Things Read in Others Moms' Basements - Around the NL East 01.29.11

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After a week of furious signings, arbitration figures being traded, and numerous minor league deals being tabbed, it was relatively a quiet week in the NL East otherwise.

A few weeks ago, I discovered that I could watch Dominican baseball through my XBOX Live account, through ESPN3 streaming video. It was quite enjoyable to sit back and watch baseball, albeit the slight language barrier, but little did I realize that it was so close to coming to an end. Apparently, what I had been watching was literally a round robin series of games to decide a tie-breaker to decide who would get to be play for the Dominican Winter League championship, and earn a spot in the Caribbean World Series. So when the Estrellas de Oriente clinched their spot in the championship series, that explained the raucous, and incredible crowd in that final game. I really want to go to the Dominican Republic next year and drink Presidente and watch DWL.

So with the teams set, I discovered that unlike in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, for whatever reasons, the DWL has a best of nine game series to decide the champion. The other three countries play a best of seven, much like the LCS and WS here. I missed the first two games due to whatever reason, but thought "oh, it's a best of nine, I'll catch the next one." And then I lost track of some more time, but more importantly, what the series was currently at, since the DWL information isn't nearly as readily available, let alone no crazy phone app for. It's not like there would be a five game sweep or anything.

Welp, the Toros del Este swept the Estrellas, 5-0 on Sunday night, and I didn't realize this until Tuesday afternoon, when I finally had some spare time in the evening, and was looking very much forward to watching some DWL. And despite my emails and pleas to ESPN3 to broadcast Mexico, Puerto Rico, or Venezuela, since they're all still going on, it'll be too late, and there will still be no baseball for me.

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

METS

Blaine Boyer signs minor league deal with Mets - MetsBlog
Oh, the memories of Blaine Boyer. I remember defending him so much, despite how many games he blew for the Braves, constantly citing his potential, the fact that he was a third pitch away from not sucking so much, to compliment his 98mph fastball, to go with his excellent 68mph curveball. But I didn't really feel upset when he was ultimately traded off, and in the convenient looking-back glass, it was more or less for the best. And now, he's the Mets' problem.

Mets owners considering selling minority share of team - The Mets Police
Long story short, in a turn of events that had nothing to do with baseball, a Wilpon-owned company was connected to a Ponzi scheme via Bernie Madoff, which is under investigation now. And the Mets could become casualties of circumstance, as the Wilpons are looking at options in order to bolster their finances, by selling a minority share in the team.

Guess who hasn't thrown a baseball yet, despite being green lit two weeks ago? - MLB
According to Sandy Alderson, Johan Santana has not yet begun throwing baseballs yet. Santana's set to make $22.5M in 2011. Too soon to start preparing a cost per pitch meter yet?

Guess who has the fifth worst farm system in baseball? - Amazin Avenue
Good thing this team has money.

Francisco Rodriguez expected to be 100% by Spring Training - MetsBlog
The thumb appears to be getting better after beating up babymama's dad, and sending 57 text messages.

Ike Davis, the LOOGY? - Mets Today
Before you laugh, it's nothing like the Chris Coghlan Centerfielder joke, because back at Arizona State, Ike Davis really did pitch. Considering the ability to swap Davis from LOOGY to 1B without actually having to lift him from the game, it's a fascinating thought, but knowing the Mets, it would probably result in Davis blowing out his arm outright, or have a situation where he shifts to pitcher to face Ryan Howard, and his repalcement for the at-bat at first base gets eaten alive by a Ryan Howard screaming line-drive.

Fred Wilpon hopes Omar Minaya would return to the Mets as an advisor - MLB
So do we, Fred. So do we.

HOF Daryl Strawberry believes Wally Backman would have been better manager - NYPost
Gotta love the New York media - Collins hasn't even managed a single spring training game, let along major league game for the Mets, and people already think the trainwreck that is Wally Backman would've been better. Straw's justification - because he played on the 1986 WS Mets, and they play ball, the right way.

So Backman will be in AA until he's ready to assume his destined role - NY Daily News
Straw hasn't given up hope, and firmly believes that Backman will be skipper eventually. But until then, he's moving up the ladder quickly, becoming manager of the AA-Binghamton team, while former skipper Tim Teufel is promoted to AAA-Buffalo's manager.

If Jose Reyes is the best player in the NL - MetsBlog
In an attempt to instill confidence in his team, Terry Collins has been going around saying so pretty bourgiouse things. So if Jose Reyes is the best player in the National League, what does that make David Wright? Carlos Beltran? I wonder what he can pull out of his (rear) for Oliver Perez?

Why keeping Oliver Perez at all is a bad idea - Mets Fever
Blogger Ed Ryan is very correct, in this metaphorical way, because simply keeping Oliver Perez is simply a reminder of something negative, and for a team that's trying to recover its reputation, shedding all factors negative can only lead to a quicker recovery. But the whole "we refuse to get zero return for our $12M investment" is ultimately why it probably wouldn't happen, but since it's really little concern to us, lol.

