Things Read in Other Moms' Basements - Around the NL East 04.03.10


This is it. We're here. As I'm typing this right now, the White Sox are stomping a mudhole in our B-team, but that's okay, because that game doesn't count. But starting Monday afternoon, the games do count.

There's really nothing left for me to say right now; I'm sitting here trying to think of something clever and witty to say, but I'm more focused on the feeling of my Myrtle Beach Pelicans hat feeling a little tight and stiff around my melon-like noggin. This last week has been utter torture for pretty much everyone - the fans, and especially the players, to whom most of them have their spots established, and it's pretty much nothing but a race to see who are fifth starters, and 25- and 40- man roster fillups. And as a result of this restless week, it has shown, with some of our divisional rivals - I dare not say it, but the Braves are seemingly on the right side of circumstance currently, and hopefully it remains that way as the season clicks into regular, and all the way into the post, and beyond.

I've already declared my half-day off from work on Monday, and I plan on going straight to Turner Field immediately afterward, for what we're all hoping, is the start of something truly special. Even more so than the regular start of the season.  I may seem like I'm in a state of calm, collected cool, like a Hindu cow, but I'm really really excited.  Just when it sometimes feels like nothing is going right in our lives, the most right and belonging thing comes back to us to bring normalcy back to our hectic lives - baseball season.

Welcome back to Things Read in Other Moms' Basements.

President Obama to throw first pitch at Nationals Park -
It'll be interesting to see how this pans out, considering that the majority of the fans in attendance at Nationals Park will likely be from Philadelphia, but if the game ends the same way that a president last threw out the first pitch, I wouldn't mind, this time.

Scott Olsen retained by Nationals - Nationals Pride
With the lack of a 5th starter cemented, the Nationals decided to reward Scott Olsen's last decent outing by keeping him aboard, passing the deadline they had to cut him, or else pay him. He is competing with Garrett Mock for the last spot in the rotation, whom he'll probably beat, but that pretty much means the rotation pre-Strasburg will be John Lannan, Livan Hernandez, Craig Stammen, Jason Marquis, and Olsen.

Ian Desmond named starting shortstop -
In a surprise demonstration of picking the rookie over the guy with the big salary, the Nationals have decided that Ian Desmond gives the squad the best chance of success over Cristian Guzman, despite the fact that Guz is due about $8M for the 2010 season. Nationals Pride thinks this is obviously the smart move, and looking at the bright side, Guzman still remains as a fully capable utility infielder, giving the squad a quality bat off the bench or insurance for either Desmond, Adam Kennedy, or even Ryan Zimmerman.

Justin Maxwell optioned to AAA - Federal Baseball
While Desmond took full advantage of his ST opportunity, Justin Maxwell has played himself back to the minor leagues for 2010. He was being one of the possible successors to the RF job after the jettison of Elijah Dukes, but after collecting only five hits throughout the spring, he's been re-assigned to AAA-Syracuse.

And what about Cristian Guzman? -
In the 9th inning against the Mets, Cristian Guzman checked into the game to play right field. It was the first time in his entire career that he has played in the outfield. The idea is that he's clearly too expensive to be an $8M infielder off the bench, but if they can make him into some kind of super-utility guy who can also play in the outfield, then it's suddenly worth it. Did I mention that he's never played any professional outfield before? Oh my, this could get interesting. Also mentioned, that the "full-time" right fielder(s) won't just be Willie Harris, but a platoon between he, and Willy Taveras. Chemistry or not, I still think releasing Dukes was a mistake.

Matt Capps is ready for the season - Nationals Journal
"It's just spring training." "The stats don't count." "They'll pick it up during the regular season." Regardless of the excuses, the fact of the matter is that the first-year closer for the Nationals, has pitched 10.2 IP of ST work, allowing 16 hits, 7 walks, and a whopping 10 runs surrendered. I hate to say "I told you so," but there was a reason I was vehemently against any notion that the Braves should pursue Capps.

Anyone surprised? AA-Altoona Curve selling tickets for April 11th - Nationals Journal
What exactly is April 11th? Why, it happens to be the professional regulation debut of Stephen Strasburg, as the Harrisburg Senators travel across the state to take on the Altoona Curve. After the news broke of Jesus's debut, the Curve's website sold upwards of 500 additional tickets. It's minor league, so that number is actually significant.

Chad Cordero's slow return to the show - Seattle Times
(hat tip: The Good Phight)
My old drinking buddy, and former Rolaids Relief winner, Chad Cordero, formerly of the Washington Nationals is slowly making progress on his way back to the big leagues, hoping to land where pretty much a lot of former NLEasters are ending up - Seattle. Shoulder injuries have proven to be insurmountable for many a player looking to return to form, but if there is any one player I'd love to see back in the big leagues, it's Chad, who is as big of a humanitarian and role model as he used to be a gamer (held batters to a .195 BA in 1-run games throughout his career).

