Around the NL East - At the End of the Regular Season Edition

Hunter Martin - Getty Images

The Marlins give a former prospect a shot at one at-bat, Davey Johnson and the Nationals don't like the uncertainty of their NLDS playoff opponent, Phillies fans play the "what if so-and-so were healthy" game, R.A. Dickey notches the first 20-win season for a Mets pitcher in 22 years.

Happy Saturday, everyone reading in Braves Country! I hope not everyone is hating the new SBNation format too much this week. Personally, I do find it to be aesthetically refreshing. Gone are the walls of text, teaser paragraphs and lengthy jumps, which now creates the challenge for those of us who write to try and be more to the point, captivating and succinct when writing headlines and summaries, really the only two tools we have in trying to entice a reader to click in. Regardless, the overall look of the site and the network may have changed, but here in the basement, it's still the same content being churned out week after week.

Anyway, as the regular season begins its conclusion, regardless of what happens come the playoffs, I have to say that I'm very pleased with how the season has panned out. Before the season started, there were pundits that actually believed that the Braves would be a fourth place team, by virtue of minimal actions while the Phillies and Marlins smashed open their piggy banks and the Nationals made many drastic moves and combined them with the emergence of home-grown talents.

As the dust is settling, only the Mets are where people believed they would end up, but joining them instead of the Braves and Nationals, are the Marlins and Phillies. A 90+ win season is always pleasant to think back to, because there are always great moments that contributed to that nice large win total. I know I was supposed to be hoping for the Nationals to lose in Philadelphia earlier this week, but there is absolutely no part of me that doesn't enjoy it when TV cameras pan the crowd and shows disappointed fans in Philadelphia watching their teams lose.

Welcome back to the basement.

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Former Cubs prospect Adam Greenberg to get one-day contract with Marlins to get one at-bat - Palm Beach Post
Unless you've been living under a rock this week, the feel good story of the week is the story of former Cubs prospect, Adam Greenberg, whom in his first career plate appearance in 2005, was beaned in the head with the very first pitch he saw. He was removed from the game with a head injury which derailed his entire career, and officially did not get an at-bat. The Marlins are grasping at the opportunity to stay somewhat relevant in the waning regular season days, and are giving the 31-year old the opportunity to record his one at-bat, when the Marlins host the Mets early next week, and will likely face of all pitchers, Cy Young candidate, R.A. Dickey.

But that's about all the good news to come out of Miami this week, because everything else is a sh*t storm, starting with Heath Bell - Fish Stripes
Heath Bell finds it hard to respect Ozzie Guillen.

It's okay because nobody else seems to respect Heath Bell - