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Chat: Marc Normandin

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday August 05, 2009 1:00 PM ET chat session with Marc Normandin.


Taking a break from the Fantasy Beat, BP's Marc Normandin takes your questions on the game, both what's going on in reality, and what you might want to do in your own fantasy leagues.

Marc Normandin: Afternoon everyone. I've been busy busy with video game coverage the past few weeks thanks to Comic-Con, but there's always time to talk about baseball! Especially after the Garza/Lester duel last night, even if the end result wasn't to my liking. Baseball, gaming, music, cartoons, books, what have you. I'm game. Let's get to the questions!

Justin (Normal, IL): Gordon Beckham- is he this good, slightly worse, or even better than what we're seeing?

Marc Normandin: I think he's this good. He's a bit above his 90th percentile PECOTA forecast, but all of that is based on batting average. The ISO is there, and his batted ball data matches up with his actual numbers. Plus, he mashed in the minors, and gets to play in a park that boosts both LH and RH, so you have every right to be excited.

That's not to say we won't see his numbers fall as the league adjusts to him, but assuming he's good enough to adjust back, I see no problem with his current line as a reasonable expectation.

Clog the Bases (Uptown ): Thoughts on the Peavy return for the Pads?

Marc Normandin: Four pitchers! FOUR! Clayton Richard isn't anything special, but he's not going to hurt you, and now he's out of The Cell and in the pitcher friendliest park in the league. I think highly of Poreda, and from what I can tell the other two guys aren't too shabby either.

Did I mention they got FOUR pitchers for him? That's more pitchers than they had when they opened the year, and half as many as seem to be on the DL all the time.

Brandon (Chicago): The Cards & Cubs are tied for 1st in the Central (slight statistic edge to the Cubbies)...who do you see winning this thing?

Marc Normandin: I like the Cards to take it, but not for any particularly insightful reason. They are two pretty evenly matched teams--Cards are a bit better at scoring, and do so in a pitcher's park, while the Cubs are a bit better on the mound in a hitter's park--but I think Holliday might help push the Cards over the edge. We'll see I guess.

joe lefko (nj): Worse contract- Soriano or Zito?

Marc Normandin: I think that you have to give the nod to Zito on this one, if we're talking about from the day it was signed. Giving pitchers--especially ones with track records like Zito's--the kind of money and years that the Giants did is unforgivable. At least the Cubs signed an athletic slugger to a long-term deal, even if he has his own set of issues. I will point out that Zito has been worth about a win more than Soriano this year though, which is one of those "raise your hand if you thought this would happen back in March" things.

Aaron (YYZ): Marc, what are your long-term thoughts for Ervin Santana and Francisco Liriano fantasy-wise? They're young and have had past success but they're just maddening this season.

Marc Normandin: I wasn't a big fan of Liriano prior to this year. I thought his short stint in 2008 would cause people to overrate him (they did) and that his velocity was too far down and his control too spotty to rely on him for much (which happened). I know I don't get them all right--I feel like I drafted all the guys I got wrong too--but I just don't like the lower velocity Liriano. He's going to need to show he's a smarter pitcher than this to get by before I can place more faith in him.

As for Santana, he's gone right back to giving up lots of homers and dealing out walks once again. I have hope that he can return to last year's form still, but his velocity is also way down. Makes me wonder how he's feeling.

Tony (Brooklyn, NY): How is it possible that teams sign contracts that can't be invalidated due to age revelations?

Marc Normandin: Because this isn't the NFL, and the MLBPA has actual power.

john (ct): Wieters- doing as well as can be expected or somehwat disappointing?

Marc Normandin: I was pretty vocal in my opposition of the Wieters forecast, and his performance this year is the reason why. There was no option for failure, even at the 10th percentile.

I probably should have ranked him lower among catchers than I did (though after all the big boys is still lower than many people had him) but it was a ranking I chose due to his ceiling and the fact that, even if I thought his 10th percentile was unreasonable, at least it was a good line among catchers. That's bad on me for not trusting my own thoughts more.

Charlie (Bethesda): Thoughts on Elijah Dukes for the second half of this season? I watched the game last night and he hit the ball hard, saw like a thousand pitches, and looked generally like the Dukes of second half of 2008.

