Things Read in Others Moms' Basements - Around the NL East 01.22.11


Whew, what a busy week it's been in baseball this week. Deadline for salary figures before arbitration, a litany of one-year deals being signed, some trades, and DFAs, etc, etc. Little by little, 40-man rosters are taking shape, creating a world of possibilities for the ultimate 25-man rosters to head into the regular season in late-March.

Last week, Stephen Strasburg was the first guy in the NL East to boast about being ITBSOHL, but that's not really fun, or not surprising, considering he's rehabbing, and trying to give fans hope, not to mention that he's a pretty wiry guy to begin with. What I'm looking for are utter failures like Oliver Perez to boast getting ITBSOHL (again), but considering the implosion despite being ITBSOHL of 2010, it's doubtful it'll happen again. So, I'm hoping to see guys with spotty injury records, weight problems, and/or of marginal talent, talking about ITBSOHL, just so we can see just how much it really matters to them during the season. Martin Prado did P90X and got in great shape, but never said ITBSOHL, and it paid off; but I'm hoping to see names like Ricky Nolasco, Chris Coghlan, Joe Blanton, Ryan Howard, Daniel Murphy, Jason Marquis, or any fat player say that they're ITBSOHL but then appear in ST photographs looking as haggard as ever.

Welcome to another week of Things Read in Other Moms' Basements.


Nationals acquire Sloth Fratelli from Cubs for three propsects - Nats Insider
And since most of you have zero idea to whom I'm talking about, it's Tom Gorzelanny. Soft-tossing, middle-to-back end starter who pitched most of his career in mediocrity in Pittsburgh, and Chicago. Prospects given up by the Nationals were blocked OF Michael Burgess (High-A), RHP A.J. Morris (High-A), and Graham Hicks (Low-A). It's a completely unsexy trade, but the Nationals wanted starting pitching, and the Cubs could use some minor leaguers to help fill the void made in the Matt Garza deal.

John Lannan avoids arbitration with 1-year deal - MASN
The soft-tossing crafty lefty will make $2.75M in 2011. He'll be hoping to see more of second-half Lannan more consistently next year, instead of the aberrational first few months which got him demoted back to the minors last year.

Mike Morse and Doug Slaten settled as well - Nats Insider
The giant Morse will make a sliver over $1M with potential incentives. The lefty Slaten will make $695K with potential incentives, out of the bullpen going into 2011. With the settling of Lannan, Morse, and Slaten, the Nationals avoid going to hearings with any players for the first time since 2005.

Chad Gaudin signed to minor league deal - CSNWashington
Another back-end starter who will be expected to compete for a spot on the Nationals. Gaudin despite being only 27, makes the Nationals the seventh team he has played for, and he is capable of both starting, or pitching out of the bullpen.

Todd Coffey inks deal with Nationals - Federal Baseball
Coffey might be seen as veteran presence in the bullpen, and it's always a spectacle to see him doing his best Ultimate Warrior impression every time he's called in, when he sprints full speed to the mound and is visibly gassed by the time he reaches, and relies on the full 30 seconds and all eight warm-up pitches to gather himself before getting to work. Must be an adrenaline junkie. Financials are not disclosed yet, but Coffey made around $2M in 2010, and the Nationals had about $3M allocated for a reliever. In order to accomodate the move, J.D. Martin was released.

Jerry Hairston, Jr. signs one-year deal with Nationals - MASN
$2M with a potential $1M in incentives, the super-utility Jerry Hairston, Jr. has literally played every single position on the field except pitcher or backstop. Many were interested in bringing him to Atlanta, but now, he's off the board.

Nationals sign Alex Cora to minor league deal - WaPo
For under $1M if he fails to meet performance tiers, the Nationals will have a fairly useful utility infielder in Cora who is a candidate to make the Nationals bench, or be a safe contingency plan if Danny Espinoza proves not ready immediately.

A convenient problem - The Nats Blog
One future HOF catcher in Ivan Rodriguez. A competent backup slightly delayed due to shoulder troubles in Jesus Flores. A highly-regarded catching prospect who is just about ready in Wilson Ramos. And powerful young AFL monster, Derek Norris who will likely be starting 2011 in AA, and possibly see a September call up, at least. With many quality catching potentials, the Nationals are beneficiaries of a convenient problem.

