Around the NL East - Nationals trade for Gio Gonzalez, Jimmy Rollins re-signs with Phils, Mets and Marlins boring yet again

Gio Gonzalez bolsters a Nationals lineup which if healthy, could be surprisingly strong overall. But as far as handling the bat goes, Tommy Hanson might not be the worst hitting pitcher in baseball for much longer.

Firstly, I'd like to wish everyone a Season's Greetings, Happy Holidays, or whatever suits your fancy that won't be twisted and misconstrued to be considered offensive. I am looking forward to nothing more than enjoying sleeping in, in my own bed this holiday weekend, and not worrying at all about the rigors of any inconvenient, awkward traveling.

Such sentiment is pretty much the same as it pertains to the news around baseball, namely the beast of the National League East division. The Nationals and Phillies win this week, with the Phillies re-signing Jimmy Rollins' and the Nationals getting their hands on Gio Gonzalez.

But anyway, have safe and happy holidays, I hope those of you celebrating occasions where gifts are exchanged, I hope you get what you wanted. Otherwise, to everyone else, have safe and happy weekends, and then we're a week closer to the end of the year. Welcome back to the basement.

NATIONALS

Nationals acquire LHP Gio Gonzalez from Oakland A's for four minor leaguers - Nats Insider
Three pitchers, and a catcher. RHP Tom Milone, LHPs A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock, along with top catching prospect, Derek Norris. Not going to lie, I kinda winced. I still would have tried to unload Jesus Flores over Norris seeing as how the A's got three pitching prospects out of it, but whatever. At first blush, I want to ring the Teixeira bell, but the whole thing becomes a moot point if the Nationals rotation of Strasburg-Zimmermann-Gio-Wang-Lannan stays healthy and keeps making starts, and more or less negates the need for any of these minor league arms.

Mike Cameron joins Nationals on minor-league deal - Nats Insider
Despite the relatively poor numbers throughout the last few years, I kind of like this move for the Nationals. In fact, I'm kind of disappointed the Braves never made a play for the Georgia native to bolster outfield depth, but in that intangible veteran-mentor thing, I think a guy like Mike Cameron brings value by potentially mentoring a fairly green outfield talent like Roger Bernadina, correcting his biggest weaknesses - routes.

Nats closing in on get Mark DeRosa - Nationals Journal
The veteran super utility man is close to becoming a National. Davey Johnson likes him, and he's coming off an injury year, so he might not be expensive.

Boatloads of minor league deals of has-beens - Nats Insider
Among the names are Xavier Paul, Brett Carroll, Chad Tracy and Carlos Maldonado. One name I really hope for is Jeff Fulchino. Brian McCann OWNS this guy (2 videos).

Dmitri Young is ITBSOHL and wants a job for 2012 - The Bog
70 lbs. lost, the old fashioned way - diet and exercise. I saw him playing some Venezuelan winter ball, and sure enough, he's trim, still energetic, and looking driven. But then again, the same could be said in 2007 when he was given a 2/$10M that he flushed away.

PHILLIES

Jimmy Rollins re-signs with Phillies, three years, $33M guaranteed - TGP
Not exactly the five-year deal J-Roll was seeking, but at least it's out of the way. Three years guaranteed at $33M, but a fairly easy to attain vesting option that will trigger a fourth year option which potentially makes the deal 4/$44M. Now this is just me, but I still think J-Roll's been underpaid his whole career now, especially with all that he's accomplished. I'm all for getting him out of the division and all, but I think he could have done considerably better if he waited longer, but whatever.

How patience paid off with Rollins - Phillies Nation
Ruben Amaro seems to jump the gun a lot. He jumped the gun with Papelbon, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, and all those contracts are often under scrutiny and criticism. But somewhere down the line he decided to be patient and play some hard ball with the longest-tenured Phillie on the roster, Jimmy Rollins. Although J-Roll might not be happy with it, the stat community and certainly the team are happy with the team-friendly deal that was the end result.

Now shift the focus to Hamels - Phillies Zone
Now that J-Roll's taken care of, the next thing on the agenda should rightfully be, Cole Hamels. He just finished his three-year deal, and is entering his Arb-4 year which will see him rightfully making $14M+. But just how much additional payroll flexibility can the Phillies afford to keep their homegrown ace?

