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Things Read in Other Moms' Basements - Around the NL East 01.30.10


Welcome to another weekend's edition of Things Read in Other Moms' Basements, where I share news and stories from around the rest of the National League East.

Overall, the week was busy with plenty of marginal talent being scooped up to minor league deals, but there wasn't any gigantic blockbuster news to really come out of the NL East.

I hate to single out Napoleon Dynamite again, but after interacting with this guy at Brian McCann's charity softball game, I'm under the belief that he actually epitomizes the lifestyle.

There's really no rhyme or reason to the order of the teams this week, so I'm going to say that I'll start with the Mets, since they had some of the most interesting stories.  So without further ado, here come the links


John Smoltz looking like a fit with the Mets - Mets Blog
I don't quite get it. One argument I've seen is that he's leaning Mets because in New York, he's a #2, but in St. Louis, he's a #4. Many of us here have discussed what the point is, as long as you're taking the mound every fifth day? I guess it has to do with job security, because no matter how much John Smoltz may stink in New York, it's not like there's anyone adequate enough to replace him.

Could You Root Against The Mets? - Amazin' Avenue
For us, the answer is simple. For Mets fans, it's a little more complicated. Omar has to go for the betterment of the team's future. He's beginning to remind me of Isiah Thomas with the Knicks, kind of, but in the amusing "thank Pujols it's not us" way. But Amazin' Avenue explains why despite the betrayal now, why rooting against the Mets, even for the homers, could be good in the long run.

Nobody Likes Gary Matthews Jr. - Various sources
A lot of people don't have very many pleasant things to say about Gary Matthews, Jr. One of my favorites, from Halos Heaven:

$1,660,714.29 for every Ground Into Double Play

Mets sign P Josh Fogg to minor league contract - MLB Trade Rumors
This very well could be the nail in the coffin that keeps Smoltz out of New York. Why settle for a 43-year old who plays with a lot of heart, when you can get a 34-year old that plays with a lot of heart? I always loved that intangible - heart. It's a nice way of saying a pitcher's talent isn't up to par, but they're still good guys. But Fogg does have a reputation of being somewhat of a Dragon Slayer, so what would happen if we get a Fogg vs. Kenshin Kawakami match someday? My guess is both pitchers give up 6-7 runs apiece and don't see the 5th inning.

Carlos Delgado, limping - Mets Blog
Looks like this could be it for 1B Carlos Delgado in the National League, who was spotted in the Puerto Rican winter league, limping around at first. His mobility is shot, and playing defense could be a liability; but he can still hit.

Fernando Tatis returning to Mets -
Mr. Grand Slam, returning, likely to be primarily a first-base candidate, in lieu of the limping Delgado, and maybe to platoon with Daniel Murphy. But let's be real here, Fernando Tatis and Daniel Murphy? I think I actually like the platoon of Scott Thorman and Craig Wilson a hair more than that.

Beltran, Francoeur, receive obscure honors at BBWAA award dinner - Mets Blog
Carlos Beltran wins the "Joan Bayson Award," which honors community service. Jeff Francouer, is awarded the "Ben Epstein/Dan Castellano Good Guy Award." But as well all very well know here, being a good guy doesn't put wins on our record. Also answered, is why Francoeur sucks at hitting - his hitting coach is none other than the motel mogul, Howard Johnson.

Oliver Perez feels nothing in his knee - New York Daily News
Surely, that's not exactly a good thing either, right? Some interesting tidbits from this one. Over the off-season, Perez trained at Fischer Sports in Phoenix, Arizona, which is kind of a like a bootcamp for professional athletes to maintain shape during offseasons. But the interesting thing is the list of names of some of his camp partners - Kerry Wood, Mike Hampton, and Sergio Mitre. What comes to mind when you hear those names?

Also, this was amusing:

As he long-tossed with Johan Santana on a windy morning at the Mets' complex, Perez twice overshot Santana with throws on a back field and cleared a fence.

He's also in the best shape of his life, along with Mike Pelfrey and Daniel Murphy. Haven't heard that before.