Marc Normandin: Must be because I dropped him in my league! If he's once again patient and hitting the ball hard, then there's no reason not to like him--hell, I liked him a lot at the beginning of the season for those same reasons--but I would like to see him replicate that a bit before I make room on my roster for him (again).

Donald Fehr (Phoenix): I meant to ask this question anonymously, but somehow my name got attached to it...should the other 104 people asking questions in this chat now have their names attached?

Marc Normandin: Let's get this out of the way: I could not care less about the list of 104. I just want all of the names to be released so my Internet perusal and television viewing can be void of this content for the next few years.

Isn't someone supposed to get in trouble for leaking these names? Or are we too busy with the "real" criminals that hit homers to go after those responsible for this? The children everyone. You must think of them. I want to go into a "gooble gobble, one of us, one of us" chant here. It just seems fitting.

mase1361 ((Boston)): In your opinion, is command of a fastball something that young pitchers learn? Or is lack of command of a fastball something that dooms young pitchers (Clay Buchholz, I'm looking at you)?

Marc Normandin: I have no problem with thinking that. You learn a better grip, arm angle, approach, etc. as you gain more experience, and you pick up on some command. Some guys never get it though. I hope Buchholz isn't one of those pitchers that never gets it at the major league level, because he's got some great stuff and a wonderful ceiling.

mwball75 (Cincy, OH): I haven't had a game system since a playstation. What would you recommend? I like sports games mostly.

Marc Normandin: Sports games, huh? Well, if you want to play the best baseball game on the market, I suggest a Playstation 3. MLB '09 The Show is easily the best realistic baseball game out there, and it improves a bit more each year. Most of the other sports games are multi-platform, but that's the one exclusive that makes me favor the PS3 in that regard.

If you're looking for something more immersive, like with motion controls, then the new Tiger Woods and Grand Slam Tennis on Wii are excellent. The MotionPlus accessory tracks 3D movement, so the motion is basically 1:1. Which is both a blessing and a curse to me, since I suck at golf and now suck at video game golf. Still a great feeling to get that realism out of it though.

R.J. (Tampa): Evan Longoria <3

Marc Normandin: You're lucky I love watching Longoria, Mr. Anderson.

David (Evanston, IL): Is there anything wrong with John Smoltz other than bad luck? His strikeout, walk, ground ball, and line drive rates are all very healthy.

Marc Normandin: While those components are healthy, his homer rate is terrible. I'm wondering how much of that is because he's serving up meat to the hitters, or just bad luck from a small sample. I will tell you that the Red Sox defense isn't doing him any favors. Their defensive efficiency is awful (thank Jason Bay, no Crisp coming in during the late innings, and a one-legged Mike Lowell for that one) and Smoltz's BABIP reflects that as well. I'm holding out hope, but I wouldn't say I'm overly optimistic.

Justin (Normal, IL): The Soriano vs. Zito question is the new Baseball Prospectus meme. It's asked in EVERY chat and frankly is rather annoying.

Marc Normandin: Is it? Huh. Vernon Wells is worse than both, so I'm not sure what the infatuation with those two is.

Rob (Brighton, MA): Have you noticed that Dave Trembley looks just like William Shatner? I can't be the only one that knows about this, right? It's uncanny. Every time Kranitz walks over in the dugout I expect him to say, "Goddamit Jim! I'm a pitching coach, not a miracle worker."

Marc Normandin: Question of the day, folks. Rob has just set the bar. I might even award it Three out of Four Roflcopters for excellence in Baseball Prospectus Chat Questions.

MustacheToes (GA): Where do you see Aroldis Chapman in next years top 100 prospects?

Marc Normandin: Oh, I'm sorry. Kevin's office is three doors down the hallway, on your left. I'll be sure to ask him what my answer to your question is though.

Joel (GA): On the other hand, it might be an interesting exercise to examine Soriano's and Zito's value at certain intervals going forward to determine who's had the "worst" contract for the longest cumulative time. Yes, I'm quite bored, why do you ask?

Marc Normandin: Actually, that's the way I would like to approach it if it wasn't going to hold up the chat for everyone else. Like I said, Soriano's deal should have been the safer one, but here's Zito, outperforming Soriano a few years in after the Cubs clearly had the winner on their hands. Maybe when they are both over we can learn something from it.

jedmonds15 (St. Louis): Thanks for the chat Marc, A trio of quick questions about the effects of the Holliday trade (answer just one or all.) 1.) Does getting Holliday make Pujols less valueable since teams will be less inclined to intentionally walk him? 2.) How does the current Cardinals lineup compare to the one in 2004? 3.) Would you say that the A's got better prospects from the Cardinals than they gave to the Rockies?