Creating internal competition might be beneficial - WaPo
With the flurry of transactions the Nationals made, only a certain number of positions are currently untouchable - 1B Adam LaRoche, 3B Ryan Zimmerman, C Ivan Rodriguez, and RF Jayson Werth seem like the only sure-bet guys to hold their positions. Anyone playing any other position, from starting pitchers, relievers, outfielders, to middle infielders - are going to have to earn their spots. Between a mix of veterans, youngsters, and reclamation projects, GM Mike Rizzo hopes that forcing everyone to bring their A-game in order to earn their spots will only create stronger results, and potentially tradeable pieces.

Can Nationals fans re-embrace Nyjer Morgan? - Federal Baseball
In short - of course they can. Nyjer Morgan just needs to stop being poor at getting on base, and then his base-stealing ability will eventually average to a point where the occasional caught stealings aren't going to seem so glaring.

The difference one year makes - The Nats Blog
Two years ago, the Pirates didn't want him anymore. THE PIRATES. The Nationals took a flyer on him to anchor their bullpen, and I had a litany of not-so nice things about the guy, calling him a ROOGY, that Pirate closers are < other teams' middle relievers, etc, etc. But then he goes through 2010, being the winning pitcher of the All-Star Game for striking out David Ortiz, and notching 42 saves with a 2.47 cumulative ERA between the Nats and Twins, and now he's going to be making $7.15M in arbitration from the Twins going into 2011.

Strange clauses in current Nats contracts - Section 409 (h/t Huzzard)
Jayson Werth is contractually guaranteed the number 28. Chien-Ming Wang will get a bonus if he wins the Silver Slugger. Neither of which are as good of a clause as Jason Marquis being eligible for a $50k bonus if he won the mythical NLDS MVP.



Chris Young the Caucasian pitcher agrees to deal with the Mets - NY Post
The 6'10 Bert lookalike has agreed to terms with the Mets, and is pending a physical. He has been plagued by injuries over the last three years, and hasn't made 30 starts since 2007. He missed almost all of last year due to, the same thing that Johan Santana is battling back from - shoulder problems. Supposedly, it's going to be $1M in base pay, with up to a potential $4.5M with incentives.

Mike Pelfrey agree on 2011 terms - Amazin' Avenue
Avoiding arbitration, Big Pelf will make a hair under $4M for 2011, with $50K in potential performance bonuses.

And is named Opening Day starter - NY Daily News
Terry Collins wastes little time in rewarding Pelfrey for his success and consistency in 2010, and will take the hill on Mets' opening day agains the Marlins.

However R.A. Dickey and Angel Pagan not signed yet - ESPN
Upon the passing of the arbitration deadline, Dickey and Pagan are the only arbitration-eligible players in the entire NL East who failed to sign deals. Basically, both players want at least $1.2M more than what the Mets offered each. There is still time for the Mets to settle with each player, but if they can't, they're going to go to have to go to hearings to deal with the arbitors.

Jose Reyes doesn't want to talk about extension during season - MLB
And would much rather prefer to do it before the season starts. He is eligible for free agency following the 2011 season, but repeated injuries and subsequently affected statistics are going to come into play in the negotiating stages.

Mets sign Scott Hairston to minor league deal - Amazin' Avenue
The other active Hairston also joins the NL East, signing with the Mets on a minor league deal. He stands a good chance to be the backup outfielder, as he can play all three outfield spots, and has some power in his swing. But unlike Jerry, he's not nearly as good of a contact hitter, nor at getting on base.

LHRP Tim Byrdak closing in on deal with Mets - MetsBlog
The 13-year veteran might fit the mold of a guy willing to sign on a minor league deal, and hope to break with the team as a LOOGY. And actually does sign with the Mets on a minor league deal. In order to make room for both Young and Byrdak, prospects Tobi Stoner and Jason Pridie are DFA'd, meaning they were passed over - for Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez.

Mets players out of options - MetsBlog
A list of players whom some might fit into the current 25-man roster as backups or replacements, but some guys, like Manny Acosta, who could find themselves out of work soon.

Mets logo ranked best MLB logo by ESPN - The Mets Police
At first, I wanted to raise a stink, simply because the Mets were ranked first at anything. But from an artistic standpoint, I can't really disagree. Symbolism of New York in the skyline, as well as the silhouette of the bridge. Symbolism of baseball represented by the fact that it's all contained within a subtle, ball-stitched circle, and the classic Mets script in orange text on top of the blue. As far as MLB logos go, Mets do it all, with a touch of class. The Braves logo ranks 18th, and I'm surprised it ranks that high, considering if someone who didn't know what MLB teams were out there, would have little indication that the Braves logo is a baseball club's.

