Around the NL East - Carlos Lee traded to Marlins, R.A. Dickey All-Star, Pitcher of Month, Ryan Howard on the cusp of return, The Clown Shirt, Bro

The Braves' regular outfield has 11.5 WAR, more than any trio combined in all of baseball, yet none of these guys are All-Stars. And people wonder why lots of people don't care about the All-Star Game?

When I saw the National League's "All-Star" starting roster, I cringed. Rafael Furcal over Starlin Castro or Ian Desmond? Pablo Sandoval over David Wright? Melky #($*ing Cabrera over six other outfielders with higher WAR totals? On paper, I actually loathe this starting lineup with the exceptions of Joey Votto and of course, Dan Uggla. I don't like it one bit. Not only do I think it's an absurd lineup with compromised talent, I actually think about actively rooting against it. All it says to me is that San Francisco did a bang-up job of stuffing the ballot this year, and of course, the oft-repeated statement that letting the fans vote is dumb.

But then clearer heads prevail, and I realize the inadvertent beauty of this National League roster. Since starting the All-Star Game is somewhat of an inconsequential formality to begin with, it's safe to assume that as the game progresses, the talent level of the NL squad will exponentially increase with every substitution made. It won't be so much "get this guy into the game for his cameo" for Tony LaRussa as it will be "let's improve our chances," for when Sandoval, Furcal and Melky are pulled for the likes of Ryan Braun, Starlin Castro and David Wright. As the game gets into later innings, the talent level of the NL should improve, but the question is if the NL can not fall too behind for when the superior reinforcements hit the field.

Things I hope to see at the All-Star Game:

  • Andrew McCutchen rob someone of a home run
  • Giancarlo (if he plays) blast one into the Kaufmann Stadium CF fountains
  • Carlos Ruiz hit one of his patented late-game doubles to break the hearts of AL supporters
  • Chipper Jones get a stading ovation
  • Chipper Jones taking his likely gift-wrapped fastball down the pipe and hitting it out
  • National League win for the third straight year

Welcome back to the basement.

2012mia_medium

Marlins acquire Carlos Lee from Astros for two minor leaguers - Fish Stripes
Houston pays for ALL of Lee's remaining salary minus the league minimum the Marlins pay, and they get once-heralded prospect Matt Dominguez and pitcher Rob Rasmussen. At first blush, I'm kind of unimpressed by this move, considering Lee is 36 and hasn't shown any indication that he isn't declining, not to mention he's a free agent at the end of the season, but the Marlins are kind of starving for some more offense.

Gaby Sanchez demoted to make room for Lee, Ozzie hits him in the butt with the door - Fish Stripes
Despite the validity of sending Gaby back down to AAA, you don't often see too many managers be so blatant about who's fault it is:

he should blame himself. We gave him plenty of opportunities.

Gaby Sanchez's future now suddenly bleak - Sun Sentinel
An interesting catch by blogger Juan C. Rodruguez, but Gaby Sanchez is on the cusp of not becoming a Super Two eligible player. And due to the fact that he has suddenly fallen on hard times, it's going to be a tougher decision for the Marlins on whether or not they want to bother tendering him a contract if he manages to hit arbitration next year.

Speaking of Ozzie rants, here's Ozzie throwing everyone under the bus - Fish Bytes
After Heath Bell's fifth blown save of the season which ended a 13-12 slobberknocker in Milwaukee, Ozzie accidentally sticks up and defends Heath Bell by essentially declaring that ALL Marlins sucked on that day:

Bell gave up two runs. How about the rest of the (expletives) 10 or 12 runs they scored?

Regardless, Heath Bell is public enemy number one... to Marlins fans - Fish Bytes
Bell has five blown saves, which is tied for second worst in all of baseball, but his path of destruction goes beyond blown saves. Here's a convenient list of all of Heath Bell's screwups for the year to date.

The rest of baseball can not like Hanley Ramirez instead, for his thirty-second home run trot - Deadspin
Sure, it's always great to see the Phillies suffering and I'm all about prolonging their misery, but HanRam isn't going to be making any friends outside the Marlins any time soon by taking extended trots around the bases for whenever he homers.

Giancarlo Stanton named Marlins sole All-Star - Marlins Diehards
Thank goodness for technicalities, but the Marlins have an All-Star and his name is Giancarlo.

But he might not even participate, due to balky knee - Fish Bytes
He's had an MRI, and the team awaits results, but if he doesn't show up to play in St. Louis over the weekend, he might just not be able to take part in both the home run derby, or the ASG itself. But hey, maybe this is the door that Michael Bourn needs to get in?

Emilio Bonifacio starting rehab assignment, Leo Nunez almost playing - Palm Beach Post
If everything goes well, Bonifacio will be back with the team in mid-July when the Fish play the Nationals. Also mentioned is Leo Nunez who will be eligible to start playing again around that time, who will make a few appearances in the Minors to make sure everything is still working.

2012nym_medium

R.A. Dickey named NL Pitcher of the Month for June - MetsBlog
If you're paying attention, so far a pitcher out of the NL East has claimed this award every month this season, with R.A. Dickey joining Washington's Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez as the two prior recipients. In six starts over the month, Dickey pitched a gargantuan 48.1 innings, went 5-0 with an ERA of 0.93, 55 strikeouts versus just eight walks. Three of those starts were complete games, and two were consecutive one-hitters. Kind of a no-brainer.

R.A. Dickey named an All-Star for the first time in career - NY Post
The 18-year veteran has finally made it, and will be a National League All-Star for the first time, and may even be considered to go on short rest in order to be on schedule to be capable of pitching in the All-Star game in Kansas City.