Chris Coste picked up off waivers - Federal Baseball
If not for his brief cameo in Houston last year, I could've made the Brian Schneider joke about how he played his entire career in the NL East, and that wealth of knowledge of the division makes him also superior to Brian McCann.


Marlins acquire LHP Nate Robertson from Tigers for essentially free - SBNation
You read correctly - the Marlins send the Tigers minor league pitcher, Jay Voss, and the Tigers are sending Nate Robertson, plus $9.6M to the Fish. Do the math - Robertson is owed $10M in 2010, so he's owed nothing but the league minimum from the Marlins for 2010, which is pretty much nothing to a club, even the Marlins. Robertson probably enjoyed his best season in Detroit's magical 2006, throwing 208 innings, but has kind of fallen back to earth in recent years, but if there's one thing that he's done well despite it's get lefties out; Beyond the Box Score is quick to point out his success against lefties, and suggests possibly making him into a specialist, while others assume he's simply going to be the sole lefty starter in the rotation. Fish Stripes reports that Robertson will indeed be starting, and Clay Hensley is likely going to be the long man now.

Despite flu, Johnson still in line for Opening Day -
He missed his last stat instead, throwing a drugged-up on meds bullpen session. He will make one more start against the Mets in Spring Training, and he is currently set to still be taking the mound on Opening Day, against, the Mets.

Gaby Sanchez named Opening Day starter - Miami Herald
As if it were any debate after the Springs between Sanchez and Logan Morrison. What I wasn't aware of was the fact that Gaby is also a born-and-bred Miami native, and even played at the U, giving the Marlins a much-needed true hometown boy for the fans to possibly get behind.

Wouldn't Eric Hinske be nice right about now? - Marlins Maniac
Basically, the Marlins are likely to be starting the season minus two of their starting outfielders (Ross, Carroll). Most of the guys they have on their bench are more suited as replacement infielders, so Marlins Maniac takes a look at what penny-pinching has done to bite them in the rear, while the we have the mighty-versatile, average hitter on ours for the still-affordable cost of just $1M for the year. You know who'd be good for the Marlins right about now? That's right, Elijah Dukes.

Seth McClung released - Fish Stripes
With the acquisition of Nate Robertson, things were starting to get a little crowded in the 25-man.

This is how you pamper your franchise player -
At first, I thought how lame. But then upon hearing that fans will be getting replicas as a gate giveaway, I'm jealous. After batting .342 to take the batting title in 2009, Jeffrey Loria commemorated the achievement by giving Hanley Ramirez a piece of bling with ".342" inscribed on it in 394 diamonds on gold. And the best part for the fans is that replicas of the item will be given away to the first 5,000 fans at the Marlins home opener. Sucks to be Chipper Jones, I'm sure he would have loved a hunting rifle with ".364" inscribed on it after 2008. Oh, and Deadspin finds out what it actually looks like.


The battle is over - Jamie Moyer named 5th starter - SBNation
Evidently, his one good Spring Training outing against the Yankees was clearly evidence enough to warrant making the $8M pitcher the fifth starter over stalwart Kyle Kendrick, who enjoyed an excellent spring in his own right. Kendrick is likely to become the long man out of the bullpen, while Moyer will see limited action possibly until the middle of April.

Roy Halladay graces the cover of Sports Illustrated - The Good Phight
Do you believe in jinxes? Of course not. They're completely untrue. It's only coincidence that a particular Brave was .351/.377/.655 before August 29, 2005, and coincidence that he limped through the rest of the season .229/.283/.404. As Samuel L. Jackson said in Jurassic Park, hold on to your butts.

Blanton tweaks oblique, Lidge needs cortisone in elbow, and the Dragon Slayer cometh -
This link covers it all - Joe Blanton tweaks his left oblique in a bullpen session, but is still scheduled to make his first start of the season on the 8th. Never mind, he's going to be put on the DL and risks missing all of April altogether. Kyle Kendrick is mildly amused. Meanwhile, Brad Lidge needed a cortisone shot in his pitching elbow, which he's not concerned about, and Josh Fogg, after being cut by the Mets, immediately signs with the Phillies on a minor league deal.

Kicking the tires on Tim Redding - MLB Trade Rumors
With the loss of Blanton, and the likelihood of Kyle Kendrick taking his place, the Phils are supposedly looking for a little bit of a safety net starting pitching depth. In Tim Redding, they find a mediocre, replacement-level pitcher who can at least eat some innings and hopefully be bailed out by the dynamic Philly offense. He also spent the last three years of his career pitching for the Nationals and Mets, so that means he has a wealth of NL East knowledge that means deuces for the rest of us.

