Around the NL East - Phils decline options for Oswalt and Lidge, Marlins not shifting Hanley, Davey Johnson likely staying in D.C., Mets renovating Citi Field

You are NOT black ops, and this blown save DID happen.

One thing that really stinks about the World Series is the obvious fact that one network has the rights to all the games, a handful of chief sponsors has the rights to all the commercial time, and subsequently we the viewers are subject to the same litany of crappy advertising for the duration of the playoffs. That being said, I share the following opinions:

  • I used to say that I found no bigger joy in my baseball fandom than watching Brad Lidge blow a save. Nowadays, Brad Lidge has been replaced by the Giants' Brian Wilson. And seeing him blab about black ops and a bunch of nonsensical blathering that makes the Ultimate Warrior sound like Shakespeare makes me look forward to smugly watching highlight clips of Brian Wilson blowing saves in the future. I can assure you, that this chalupa most certainly did happen.
  • Legends are born in October - if you're a reputable player. I love all these interstitials that MLB is broadcasting about legendary performances in October; y'know, since there's only one October, for that matter. But how they only focus on established superstars, and not the many unheralded players coming through in the clutch. Take for example the Cardinals alone; in 2006, Yadier Molina's go-ahead HR against the Mets, or Anthony Reyes and Jeff Weaver each turning in 8.0 IP masterpieces in the World Series, or David Eckstein gritting his way to MVP honors? Or this year, this guy named David Freese turning into Mr. Clutch?
  • That being said, it means if (because I'll be too busy getting sloshed at Halloween parties all weekend to watch game 7, yes, I'm publishing a day early, again) the Rangers win, it will be all Josh Hamilton or Nelson Cruz and not Derek Holland or Mike Napoli being legends, or if the Cardinals win, it will be Albert Pujols or Chris Carpenter being deemed legends instead of David Freese or the army of relievers being used all playoffs long.

Anyway, have Happy Halloween partying all weekend, if you're into that kind of stuff, and welcome back to the basement. To those who may or may not have been interested in my experiences in last weekend's RUN FOR YOUR LIVES Zombie run, check out SBNation's Uncommon Sportsman, where I also somehow author at, and briefly share my experiences.

PHILLIES

Phillies decline options on Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge - Phillies Nation
This isn't much of a surprise. Neither of them performed to the levels that would have warranted unanimous exercising of such priced option years, and frankly $3.5M for an opportunity to either re-sign either to lower deals, or let them walk and possibly get younger isn't a bad investment.

If not Lidge, if not Madson, then who closes? - Phillies Zone
The most intriguing name that stands available is Minnesota's Joe Nathan, whom like Lidge, had an option year that was not picked up. With Ruben Amaro claiming to want a veteran closer, Nathan stands to be a logical target, even in comparison to the slider-happy Brad Lidge.

To be on the plate or off the plate - Crashburn Alley
Throughout reading this, I could only think about the endless debates about Jason Heyward, and his distance from the plate. It stinks that ESPN got rid of the heat map tool that I can discern, because I'd like to run a comparison, but in the end, I'd rather have a more adaptable hitter who could move in the box and choke up on the bat depending on the scenario, but that seems kind of like a pipe dream sometimes.

Financial reasons why Jimmy Rollins shouldn't be allowed to walk - The Good Phight
Reading this fine piece, I encourage any baseball fan to replace Jimmy Rollins' name with any theoretical baseball player on the cusp of free agency. It almost goes without saying that any free agent player is going to end up signing a deal worth more than a Sabr-minded baseball fan thinks they're worth, and there will inevitably be the condemnation that the player's final 1-3 years of the deal, they will become a financial ballast and overpaid. This piece is a good example of looking at the deal as a whole, and not just the tail end of the contracts, what I like to often refer to as "Todd Heltoning."

Where have all the prospects gone? - Crashburn Alley
A glance at all the minor leaguers used in order to end up with guys like Joe Blanton, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence. So far, nobody really jumps out at you, but the key is that in spite of all these supposed talent raids, the Phillies' system is still producing some useful components at least once a year.

 

Hanley Ramirez will remain at shortstop - Fish Stripes
I guess last week's talk of possibly moving Hanley Ramirez was all just propagated fluff, trying to create news in an otherwise very slow Marlins news week. This may also indicate that the Marlins are going to make no play for a shortstop like Jimmy Rollins or Jose Reyes.

And despite Mike Stanton's numbers is still the best player on the team - Marlin Maniac
Hanley had a poor 2011, while Stanton had a great 2011. The two-year vacuum still isn't enough time to really say if Hanley's done and the Fish are now Stanton's team, but according to the numbers as far as the two are concerned, it doesn't help Stanton's case, and why Hanley is still probably the better player overall.

Logan Morrison for James Shields? - Palm Beach Post
Take it for what it's worth, but after I read The Extra 2%, I'm simply convinced that if the Rays are willing to part with a player, it's for one or both of the following reasons: money, or they know something detrimental about a player that you're not aware of. That being said, even if he can't stfu on Twitter, I still would pass on Morrison for Shields, no matter how much starting pitching could be bolstered.