Marc Normandin: No problem! Glad to be here. (1) I think it helps, because now Pujols has either more guys capable of driving him in or more guys to drive in, depending on how La Russa sets his lineup on a given day.

2) 2004 wins easily. Much better line, much better in the runs scored department.

3) I like both Holliday deals from the A's perspective. It's still a little early for to me gauge one above the other, but this last one seems like it has a lot of promise.

Rob (Brighton, MA): Is there something criminal about how Boston manages its roster? If you throw a couple of bad games in a row for us you just suddenly disappear...In fact I'm surprised Dice-K escaped from his holding facility long enough to get a garbled message out to the Japanese press.

Marc Normandin: I heard Julio Lugo told Dice-K about the secret passage he dug in the back of his holding cell. They have covered that up since though.

strupp (madison): Is EA sports going to release Grand Slam Tennis for XBox or do I need to splurge on a Wii this christmas.

Marc Normandin: It was just delayed indefinitely for both 360 and PS3 actually. So it could be out eventually, but if you want to play with the best control scheme it will have, then you should grab a Wii. There are plenty of other good games on it too, so if you want some advice feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

R.J. (Tampa): Josh Reddick: where does he fit?

Marc Normandin: I think it depends on who the Red Sox chase this winter. If they let Bay walk and don't pursue Holliday, then they have a spot in left field for Reddick. Or right, if they move Drew over to left since he's slowing down a bit with the glove. I like him a lot though--given his solid bat and defensive skills, he'll probably be pretty underrated.

brianpekrul (San Francisco): Huge Giants fan here, wondering what your thoughts were regarding Pablo Sandoval in terms of 1)a comparison to another player that you think he will become and 2)whether he can stick at 3rd base for the next few years?

Marc Normandin: I still swear that he's like a shorter, fatter version of Nomar Garciaparra, back when Nomar could catch up to anything and was a lock to hit for a high average. He's doing pretty well at third, so as long as the big guy doesn't turn into a bigger guy, then he should be fine.

Joe Buck & Tim McCarver (FOX): Why are we allowed to cover St Louis games when we have such a clear bias towards the Cardinals? Might as well let Ron Santo do Cubs games...

Marc Normandin: You know, sometimes you can't win. I'm posting this question mostly because someone just complained that I have a bias towards the Cardinals because I answered a few questions about them. I should dig out some of the e-mails I have received over the years that detail my hatred towards the Cards. Do I hate them or love them, folks? Maybe, just maybe, I call them as I see them with the Cards and everyone else. Except for your team of course. I hate them a lot, and I hope you lose all the time. Yeah, your team!

qbroda (Regina): Joe's article on Mark Reynolds didn't seem too upbeat about his fantasy value going forward - do you agree? Would you be selling high in a keeper league if you could?

Marc Normandin: I've always been pretty low-key with regards to Reynolds because his strikeouts keep him from being consistent. He's managed to pull it off this year though, but that doesn't mean I'm over my Reynolds-phobia. I think you could get a lot back if you sold him high given his power numbers, enough that you wouldn't feel bad if he dipped back down to his previous levels.

Jeff (Madison): What do you think of the deal that didn't go down between the Mariners and Red Sox for King Felix? Were the Mariners right to reject their choice of five Sox prospects, including Buchholz?

Marc Normandin: There was that much detail released on it? I was under the impression that Z picked up the phone and said "No". I like Felix a lot, and he's become a smarter pitcher the last few years than he used to be. I wouldn't want to trade him, though I also think no one is untouchable in the right deal and context.

Gray (Chicago): But Cardinals fans are stupid. Why else would they live in that boring sweatbox they call St. Louis? Derek Holland seems to have the stuff to be a solid starter in 2010...just typical rookie struggles?

Marc Normandin: Oh man St. Louis, are you going to take that from Chicago? Homers are his problem. His walk rates aren't very high, but they are too high for those homer rates and maybe that park. It's a shame he doesn't keep it in the park more, because the Rangers can actually catch it this year.