Schilling: "Trading Lee was the stupidest thing they've ever done." -
Ah, we can always count on Curt Schilling to tell it how he sees things. Apparently, he's not seeing that the impeccably injury-free Cliff Lee is now dealing with some injuries that appear to take some time away from the M's, but that's not enough to get him to sound his horn.

Jayson Werth lunches with Reggie Jackson OMG he's going to the Yankees -
News of impending free agent Jayson Werth having an innocent lunch with HOFer Reggie Jackson has created a world of speculation that such is the first steps in pushing the wheel in motion to recruiting the right fielder to the Yankees next year. Naturally, Werth denies all speculation citing that they're old family friends, but let the rest of the internets come to their own forlorn conclusions already.

Lidge, Romero, not likely to start on Opening Day -
Sure, they're starting the season against the Nationals with Roy Halladay on the mound and John Lannan is like 0-8 vs. Philly, but it's still never a good thing to be without your LOOGY and closer. Especially when in their places late in the games will be guys like Danys Baez and Ryan Madson, whom has been named as the interim closer.

Subcategorizing by adding more chalk/whiteboards leads to draft success in Philadelphia -
They've decided to organize better, and it's shown in some developmental success throughout the last few years. Along with the increase in boards, they've also leaned more towards drafting high schoolers than college guys, citing a little bit of inadvertent bravado, by mentioning their poor draft options due to their team's success, so they can develop them their way, instead of letting college coaches "ruin" them. They also adminster psychological tests to all prospects too, to assess how they deal with failure.


Jose Reyes unlikely to start season on Opening Day -
Concerned with the general lack of playing time during the Spring, the Mets are likely to not break camp with Jose Reyes in tow. He seems slated to be taking a lot of at-bats and in-game action in minor league starts to get back into in-game shape, but it's pretty certain that he won't be playing on Opening Day. Naturally, Omar Minaya has the exact opposite in mind.

Introducing the Reyes Rules -
Since there was concern over the thyroid issues, a special set of rules were made for Jose Reyes - he would DH in minor league games, and not actually play any shortstop. Furthermore, it seems like regardless of what he hits, he is to only run the 90 feet from home plate to first base. This pretty much means stealing is out of the question. Not to mention the fact that this pretty much solidifies the fact that he's not going to be starting the season.

Daniel Murphy sprains knee, will miss 2-6 weeks -
In his place will be either Fernando Tatis, or Mike Jacobs, but Omar Minaya is leaning towards Jacobs.

K-Rod leaves team to be with ailing brother - New York Daily News
The Mets closer left St. Port Lucie, and headed back to Caracas, Venezuela, where his brother was reported to have been in a serious car accident and was hospitalized. Naturally, being the insensitive New York media, the first question is simply, "will he be back in time for Opening Day?" And the answer is, he'll be back on Sunday.

Johan Santana doesn't care what everyone thinks - ESPN
Easy for Johan to say, nobody's concerned about him. Instead, Oliver Perez is hemhorraging runs this spring, and John Maine is vomiting in between innings. Jose Reyes is hurt, Daniel Murphy is hurt, Carlos Beltran is hurt, and Jason Bay is acting like the hired gun that everyone's claiming him to be.

Manny Acosta picked up via the waiver wire by the Mets - MetsBlog
Eating when you're really hungry. Sitting down when your feet are tired. A cold, refreshing drink on a muggy, hot day. The sound Francis makes when you use a health kit in Left 4 Dead. Urinating as soon as you get out of bed. All of these doesn't bring half the relief, as the news of Manny Acosta no longer being our problem does.

How improved is the Mets' defense in 2010? - Amazin' Avenue
With UZR as the weapon of choice, the guys over at Amazin' Avenue reveal that the Mets have improved defensively. How much? Read to find out. But know that a whole lot hinges on Jose Reyes's presence, and whomever is playing out in right field.

Stats to truly get excited about - Amazin' Avenue
Using WAR, AA takes a look at some of the wins, or lack of, that the Mets have to look forward to on Opening Day. Spoiler: not a whole lot.

Detente With the Media - Amazin' Avenue
Stat nerds and/or mom's basement dwellers versus the old thinking media that doesn't embrace the numbers. As often as we hear about the debate, it's a lot like Harold and Kumar go to White Castle - a trainwreck that I can't seem to peel my eyes away from. But in all seriousness, a decent read, and a fresh set of words.

Introducing the lamest hat in baseball history - The Mets Police
(submitted by gondeee)
The amount of captions that this hat warrants is uncanny. My first thought when I saw this was that Kellogg's must be sponsoring a night out at iti Field or something, and that this was some kind of Tony the Tiger / New York Mets cross-promotion.

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