Bonding over Bowling - Metstradamus
Y'know, at first blush, I just wanted to laugh, and type out LOLMets. But if there's one thing that the Mets genuinely have lacked over the last few years, it was general team cohesion. Maybe it's due to Minaya creating Los Mets refusing to interact with their non Latino teammates, or whatnot, but Terry Collins legtimiately wants his guys to have a regularly scheduled bowling night. There are stranger ways to build camraderie and gel teammates.

Ike Davis would gladly step aside for Albert Pujols - MetsBlog

"I'd be an (expletive deleted) middle reliever to get Albert."

It's hard to not admire when a guy puts his ego aside for the obvious betterment of others.

Get him a body bag! ...YEAAAAH - The Apple
Karate Kid references, and somehow relating them to the Mets. I reall don't know how Randy does it. I wonder if he's ever seen Artie Lange's Beer League, where Ralph Macchio plays bottom feeder on a beer league softball team?

True colors revealed in hindsight - MetsBlog
Guess who didn't like iti Field, now that he doesn't have to play there anymore? And to think of all the fluffy pillow talk from his previous tenure there wasn't at all that long ago.

And then Ted Berg more or less delivers literary ownage - Ted Berg
Couldn't have said it any better. But I'm sure I could put it on a shirt better.



Joe Blanton now condemned - FOX Sports

"I don’t feel comfortable doing it," Amaro told "He’s going to pitch for the Phillies, probably for the entire season."

That kind of arrogance pretty much seals the fate of Joe Blanton who will probably be moved during Spring Training, or shortly into the season. This kind of boasting is along the lines of Scott Boras clients saying "I want to spend the rest of my career here," before jettisoning themselves to the highest bidder or fat players saying they're ITBSOML and showing up to camp still fat.

Kyle Kendrick avoids arbitration with one-year deal - Beerleaguer
Kendrick will make $2.45M for the 2011, and with the supposed keeping of Joe Blanton, he's now a fairly expensive reliever.

Ben Francisco, too - High Cheese
$1.17M base salary. Look at, and try not to laugh at some of the incentive clauses for the Phillies' new fifth-place hitter and Ryan Howard's protection, which include accolades that not even Francisco's fifth level Inception dreams couldn't even fathom, such as MVPs, Gold Gloves, and World Series MVPs. But maybe NLDS MVP. Anyway, with MVP and Kendrick both signing, the Phillies have avoided going to hearings with any players.

Citizens Bank Park to finally move into the 21st century - Phillies Nation
The last time I was in CBP, I watched Shane Victorino nurse out a walk-off walk. I was also amusing myself watching Phillies fans getting into fist fights with Mets fans, and even had to talk down one Phillies fan who took objection to me being there with a Braves hat on. Needless to say, it's not that I didn't notice the dated, bulb-based scoreboard, I just didn't remember it with all the other happenings at a day in Philadelphia. Either way, despite all the success of the last four years, they're way behind with modern ballpark technology, but it appears that's being rectified for the 2011 season on.

Phillies farm hand busted for testing positive for PED - High Cheese
20-year old San Lazaro Solano, playing for the Phillies' Dominican summer league team tested positive for essentially horse steroids. (Boldenone). He will serve the customary 50-game suspension for a first-time offense, to take place at the start of the 2011 season.

The correlations between Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez - Beerleaguer
Despite being two completely different players, playing different positions, and with different offensive expectations, these two outside acquisitions to the Phillies have actually mirrored each other in how their Phillies careers have played out.

Matt Anderson's life after Octopi - ESPN
Recently signed by the Phillies, the former 1997 number one draft pick's story after tearing a muscle in his armpit after hurling an octopus, is told by Jerry Crasnick. I guess the Phillies need any story to help deflect all the criticisms of being the National League's Yankees is a good thing, at this point.

Pests of Phillies securing homes in the division - Beerleaguer
It's nice to see how other teams notate and acknowledge players from other teams who give them conniptions, regardless of how they fare statistically overall. But apparently, some of the moves made by division rivals are enough to get some Phillies fans feeling a tad perturbed, at the thought of having to face noted pests such as Willie Harris, Adam LaRoche, Javier Vazquez, and Tom Gorzelanny multiple times in the year.

[SATIRE] An abbreviated glance at Roy Halladay's workout schedule - Zoo With Roy
It's a very well known fact that Roy Halladay is a notorious workout fiend, and dedicates a great deal of time and energy into keeping himself in tip-top shape in order to be one of the best pitchers in baseball today. ZWR documents just the lengths that Doc goes through in order to be the best at what he does.

