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Chat: Marc Normandin

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday December 07, 2010 1:00 PM ET chat session with Marc Normandin.

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With the Winter Meeting action in Florida to follow, Marc Normandin wants to answer your questions about the action.

Marc Normandin: Hi, everyone! I'm fresh off of a weekend that was somehow beneficial to both of my rooting interests in baseball. I'm still entrenched in Baseball Prospectus 2011 like much of our staff, but with all of these transactions happening it's hard for me not to consider the fantasy impact of them along with that of the real world. Ask away! It's a punk rock kind of day, so I have the Misfits on to start.

Colin Jaffe (New Jersey): Word from Gammons is the Mets would eat about $10 million of Beltran's last year to move him to Boston, or take $10 million of bad contracts in return, like maybe Daisuke. What do you think?

Marc Normandin: I just wrote about acquiring Magglio Ordonez or Josh Willingham for left field at Red Sox Beacon, but Beltran would be a fine fit as well. His defense is diminished, but he would be playing in left anyway, and it would open up a rotation spot for Boston to either (A) put Felix Doubront in or (B) acquire a starting pitcher to fill out their rotation. It also helps the Mets, as someone like Matsuzaka gives them starting pitcher depth at a good price--Dice-K makes $2M less than Oliver Perez, and is far, far superior--in a park and league where his stuff should play better than at Fenway. It would be win-win, if that's the case.

Matt (Chicago): Hendry seems awfully quiet, no? Carlos Pena doesn't seem like the answer to his problems , either.

Marc Normandin: Pena is left-handed with excellent power, and a park like Wrigley would make him (and Hendry) look pretty good. And at a relatively low-cost, too. Pena would be a smart move as long as it is a short-term contract.

Jason Bartlett (Baltimore): How bad do you wish you had me?

Marc Normandin: I feel bad for whoever acquires Jason Bartlett, but such is the state of the shortstop position. He can still field, though he's no longer elite, but right-handed pitchers (there are just a few of those around, you know) are problematic.

Thomas (Cleveland): Lincecum is still the better bet than Cain, going forward, right?

Marc Normandin: Absolutely. Cain is a really good #2--the nicest thing I could say is maybe he's overqualified for that role. Lincecum, on the other hand, is one of the top pitchers in the game, and should continue to be so.

dianagramr (NYC): With many of the BP staffers in Orlando, did they at least leave you the keys to the BP Porsche and wine cellar?

Marc Normandin: I wanted to drive the BP Porsche around town while they were out, but I spent too much time in the wine cellar celebrating the Adrian Gonzalez trade to drive.

SK (DC): You support this move for the Sox? Why not let it ride and have a choice of Agonz, Fielder or Pujols after 2011 with no NYY in the mix. I don't know how much money sox save on Gonzalez with the rumored numbers being mentioned.

Marc Normandin: Absolutely. First off, Fielder isn't that great. Terrible defensive first baseman, and really, do we know if he's a pretty good hitter or a great hitter yet? He never seems to be the same thing two years in a row, and he needs to be excellent all the time to make up for that glove. I don't think Pujols is leaving St. Louis--other teams would be in the mix solely to make sure the Cards pay up.

The Cubs love Adrian Gonzalez, and have the money to throw at him in 2012 if he was available. Eight teams inquired about him in a trade, so there is interest there. Anthony Rizzo has no future in the organization if the Sox are acquiring a first baseman anyways, so this is basically trading Casey Kelly and Reymond Fuentes for the rights to Gonzalez in 2011, as well as the right to negotiate with him during the season. I'm very optimistic he'll be signed well before the season is over.

If Boston gets Gonzalez for $22M a year, then this is a steal. Just assume $5M per win for a minute, Gonzalez is something like a $25-30M win player a year. Getting him for less money than Ryan Howard is silly, but I'll take it.

Markol19 (Virginia): Do the Nationals have a plan for creating an effective lineup or are they simply throwing tons of cash at whoever is willing to play for a 90-loss team? RH-heavy and still quite a weak infield

Marc Normandin: The Nationals have tried to acquire every other major free agent that has been available the past few seasons, and they finally got one of them to sign a contract. They know how to identify hitters at least, but if they are thinking about trading Ian Desmond with the state of the shortstop market, and are looking for defense at first, then I'm not really sure what it is they think they are doing.