Red (Shawshank): Yeah, Lugo was lucky I was able to get him that big damn poster of Rita Hayworth.

Marc Normandin: I feel like this is slowly turning into a Bill Simmons chat.

Joel (GA): I just realized, Nintendo is just like the New York Yankees. Insanely popular, more profitable than its competition by several miles, generally hated by the more "hardcore" followers of their respective consumer spaces for some valid and not-so-valid reasons, and just recently had their head honcho changed from a dictatorial and ruthless businessman to a not-so-ruthless but marginally less interesting businessman. I suppose this makes Super Mario Bros Babe Ruth and Wii Sports Derek Jeter.

Marc Normandin: ...except he talks about 90210 and I talk about Nintendo.

Suttree (DRays bay): Hey, Marc! Big fan, with a serious question! Who do you see having a brighter future, Reddick or Matt Joyce?

Marc Normandin: I know Joyce has solid defense and a lot of potential with his bat. Reddick is setup the other way, with better D than hitting. Both look like pretty good bets to stick in an outfield for awhile though, and I know Rays fans are really excited about Joyce's ability.

Dan (San Francisco): What was your take regarding the Freddy Sanchez trade. Gianst fans were pissed about Alderson leaving, but with Cain, Lincecum, and Zito's contract and Sanchez it seems like we don't have a ton of room in our rotation anyway? Your thoughts?

Marc Normandin: I think the Giants haven't won a World Series since before anyone on the current roster was born, and that they upgraded their offense ever so slightly at two positions in order to improve their runs per game. That helps out their wonderful pitching staff and increases the chances that they pull out another win or two from the remaining schedule. It sucks to trade away that kind of player for Sanchez, but at the same time, they have the kind of rotation that if they get to the playoffs, they can do some serious damage even to superior clubs.

Lauren (Orlando): Why haven't the Rays considered going back to Andy Sonnanstine with David Price struggling? Any hope for Sonnanstine as a starter in the future?

Marc Normandin: Price has been unlucky, and there are some things he needs to learn about pitching to major leaguers that he may not get while in the minors. The umps have also screwed him over repeatedly with poor calls on balls and strikes, which certainly hasn't helped things.

I like Sonny a lot, but he seems to have lost a bit of his command this year, which has made him susceptible to beat downs. He needs to regain that command he displayed last year if he wants to succeed.

Nick (SF): Will Brett Anderson be a CY Young contender next season?

Marc Normandin: That seems a little early, even if I do like his stuff a lot. Maybe he turns the corner all the way before next season starts though.

Or (Dallas): If you were given an opportunity to select any of the Rangers' three prized rookies (Andrus, Holland, Feliz) which would it be?

Marc Normandin: I like Feliz a lot. I was watching some of his pitches in slow motion, and he just has fantastic stuff. I would go with him if you force me to pick one, but I'm also a sucker for velocity.

Matt Holliday (St. Louis): Cards, Yanks, Red Sox, or other next year?

Marc Normandin: I think, after his somewhat disappointing stint in the AL, that he sticks with the NL. That increases the Cards chances, but he's been quoted as saying he wants to test the market too.

Nick (SF): Do you think Bay re-ups with Boston? Or do you think the Sox might be rethinking his value after his recent swoon?

Marc Normandin: Given his age, injury history, cost and the fact Reddick is there, I can see the Sox letting him go and taking the picks from when someone else grabs him. I'm kind of hoping that's the case actually, despite being a Jay Bay fan.

Rob (Brighton, MA): RE: Zito, Soriano, Wells, you wonder if this is something that GM's get drunk and brag about. Like maybe Dayton Moore starts off, "Ha, I still can't believe I kept my job after I gave 36 large to Jose Guillien." Then Theo ups the ante with "Yeah, well I'm paying $15 mil to have Julio Lugo play for the Cardinals." Meanwhile, somewhere out in the cold Bill Bavasi swills Wild Rose and begs for quarters.

Marc Normandin: Don't worry, Bill. I'm sure the Nationals will hire you once they stop thinking of ways to ruin the team with their current personnel.

jbuofm (Peoria): Thanks for recommending Valkyria Chronicles on PS3, it was a great pick up! Question: Adam Jones 2009=Colby Rasmus 2010 for fantasy purposes?

Marc Normandin: No problem! Have you played any of the available DLC for it yet? I haven't checked it out, but I plan to during one of the next lulls in release schedules.

