Around the NL East: Ozzie and Bell take their talents out of South Beach

Marc Serota

The trainwreck known as the Miami Marlins' inaugural season kicks off the offseason editions of Around the NL East by firing their manager and unloading their closer after just one year.

It wasn't until I saw a flock of tourists wearing Detroit Tigers gear in a beach town in Mexico, did it dawn on me that the Tigers had probably advanced to the World Series. This was later confirmed on the sparse wifi available at the resort I was staying at. It was at this time did I see that not only did the Nationals get bounced in the first round, the Cardinals and Giants were going to game seven in the NLCS.

Needless to say, the last three weeks or so of avoiding pretty much all baseball altogether have been kind of gratifying. I recommend a full withdrawal to anyone kind of burnt out on the baseball season. Admittedly, I'm still mad at baseball for the preposterous outfield fly rule, but I know that by next April, I'll be salivating for the regular season to begin again. I've enjoyed the reviews and discussion of all of our 2012 Braves thus far, and some discussion sparked me to go back and seek out video clips of the two Chipper Jones walk-off homers against the Phillies this season. Sure, they sparked a roller coaster of emotions to the highs that each was, but the lows of knowing Chipper was denied playoff salvation, but the fact that I felt like watching some baseball again meant that everything was going to be fine.

Some notable events this season have me wondering if baseball is entering a new era of well, impatience. Just a few years ago, it felt like the changing of the guard with the escalating costs of free agent contracts, and how players don't really stay on one team for their careers anymore. And how heartless the business of baseball had gotten, with teams looking at dollars and stats more than the players that fanbases may or may not have been infatuated with, by trading them away. With the quick firings of Bobby Valentine and Ozzie Guillen, the incredible way the Red Sox got their get out of jail free card, and even the rapid unloading of Heath Bell, it seems like there have been a lot of more reactionary and almost knee-jerk decisions being done these days. In a game where patience in the game is praised, it doesn't seem like there's a lot of patience being displayed in the front offices. All that being said, it's times like this, when looking around at the rest of the baseball landscape, it's nice to be a Braves fan.


Ozzie Guillen fired as manager of the Marlins - Palm Beach Post
Well, that didn't last long. A part of me didn't think it would happen because it was his first year, and typically teams give guys at least that one-year grace season, but still, Ozzie did go a little overboard with all his amusing commentary throughout the 2012 season.

For once, Ozzie Guillen doesn't have much to say about something - Fish Bytes
Dripping with sarcasm, Ozzie admits "once again, manager's fault." But he shouldn't be too distraught, job or no job, the Marlins still owe him $7.5M throughout the next three years. LOLMarlins?

Many Marlins players don't agree with Ozzie's firing - Palm Beach Post
Especially pitcher Ricky Nolasco:

U gotta be (expletive) (expletive) me

Heath Bell traded away one year removed from signing multi-year deal - Fish Bytes
Well, that didn't last long. lol, I just realized that I typed the same thing just above in regards to Ozzie Guillen but whatever I'm easing into the offseason here. Bell was sent to the Diamondbacks in a three-team deal that saw the Marlins receive infield prospect Yordy Cabrera from the Oakland A's. The Marlins will cover $8M of the $21M left they owe Bell. Marlins Diehards react most appropriately.

Marlins have question about the Marlins Way. . . what exactly is the Marlins Way? - Fish Stripes
From an outsider's perspective, the Marlins Way was and has always been penny-pinching, having team payrolls less than Chan Ho Park's entire salary, winning a World Series, and then trading everyone away and starting from scratch.

He's no Greg Maddux but Mark Buehrle is a pretty darn good fielder - Sun Sentinel
I wouldn't necessary be calling him a god of any sort, but in the latest edition of the Fielding Bible, Mark Buehrle rates once again, as the top-fielding pitcher in all of baseball. Still not convinced he was better than Greg Maddux though.

The curious case of the mystery Marlins fan at the World Series - Amy K. Nelson
There's a joke in this whole thing about how a Marlins fan ends up at the World Series when the Marlins themselves have so few, but I won't go there. Great light-hearted piece though, and the kind of things that makes sports fandom so fun.


Davey Johnson named The Sporting News' NL Manager of the Year - MASN
Not to be mistaken with the official MLB NL Manager of the Year, which is voted on by the ever-uncompromising BBWAA, the TSN awards aren't sanctioned, but are still worth some weight regardless. Especially since in the case of Davey Johnson, the voters were none other than 17 other NL Managers.

Ryan Zimmerman has shoulder surgery - Nats Insider
After getting about four cortisone shots in order to get through the season, upon conclusion of the season for the Nationals, afforded Ryan Zimmerman the opportunity to actually address his troublesome shoulder. After the arthroscopic procedure, Zimmerman will be inactive for at least six weeks, but with a long offseason just beginning, he is expected to be fully healthy come Spring Training.

Adam LaRoche in discussions with Nats over extension - Nationals Journal
I'm torn over this; we all like Roachy and want to see good things happen for him, but at the same time after the season he just had, anything to make the Nats weaker would be a good thing. 2013 has a $10M mutual option that LaRoche will almost definitively decline in search of a long-term deal, and the Nationals are definitely interested, unlike their previous half-hearted attempts to re-sign Adam Dunn a few years ago.

