Around the NL East - Davey Johnson predicts Nationals pennant, Jose Reyes sweepstakes begin, LOLMarlins unis, Placido Polanco's Gold Glove

The Major League Baseball season is officially over now. Doesn't quite feel like it, does it? It kind of doesn't for me. With Dominican and Venezuelan winter league baseball available to watch on ESPN3, I can still see some familiar faces like Dmitri Young, Jose Constanza and Gregor Blanco, and it doesn't quite feel that unfamiliar to me. Next weekend, I'm taking a trip out to Arizona, where I'll go bounce around some of the AFL ballparks, and hope to see some Braves prospects in action. Maybe it's the evolution of technology, but even though the MLB season is now done and over, it doesn't mean that there isn't relevant baseball being played, somewhere in the world at any given time during the next two months.

I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the changing of the guard over at the SBNation's Marlins site, Fish Stripes. Craig and GameFish stepped down as the dynamic duo of the blog, and Michael Jong, whom you may or may not recognize as the guy who writes all the stat-oriented posts I occasionally link to from Marlin Maniac, has taken over at Fish Stripes. I'll be frank, he's going to transform the formerly quiet, relaxed Fish Stripes into a place where stats and some heavy analysis takes place; but we're all nerds anyway, so I'm sure it'll be fine regardless.

Welcome back to the basement.

NATIONALS

Davey Johnson predicts pennant for the Nationals in 2012 - The Nats Blog
Way to set the bar there, Davey. Now the Nationals certainly have a lot of talent, and some good pieces waiting in the wings, but being able to win, and actually winning are two very different things. It's certainly not impossible, but 162 games is a long time for things to change.

Stephen Strasburg will follow doctor's orders as well as innings limit - MASN
And even if the Nationals are in the midst of a playoff chase, they claim that once Strasburg hits his innings limit, he's done for the year.

Lots of conflicting reports on Chien-Ming Wang - The Nats Blog
Some sources said he signed. Others say it's still in the works. Regardless, Wang's status is still up in the air, and as of now, he's technically a free agent, although all signs point towards him returning to the Nationals in 2012.

Nationals prospects named AFL All-Stars - Nats Insider
After a slow start, Bryce Harper has resumed killing baseballs. Along with him is catching prospect Derek Norris, who has more or less been doing everything.

It wouldn't be impossible for Bryce Harper to not make Major League squad - Nationals Journal
Although GM Mike Rizzo believes all prospects should taste all levels of the minor leagues, at the rate Bryce Harper is progressing, a convincing Spring Training might be enough to force the Nationals' hand. That being said, I still bet that the team will artificially hold him back for Super-Two reasoning.

Bryce Harper memes another overrated professional athlete - Nats NQ
I think it would be funny if Tim Tebow suited up next week with Bryce Harper warpaint on his face. With bible chapters.

Livan Hernandez has some interesting habits aside from racquetball - Washington Times
The funny thing is that I used to work for SunTrust, before they outsourced my entire team, as well as 1,200 other employees in late 2007. They never win anything, be it bank size, mergers, and other business-forward ventures. Yet somehow, they beat Livo in court, and now Hernandez owes SunTrust, pretty much league minimum.

 

METS

Let the Jose Reyes sweepstakes begin - NY Times
As of 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning, Jose Reyes is a free agent.

Sandy Alderson planning on low-balling Reyes - NY Daily News
I'm not quite sure what kind of negotiating strategy this is. If I were low-balled at the start of negotiations from my current team, I might construe that as a bit of a slight. Why even bother - take in all offers, and then give the home town a chance to match, maybe?

Mets unwilling to go six years on Reyes - MetsBlog
Given his injury history, I'd have to imagine that most teams would be.

The Post thinks the Nationals and Brewers have the best chances - NY Post
I like that about the Post, their willingness to just put it all out there, what they think. The Nationals have shown the ability to overspend, and the Brewers have Ryan Braun pretty much conceding Fielder's departure, and that he'd love to have Reyes. Also, "almost no chance" that Reyes will take a hometown discount. Child, please.

When the Walls Go Blue - Amazin' Avenue
A glance at what the Citi Field's dimensions are going to look like when the outfield walls move in. In short, in right field, the "cubby holes" in the wall are being flattened out somewhat, but probably the biggest change is going to be moving in the left field wall. It's not going to make a gigantic difference, but at first glance, David Wright would have had four more homers in this configuration, likely.

Speaking of David Wright, he won't sign an extension if Reyes leaves - MetsBlog
Now doesn't that throw a little wrench into plans for the future?

Joe Nathan expressing interest in the Mets - Newsday
Nathan, a New York native claims to have followed the Mets while growing up. And now a free agent, he says the Mets are on his radar, since they kind of need relief help. But will the financials match up? Better be one hell of a discount.