If this is what a Mets Francoeur ball is going for - The Apple
I have to be curious to what my Braves Francoeur could possibly net, or if I should take a stab at trying to wipe the signature off the ball, throw it against the ground a bunch of times, and try and get Brooks Conrad to sign it and say it's a foul ball I caught in Gwinnett.

Bobby Parnell wants to be a closer one day - MetsBlog
lol

WHY THE NL SHOULD HAVE THE DH - Amazin' Avenue
Ah, this argument is inevitable to appear a few times every season, but admittedly, this is actually a lot better written and coherent than I imagined, but the conversation it sparks is pretty amusing to me.

How a Mets fan interprets Jason Bay's lack of fear of a potential slow start - Metstradamus
Regardless, I'd be willing to bet that Bay follows in Beltran's footsteps, and puts up a fairly respectable 2011 campaign after a maligned Flushing debut year.

The Swan Song of Gil Meche - NY Times
Why is this link with the Mets? Or rather, why is this story being published by a New York publication? Are they trying to send a message out to maybe some particular New York professional pitchers who are slated to make $12M in 2011, but hasn't really been earning his keep, and should perhaps forfeit the rest of his pay and retire?

 

NATIONALS

Nationals farm system ranks #19 in baseball - The Nats Blog
At first, I thought it should've been higher, but upon further delving, a lot of guys that should have had a lot of hope like Tyler Moore and Chris Marerro are more often seen as questionable producers at the major league level, upon extreme dissection of their games.

How defense and run prevention could make the Nationals surprisingly better than expectation - Huzzard @ FB
Look no further than the 2008 Rays to see how much improved defense can change things. With the loss of the mobility-challenged Adam Dunn and to a lesser degree, and replacing both their roster spots with the more athletically gifted Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth, up looks to be only way to go.

Nationals and Indians having the cliched discussions over trade Grazy Sizemore and Fausto Carmona - MLB Trade Rumors
Typically, I ignore lots of trade rumors until they show up on MLBTR, but if this move were actually capable of coming to fruition, it would make for an interesting division, possibly. Health, and if Carmona could get back to the ability that made Chip Caray call a Carmona vs. Pettitte ALDS matchup "one of the greatest duels of all time" provided, obviously.

Bryce Harper rated #3 prospect in all of baseball - The Nats Blog
And he still hasn't played a single game in the minor leagues yet. And the JuCo he played barely one full season with has already decided to retire his number already.

Once promising pticher now DFA'd - Nats Insider
Anyone else remember when Shairon Martis threw a no-hitter* in the first-ever World Baseball Classic? Yet another native of Curacao, he was supposed to be one of the contributing young pitchers for the Nationals' future, but now he's being DFA'd for Jerry Hairston, Jr.
*six-inning shortened mercy-rule game

Justin Maxwell, too - Nats Insider
Mr. Grand Slams Justin Maxwell was recently DFA'd in order to make room for Todd Coffey.

Sloth being envisioned as a strikeout savior - Nationals Journal
7.9 K/9 is actually a pretty decent number, but one this is being ignored in this article - Tom Gorzelanny completed an average of 4.6 innings per start. If this continues, his K/9 might not be terrible, but it doesn't mean he'll actually have struck out a great number of batters.

Negativity is the Easy Way Out - Federal Baseball
Being a sports fan in Washington D.C. isn't an easy thing - I know this from first-hand experience. But things are indoubtedly worse since my time up there, since there wasn't a fourth team in their sports' cellar, which is exactly what the Nationals have more or less done since arriving in D.C. And when things get bad, the D.C. media takes the easy way out - they acknowledge the losing, and complain about it. David Huzzard at Federal Baseball takes a different approach, and shows a little bit of courage to try and write solutions, instead of griping about the losing.

Too bad it wasn't on I-95 - MASN
Recently jettisoned National, now Mariner, 2B Adam Kennedy is busted for DUI in California. Sidney Ponson wishes it were on I-95 so people could stop reminding him of his own drunken driving history.

Quite possibly the ugliest jerseys in the history of jerseys, and yes I do include the swashbuckling, creamsicle Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey - NBC
In other former Nationals news, Josh Willingham is emasculated by being forced to display the new jersey he'll be forced to wear on occasion for the Oakland Athletics in 2011. Seriously, yellow jerseys? I'm sure this was taken on a crappy iPhone or something, so it looks like a mixture of bodily excrements, but these are bloody awful.

