's making that pitching staff look worse than it is.
dianagramr (NYC): What do you like on your pizza, Marc?
Marc Normandin: Pepperoni and Garlic. Or some mix of 5-6 meats. Really anything except for pineapple or anchovies.
Burt Reynolds (Stroker Ace): OK, so 3 months of Lee gets you Smoak. What do the Mets or Reds have to give up for Oswalt?
Marc Normandin: They need to agree to pay for all of Oswalt's contract and also give up great prospects. Not so promising, that one.
buffum (Austin TX): Will Cliff Lee actually noticed he's been traded? He seems pretty unflappable.
Marc Normandin: Noticed? He confirmed it!
Carlos (Santana): What do the Padres know about putting together awesome bullpens that none of the other 29 teams in baseball seems to be able to figure out? They've been doing it for over a decade. Did any part of it leave with Kevin Towers?
Marc Normandin: I think part of it is Petco, though they also have great pens on the road. Realizing which pitchers are due to Petco and which ones are legitimately good has been one strength. Also realizing that spending a lot of money on a reliever makes far less sense than throwing inexpensive options at the wall and seeing who sticks helps. Stealing relievers from other teams in seemingly minor deals has been huge. There's a lot that goes into it, and I have faith in Jed Hoyer, after seeing it in action in San Diego, can beat out his former boss in this one regard, if no other.
Alex (SF, CA): At the same age Olerud had played one and half years of MLB ball and was starting to improve dramatically. Smoak has yet to do much at all at the MLB level.
Marc Normandin: So because of half-a-season at the major league level, he's a bust? Patience, people. At least let him screw up first.
mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): I know its been less than a year and only half a season, but how would you rate Jed Hoyer as a GM so far?
Marc Normandin: Based on what I know about him from his time in Boston, and what I know of him from listening to him speak to the media in San Diego, I think he's going to be an upper-tier kind of GM.
The best way to put it may be that I was upset Kevin Towers was fired, but then when Hoyer was hired, I felt a lot better about it. Not that I wanted KT replaced, but if he was going to be fired, Hoyer's a replacement I can live with.
Tony Tedeschi (LA): Is this a good time to "buy low" on BJ Upton or is he going to hit .220 all season and continue to act entitled?
Marc Normandin: I would buy low on him. His BABIP is all sorts of messy. And he does have problems with pitchers with elite fastballs, but he's not bad, and the stolen bases are huge.
SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): What star rating would you give Carlos Santana's fantasy value you this year?
Marc Normandin: His power level is over 9000.
rawagman (Toronto): Marc - let's say you're in Selig's shoes. How important is it for you to expand the global footprint of the game, and how would you go about doing it? (this is not about the WBC).
Marc Normandin: I'm all for expanding globally, to the point of having an international league. Road trips to Japan, get Canada involved again on more than just a Toronto level, etc. I think that's a huge area MLB can work on to expand the game, but I'm not sure how you would go about doing it.
ed (ny): Did Seattle make the right choice here? For Lee - plus Lowe and $2.5 million - they get Smoak + 3 guys who didn't even make Goldstein's Top 15. For Lee without Lowe or the money, they could have had Montero and McAllister.
At this point, you'd probably pick Smoak over Montero, and maybe the quality of the best prospect is the only thing that really counts. But honestly, I don't think the difference between Smoak and Montero is THAT great - I'd've gone with the Yankees' offer.
Marc Normandin: I think they need the depth that the Rangers deal affords them, to be honest. They need help everywhere except for defense, now and in the future. Finding a DH should be easier than finding a first baseman who can field and hit.
mwball75 (Cincy, OH): I love Gordon Beckham, why does he have to suck at baseball?
Marc Normandin: I took over a team with almost no keepers of worth this winter, but I chose this one because Beckham and McCutchen were both there for $1. McCutchen I'm obviously keeping, but Beckham has been a disappointment, and I'm not going to give him an extension based on 2010.
In happier news though, I traded away almost every piece I drafted and kept from 2009 for inexpensive players I can keep in 2011. I'm going to have more than half of my roster full and less than half of my money spent, and the players I am keeping are good, young and able to be extended when the time comes.
kingfelix (Newton, IA): What kind of upside do Lueke, Beavan, and Lawson have? We have all heard plenty about Smoak to know what he could bring.
Marc Normandin: I think that's going to be a question for Kevin Goldstein--I like what I see here, from the Seattle end of things. Lots of upside. But KG will be able to give you the real deal on their worth.
Not Mike W (Not Chicago): Trade Granderson for Sandoval, 20 team no-keeper, deep roster H2H league?
Marc Normandin: I just dropped Granderson (I have McCutchen and Gardner, we use LF/CF/RF) for Boesch (I also had Choo, sigh). I like Granderson a lot, but it's an OBP league, and he's dragging on that this year. I like Panda better long-term, and maybe even better as a rebound for this half-season. Do it.
Summer (Everywhere in North America): Am I over-rated? Why would anybody want to feel sticky when they're outside?
Marc Normandin: I prefer the winter, as long as it isn't snowing out, but there's baseball in the summer. The sacrifices we make sometimes, huh?
Nickles (Dime Store, USA): Keeper League: Pedro Alvarez or Mike Stanton?
Marc Normandin: Mike Stanton. I was upset I missed out on him in one of my leagues, but Alvarez is still sitting there waiting for an owner like a sad puppy. I like both long-term, but Stanton could be special.
Marc Normandin: Sorry to end things--definitely not cutting them short--but I need to make something to eat since *someone* didn't bring me a pizza (glares at everyone).
Thanks again for coming and spending the afternoon with me--I look forward to next time, as always.