Naturally, Amazin' Avenue asks the most important of questions - AA
If you're behind in Game of Thrones, don't click on the link, but know that Dickey's as big of a nerd as most of us here, and is probably the coolest guy in baseball, even if he does play for the Mets. Google loves the face too!

R.A. Dickey has a name for his bat, too - The Mets Police
lol

The Post demands that R.A. Dickey start the All-Star Game - NY Post
Leave it to the Post to twist Tony LaRussa's words around and claim that he was criticizing R.A. Dickey in comparison to other options to possibly start for the National League team, and then use it as justification for why exactly Dickey should be the starting pitcher, and that it would be a travesty if he didn't.

David Wright also named All-Star, but not how he would have imagined it - NY Daily News
Due to the silly practice of letting the fans vote, David Wright will be starting the All-Star Game on the bench, while the far inferior Pablo Sandoval starts at third base. The good news is that this could be a blessing in disguise, because everyone knows the starters are almost always all gone by the middle of the game, leaving the far more important crucial innings to the "reserves." And lots of lolz at Sandy Alderson going off on New York fans and San Francisco fans.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis's hand in pain, listed as day-to-day - MetsBlog
A DL stint was considered a possibility, but the Mets are tentative right now. Day-to-day, but a DL trip could be retroactively available if he doesn't play.

Mets would "be okay" with re-acquiring K-Rod - NY Post
If the Mets want to upgrade their bullpen, why is Francisco Rodriguez on their radar? I'm not just being sarcastic, his numbers really aren't that great; career low K/9, career high ERA/FIP, walks are up, HR% up, etc, etc. But he's "a great guy!"

Jason Bay creeping closer to return - NY Times
Still no definitive schedule for return, but at least he's running, throwing, and taking some swings again.

2012was_medium

Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Ian Desmond named All-Stars - Nationals Journal
The two pitchers are kind of a no-brainer, but Ian Desmond has also quietly had a solid season, and may have warranted his first-ever All-Star selection. He's still not taking enough walks, but has reduced the strikeouts from a year prior, and is no longer embarrassing himself defensively. But more importantly, he has shown a propensity for delivering timely hits in late-games which has likely made him stand out to get the nod.

Washington D.C., a fairweather town, who'd have thunk that? - The Bog

"I’d rather spend $50 a game to watch them win than $5 to watch them lose," said another fan, 26-year old David Wood.

Yeah, that kind of sums it up. Having grown up in the area, I can tell you from experience that things will drastically change when the day comes that this good fortune isn't the case.

Davey Johnson hopes Bryce Harper doesn't make All-Star Team - Nationals Journal
After showing his age again, proclaining he has zero idea how the concept of last-voting works, he pretty much says he'd rather Harper not make the team so he can go home and get some rest, because whether Harper realizes it or not, he'll need it.

Bryce Harper would be a fireman if the whole baseball thing didn't work out - The Bog
And the thing is, he wants to go get training over the off-season to become one. I'm pretty sure the Nationals might have a tiff with him dabbling in a field where people fall through burning floors, get hurt, and potentially die, as noble of a cause it may be.

Chien-Ming Wang put on DL for sucking, Henry Rodriguez returns, Drew Storen ready to rehab - Nats Insider
"Hip strain" is the artificial reasoning, but everyone and their mother knows Wang is getting put on the DL so he can stop hurting the Nationals in the meantime.

Kind of unfair to say he's a fifth starter - Nationals Journal
Despite the ambiguity of Stephen Strasburg's innings limit, the actions of the team often lead fans to believe it's true, and after the All-Star Game, Strasburg will be the fifth pitcher to start when play resumes. Most unfair fifth starter ever, perhaps.

Bryce Harper's current ride - The Bog
All I have to say is that I kinda preferred the ridiculous truck over this boring old generic luxury car, even with all the customization.

Very disappointed in the Clown Shirt, Bro - Nats Enquirer
I have to mind my tongue somewhat since I have a friend who works for Under Armour, but I have to say that I absolutely am disappointed with the "official" Clown Shirt. Due to the alternating colors, all I see is "DON'T CLOWN; BE A BRO," which isn't really kosher with me.

2012phi_medium

Phillies send Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon to All-Star game - CBS Philly
I actually like the idea of Carlos Ruiz being a reserve for the NL this year. For all the times I've seen him hit some sort of back-breaking double in the seventh inning or later, I'm really hoping he does the same thing to the American League this year.

The inevitable trade rumors running rampant in Philadelphia - TGP

At 36-46, the Phillies now stand a season-worst twelve games out of first place and only have a 1.6% chance of making the playoffs.

Phillies trade Jim Thome to Orioles for two minor leaguers - Beerleaguer
I like the man Jim Thome and all, but my first thought of when this happened was WHY??? (for the O's) He might be the nicest guy in MLB history, but Thome is still 41 years old, with a declined skillset and is likely done after this year, but regardless how Gabriel Lino (catcher) and Kyle Simon (RHP) progress in the Phillies' system, they're still two controllable assets for multiple years and at worst, provide minor league depth. Since it's vitally important to declare winners and losers in transactions, the O's may have gotten taken to the toolshed with this one.

Ryan Howard is progressing, but slowly - Phillies Zone
He's played every day since starting his rehab assignment, but hasn't played first in consecutive days, let alone for an entire nine-inning game. PZ thinks he will be on rehab for almost all of the entire 20-day period. Nevermind, he'll likely be playing against the Braves this weekend.

Cliff Lee finally wins a game, celebrations, kinda awkward - Crossing Broad
Gatorade baths, hugs, bumps and more hugs. Not quite in that order though.

Roy Halladay throwing bullpen sessions - Phillies Zone
To no surprise, Halladay's rehabilitation from the strained lat is ahead of schedule, and he's believed to be back in action not long after the All-Star break.

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