SGreenwell (North Kingstown, RI): Dear Marc, I couldn't afford a PS3 this year because I decided to pay rent and bills instead. Will the Tampa Bay Rays be making a similar decision by letting everyone walk so they don't lose one billion dollars?

Marc Normandin: Their payroll is supposed to be similar to their 2010 one, and they should probably contend just like they did in 2010 once again in 2011. They will be using that money on mostly new players though, as Soriano and Crawford are both gone forever. As they should be though, at the prices that they are listed at.

Marty N (La Jolla): How would you rank the following, going forward (real baseball): Beckett, Floyd, Anibal Sanchez.

Marc Normandin: I wouldn't change a thing about that ordering. If Beckett's back is healthy, he's dominating. If it isn't, toss him at the back of that list.

sean (hi): is freddie freeman worth a roster spot in a 12 team mixed? maybe a CI spot? if so what kind of production do you anticipate from him?

Marc Normandin: Corner infield is probably a safe bet. I think Freeman may be a little slow coming out of the gate, but should pick things up as the year progresses and he adjusts to MLB pitching. Probably an average first base year to start, something like a .285 TAv once he gets going? Think Ike Davis.

SK (DC): There was interesting article I believe in FanGraphs on the decline of Greinke. That it's not just an off year. Thoughts? I watch him and his stuff, arsenal of pitches, and approach to pitching, I'm blown away. I see a guy i'd want more than Felix. Am I hallucinating?

Marc Normandin: Greinke's command was a little off this year on all of his pitches. He still had his control, he just didn't fool hitters as much with it, hence fewer strikeouts. Without the extra-special command, he's still great, he's just not Greg Maddux. There is no shame in being Greg Maddux Lite.

Matt (Chicago): Gorzelanny should have decent value to a small-mid mkt team at his price point, shouldn't he? That seems to be one decent chip the Cubs have.

Marc Normandin: A team like the Pirates could use Gorzelanny, since he can actually miss bats and isn't too expensive. They really should see about getting him back if they can. Kevin Correia is their second-best pitcher after they signed him yesterday.

chip416 (Balboa Park): If you were Hendry, who would you try to get at 1B? is Pena the best option?

Marc Normandin: First base is kind of bare now since . The best thing to do may be to pick up a one-year option like Pena and see how he does. He's a great fit for that park between his OBP, his power and being left-handed, and if he fails to make enough contact to be a productive first baseman again, then at least it was one year and the thought process was sound.

Chris Tillman (Balmer): Will I have an impact as a #2 behind Matusz? Do you think it's hype or am I for real?

Marc Normandin: Tillman got bounced around a lot last year, and halfway through the season introduced a cutter he had been working on. He was better once he did that (the cutter was his best pitch, but he hadn't used it in the majors yet). He may not be a legit #2 in 2011, but his future could be there as long as the Orioles leave him alone to develop instead of moving him back-and-forth all the time.

Misfits is over, so now it's time for Minor Threat's "Out of Step" album.

JB (NYC): keeper league, one spot left -- Wade Davis or Brett Cecil?

Marc Normandin: I would keep Davis for the future upside, even if they may be the same guy in 2011.

Billy Beane (Office with a chair in the wall): Seriously, wtf do I have to do to attract some quality free agents to Oakland?

Marc Normandin: Tell them that there will be punch and pie. Or free hats.

richardkr34 (St. Paul): What kind of player will Nishioka be?

Marc Normandin: His scouting reports are supposed to be less impressive than Kaz Matsui's were, and based on the kind of money the Twins are supposed to be paying him (or the money he is looking for) I wouldn't expect him to be much more than a decent middle infield option. I'm curious about his PECOTA once it's finished cooking.

formersd (San Diego): So you Red Sox joy counterbalances your Padres' sadness on the Gonzalez deal?

Marc Normandin: There really isn't any Padres' sadness, honestly. Here is my thinking.

