Around the NL East - K-Rod traded, Jose Contreras complicated, Tyler Clippard vulturing, Marlins begin closing Sun Life

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Good morning and a pleasant weekend to all my fellow TCers. This is a photograph of Edward Salcedo and Kyle Rose running the bases. As you can see, they are very fast. I don't really have anything else clever or witty to type out here this weekend; I was going to blab something about the comparisons of Jason Heyward bobbleheads, as provided from Rome, Atlanta, and Gwinnett, but then I remembered that cbtits never actually send me the Gwinnett one he said he would, over a year ago.

So instead, as a courtesy, I encourage, and implore my fellow TCers to go vote for member BraveSaluki's quest to get a sweet trip to go travel and watch baseball. The main competition is a bunch of stinking Twins fans who have gotten the cheap schill of a local television plug to bolster their vote count. We DON'T need to see a bunch of stinking Twins get the best of the Braves again, please. It took me all of five minutes to register three different email addresses I have and vote, and I've gotten ZERO emails from Sears since then. There are over 7,000 registered TC accounts, and even if 75% of them are Taiwanese spam bot accounts, that's still almost 2,000 accounts that you and your fake secondary accounts can vote from.

Welcome back to the basement.

METS

Mets trade Francisco Rodriguez to the Brewers - Amazin' Avenue
For cash considerations and two PTBNLs, at the time of my writing this. Personally, I think this is a great move for the Mets; no longer will they have to worry about the 55 games finished and the $17.5M option triggered by it, and they have now prematurely freed up a giant chunk of change to prepare for the future. As for the Brewers, I can't help but shake my head in shame at them; Ron Roenicke, he of the "six-infielders, but there's still nobody covering third" defensive scheme says K-Rod will "share" closing duties with John Axford, but with K-Rod breathing down Axford's back, we all know he's a blown save away from taking over, creating internal angst.

It was always about the money - NY Times
Uhh.. duh? But the best part about the story is the snafu involving the partial no-trade clause that was never actually submitted at any time, so it essentially was a full no-trade clause. Who let such slip through the cracks? Who else but Omar Minaya? But it's okay, because K-Rod has finagled his way onto a contending team, even if it is the Brewers, but at least they have a better chance of seeing October than the Mets do this year.

Naturally, this has to swing back to Jose Reyes eventually - NY Post
By shedding the team of any remaining K-Rod responsibility, the Mets now have a little bit of flexibility when it comes to the subject of retaining Jose Reyes.

They'll have even more flexibility if they trade away Carlos Beltran too - MetsBlog
The most interested teams this week are the Red Sox and the Giants. Surprise surprise, Beltran interested in jumping ship to a popular contender or the defending World Series champions.

So he spends the All-Star break proving he can still field [SATIRE] - The Apple
Since Beltran was the DH in an NL ballpark, he didn't get the opportunity to showcase his fielding ability to a national audience. No worries, he did so during the Home Run Derby instead, kids be damned.

K-Rod trade does not mean the Mets are throwing in the towel - NY Daily News
Sandy Alderson wants to make clear that the heavily predicted unloading of K-Rod among others has no bearing on the team's goal to continue to win baseball games, or that Beltran will be next on the chopping block.

But the Post says it's okay if they do - NY Post
They scoff at all of Alderson's ear-candy, and fully accept it if/when the Mets stop trying, and solely focus on upping the value of their tradeables.

Meet the Mets' likely new closer - NY Daily News
In my head, this is what's going to be playing in my head whenever I see him coming out the gate:

 

 

PHILLIES

Cole Hamels really wanted to pitch in the ASG - Phillies Zone

"I need to find a catcher," Hamels quipped. "Maybe I'll get [Braves catcher Brian] McCann."

Even if I loathe the Phillies, it's quips like this that make me enjoy the game, and that guys like Cole Hamels, aren't bad persons, and are still cool with our guys, when not in direct competition.

Examples of what it might take to re-sign Hamels - High Cheese
Long story short - a lot of money. A lot of it. Most of what the Phillies have, pre-allocated to Halladay, Lee, and Howard.

Speaking of Howard, he's having a better season than you might think - The Good Phight
Ignore the traditional slash stats, homers, and RBI; there are a lot of things that Ryan Howard is doing that is good to be seeing, if you're a Phillies fan, and that the traditional numbers aren't telling the whole story.

Speaking of TGP, they've redesigned their visual identity somewhat - TGP
As an artist, I have to comment on it; at first blush, I was surprised to see something new. I like the favicon being the old "P" emblem. But I made the mistake of going through the comments section of this thread, and now I can't unsee the sock-puppet. But overall, it's an improvement IMO, because I really wasn't fond of the dated Rocky silhouette look previously.

Jose Contreras has setback - High Cheese
The funny thing is that Ryan Madson was the last guy between he, Contreras and Lidge to hit the DL, but could very well be the first guy back in action. But an elbow strain is still causing complications with Contreras, and he's going to get a second opinion. Maybe he should cut the BS, and just go to Birmingham instead of LA to get a real opinion on whether or not he's done.

Philles possibly targeting Heath Bell - Phillies Zone
Please god, no. One, I like Heath Bell a lot. Two, most people don't seem to notice that he brings a presence with him that automatically toughens up all bullpen mates around him, like a magical ward from World of Warcraft or something. Three, the Phillies are obvious favorites to the World Series, and who wouldn't want to cash in on a ride to the WS before hitting free agency?