Fernando Nieve or Nelson Figueroa? - Amazin' Avenue
With Ben Sheets, Jon Garland, Randy Wolf and Jason Marquis off the board, the Mets are likely looking at four starters in Santana, Perez, Maine and Pelfrey. Who's the fifth? Unless they pursue John Smoltz or Chien-Ming Wang, then it's internal options, Nieve or Figueroa. Amazin' Avenue examines which is the lesser of two evils.

We Don't Want Smoltz - He's a Brave - Mets Police
Nice to finally hear a Mets fan who feels the same way I do about this subject. But we all know Smoltzie will do it, if they offer something appealing.


C Carlos Ruiz signs three-year extension with Phillies -
Details report three years, and $8.85M. The numbers don't quite reflect it, but he's been a silent threat from the 8th spot in the lineup, as I can recall quite a few critical hits he's had against us, as well as throughout the last two playoffs. It's like pitchers tend to fall asleep against him, and before they realize it, he's on second base with Jimmy Rollins coming up.

Ryan Howard or Jayson Werth - who to keep? - Phillies Nation
To me, this is a very obvious question, but I can understand why this is a dilemma. Howard is a franchise, younger, stronger, more beastly number-producing. But Jayson Werth has done nothing but put up respectable, better-than-your-average-role-player numbers in his tenure with the Phillies. Both are uncommitted beyond 2011 or 2012. And with the Phillies financial commitments quite spoken for, for the next 3-4 years, the Phillies won't be able to retain both.

Pedro Martinez returning for 2010? - Beerleaguer
Reportedly, Pedro wants $5mil to pitch an entire season. Interesting analysis pointing out inefficiencies in cold weather at this stage in his career, and whether or not it would be worth bringing him back.

Breakdown of the 2011 and 2012 Phillies salaries - The Good Phight
The Good Phight does a very well detailed breakdown of the salaries going into 2011 and 2012, when Ryan Howard hits free agency.

Son is the newest Met, but Sarge doesn't care - Go Phils! - Fightin Phillies
Despite the fact his son just joined the Mets, Papa Sarge apparently doesn't care. This said, on his ugh, Twitter:

G_Sarge_M: Let me be clear: "Sarge" loves his son, but this is a business. Go Phils!

Charlie Manuel pleased with way 2010 is shaping up -
Hmm, Lidge-Madson-Park-Romero-Eyre-Walker in 2009, to Lidge, Madson, Romero, and then Jose Contreras and Danys Baez, he of the plural name and practically a career ERA of two men, who stunk for us, and then stunk with the O's (4.86ERA, 1.305WHIP, 1.56K:BB from 06-09)? I know he's probably just trying to make his boys feel good about themselves, but no way this Phillies bullpen is any better than 2009 or 2008's 'pens.

Jimmy Rollins wedding photos - (hat tip: Fightin Phillies Blog)
Congratulations to J-Roll for surviving earthquakes and tying the knot. Past the whole "I hate him as a player thing," J-Roll totally owns the white suit look.


Looks like 2B Dan Uggla won't be shopped - Yahoo Sports
(hat tip: Fish Stripes)
Despite speculation that after re-signing, the Marlins would shop Dan Uggla, team president David Samson says otherwise. But come on, words are only as binding as load-bearing Post-It note.

Cody Ross arbitration date, Feburary 15 -
So there's a definitive date when the Devil finds out if he's going to be making his desired $4.45M, or the completely off-base counter offer of $4.2M.

Veteran free agents won't help the Marlins' pen - Marlins Maniac
An interesting look at debunking the methodology that the overrated "veteran presence" is necessary to anchor down a bullpen, using the Marlins' pen as an example.

P Derrick Turnbow signs minor league deal -
And speaking of veteran bullpen arms, Derrick Turnbow attempts to revitalize his career with the Fish. Definition of low-risk, high-upside, because back in like 2005-2006, Turnbow was a pretty effective closer for the Brewers, but was shelved due to injuries the last few years.

Marlins mailbag -
This just in:

As a longtime season-ticket holder, I would be very upset if he didn't end up back here.