As great as Adrian Gonzalez is--and he's one of the top players in the game--he is one guy. The Padres had reason to believe the 2011 team could be a bit better, with an improved rotation, a full season of (healthy) Ryan Ludwick, Cameron Maybin possibly blossoming in center with another year in the majors, Kyle Blanks coming back from his TJ surgery, etc. If they acquire Brendan Ryan in a trade to man shortstop as is expected, and then sign someone like Derrek Lee to play first base, then you're talking about a team that could still win something like 82-85 games. Then, in 2012, you have Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, Simon Castro and maybe Drew Cumberland coming up if he continues to tear up the minors. That is an exciting roster all of a sudden, and it was brought about without fielding a terrible team.

The Padres can trade Bell and Ludwick in July and still have a decent team, assuming Aaron Cunningham or Kyle Blanks can slot into Ludwick's place and they bump Mike Adams up to the role of closer. The gloom and doom mentality coming out of San Diego after the trade of Adrian Gonzalez is almost enough to make me start a Padres' blog in response.

Michael J (Library): Any interesting names in CF for the Marlins to puruse? The right move can't be to run Coghlan out there, right?

Marc Normandin: Hanley Ramirez would be my choice, but we know that isn't happening. It definitely should, though. There isn't a lot to choose from in terms of real impact players for center, but there are some decent pieces. Thin Gwynn for his glove, Scott Hairston for his bat--non-tenders present better options for center than the free agent market did.

Geoff Young Fan (San Diego): Mingled joy and pain. Some fans think that last offseason proves Hoyer can build a contending Padre team for 2011. I look at the roughly 60 VORP, plus other losses, and can't see us winning more than 72 games. Any hope for next season other than watching a good front office evaluate its options for the future?

Marc Normandin: I really do think the Padres could contend in 2011 even without Gonzalez, but things have to break very, very right for them. If Wade LeBlanc gets a lot of starts, or they don't sign a solid replacement at first base, or Everth Cabrera can't do anything for them at all, then things have not gone right and they are probably stuck at .500 at best.

The problem is, it's going to be tough to evaluate that until we see who the new shortstop and first baseman are. I'm convinced Cabrera would make a fine second baseman with his strong arm and defensive instincts, so if they can nab a shortstop then they are fine there. None of the pieces the Padres lost from the 2010 season are irreplaceable except for Gonzalez, but losing him doesn't automatically make them a terrible team if they play the rest of their cards right.

goreski (Coppell TX): What do the Rockies plan to do with Jose Lopez and Ty Wiggington? Are they mearly backup insurance or are they looking at them as everyday players?

Marc Normandin: Wigginton seems like he is replacing Jason Giambi, trading in some power for a little more positional versatility. Lopez seems to be insurance in case someone doesn't work out at either third base or second base. He's basically their new Clint Barmes, in terms of both cost and role.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Hey Marc. Two parter: 1) What are the chances that the Yankees don't get Lee? 2) If they don't sign Lee, what is their Plan B? Can they get Greinke with Montero?

Marc Normandin: Well, if they won't go seven years on him, and someone else is offering seven years, then there is a really good chance they don't get him.

Greinke, supposedly, has no interest in playing for New York. The Yankees aren't going to deal for someone that will cost what Greinke will in prospects only to let him walk away after a season. The problem is that the free agent market for starting pitching is pretty thin now. Carl Pavano is a legitimate option at this point, so the Yanks may need to either trust some of their kids with a rotation spot, or sign some low-cost, bounce back candidates.

Jason Bay (Citi Forest): Can you write something that Alderson will read to the effect of "moving in the fences in Citi Field would help the Mets' anemic offense"?

Marc Normandin: The Mets need to find better hitters, not change their park. Citi just reduces homers while increasing everything else--the park is closer to neutral than its hatred of homers leads one to believe it is. Not giving Francoeur, Barajas, Tejeda, Cora, etc. hundreds upon hundreds of plate appearances would do a lot more for the team than moving in the fences. The opposition gets to benefit from moving the fences too, after all.

J.J. Hardy (Minneapolis): What are the chances that I get traded? Where am I playing in 2011?

Marc Normandin: With the state of free agent pitching, Hardy may end up traded for a pitcher. I'm not sure where that would be, but the number of teams with a shortstop worse than Hardy is longer than the list of teams with a superior one.