Bud Selig pretty much admits ASG policies won't change due to ratings - Philly.com

"Doing things that help your television partners is not an unconstitutional act."

Glad to see integrity of the game is so important to you, Bud.

Do the Braves really have that much of a better schedule than Phillies? - Crashburn Alley
To be honest, I don't like reading things like this, because the last thing I want to see is overconfident Braves losing important games to the Pirates again, while the Phillies hold the course against their supposed "harder" schedule. I just want to see Braves wins, no matter who the opponent is, and what their records are.

Carlos Ruiz graces the cover of Sports Illustrated - NBC Philly
You know who else graced the cover of Sports Illustrated? Jeff Francoeur. Now it doesn't feel so special anymore, does it?

Fake Keith Law rips apart little leaguers - Zoo With Roy
Honestly, if it weren't indicated that this were satire, I probably would have believed the tone to be genuine.

 

NATIONALS

Davey Johnson on statistics - MASN
Naturally, this is written in a way to portray Davey Johnson as the ultimate compromise between manager of men, and moonlighting sabermetrician, but for what it's worth, it's still worth a read, as a reminder to purists that statistics are not evil, and to statheads, that intangibles do exist.

Tyler Clippard wins All-Star Game without actually recording an out - The Bog
In a roster that featured pitchers such as Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Jair Jurrjens, and Clayton Kershaw, it's puzzling to see that the winning pitcher actually ended up being the oft-understimated Nationals' own Tyler Clippard. Clippard, a notorious vulture in 2010, vultured the All-Star Game this year, when Adrian Beltre, the one batter he was responsible in getting out, singled, but Jose Bautista made the third out, getting tagged at home plate, all before Prince Fielder's home run took the lead that the National League wouldn't relinquish. For two years in a row now, a Nationals reliever has taken the W despite only facing a single batter.

Shane Victorino: "Jayson Werth will rebound" - MASN
It's funny whenever there's a story from a supposed friend or former teammate, when their correspondence with Werth is documented. A part me expects to read earnest, emotional answers coming out of Werth, to supposed confidants, but even in text, his words always read as cold, emotionless, and without care. Regardless, Victorino takes the easy route to say that he'll eventually rebound, because frankly, he's currently at a level that makes Dan Uggla feel good about himself.

Mike Morse and the inexplicable position change improvement - The Nats Blog
Morse is one of those quirky players who exemplify the oddity in offensive improvement that correlates with a fielding position change. While Morse was a middle infielder and outfielder, he well, stunk. Now a first baseman, in place of the injured Adam LaRoche, Morse is a completely different player, and doesn't stink. What gives?

Hmm, this path sounds oddly familiar - The Bog
Number one overall drafted outfielder, powerful lefty slugger. Bryce Harper, like many young baseball players has decided to start slapping ink all over his body, starting with an unoriginal "Mom" and "Pops" on his wrists in an unoriginal font. I wonder if he'll also go the route of Josh Hamilton when he turns 21?

Speaking of Harper, he got owned at the Future's Game - MASN
For the second time in as many meetings, Julio Teheran struck him out, looking no less. 0-4 on the day, with two strikeouts overall. But Nats prospect Brad Peacock had a good showing, just needing nine pitches to complete a perfect inning.

Jim Riggleman considers his departure a "lose-lose" - The Bog
A lot of this reads like a lot of back-pedaling to make it sound like Jim Riggleman is more of a victim of circumstance, and not trying to capitalize on a successful streak. Regardless, he's interviewing the Giants for a coaching gig of some sort.

Josh Johnson loses his (crap) from being heckled - Nats NQ
I bet you thought I was talking about Marlins ace pitcher? Naw, this is Josh Johnson, a Nationals farmhand who lost his cool during a series between AA-Richmond Flying Squirrels and the Harrisburg Senators. And the story from the heckler himself, which is kind of sad, considering he was probably almost twice the age of Johnson needing to heckle career minor leaguers.

 

MARLINS

Marlins close upper deck at SunLiphinShark Robbie Player Park ... FOREVER - Fish Stripes
This actually upsets me a great deal. I'm going to Miami next weekend, and I will not be able to sit in the upper deck of an empty park during a game now. :(

Clay Hensley to make first start as Marlins against the Mets - Palm Beach Post
Obviously, I don't know from experience, but is just one or two minor league starts genuinely enough time for a reliever to get adequately stretched out enough to start starting games? Joba Chamberlain ring any bells?

Hanley's new batting theatrics will probably anger someone - Fish Bytes
As part of his instruction to "follow through" better, there is now a lot (more) of posing with Hanley's once sweet, effective swing.

Matt Dominguez to likely debut in September (when he's essentially free to use) - Sun Sentinel
Who would've figured that? The Marlins holding back on one of their bigger needs (3B) in order to avoid Super-Two status? Never would've guessed.

Fish television ratings down - NBC Miami
A long time ago, I did ads for BrightHouse Communications, in preparation for marketing MLB baseball. I really want to make the joke about how they used in the background, a picture of Seattle's Safeco Field, but unfortunately, the Marlins actually can take some claim to that being their home park, too.

Priorities, priorities - Fish Stripes
Jack McKeon was upset with Emilio Bonifacio after he left the squad to witness the birth of his newborn baby:

"I was hoping we'd get some cigars. He didn't bring any cigars. I should have told him about the protocol."

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