WT(H) is this kind of nonsense from Phillies fans - Crashburn Alley
"Should Phillies fans be allowed to cheer for Logan Morrison"No way! Just because he demonstrated a little humility and perhaps maybe a little too excessive respect to the Phillies rotation, he's winning over Phillies fans? If you're going to cheer for him, cheer for something substantial, like the charity work he's doing in his passed father's honor, or something substantial, and not because he complimented R2C2 (which for the record is bloody rubbish. Nicknaming your rotation? Imagine if Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine were called MSG, and were presented in a way like Kahn Souphanousinphone's wife from King of the Hill would go like "MAKE BASEBALL BETTER - ADD MSG!" Yeah, so in other words, lame. Doesn't matter if four pitchers win 17+ games, R2C2 is still lame.)



Anibal Sanchez, Clay Hensley avoid arbitration, sign one-year deals - Miami Herald
Sanchez was kind of a no-brainer, and signs for $3.7M with up to another $50k in incentives. Reliever Clay Hensley will net $1.4M, also with up to $50k in incentives. It's a little surprising that the Marlins have managed to somehow keep the three pitching stalwarts that debuted "way back" in 2006 in Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, and Sanchez. In Marlins tenure, they're practically senior citizens now.

Leo Nunez, Edward Mujica avoid arbitration too - Fish Bytes
Despite eight blown saves and questionable peripherals in 2010, Nunez will still net $3.65M in 2011. Reliever Edward Mujica will make $800,000. With the four players all signed, the Marlins now have no unsigned players.

Why not Mike Stanton in Center? - Marlin Maniac
46 minor league games played out in center field doesn't sound like a lot to many people, but compared to zero, it's a wealth of experience. That's the reality when it comes to how many games slugging stalwart Mike Stanton has actually played in CF, as opposed to Chris Coghlan, who is slated to be patrolling CF going into 2011. So with that in mind, why NOT Mike Stanton in CF instead of Cogs?

Josh Johnson, ace of Jayson Stark's All-Underrated Team - ESPN
This link could have easily gone with the Philles (Carlos Ruiz) or Nationals (Ryan Zimmerman), but the Fish simply need links. Josh Johnson tops Stark's list, and it's hard to believe it, but it is kind of true how underrated Johnson is. Just thinking about it, after Ubaldo started off the All-Star Game shaky, it was Johnson who stifled the AL for his two innings of work, and despite Halladay's success against the Braves, I actually worry more about games against Johnson; Halladay can at least be contacted, but Johnson straight up misses bats (2010 vs. ATL: 18IP, 3ER, 28K)

New outfield coach faces challenges - MLB

"Espada will have one of the most challenging yet exciting jobs in the organization. He will be overseeing three highly touted young players -- Coghlan, Morrison and Mike Stanton."

It really should add that "two of whom are not natural outfielders, with one of them having never played a single game in center field in his career. It's a gamble for Joe Espada, the new outfield coach of the Marlins. If they do as poorly as they're expected to defensively, it's his (butt) on the line, but if they pull some magic out, then he's a genius.

Ricky Nolasco to be ready come Spring Training - Fish Stripes
After surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, Ricky Nolasco is confident that he'll be ready by Spring Training. Keep in mind Johnson was shut down early with soreness as well, and Sanchez pitched a career high innings number, so the health of their big three is something to be skeptical about in 2011.

Greg Norton headlines list of Marlins affiliates - Sun Sentinel
Former Brave, Greg Norton, sheds the interim tag after taking over as manager for the AAA-New Orleans Zephyrs in July last year, and is slated to be the head cheese for the Marlins affiliate going into 2011.

Marlins to be denied on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball - Fish Tank blog
Granted, the schedule is only out for the first half of the season, but the Marlins will get zero love from the four letter. The Phillies get two games, the Braves will have two games, and even the Mets get love twice. Naturally, the Boston Red Sox get four games.


A few extra links that piqued my interest this week:

Milton Bradley arrested for threatening a woman - SBNation
Bradley was always one of those guys that many stat-oriented individuals were capable of completely ignoring all of his whining, injuries, whining, and whining, because he often put up a good OPS, with a glut of natural power. I guess the potential for jail time pretty much elminates the anomaly that is his constant career continues.

Deadspin salutes the retirement of Gil Meche - Deadspin
Despite a career of pretty much nothing but solid mediocrity, Gil Meche's abrupt retirement is probably the most beneficial contribution he has ever made to the Royals - he alleviates them of the guaranteed $12M salary left on his highly criticized $54M deal, that he was supposed to make in 2011.

In order to make room for Grimace, Tigers DFA guy who threw (almost) perfect game - MetsBlog
I know it was just one game, and Galarraga's season wasn't that impressive overall, but I have to imagine that he has to have more upside than an overweight Brad Penny.

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