Geoff Young Fan (San Diego): Woah. I realize that Adrian is "only" a 5-6 win player, which subtracted from last year's team puts the Padres in the 82-85 range. But they've lost more than him. They got surprising amounts of help from Torreabla, Eckstein, Garland, Jerry Hairston, Tejada, even Gwynn's glove. Their pitchers were very healthy. If they hadn't torn up the Giants, the race would have been over a week earlier. Not to diminish their accomplishments, but a lot went right for them in 2010 beyond the talent of their players. You'd be at home in SD, there are plenty of fans who project that most of the current farm system will be at least major league average if not stars. Let me know the next time that occurs in reality.

Marc Normandin: Eckstein wasn't that good in 2010 except for very early on. Garland/Correia/LeBlanc is not as good as Harang/Stauffer/Luebke, especially the 2010 version's of Correia/LeBlanc. Gwynn's glove will be offset by Maybin's glove, and Maybin has a chance of hitting better than that even if he doesn't develop any further. A full season of Ludwick not dealing with his calf injury will be big for the lineup. Kyle Blanks coming back with a working elbow halfway through the season has the potential to be big for the lineup, since it won't be screwing with his swing like it did in the beginning of 2010.

A lot went right for the Padres in 2010, but plenty went wrong as well: Blanks, Correia, Chris Young, Scott Hairston, Tony Gwynn's bat, Ludwick's calf injury, Adrian Gonzalez's shoulder hampering his power.

I don't think most of the current farm system of the Padres is any good at all. But Castro is a future #2 starter, Kelly could turn into that or an ace, Rizzo is young and very talented with a lot of potential as a well-rounded hitter, and Cumberland will be fine as long as he doesn't slam his knee into a wall again.

ecp (out here): Greinke has two years left on his contract, not one. He wouldn't be walking away after a season.

Marc Normandin: Whoops, my bad. He can also block 15 teams from a trade this season, and 20 teams while we're still in 2010.

Colin Jaffe (New Jersey): Heyman just said that at least one non-Nats team has offered Lee 7 years at $20-$25M. Does any team top that? Will whoever gets him for 7 years get their money's worth?

Marc Normandin: Over the life of the contract the team will get their money's worth, assuming they are near/in contention, but the last year or two of the deal might be a little ugly depending on how his stuff ages. So now you have to balance whether it's worth it to potentially overpay him later in order to get what you need out of him in the present and near-future.

Matt (Chicago): How intent, if at all , is BOS in moving Dice-K? He might make a nice pickup forCubs in a swap of so-so contracts.

Marc Normandin: I don't think they are desperate to move him or anything, but he does represent the only rotation spot they can mess with until 2014, so if the right opportunity presents itself they may do it. They may be a little more loathe to do so now that Casey Kelly is gone, as Felix Doubront is the lone high-minors pitching prospect they have left, but they are definitely listening if people ask.

richardkr34 (St. Paul): Will Chris Sale begin in the bullpen to start the season?

Marc Normandin: Considering they lost Putz and non-tendered Bobby Jenks, I would think so. He probably won't take the closer role right away, but he will definitely start the year in the pen. Ozzie still likes him as a reliever last I saw.

Brecken (Chicago): Maybe this is too late, but I missed Steve before and figure the Boston connection might work - why didn't the Yankees kick the tires on Pedro more? When Pettitte went down they knew they had issues. Were they too afraid of having another 6 inning pitcher? It seems like even a mid-August signing could have had him ready for October. Or is there too much other baggage that keeps him out of NY? Thanks for all that you do - loved the fantasy section this year.

Marc Normandin: Nothing was going to stop Omar Minaya from acquiring Pedro that winter, if my memory isn't failing me. If the Sox had offered the extra guaranteed year that caused Pedro to choose the Mets, Minaya would have added another year. The Yankees probably didn't want to bother getting involved in that, especially since it was pretty clear the Mets were ready to go all in on him.

Colin Jaffe (New Jersey): If you were Boston, would you give up the 24th overall pick for any relievers out there? Is the 'pen bad enough that it's worth giving up a first-rounder PLUS the exorbitant salaries the top arms are likely to get in a post-Benoit world?