Hunter Pence is ready to go - High Cheese
After sports-hernia surgery, Hunter Pence feels good and thinks he'll be ready to go for 2012. He's entering his Arb-3 season.

Ed Wade returning to the Phillies, into the scouting department - Beerleaguer
We knew it all along! Ed Wade was a Phillies mole his whole time in Houston!1 And now he shows his true colors returning to the Phillies! In terms of your professional wrestling analogy of the week, this is about as impactful as when Crush AKA Brian Adams joined the nWo.

Say it with me now: Small. Sample. Size. - Phillies Nation
It really must be a slow off-season if there are actually posts fantasizing about a season where new LOOGY Dontrelle Willis has better seasons than current Phillie Antonio Bastardo and the greatest left-handed reliever to grace God's green earth in Jonny Venters. Based on a 2011 sample of D-Train's mixed versus lefty splits between the minors and majors, compared to Venters versus ML talent all year long. SSS, and misleading. :( But as long as we're cherry picking, remove Venters' September from the equation, and even God himself is feeling envious of his left arm.

Alpacalypse Now! - TGP
Oh the offseason. Affords such outlets for baseball creativity. I must say to WholeCamels, this was a magnificently amusing read, and I implore you guys to check it out. Also on a side note, this link referred to, it's a great pleasure to see that Billy Wagner's cap, post-retirement is the right one. Hopefully the one he demands to go into the HOF with.

METS

Josh Thole getting a jump on off-season workouts - NY Post
After a season in which he was unsatisfied with his defense, Josh Thole is starting his off-season workouts two weeks earlier. Could he be an ITBSOHL candidate coming soon?

Who should bat leadoff? - Amazin' Avenue
Conventional (read: old fashioned) managing says Andres Torres will bat leadoff. But new-age convention wants OBP and better hitters up front. Seeing Ike Davis and David Wright's names as possible leadoff hitters kind of has me thinking of justin's old beliefs that Adam Dunn should bat leadoff.

No Happy ENDY - NY Daily News
Endy Chavez goes to Baltimore instead. Burn. Someone would rather go to Baltimore than New York.

Film to document Andres Torres' struggles with ADHD - NY Times
We've heard this story before, with Adam LaRoche and Craig Biggio.

After numerous injuries, Mets considering unloading Fernando Martinez - MetsBlog
Once an untouchable prospect, after being marred by injuries over the last few years, the Mets are willing to unload him for the right price. Cue why banking on prospects is never a sure thing.

Mets to cut GCL team starting in 2012 - NY Daily News
I often thought it was redundant that the Mets had essentially three rookie-level clubs, between their GCL squad, the FSL Mets, as well as the SS-A Brooklyn Cyclones teams, and apparently in a cost-cutting measure, the Mets did too.

A list of perks for investing only $20M into the Mets - The Mets Police
Access to Mr. Met, whatever that means specifically. Business cards! One free trip to a road series! All this and more, for only $20,000,000!!!11

Off to a great start - Fish Stripes

"I can't wait to play for, er, with Hanley," Reyes said.

And we can't wait to see, Josey.

Marlins still waiting on acceptance of third-base move from Hanley himself - Miami Herald
A lot of hush-hush, and no actual public acceptance from the incumbent Hanley Ramirez, about having to move to third base.

2012 could be a manufactured run paradise - Sun Sentinel
Hoping to channel 2003, where the combination of Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo ran wild on the opposition, the Miami Marlins are hoping they can recapture that kind of magic with a top tandem of Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio. I just remember the Dodgers trying it with Furcal and Pierre, and it never really working due to constant injuries and Pierre's decline.

Former manager shares thoughts - Fish Bytes
Edwin Rodriguez, former interim skipper, and someone who actually had a rapport with Hanley Ramirez, thinks the Reyes signing was a little "interesting," because as he knows Hanley, he knew it would be an "interesting" situation with him moving to third base, and the predictable resistance there would be with it.

All free agent contracts backloaded - Sun Sentinel
It should be no surprise, but the contracts of all the new guys - Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, and Mark Buerhle are backloaded. In '12, they come out to $22M, but by '14, they're looking at almost twice that. If options trigger, in '15, three guys are eating up $50M combined.

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