Mets will wait on Chris Capuano, Willie Harris, Scott Hairston - MetsBlog
Consider this just fine in my book. I don't want the Braves to see any more Chris Capuano after what he did to the team last year.

Bending the rules to well, win more - The Apple
The part about putting lines on the infield to denote fielder territory is genius.

Egyptian prisoner told Mets won World Series - Hardball Talk

This really is going to happen - Big League Stew
Jose Canseco vs. Lenny Dykstra in celebrity boxing. I'm putting my money on Dykstra, ain't nobody more dangerous than a man with nothing left to lose whose likely headed for prison, and I'm sure all that time tanning and twittering in Yuma has softened Canseco up by now.

 

Marlins expected to raise payroll about $20-25M in 2012 - Sun Sentinel
Going all the way up to $85M estimated for 2012, when factoring in likely arbitration raises, the Fish may have anywhere from $20-25M to spend.

What should the Marlins do with Chris Coghlan? - Palm Beach Post
The question should more be "What can the Marlins do with Chris Coghlan?" because he's coming off more knee troubles, and the fact that the Fish don't really have a position for him. Unless he's traded for peanuts at his lowest value, he's going to be start 2012 in the minors.

Identity theft may cause Juan Leo Nunez Carlos Oviedo his job - Sun Sentinel
Due to the whole debacle of the reliever formerly known as Leo Nunez, there's no guarantee he'll be back in the country in time for Spring Training. And in the mean time are plenty of relievers with closing experience available on the market this off-season.

Could these be . . . the NEW Uniforms??????? - Marlin Maniac
Please note the extra question marks to exemplify the absurdity. But seriously, it's like a rainbow physically manifested, than evolved to growing a mouth or a digestive system, and appropriately expunged these color schemed uniforms and hats onto a presentation slide. Coincidentally, they're practically the Miami Hurricanes (The Hokies say suck it).

The hats, however, are certainly real - Marlins Diehards
Apparently out in Buffalo, New York, you can already purchase Miami Marlins hats. Apparently according to the picture, the people in Buffalo are also privy to getting Tim Horton's products, the luck sons of (female dogs).

After a fashion show, new merch goes on sale at 11pm outside of the new park - Palm Beach Post

The event, which will be held at the new ballpark, will not be open to the public. But the public is invited to show up at 11 p.m. when the new Marlins merchandise goes on sale for the first time outside the stadium.

Still, they’re expecting brisk sales of merchandise outside the ballpark at 11 p.m…

Riiiight... I'm sure the "public" will enjoy waiting outside of the ballpark, in front of creepy Little Havana homes with chain link fences and chicken wire, so they can be the first ones (not really, because Buffalo got 'em first) to get horrendous looking merchandise!

 

PHILLIES

Placido Polanco wins 3B Gold Glove - The Good Phight
Now I don't really care that much, but I guess I don't have much objection that Polanco won it over popular hot corner defensive stalwarts in Ryan Zimmerman and Scott Rolen, but whenever the topic of third base Gold Gloves comes up, all I can ever think about is when Chipper Jones incredulously mocked the voting process of David Wright winning a GG over him, because someone somewhere fessed up to acknowledging his offensive prowess as justification for giving him a defensive award. To which Chipper responded along the lines of "well then it should've gone to (Miguel) Cabrera." See, it's funny because Cabrera is fat!

Don't bet on hometown discounts from Rollins or Madson - Beerleaguer
Rollins, I can understand, because the SS market is pretty weak between him, Jose Reyes, and then everyone else. But Madson has a lot of competition with names like Jonathan Papelbon, Heath Bell, Joe Nathan, and even Brad Lidge all available on the market.

Phillies would be unwise to offer arbitration to Roy Oswalt - Phillies Nation
Bottom line is that there is the potential that Oswalt could accept it, as he's not looking for anything long-term due to the wavering idea he is on the twilight of his career, and force the Phillies to pay something close to the $16M he made in 2011.

Carlos Ruiz may have been better than Yadier Molina defensively - Crashburn Alley
The numbers do not lie, but let's face it, Ruiz doesn't have that sweet snap throw to first with Howard pirouetting to tag out runners at first wandering too far off the bag that Yadier Molina has with Albert Pujols.

Phillies allow Cardinals to speak with Ryne Sandberg for managerial position - High Cheese
The funny thing is that despite the following Sandberg has in Chicago, the Cubs, even with a vacant managerial position spot as well, pretty much implied that they wouldn't want to give Sandberg a shot.

Proof that no matter the SBNation blog, it's still succeptible to one of these - The Good Phight
If you read this WC, I'd love to know just how big your folder of GIFs of retort actually is.

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