Marc Normandin: There are plenty of relief options that were non-tendered or don't require compensation, so I'm hoping, now that Boston isn't signing Werth and probably not Crawford, that they avoid giving up that first round pick, even with one coming in from Detroit for Victor Martinez.

mwball75 (Cincy, OH): The following trade is perfectly fair, a win-win for both fantasy teams, True or False? Carlos Gonzalez AND ( Dan Uggla OR Chase Utley ) FOR Felix Hernandez

Marc Normandin: Gonzalez and Utley for Hernandez is insanity. Gonzalez may be a Coors product right now, but unless your league is adjusting for that, he's a fantasy monster. Hernandez is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but giving up two elite hitters for one elite pitcher doesn't make sense to me.

JT (Here, Silly): Whom do you think emerges with the Scarlet (closer's) C in Chicago (AL)? They don't seem to like Thornton there, and Sale seems like he could really run with that.

Marc Normandin: I would think Thornton gets it for a little bit with the intent of seeing if Sale can take the job later on in the year. I just don't see them handing it to Sale right away, though Ozzie has certainly done more surprising things over the years.

Listening to Bad Brains' "I Against I" at the moment.

chewbalka (Canada): Thanks for the chat Marc, great timing! From the Greinke rumors it appears that Anthopolous is reluctant to give up two out of Drabek, Lawrie and Snider and rolling the dice that Texas doesn't sweeten their offer and include both Profar and Martin Perez. Will the Yankees and Cliff Lee ultimately decide this and how do you see it playing out?

Marc Normandin: That last point sounds important. The Blue Jays are aware that it's an arms race in the AL East, and that talent has to be acquired through means other than free agency in order to keep the pace. If the Yankees get Cliff Lee and help to fix their thin rotation, then the Blue Jays need to respond, and will probably relent on giving up two of those players considering Texas will also need a replacement for Lee at that point.

Jim Hendry (Orlando): I'm better off putting Cashner in the rotation than signing a marginal, veteran SP , right?

Marc Normandin: May as well see what he can do. He's talented and cheaper.

Matt (Chicago): Are you shocked at the prices being paid for middle-relief/ set-up guys? I would think that there will still be some bargains to be found out there among injury cases, Rule 5 types.

Marc Normandin: There are a ton of relievers to choose from, but the prices do seem high. I do like Putz's deal though, as he is a bargain if he's healthy, but it's not that much money to waste if he isn't.

Blankedy Blank (Minny): The rumor mill in Minnesota has been revolving primarily around JJ Hardy. Should the Twins keep him around? If he stays, what kind of fantasy numbers can we expect?

Marc Normandin: I would say similar to last year's numbers, but with a little more power. Target Field might make that tough though. He should be considered a pretty average offensive contributor at the position.

JT (Here, Still): If the Sox do add another OF bat, who's the fantasy loser there? Cameron? Ellsbury?

Marc Normandin: Cameron will be the fourth outfielder. Ben Cherington is on the record saying Ellsbury is the starting center fielder, so Cameron has already been bumped to left. I assume he would pick up playing time filling in for Ellsbury and Drew, and spotting the new left fielder when they play at DH against left-handed starters in order to get Ortiz out of the lineup.

nathanbalboa (Rochester, MN): What do you expect from Morrow this year? Can he be an elite pitcher and if so, how soon?

Marc Normandin: He was an elite pitcher in 2010, his ERA just didn't reflect that. Right out of the gate in 2011 I can see him performing at an elite level, thanks to all those strikeouts and a nifty K/BB.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): So Jamie McCourt still gets a partial season ticket to the Owners' Meetings. That'll certainly help with planning the 2011 season...

Marc Normandin: Poor Dodgers fans.

Stupidly Optimistic (San Diego): Is it just me, or did Hoyer & Co. get a pretty good package for their relatively poor leverage? I really can't see the Pads getting much more from the Sox or another team.

Marc Normandin: They may have been able to get a different looking deal with the same value in a vacuum, something centered around a major leaguer, for instance. But stocking up the upper levels of the farm system with impact prospects who could contribute as soon as 2012 is a pretty good haul for one year of a guy you know you're going to lose.