Marlins #2 on list of smartest spenders - Sun Sentinel
And this is throughout all four major American professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL), so that's #2 out of significantly more than 30. But considering the criteria is money spent versus winning percentages, it's easy to come out on top of these when there are some years when Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera, or Alfonso Soriano banks more than the entire Marlins payroll combined.

New ballpark to feature Mini Clevelander club in left field - Fish Bytes
This is good news for Southside Chicago, because I already get the impression I'm going to have a new worst ballpark in MLB very soon. Either the mini Clevelander will bring down the level of discourse at the new ballpark with Barbie dolls and Jersey Shore guys trolling there, or it's going to be a pathetic cemetery of neon lights, because it's inside of a baseball park, and mixed with the wrong demographic.

 

NATIONALS

Davey Johnson still expected to be named manager for 2012 - Nationals Journal
At first, I'm not quite sure why this still hasn't been set in stone, but apparently, mostly due to the Alex Rodriguez fracas of a few years ago, Major League Baseball asks teams to not announce anything until after the World Series is over.

Nationals scouting Yu Darvish but Daisuke Matsuzaka may have ruined it for him - Nats Insider
The difference between Darvish and Matsuzaka is that Darvish is actually good. His NPB numbers are far more impressive than Matsuzaka's ever was, and according to the eye test, I saw a guy with an easy, repeatable delivery, hitting 95 mph with ease, and having one of the filthiest, move-iest splitters I've ever seen. But after the flopping precedence that Daisuke Matsuzaka set for importing NPB pitchers, the Nationals as well as other interested teams might be a little more cautious (read: less willing to spend) than they once were.

Why Albert Pujols wouldn't sign with the Nationals - The Nats Blog
Mostly because of the availability of Fielder, and the possibility that a combination of Adam LaRoche and Mike Morse could be adequate first baseman in terms of production versus salary, while the team looks to allocate funds towards other needs.

The Importance of the Sac Fly - Nats Insider
After watching the pitiful offenses around baseball in 2011, can anyone really criticize the importance of the sac fly anymore these days?

Potomac Nationals looking for new, less crappier stadium - MASN
Pfitzner Stadium, easily the shoddiest, crappiest stadium on the Western Hemisphere has apparently pushed his residents too far. The high-A Potomac Nationals are exploring for sites outside of lame Prince William County for the future, to prevent the Nationals from further denying them top prospects in fear of them getting hurt in their crappy hovel now.

 

METS

David Wright liked by the Phillies - MetsBlog
I'm not sure why this is newsworthy. Lots of baseball fans are able to step away from solely team bias and realize that opposing players are good baseball players too. I'm sure the Phillies aren't the only team that likes David Wright. But then again, it is Jayson Stark grasping at straws.

Five years after 2006 - NY Post
In light of the Cardinals being back in the World Series, the Post reminisces about the last time the Cardinals were in the series, and how they had to get around the Mets to get there. And how much has changed between both squads, and what lies in the future for the Mets, especially as far as Jose Reyes and David Wright are concerned.

The Mets can move on without Jose Reyes - MetsBlog
Well duh. It's not like the Mets will disband and the Buffalo Bisons will have to become an MLB team if Jose Reyes leaves.

Ryota Igarashi released - Amazin' Avenue
Eh, no surprise here. He wasn't the best reliever out of the pen, and with a clause in his international-coming contract stating free agency if no agreement could be come to, it's kind of doing the Mets a favor.

Mets 40-man roster back to 40 men - ESPN NY
Yes, even in the off-season, DL stints still count. Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Johan Santana and Taylor Buchholz are activated, and reinstated back onto the current roster, bringing it back up to an even 40. Now the real roster housekeeping can begin.

Citi Field walls maybe to be colored blue - The Mets Police
The walls must be like a mood ring, because for the last few years, they have been nothing but colored "soot."

Among other changes, involving the distance of the outfield walls - ESPN NY

A dramatic change will occur in right-center, which had measured 415 feet from home plate. The new depth is expected to be 390 feet -- a 25-foot reduction. That should particularly benefit third baseman David Wright, whose natural power is to right-center.

For what it's worth, many have complained about San Diego's PETCO Park's distances, but nothing's been changed regardless. Cite the market differences?

Maybe it will help Jason Bay out too - Patrick Flood's Blog
Along with David Wright, Jason Bay's power output has been under scrutiny after being a stud in Boston, and being a scrub in New York. The new dimensions may help somewhat, but under speculation is how much the vast dimensions got into Bay's head and affected his swing outright.

Amazin Avenue's Offseason Plan Contest - Amazin' Avenue
I love the creative ways in which AA continues to remain active and bustling in spite of the offseason. Instead of creating clogged up threads in which to rosterbate, they bribe their users into actually taking some spotlight of their own, and actually hone their literary or MSpaint abilities. There's too many to simply list, but when if it makes it, I'm voting for this one.

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