I like that comp for projection purposes, especially since Rasmus has done well at times this year.

Joe D. (So Cal.): Yup, Soriano v Zito is the new "Chuck Norris Facts". We'll have them face off in a variety of duels. So...Sexier Legs: Soriano or Zito?

Marc Normandin: Is anyone qualified to answer Joe D's question? I mean, I like the basis for this new meme.

steveomd (GA): Marc, who will be manning LF and RF for Atlanta next year? That outfield is a mess, even with the addition of McLouth...

Marc Normandin: Not Francoeur! Bwahahaha.

Schafer will probably get another shot out there, don't you think? They have been big on platoons involving Matt Diaz the past few years too, so maybe some more of that with a new partner. The key to this whole thing is really that Jeffrey is gone.

Scott (Dumont NJ): Omar Minaya must be fall down drunk as he signed three closers for approximately $30M.

Marc Normandin: Here's my thought on Minaya. He gets the obvious things right, and is in charge of a team with lots of money at their disposal. That allows him to target players like Beltran, Pedro, K-Rod, etc., and then trade for Delgado. But any GM can do that, especially if they had the resources. Minaya is also pretty good at pulling out back-end roster pieces from the free market, or picking up scraps from other organizations at low or no cost. That's a good skill to have, and I won't take that away from him.

What he does not do well is fill in the middle. He spends too much money and too many years on mediocre players when he has either better in-house options or other options available to him on the market that are more than likely any combination of younger, cheaper, and less likely to implode. He also shows little knowledge of statistics when it comes to things like small samples or projecting future performance. Imagine where this team would be if they hadn't already had Wright and Reyes in place.

Joe D. (So. Cal.): Yah, despite the crap I get from "hardcore gamers," I'm a shameless Wii-defender. Little King's Story and Wii Sports Resort are downright outstanding. Question...better Wii Tennis Doubles Partner: Soriano or Zito?

Marc Normandin: I'm working on Little King's Story right now, and it's easily one of the better games I have played this generation. It's both adorable and pure evil at the same time.

Aaron (YYZ): Isn't Jason Heyward the answer to Atlanta's Corner OF woes by the end of next year?

Marc Normandin: Good point. Heyward just tore up High-A and is in the process of showing Double-A how it's done, so maybe he'll be ready by sometime in 2010. Their outfield looks a lot better if Schafer, McLouth and Heyward are all hitting.

Tony (Brooklyn, NY): You're being too kind to Minaya. Go listen to him explain his rationale for firing Willie Randolph on the WFAN archive. It's completely incoherent. When he gets things right, he doesn't know why. He's barely an improvement over having the team run by a fan poll.

Marc Normandin: Barely an improvement? Would the fan poll have outbid themselves for Ollie Perez?

makewayhomer (Boston): no opinions on Yunel Escobar :( ?

Marc Normandin: I like Escobar a lot actually. I wish his defense graded out a bit better, but he's got a pretty good bat at SS, some pretty good contact skills, and can take a walk and control the strike zone. His D isn't bad by the way, I just wish it was better so he was a more complete package. I'm greedy.

steveomd (GA): Yeah, thank God for that, Marc. Addition by subtraction at its finest...

Marc Normandin: Don't worry either, as Francoeur has hit well since the trade, but in an unsustainable kind of way. I'm sure Minaya will sign him to stick around for years because of it, and then just think he's cursed when it backfires.

How did Francoeur (who is just 25 years old) lose so much defensively in such a short time frame?

buffum (Austin TX): How is Scott Feldman doing it, and can he continue to do so?

Marc Normandin: I wish he was better about keeping the ball on the ground, given his home park and the lack of punch outs, but there's no reason that he can't continue to be an average starter as long as the ball isn't going yard. He's never displayed a consistent issue with homers (though things got a bit iffy last year so it's possible he keeps it up.

dantroy (davis): As a Met fan, I would have gladly overpaid Derek Lowe by $2m a year to avoid overpaying Perez by $10M a year. You could just watch Boras box the Mets in on Perez during the offseason, and it was painful. He knew the Mets would give Perez a deal because they "had" to at that point.

