Around the NL East - Cole Hamels inks extension with Phillies, Hanley Ramirez traded from Marlins, Davey Johnson masterful manager, Mets in midst of major meltdown

After the events of this week, we can be assured that we will be seeing a lot of Cole Hamels over the next few years, and probably not nearly as much Hanley Ramirez anymore.

I'm going to be cashing in a lazy card this week, and publishing a day early, because I'm going out of town this weekend. I'll be up in Maryland, where I'm planning on going to watch a minor league game where WWF legend "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan is appearing at, and then I'm visiting my favorite ballpark in the bigs, Camden Yards, where I'll have absolutely no care in the world to who wins between the Orioles and Athletics.

But I'd be lying if I said Hacksaw Jim Duggan weren't my first priority. Have a great weekend, everyone. Welcome back to the basement.

2012phi_medium

Phillies secure Cole Hamels to six-year, $144M extension - Phillies Nation
Well, way to take the suspense out of the off-season, Phillies. But the Phillies finally did it, and ensured that their franchise lefty can go nowhere else for the meat of his prime years. There is supposedly also an option for a seventh year that could make this as large as $160M. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess this contract is pretty backloaded, because the team already has ~$105M invested in just Halladay, Lee, Howard, Rollins, Utley and Papelbon alone, and not including the options they need to buy out or exercise, and guys hitting arbitration or free agency.

Rumor: Phillies eager to move Hunter Pence - Beerleaguer
Since Pence still has a year of control left, he would make an appealing 1.3 year remaining trade chip, instead of the traditional two month rental. Hopefully no team out there is so starving for outfield production that they pull a Teixeira and give the Phillies many valuable prospects.

Philly.com beginning the swan song for Shane Victorino - Philly.com
They've pretty much accepted the fact and firmly believe that Victorino is going to get traded. And then proceed to write the autobiography of his Phillies tenure.

Domonic Brown could make either move less painful if he keeps up - Beerleaguer
Since returning from the DL, Dom Brown has been hitting .300+ and OPSing .800+. If this isn't another mirage, then there is hope after Victorino and/or Pence is moved, for the immediate future.

But you know what position looks bleak? Third base - Phillies Nation
Placido Polanco hasn't been a capable everyday third baseman for a while now, but what's worse is that even he is uncertain for next year, and the logical (read: affordable) options don't really look that much brighter either. I kind of agree with this article, and find appeal in the option of trying to work a package around Cliff Lee and getting the Rangers' prospect, Mike Olt. If I were a Phillies fan, that is.

Irony in words - Philly.com

the exodus was as swift and orderly as a well-rehearsed grade-school fire drill. Two-thirds of an announced crowd of 43,717 found the exits and then found their transportation, and two-thirds heard what happened after that either on a highway somewhere, or from startled relatives when they arrived home.

For a fanbase that loves to poke fun at other teams' fanbases for doing this, when the going gets rough, they're simply no different than anyone else.

Watching On in a Lost Season - TGP
The funny thing is, as dismal and unlikely as it seems, the Phils still aren't mathematically eliminated from contention. Regardless, it's been a while since the Phillies have been bad, so the folks at TGP apparently need a reminder of how to watch baseball when the team is (seemingly) out of contention. The ironic thing is that I have many fond memories in which watching baseball was the central focus, when the Braves were either clinched, or mathematically eliminated. It's like when there's nothing left to play for is when baseball becomes truly relaxing and enjoyable when there are no more stakes.

2012mia_medium

Marlins trade Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate to Dodgers for prospects - Fish Stripes
Honestly, this is kind of a head-scratcher for me. I understand that Hanley hasn't played worth his salary over the last two seasons, but he's still under contract for a generous amount. Call me rudimentary, but frankly it seems like the Marlins didn't get enough in return for Hanley, unless this is something of a salary dump, which in itself is puzzling, considering the team's willingness to spend prior to the season, thus making it Hanley-Choate-some salary relief for prospects. Regardless in exchange for a major league SS/3B and LOOGY, the Marlins receive 22-year old RHP Nathan Eovaldi last seen barely making the Baseball America top-100 (at #96) and 22-year old reliever Scott McGough who has been mediocre so far and has struggled to make the jump from Low to High-A ball. But regardless, I guess we can put a cap on Hanley's Marlins career, with his last appearance for the Fish, ending like so many - striking out to Craig Kimbrel.

HanRam didn't think he would get traded - Palm Beach Post
During Hanley's farewell press conference, he muses over the trade, position switches, and other issues before saying goodbye to Miami.

Hanley Ramirez's legacy with the Marlins - Fish Stripes
According to Michael Jong, if you're looking at WAR metrics, than Hanley Ramirez was the best offensive player for the Marlins - ever. Mr. Marlin himself Edgar Renteria Jeff Conine, doesn't even make the list.