Daern (Newton, MA): Does this years draft class look any good? How deep/shallow is it? And how much does that affect how you would value draft picks vs. FA signings?

Marc Normandin: You would have to ask Kevin Goldstein about that, but from what I have heard it's supposed to be pretty deep. More draft picks seems like it should always be the way to go regardless of depth, since it gives a team more chances to hit on a player that can become something.

richardkr34 (St. Paul): Now that the Sox have Gonzalez, what happens to Lars Anderson now? HOw much longer until he's traded? July?

Marc Normandin: Lars Anderson wasn't going to be the first baseman in Boston whether they got Adrian Gonzalez or not, because Anthony Rizzo was the first baseman of the future. Chances are good he will sit in Triple-A until someone wants to take a chance on him as part of a larger deal.

Jason (Columbia): As a die hard Cardinals fan, is there any reason for me not to go ahead and assume that I'll be loathing the next two years with TLR at the helm, and Mo as his GM-Puppet?

Marc Normandin: It's a weird situation out there, huh? Ozzie Smith was interviewed in a piece where it was basically alluded to that TLR is the reason Brendan Ryan is now out of a job in spite of a stellar glove. So weird in this day and age that a manager would have as much sway as he does.

Lightning round time, folks. I have more BP annual work calling my name, especially with all of the transactions going on.

Dennis (LA): If you're a borderline playoff team with bullpen issues like the Angels, how much is it worth spending on Rafael Soriano? Do you think he will maintain his effectiveness going forward?

Marc Normandin: I'm a little nervous about the reduced strikeout rates, but he's still a great reliever. I think it's worth it to a team with bullpen issues to sign one guy like that to help anchor things, especially when that team has the budget the Angels could.

Ryan (Chicago): Does Tulo's injury history concern you?

Marc Normandin: With his new deal? Sure. But overall, not really. He healed pretty quickly from that broken wrist, and it didn't affect his swing at all as evidenced by his September. I think this will be the rare long-term deal that a team does not end up regretting. Sure, he may be overpaid near the end, but the rate they have him at in the middle is excellent.

bateman19 (boston): Rather have Votto or A-Gone the next 3 years?

Marc Normandin: Next three years? Adrian Gonzalez. Three years after that, Votto. I think Teixeira, Gonzalez and Votto are all similar versions of the same elite-level player with some age differences.

bateman19 (boston): freddie freeman or gaby sanchez?

Marc Normandin: Sanchez won't be any better in 2011 than he was in 2010, Freeman for the upside, as he's capable of being as average as Gaby already.

King Pujols I (catbird seat): So how much am I looking at now, and how far up might it go by next winter? Is it great to be me or what?

Marc Normandin: As long as it's more than Ryan Howard, the universe won't have to tear itself asunder to start over.

Steve (SoCal): What will go down as the worse signing in Washington. . Jason Werth, or Albert Haynesworth?

Marc Normandin: Haynesworth, unless Werth really lets himself go and ends up failing a conditioning test.

BStephen (brewtown): with Boston getting gonzales, who will give Fielder anywhere near what Boras wants?

Marc Normandin: With any luck, after the hard time Mike Rizzo gave Adam Dunn for his defense, I hope it's the Nationals. It would just be a beautiful thing on so many levels, none of those belonging to Nationals' fans though.

chewbalka (Canada): Is this the year Baltimore makes more noise on the fantasy scene? After Matusz the pitching is thin but getting Reynolds should bring out the best of one of their good young hitters right? Who do you like between Markakis, Jones and Wieters to take a fantasy step forward?

Marc Normandin: That's actually something I should cover in an article at some point, like I did for the Pirates and Astros earlier this year.

dgdupont (New Hope, PA): I think the Pedro questioner was talking about 2010, not 2005.

Marc Normandin: Whoops. I have no idea then. Let's pretend he was talking about 2005, that answer is much more fulfilling.

Marc Normandin: Sorry to leave after two hours everyone, but if I'm away from the annual too long, Steven Goldman might come looking for me. I should be finished up my work in it soon, meaning my portion of the Fantasy Beat will be live once again. Feel free to contact me via e-mail, Twitter or what have you if you have anything you want to see covered over the winter. Thanks, as always, for stopping by.


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