Marc Normandin: The rest of the Mets front office should have staged an elaborate ruse to trick Minaya into thinking he signed Perez when he had not, just to have him quit the negotiations. Just have one of your other employees walk into the office with a fake mustasche (Boras doesn't have one, but this will distract Minaya long enough for the deed to be done) and claim to be Scott Boras with an offer Minaya can't refuse.

That or call Minaya's house in the middle of the night claiming to be Boras, and then say that Oliver Perez now hates you and won't sign for anything less than 30% of team ownership, 50% of net beer sales and a pony. The downside is that there's a small chance Minaya would still go for it.

SaberTJ (Cleveland): Could Marte potentially have some value with the Tribe?

Marc Normandin: Marte is a player who deserves an extensive look, more so than I can do in a chat. I'm honestly not sure what his true value is anymore, and need to look at it again.

Omar Minaya (New York): A lot of people don't know, but Marc Normandin has lobbied for a front office job in the past. So when I see his chat replies I said wait...

Marc Normandin: You want to go, Omar? It's on.

lornad11 (Dumont NJ): What really is the travesty is that he created this situation by trading their cheapest and youngest options a few years back. Heath Bell and Matt Lindstrom were both young and cheap (while also being effective.

Marc Normandin: Now, now. Who knew that a relief pitcher with great stuff, some nifty peripherals and limited major league exposure would turn a corner in a full-time role? I mean, it's not like he had three pitches, one of them a mid-90s fastball, and was essentially traded for someone who spent as much time playing for the Mets as I have.

Yatchisin (Santa Barbara): I've got lots of pitching, even running up against innings limit, and have been offered Adam Jones for Tommy Hanson. Would you do it? It's a keeper league, btw.

Marc Normandin: I like Hanson a lot, but both he and Jones should keep getting better. I guess it depends on what your other pitcher keepers look like versus your hitting ones. If you can't use Hanson because of pitching limits, then Jones has more value, no?

jromero (seattle): Like the previous several chat hosts, your lack of response to my Matt Kemp observation/question only serves to reinforce my confusion as to why he's so unsung. Thank you!

Marc Normandin: In all fairness, you asked me about a bunch of different center fielders, not just Kemp. If you want my opinion of just Kemp, I'll tell you that he's a good contact hitter that consistently posts high BABIP figures, has some pretty good power for center, and plays well defensively all around the outfield. There isn't a team in the majors that couldn't use someone like Kemp in their outfield.

Phillip (Sugar Land, TX): Marc, I am growing ever more depressed as an Astros fan. Though we didn't make a stupid trade for a Randy Wolf type like we did last year, the team continues to play ~.500 ball, no more no less, while having an extremely old team and extremely barren farm system. Isn't this team due for a few disastrous seasons, and in the near future?

Marc Normandin: I think the Astros problem is that, if they outperform their expected record, they take it as their true talent level. Then they end up buying pieces and adding to the team, and then end up stuck in the middle again. They never truly progress, but because of the constant tweaking, they never fall apart entirely either. I'm not sure it's quite as bad as being an average team in the NBA, but it doesn't help.

Wendy (Madrid): Note to Joe Lefko... WTF??? please come up with a new question, you ask everybody this. It's tiring. "joe lefko (nj): Worse contract- Soriano or Zito?"

Marc Normandin: I think the people have spoken Joe Lefko from NJ.

By the way folks, last minute lightning round here.

strupp (Madison): Prince Fielder vs Guillermo Mota... 12 rounds, must be a winner... WHO YA GOT????

Marc Normandin: Are they boxing? Mixed martial arts? Cage match? I demand a cage match. Ladder match in a cage!

Scott (Dumont NJ): Sad as it is the Mets took a championship core with three of the best players in all of baseball and neglected to fill in the gaps. Now they have little room for improvement as they have commitments to unreliable aging players.

Marc Normandin: That was the known risk heading into all of those deals, and there was a good chance 2008 would be their best last chance at winning it all. As you said though, filling in the gaps was an issue, and they just never did it.

And for those of you who are apologizing for the flood of Minaya questions, seriously, don't worry about it. Keep them coming.

john (ct): taking a clue from your previous response and limiting my question to one name- Josh Hamilton. What's with him? How can one guy injure himself so often? What happened to Roy Hobbs?

Marc Normandin: The injury thing happens to a lot of players, which is sad. Eric Davis is the worst one that comes to mind for me, given his talent level.