Marlins trade Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Tigers for prospects - Fish Stripes
Honestly, I was kind of hoping there would be a way to snare Omar Infante back to the Braves, but oh well. The Marlins receive Jacob Turner, a big RHP and 2009 ninth overall pick with a good bit of upside, clearly the centerpiece of the deal, C Rob Brantly and LHP Bryan Flynn. Michael Jong declares the value of the packages and assets received by both teams a perfect transaction.

Speculation swirling around Josh Johnson's future with the Fish - Sun Sentinel
The Marlins claim to be committed to not trading Johnson, but other sources have said "95%;" meaning there's still a chance that the Marlins would be willing to unload him. Regardless, I just want to say that I'm a fan of Josh Johnson, and if the Braves manage to find a way to wrest him away from the Marlins, I would, well, (crap) myself; even if his history of shoulder issues looks a lot like Tommy Hanson's.

Is it a fire sale or just an excuse to blast Jeffrey Loria? - Fish Stripes
An entertaining read, where Michael Jong goes all Fire Joe Morgan on of all sources, Deadspin.

"Hanler" Ramirez had an infection in his hand because he simply forgot to take his antibiotics - Palm Beach Post
lol typos.
But yeah, this reminds me of the episode of Family Guy when Peter killed his kidneys and on one day neglected to go in for his dialysis because he wanted to stay at the Clam and watch Charles in Charge with the boys.

Giancarlo's knee progressing well - Palm Beach Post
He has been taking some light BP and hitting off a tee, and appears to be right on schedule. Which is something that most injuries these days don't be capable of meeting.

GCL Marlins throw combined perfect-game, closer was oblivious - Sun Sentinel
You know, Marlins affiliates have thrown combined no-hitters in the last three years.

2012was_medium

Davey Johnson is pretty much doing all the right things - MASN
If you look at the Nationals, and you look at the Marlins, before the season, were two teams with lots of talent, both slated to do very well. Currently, one is in first place, and the other is in fourth; now a lot of people don't really want to give credit to managers, but over the span of the last few months, it's hard to ignore the hands-on approach and people management that Davey Johnson has been doing with the Nationals this year.

Ian Desmond put on DL for oblique tear - Nationals Journal
In the midst of a breakout year, and a key component in the Nationals' success, this has to sting a little bit. But the oblique pains that wouldn't go away have taken a turn for the worst, and now Ian Desmond will have to sit out for 15 days.

Danny Espinosa ready for his new responsibilities - Nats Insider
In case you didn't know, Espinosa was always a shortstop first, but due to fact that Ian Desmond got to the show first, Espinosa had to shift over to second base. But with Desmond shelved, Espinosa gets an opportunity to play his natural position; the Nationals aren't the least bit concerned about him defensively, but the inconsistent Espinosa still needs some work with the bat.

Jayson Werth might be back in a week, might be playing CF - Nationals Journal
Maybe it's just me, but I'd almost think the lower-mileage legs of Bryce Harper would be better at playing in CF, but whatever.

Yep, that WAS the largest lead blown in franchise history - Nats Insider
When the Nationals choked away their 9-0 lead and lost to the Braves last Friday, it was a pretty easy layup to know that it was the worst in Nationals history, but it turns out that losing a 9-0 lead also happens to be the largest lead blown in Nationals and Expos history.

Davey Johnson limiting all starters' innings clearly - MASN
I kind of question those who question this rationale, because I have to ask, is it not obvious? Not just Stephen Strasburg, but Davey Johnson has been content to pull his starters after seven innings, no matter how well they've pitched throughout the night, or how low their pitch counts were. The only guy to actually record any outs beyond the 7th inning has been Edwin Jackson; the one guy who might very well not be on the team in the future.

John Lannan returns for one game to torment Braves again, wins game and bus ticket back to Syracuse - WaPo
Business as usual for the crafty lefty, as John Lannan shuts the Braves down yet again, en route to a 5-2 win in the second game of the doubleheader. In spite of the strong performance, the 26th man gets nothing after the game but a Gatorade bath, and a bus ticket back to Syracuse, where he'll remain until September, until he's called up to do what else? Torment the Braves.

Davey Johnson claims to still back Henry Rodriguez despite pulling him mid-at-bat - Nationals Journal
Seriously, I haven't seen a mid-at-bat removal since Ozzie Guillen did it to a guy while he was still with the White Sox, but Ozzie is also nuts. Henry Rodriguez is a guy with blazing velocity, but the clock is ticking with the "he's still got potential" excuse, because there comes a point where every team cuts a guy like him because they're burned out on the inconsistencies.

