Ahhh, I bet the air in various parts of Florida smells real nice this time of year, as it's time for Spring Training, as the pitchers and catchers have reported to their respective teams. The best time of the year is almost upon us, and before we know it, it'll be warm again outside, kids will be playing catch, the fans will be in the stands eating hot dogs and drinking beer, and our favorite players will be taking the fields again.
The "big" kind of news is kind of dying down these days, but there are still a lot of fluffy stories of interesting ST occurrences, or transactions to be made still, so Things Read in Other Moms' Basements will still be going on.
But there was on notable signing made this week, and for that, the Washington Nationals win the first dibs of the weekend. PECOTA doesn't think it, nor does pretty much every projection system out there, but I have a feeling the Nationals are going to be a better team than many are giving credit for. Sorry, one of those "gut" things. That's what the grapefruits are really for. Anyway, on with the links.
Chien-Ming Wang signs with the Nationals - MLB.com
After a seemingly endless courtship, it pays off, as Chien-Ming Wang signs a deal with the Nationals for a base salary of $2M, with potential incentives to take it up to $3M total, according to reports. Mark it down, NL Comeback Player of the Year.
Get ready for the next generation of douchebaggery - DC Sports Bog
Anyone else remember when it was cool to wear the South Carolina baseball caps that just had "COCKS" written on it? Exactly, it was never cool, but that didn't stop legions of tools, d-bags, and posers from wearing them. Well, based on the tentative demand, it looks like the next generation of tools, d-bags, and posers have found their matching holy grail, as they can soon be wearing t-shirts and jerseys with WANG written on them. But it could be a blessing in disguise, if it actually gets people to spend money on Nationals merchandise. (Remember, the Yankees put no names on their jerseys, you're just an employee, a number)
P Russ Detweiler, out for up to three months - MLB.com
This kind of hurts the Nationals rotation, as he was slated by many to be the 4th or 5th starter. But thinking about it now, with guys like John Lannan, Jason Marquis, Chien-Ming Wang, Scott Olsen, and Stephen Strasburg in the waiting, it might not be that big of a deal.
Willy Taveras signs minor league deal with Nationals - MLB.com
He never played a game with the A's, but he was still a part of their org. for a few days. Can we count that? If so, at the age of 28, he'll be playing for his fifth organization, teetering him close to the cusp of being like Kenny Lofton (11 teams), and Milton Bradley (7 teams). He's coming off of a crummy season with the Reds, and the question is if he can be more than an outfield glove and actually hit or walk and get on base to utilize his ability to steal bases? This DC writer believes that his only asset, is as a pinch runner.
Brian Bruney loses arbitration case to Nationals - MLB.com
Instead of $1.85M, Bruney will be making $1.5M. What better way to spend your birthday than in an office with team officials and arbitratrors, and being told you're in an injury risk and not worth $350,000 more than what you asked for?
Was Matt Capps the right choice? - Federal Baseball
Our neighbors over at Federal Baseball give some thought to whether or not Matt Capps was the right choice or not. I've said it numerous times how much I opposed to notion of bringing Capps to Atlanta, stating mean things like he was the equivalent of a ROOGY, and that "closer for the Pirates is middle relief for the Braves," but given their alternatives, and necessity for late-inning relief, Capps wasn't that bad for the Nationals.
Cody Ross wins arbitration case, returns to torment NL East for another year - MLB.com
Did you know that Ross is a rare individual who bats right, throws left? Not too many of those in MLB. But no matter, because Cody Ross does what few players accomplish each off season, and wins his arbitration case, in which he was bickering with the club over $250,000, and will make $4.45M for the 2010 season. I figure, if anyone's going to win in arbitration, may as well be the Devil. But all things considered, I still would have traded Jeff Francoeur for Ross straight up, when the rumors existed.
Reliever Mike MacDougal signs minor league deal with Marlins - MLB.com
Former Nationals closer, here's a guy that really plays gangbusters - he doesn't throw a lot of first-pitch strikes, walks a ton of guys, but has a somewhat low ERA due to the fact that the stat is flawed and he still gets some strikeouts from time to time. ALSO, the video in the link is ironically, MacDougal getting Jeff Francoeur (Mets-era) to hit a game-ending groundball with RISP.
Marlins upset with Renyel Pinto - Fish Stripes
Apparently, the burly reliever with the big arm that likes to dissect baseballs in the dugout upset the team by not showing up to the Marlins FanFest with no explanation. craig, over at Fish Stripes makes me laugh by saying:
But whatever the case, I can't imagine there were hundreds of kids lined up in Pinto jerseys only to be reduced to tears when he didn't show. However, I could be wrong about that.
Spring Training stats - none of it actually matters - Marlins Maniac
A good article written by a guy who really favors statistics, about how ST is still mostly about observation, using your eyes, and letting the scouts do their job, and the statisticians do theirs.
Almost as ignorant as Jeff Francoeur's OBP comment - The Good Phight
GM Ruben Amaro tries to address fans' concern about having only one LHP in the bullpen in J.C. Romero by telling them to relax, because if guys can get outs, it doesn't matter which hand they throw with, and TGP's graphical expression of reactionary disdain.
J.C. Romero striving to make Opening Day roster - MLB.com
Here's a guy with a tremendous load of expectations on him, both on him, as well as from the organization and the fans. With Scott Eyre's retirement, Romero is the only lefty in the tentative Phillies bullpen. He's also coming off of injury, suspension, and he's also dealing with a lawsuit against the companies involved in providing him the supplements that got him suspended. His attitude is great, but the workload expected of him is going to be great, and possibly detrimental.