Bryce Harper's historic teenage season - The Nats Blog
Harper has accomplished a lot in his first season, at the age of 19. Here's a small laundry list of his accomplishments, and how it compares to some of the other greatest 19-year old seasons in history.

Kurt Suzuki a pleasant surprise of a contributor - MASN
When the Nats brought in Kurt Suzuki from the A's, it was almost mostly just to get some veteran catching depth, due to the dearth of catching injuries the Nats had endured. Ultimately, the Nats ended up getting a surprisingl contributor from the bottom of the lineup, and if Wilson Ramos can come back healthy next season, a pretty solid duo of catchers, meaning that Jesus Flores might be put on the block as well.

Drew Storen eligible for arbitration thanks to updated CBA - Nationals Journal
It hardly feels like Storen has been around either, considering he debuted in May 2010. But thanks to the CBA updated in 2012, Storen will beat the Super Two cutoff by a single day, and instead of another season of making league minimum, become arbitration eligible and actually cost the Nats a good bit more. Even if his last memory of the 2012 season was the mother of all bullpen implosions.


The Chase Utley Conundrum, to extend or not extend - TGP
At first blush, my initial thought is of course they extend Chase Utley, he's a once-in-a-generation kind of talent that you have to keep. But then I think about how much money the Phillies have locked up in Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, and it changes my thoughts a little bit. Utley is still probably the best second baseman in ages when healthy, but with rapidly deteriorating knees, and seasonal trends that keep showing late-season fall offs, I really do have to question on whether or not the Phillies would, or can even afford to show some loyalty to an all-time great Philly like Utley.

The obvious statement, Chase Utley is still good - Crashburn Alley
It seems like the biggest obstacle for evaluating Chase Utley that a lot of people run into is the fact that they're comparing Chase Utley to well, Chase Utley. People see that he's a guy that has eclipsed 7+ fWAR multiple times and are disappointed when he turns in "just" 3~ fWAR. But when you put Chase Utley in perspective with all the other second baseman in the league, he's still easily among the upper echelon of talent from the four.

Skimping at third hasn't really hurt the Phillies - Beerleaguer
Throughout the last decade or so, the Phillies haven't gotten a lot of offensive contribution from a position that traditionally is relied upon to provide some pop. Well, it's likely due to the fact that they get so much offensive production from a guy like Chase Utley from second base, that third base production hasn't been nearly as much of a concern, but regardless, the news of Alex Rodriguez rumored to be available at little cost has gotten some thinking.

Blue Jays claim David Herndon from Phillies off of waivers - Phillies Nation
Despite the fact that he was gone for most of the year with Tommy John Surgery, David Herndon's departure further compounds the Phillies' eventual need to really get some warm bodies to actually put in a bullpen, let alone be seeking out reliable talent.


Speculating on what it will take to keep David Wright - NY Post
Based on the production and the comparisons to the Ryan Zimmerman deal from a year ago, the NY Post's Joel Sherman believes that it would take somewhere in the neighborhood of 7-8 years, and around $143M to securely lock up David Wright for the foreseeable future.

Jose Reyes certainly hopes the Mets secure David Wright - MetsBlog
You know it's the offseason when things like this are suddenly newsworthy; I'm often amazed at how often Jose Reyes' opinions on Mets matters even are a concern, but I guess there's still a little bit of separation anxiety from the New York media in that regard.

R.A. Dickey fine after abdominal surgery - NY Post
To think Dickey had what could be a Cy Young season while having played most of it with a tear in his abdomen, a pretty key component in the human body when it comes to pitching. Regardess, with the season over, he had the necessary surgery to repair it, and is expected to be healthy come Spring. Now if the Mets will address extending him or not is a different issue.

Mets planning on non-tendering Mike Pelfrey, possibly Andres Torres too - AA
The decision to non-tender Pelfrey and attempt to sign him to a lower salary is a bit of a no-brainer considering he hadn't pitched well over the last two years due to injuries, but I'm not too sure about the idea to non-tender Torres. The numbers haven't been great, but if he keeps an open mind, I'd be wagering that plenty of teams would be willing to pay him to be a fourth outfielder.

Bringing in the fences definitively added home runs - MetsBlog
At the conclusion of the 2012 season, 45 more homers were hit in Citi Field (21, Mets, 24 opposition). David Wright accounted for four of those. It's not terribly off from the 50 additional jacks the Mets were projecting after the fences were moved in.

Josh Thole arbitration eligible due to updated CBA - AA
Like Drew Storen, thanks to the adjustments to the CBA prior to 2012, Josh Thole becomes arbitration eligible going into 2013 instead of another year of league minimum.

Mets claim C Anthony Recker from Cubs - MetsBlog
But it's little moves like this that have to make Josh Thole's future feel a little uncertain at times. The New York media has been quick to dog on Thole for anything, while praising guys like Kelly Shoppach, and showing interest in guys like Miguel Olivo, and the underlying message all throughout 2012 was that Thole is no sure bet to be on the Mets long-term.

Wally Backman in Las Vegas - AA
Just let that soak in for a minute. Sure the Mets have announced the Wally Backman will remain the Mets' AAA manager going into 2013, but that also means Wally Backman will be spending a great deal of time in Las Vegas throughout 2013. He's already been labeled the crazy uncle of the organization in Brooklyn and Buffalo, but imagine him in the City of Sin?

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