 

MARLINS

Marlins farm system ranked in the dregs - Sun Sentinel
According to he whom many rever as the end-all in baseball scouting, the Florida Marlins farm system ranks 29th out of all 30 MLB teams. This comes as very little surprise considering the graduation of Sanchez, Morrison and Stanton, which makes the Major league club stronger, but the farm a little depleted. You know what that means - Hanley Ramirez, Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, Javier Vazquez will all be traded at some point soon to playoff hungry teams for a boat load of minor league talent.

Marlins among teams scouting this year's Cuban idol - MLB
Why does it feel like every year, there's some guy from Cuba or Japan that nobody has really ever heard of prior to the time when all this hype is generated for them? Yasiel Balaguer, 18-years old, I've never heard of, because he would have been 15-16 during the last Olympics or World Baseball Classic, but apparently, he's being compared to Andruw Jones, and is already seeking $18-20M. Can anyone shed some light on this kid?

Scratch Ozzie's name off the list in 2012 too - Palm Beach Post
With the White Sox picking up the option for 2012, the hopes to get a high-profile manager like Ozzie Guillen for the impending opening of the new ballpark in 2012 shrink a little bit more.

It's a good thing the Mariners aren't World Series hopefuls - Sun Sentinel
Because, thanks to some worthless hack of a musical artist named Bono, the Mariners are going to get three extra home games in 2011. Instead of playing in the southeastern-most tip of the United States, the Marlins get to travel to the northwestern-most tip, and be designated "the home team" at Seattle's Safeco Field. I mean, the Toronto thing I could understand, that was dealing with various leaders of the world, but yielding for Bono?

The differences between the Rays and the Marlins - Marlin Maniac
Both are small-market teams with limited payrolls in the state of Florida. But one has become a perennial powerhouse in the American League, and the other is wallowing in mediocrity. Just what are the big differences in team execution?

Some new jersey numbers for Marlins players, current and new - Fish Stripes
Omar Infante will be wearing the unlucky #13 for some reason. Javier Vazquez will be wearing #23, instead of his customary #33. What, he couldn't wrest it away from the wealth of talent that is Scott Cousins?

How much longer should the Marlins and Cardinals stay in Jupiter? - Palm Beach Post
Firstly, I was completely unaware that the Marlins and Cardinals both share the same Spring Training venue, Roger Dean Stadium. Apparently, in the logitstic sense of things, both teams are growing a little concerned, since the vast majority of teams in the Grapefruit League are on Florida's west coast, as opposed to them, the Mets, and Nationals, who are all situated on the east side of the state. Since players don't really want to spend excessive amounts of time traveling in buses to play exhibition games, this is turning into a potential issue for the future.

 

PHILLIES

Phillies farm ranked #5 overall in baseball - ESPN (Insider)
At first I was a little puzzled, considering I thought the scenario was similar to the Nationals with one top-five prospect, and a good bit of talent growing at the lower levels. It doesn't mean a lot to some fans, but the Phillies low-A squad did win the Sally League championship, for the second year in a row. There is legitimate talent brewing down there that many are quick to discount, because it's Low-A.

Domonic Brown rated #4 prospect in MLB - Phillies Nation
Despite fairly mediocre MLB-level numbers, overall Brown did everything he was expected to do, at the minor league level. And since he didn't get enough ABs, or be on the major league roster long enough, he retains his prospect status, and makes the list at #4, right behind Washington's Bryce Harper.

Charlie Manuel doesn't want contract situation to be a distraction - MLB
And it probably won't be. I have to imagine Cholly's attained a similar level of status that Bobby Cox had, and this probably is going to be a big non-factor in the end, but in the midst of a slow week, the local beat needs something to talk about.

I wonder if he's also taking credit for not retaining Lee too? - Phillies Zone
Chuck Greenberg, CEO of the Texas Rangers wants to pat himself on the back and take some credit for Cliff Lee's signing with the Phillies, and not the Yankees. Sure, that's great for the American League, who with the exception of Interleague, don't have to face Cliff Lee anymore, but shouldn't Greenberg I don't know, be under a little criticism for not retaining Cliff Lee in Texas, especially off of such a fine post-season run?

Exactly how Cole Hamels bounced back in 2010 - Phillies Nation
For the record, I never saw Hamels' fairly unimpressive season as him beginning his regression, but more like the kind of hangover a pitcher tends to get after pitching 200IP+ in the regular season, as well as deep into the playoffs, as well as en route to a World Series championship. But using some pretty snazzy graphs, PN shows the location, location, location of just how Hamels got back to some good success throughout 2010.

Poor man's Ryan Howard released - Beerleaguer
Yeah, it's kind of a slow week in Phillies news overall, to where this is actually something being read in other basements. Michael Durant, Phillies' fourth overall pick in 2005 is now hitting under the Mendoza line, and was last sighted striking out 142 times in A-ball. A-ball - after four years of playing, he was still in A-ball. But he's 6'5, weighs about a million pounds, and can't apparently hit a baseball. So he's cut.

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