I'm sure Hamilton can bounce back, but those struggles during his rehab stints are pretty ugly. Give him some time to recover fully.

David (DC): So what happened to Minaya? Back in his Expos days he was thought so well of. Then he goes to Flushing, gets a real budget to work with, and it all went to hell...

Marc Normandin: There were no expectations in Montreal. He was just running the team for MLB, and I think everyone felt bad for him.

I guess we can't fault him for his actions up there though, since they thought the team was going to be contracted. Nonexistent teams don't need Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore.

Randy (Ann Arbor, MI): C'mon, Prince Fielder got winded just reading your question. All Mota has to do is circle him for a couple of minutes and go for the kill when Fielder reaches for his inhaler.

Marc Normandin: That's why the cage match works. Fielder can sit in a corner and then just powerbomb Mota, and Mota can't sneak up from behind.

Cubs Fans (Chicago): Nothing is better than an afternoon beatdown of the Cardinals...makes the afternoon go by much quicker.

Marc Normandin: Man, St. Louis is taking this on the chin. Who taught you how to fight, Gandhi?

Tom (Baltimore): Omar Minaya's problem was he started spending like a kid in a candy store because he never had that opportunity in Montreal. He spent wildly and poorly.

Marc Normandin: While true, it could have worked had he built a better middle for the team. We're talking about a club that had Pedro, Beltran, Delgado, Wright, Reyes all at once. That's some core to work from.

Put the Sox front office in the Mets situation a few years ago, and I bet you bring home a title.

andy (san diego): Who's been more impressive Kyle Blanks or Matt Wieters?

Marc Normandin: I'm pleased with Blanks start since he's shown some power. Wieters has a higher ceiling and all that obvious stuff, but I still like Blanks.

Blanks needs to stop striking out so often though. Let's hope he can bring the average up and keep the balls flying out of Petco.

strupp (Madison): Mota could just taunt Prince with a nice big cheeseburger... it's been so long since Prince has had one... nobody has to know... then... BOOM

Marc Normandin: That would only work until...Dear God...is that PETA's music? PETA WITH THE STEEL CHAIR ON MOTA, SAVING FIELDER FROM EATING AN ANIMAL! THE AUDACITY OF PETA!

Joel (GA): "Put the Sox front office in the Mets situation a few years ago, and I bet you bring home a title." That's a bit unfair. They DID have a really good opportunity but ran into an inexplicably hot Cardinals team. And there's no guarantee the same wouldn't have happened without the 2007 and 2008 collapses. Everything else though you're pretty much right on though.

Marc Normandin: Okay, maybe that's a little extreme of me, but the general point is that if the team knew how to bulk up the middle of their team and deal with an aging roster, then they probably would have won a title by now given their strong core. Going with the Sox FO probably wasn't necessary.

Bill Simmons (Los Angeles, CA (by way of Boston, MA)): I'm sorry, but I already own the rights to all Jim Ross / WWE references during chats.

Marc Normandin: Jim Ross doesn't belong to you, Bill. Jim Ross belongs to the world.

Suttree (DRays Bay): Now, Omar was a good straight boy to begin with, but there was bad blood in him. Someway he got into the magic bullets and that leads straight to Devil's work, just like marijuana leads to heroin. You think you can take them bullets or leave 'em, do you? Just save a few for your bad days. The more of them magics you use, the more bad days you have without them. So it comes down finally to all your days being bad without the bullets. It's Jeff Francouer or nothing. Time to stop chippying around and kidding yourself, Omar, you're hooked... heavy as lead. And that's where old Omar found himself out there at the crossroads, molding the Citi Field's bullets. Now a man figures it's his bullets, so it will hit what he wants to hit, but it don't always work that way. You see, some bullets is special for a single aim. A certain stag, or a certain person. And no matter where you are, that's where the bullet will end up. And in the moment of aiming, the gun turns into a waiver deadline deal and points where the bullet wants to go. I guess old Omar didn't rightly know what he's getting himself into. The fit was on him and it carried him right to the crossroads, where he traded F-Mart for Jason Bartlett.

Marc Normandin: I think that's a good place to stop.

Marc Normandin: Thanks to everyone for the questions, and I'm sorry if I didn't get to yours! You can always e-mail me if I missed it (or to follow up). Good luck to your team these next two months (except for your team; I do hate it after all).

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