Love or respect? - The Good Phight
WholeCamels over at our rivals' side, put together a list of non-Phillies players he doesn't hate. And Baby Jesus fancies his preference at catcher, as he does for most of us here. But while we're being nice-nice, I'll reiterate my respeck for Shane Victorino - I've actually got a bet riding on his 2010 season's statistics against a friend of mine whom is pitting Curtis Granderson against me. So as much as I want to see the Phillies fail, I still need Victorino to win me my bet.
Jose Reyes is probably being stalked - Amazin' Avenue
I mean, for the fans' perspective, it must be nice to get up-to-the-second updates and reporting, but this is kind of creepy, IMO. All these beat writers standing around watching vigilantly, as Jose Reyes does things, and plugging furiously away at their likely smart phones to "report" on. I wonder if they're going to announce when Jose Reyes is having a bowel movement next? Also, our rivals think he could possibly be in the best shape of his life, too.
Jose Reyes: "I want to finish my career here" - NYPost
In baseball, those words don't mean a thing. Unless you're already on the Yankees, there is always a team that can outbid for you, yes, even the Mets. And with Jeter aging and declining, hmm......
Jose Reyes will likely bat third in the lineup - MLB.com
And Josey (Glavine's nickname for Reyes) with the trifecta of links, as Jerry Manuel tentatively thinks about plugging Reyes as the #3 guy in the batting lineup. There were some statistics that favored Angel Pagan as a more logical leadoff guy, and Reyes' slightly superior statistics when batting with RISP, leading to this decision. If anything at all, this kind of fills the void left by Carlos Beltran - a switch-hitter with great base-running skills, minus a bit of power. With each week, I'm wondering if the Mets are really going to be as bad as I hope they will?
Santana: "Santana" - NYPost
(hat tip: Amazin' Avenue)
And the question is "Who is the best pitcher in the NL East?" Johan's always been pretty level-headed throughout his career, and always a "safe" guy, but this seems a little uncharacteristic coming from him. I guess I can't blame him though, what with Roy Halladay entering the division, he's simply stating that he's not taking a backseat to anybody. But that does pose an interesting question, if you could pick one, who would you take? Johan or Halladay?
Mets making late push for free agent catcher, Rod Barajas - MLB.com
Barajas is no crown jewel by any means, but after failing to acquire Bengie Molina, and facing an impending multi-headed catching monster of Josh Thole, Henry Blanco and Omir Santos, catcher is still a high priority for the Amazins. Barajas would fit the mold of veteran catching presence with enough defensive prowess to rival Brian Schneider, while having a little bit more of a bat (but barely), so he'd clearly be better than Brian McCann.
Kelvim Escobar's shoulder is already sore - NYTimes
(hat tip: Amazin' Avenue)
It's a secondary story in an article about David Wright feeling optimistic about 2010, but Kelvim Escobar's shoulder already hurting. So to those of you thinking the sky was falling because of Jair Jurrjens's early fatigue, this is how common things like this happen in Spring.
Carlos Delgado, likely to join someone mid-season - FOXSports
(hat tip: Amazin' Avenue)
Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez were on to something, when they started this trend of old, veteran talent saving their gas until the middle of the season, and swooping in to attempt to be the heroic knight on their white horses. Okay, so neither were saviors to the Yankees and Phillies, but they still got paid a generous pro-rated amount for their partial-season cameos. So along with Pedro and possibly Smoltz, Carlos Delgado looks to be the next veteran to save his gas, and then attempt to jump onto a contender for easy money.
Jeff Francoeur somehow deserves one of 13 available parking spaces in Port St. Lucie - NJ.com
(hat tip: Mets Police)
The pool is a little shallow, but I'm still baffled at how guys like Kelvim Escobar, Alex Cora and Jeff Francoeur "deserve" parking spaces ahead of John Maine?
Family of departed Mets prospect gets no satisfaction due to hung jury - NY Daily News
Here's how to get rid of hung juries - get rid of one juror, or add a thirteenth. Why have an even number? Courtroom aethstetics? Feng Shui? Basically the unfortunate verdict of a 2001 incident in which a high Mets prospect was killed in an automobile accident and family is suing Ford for having SUVs that flipped too easily. Also mentioned in this article is a Cuban RHP prospect working out in the Mets' complex in the Dominican Republic, and Daniel Murphy, is actually a Jacksonville landlord, and he's renting his place out to Mets hitting coach, Howard Johnson.
Citi Pizza Field to host All-Star game in 2013 - Yahoo Sports
Looks like Nationals Park is getting the shaft from the popular stigma that "new" parks tend to be favored for ASG hosting, as Citi appears to be getting it first, for 2013. Also mentioned is the likelihood of Dolphin Landshark Sun Life Ballpark getting in 2015, meaning maybe the Nationals can get it in 2017 if some team out west doesn't snag it first.
So after the first month of doing Things Read in Other Moms' Basements, I have say one observation I must put out there is that it's a prime example of the varying media markets for our respective divisional rivals. If you haven't noticed, I'm finding a ton of material on the Mets, and not nearly as much for the Florida Marlins. In the biggest city in the country, it's easy to find lots of writers, bloggers, and outlets for Mets information, but not so much in a city that has no fans.
Anyway, enjoy the links, and have great weekends everyone.