The Marlins do in fact have season ticket holders. BTW, he's talking about Alfredo Amezaga. Also discussed is Cameron Maybin, the transition to the Miami Marlins, and how the other NL East teams are making more moves than them.

A glance at the future Marlins park - There's a computer generated video of Dolphin/Landshark/Sun Life/Marlins park, if anyone is interested. The birds eye view of the park makes it look like the dome you occasionally get in the SNES version of Sim City. And when the roof is off of the park, it kind of looks like the Starship Enterprise.


Zimmerman: "No way we'll lose 100" - Washington Post
The statement is made. After two straight 100-loss seasons, franchise Ryan Zimmerman states that it will not happen again in 2010. PECOTA has them on pace to win 82 games, third in the NL East behind the Phillies and Braves, but then again, PECOTA had them winning 75 in 2009. Computers aren't always right.

But seriously, I personally feel that the Nationals are due for a big turnaround in 2010. They've got a decent lineup, some good starting pitching, but a little suspect bullpen, but considering how difficult it's been for us to put away the crappy Nationals, imagine the horror of what's to come?

Nationals remain in the mix for 2B Orlando Hudson -
O-Dawg stands a pretty good chance at becoming a Washington National. Apparently, he's really good friends with Willie HGHarris, and Adam Dunn, which could influence his decision. Piece by piece, the Nationals lineup looks to be one to actually keep your eyes on next year. Now if only they can prevent runs?

Nationals interested in SS Orlando Cabrera -
Uh oh. You heard it here first - if O-Cab signs with the Nationals, they're going to the playoffs. (2004 w/BOS, 2005 & 2007 w/LAA, 2008 w/CHW, 2009 w/MIN) Maybe good luck charms, Cabrera and Eric Hinske can meet in the NLCS when the Braves take on the Nationals.

P Miguel Batista signs minor league deal -
'Tis the week for minor league deals, apparently. The 38-year old Miguel Batista, he of typical mediocrity, attempts to squeeze another year out of his dwindling career, and become a member of the Washington Nationals pitching staff. He's an arm, I suppose, and baseball teams tend to want as many of those as possible.

Livan Hernandez back to the Nationals? -
If you cound him declaring free-agency as severance from the Nationals, then this would make the third time that 'ol Livan would be signing with the Nationals if this were to happen. I remember one time I was up in Virginia, I went into a TJ Maxx to look for some socks, and I noticed on a discount rack, #61 Hernandez shirts for sale. Discount rack. At TJ Maxx. Suddenly, they're no longer throwbacks, and they're $25 a pop at the ballpark again. Figure that.

John Smoltz's last resort - the Washington Nationals - Ken Rosenthal's ugh, Twitter
(hat tip: Federal Baseball)
Dear Smoltzie, You were my first ever favoritest baseball pitcher, and I still love you. But for all that is holy, please just retire now. I can't bear to witness another season of seeing you on SportsCenter wearing someone else's logo, turning your head around real fast after your once-devastating slider doesn't bite, LHBs stop swinging at your splitter, and you're forced to throw a 91 mph fastball down the pipe and they clock it. Don't worry about Maddux, don't worry about Glavine, don't worry about being first-ballot, you're going to get into the Hall, and you'll always be loved where it counts most - Atlanta.

Nationals shopping Josh Willingham? - Federal Baseball
It's a chain reaction - the Nationals are interested in 1B Mike Jacobs, which means they would have to unload Josh Willingham, to send Adam Dunn back to LF, because they probably don't want to afford all three of them. It must suck to sign with a team, only to think that the financial legwork has been taken care of, and now it's only time to look for suitors to make the monies work.

Nationals sign relief pitcher, Tyler Walker -
Signed at the same time as Chuck James, Tyler Walker is more or less a ROOGY-type, who isn't going to fall any better in the bullpen than guys like Everyday Eddie or Matt Capps.



Have a good weekend everyone.  Hopefully for us east-coasters, the snow won't cripple all.  All feedback and comments welcome.

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