Chad Cordero muses about meeting Drew Storen - MASN
The once dominant former closer for the old Nationals came back to D.C. for a weekend last week, discusses the day he met Drew Storen. In an interesting twist, he recalls meeting Drew Storen in Cincinnati when he was 15-years old:

He was standing all by himself in right-center. No one was talking to him and no one was even coming close to him. I am a rookie, I don't know any better. I am going to go out and talk to this kid, because who knows you might be talking to a guy who might be taking your job one day.

For the most part, Storen did, before injury had him switch places with Tyler Clippard until further notice.

Weird for the week; Nationals relievers all reading Fifty Shades of Grey - The Bog
Following the claims that Mike Morse read through the erotic bondage best-seller, the quirky group of Nationals relievers all try to make light of the situation.

2012nym_medium

In time for the start of the Olympics, the Times creates a new sport in which the Mets have no equal - NY Times
I understand they stumbled out of the box after the All-Star break, but the general sentiment this week in the land of the Mets is that the season is mathematically over or something. Catching the Nationals may not seem like something anyone can do at this point, but with two wild cards, all any other team really has to do is simply get in, and then go from there.

Johan Santana put on DL for sprained ankle - NY Daily News
Sure, a sprained ankle doesn't sound at all that severe, but the speculation is that the weakened ankle has been leading to Johan resorting to using more arm in his pitching delivery, which has in turn added stress and fatigue to his surgically-repaired shoulder. Of course, there's rabbling about how everything's related to the 130+ pitches he made during his no-hitter, but regardless, Johan's out for 15 days while the Mets are floundering.

Matt Harvey will make his debut against Diamondbacks - NY Times
Despite the hesitation from management to bring up Matt Harvey, the loss of Johan and the ineffectiveness of guys like Miguel Batista, the Mets have no other choice at this point to call up the high-ranking pitching prospect in the Mets' organization. He makes his first start on Thursday against the Diamondbacks in Arizona.

Tim Byrdak latest insubordinate reliever in 'pen - NY Post
Tim Byrdak really, really didn't want to throw a fastball, but the tandem of pitching coach Dan Warthen persistently relaying the sign for fastball to Josh Thole, eventually made Byrdak relent. Unfortunately, he relented right down the pipe and Adam LaRoche hit a bomb which put the game out of reach for the Mets en route to getting swept by the Nationals.

Which means, Miguel Batista has been DFA'd - AA Nope, just flat released - MetsBlog
Just days after declaring that the Mets were the team to beat, Mr. Iowa throws up a stinker against the Dodgers, and the Mets rightfully designate him for assignment afterward. It's kind of a toss if he'll clear waivers or if he'll go elsewhere; as much as he isn't that great, there are many of pitchers worse than him, and he could realistically land somewhere else, or he can take the bus down up to Buffalo.

Also on the potential demotion train, Lucas Duda - NY Post
He's not hitting, and that's his biggest strength. If this continues, Duda might be on a one-way bus ride to Buffalo as well. And yep, he was demoted. Collins believes putting him in right field, where he was unfamiliar with, was the start of his woes, and it snowballed into his offensive production. He'll be playing LF and first back in Buffalo to hopefully get him comfortable again.

Amazingly arriving from Buffalo; Manny Acosta - AA
You know the Mets' bullpen is in disrepair beyond belief when Manny Acosta is recalled to fortify it. But I'll give Acosta one thing, he keeps his mouth shut and probably won't accuse Josh Thole of being incompetent when he uncorks his slider into the dirt wild, unlike Pedro Beato, whom he replaces.

Frank Francisco took cortisone shot, will begin rehabbing - MetsBlog
The magic drug will works its wonders on Francisco, whom after a setback, will begin his rehab tour afterall.

Fingers crossed for no more SS injuries; Omar Quintanilla sold to O's - ESPN
I always wonder why MLB always uses the term "traded for cash considerations" instead of "sold?" Because if I give cash to another party for something, I always figured I'm "buying" it. It's not like I go to Target, and make a trade with Target for my goods for cash considerations, I'm buying stuff. Maybe it has to do with the fact that human beings are part of the transaction, and that selling people makes it sound like slavery or something, but whatever, Quintanilla to the O's for money.

Mets locker room seems to be less racist than it used to be - NY Daily News
When Vincente Padilla called out Mark Teixeira for being racist, he also dragged in another mutual former Rangers teammate: Frank Francisco. Francisco goes to explain his lack of beef with Teix, but on the topic of locker room racism, he praises the Mets' locker room for being slightly better than former experiences for the journeyman reliever. And of course, Omar Minaya's name emerges.

Snooki invited to Citi Field; and I kind of wanted to go to Citi Field this year - Metstradamus
I wonder if the Mets actually paid Snooki to appear at Citi Field and pretend like she knew anything about baseball anything other than bronzer, or if this was like one of those guerrilla tactics, where the Yankees paid her to go skank up Citi Field, like when Chanel paid her to carry around Louis Vuitton stuff.

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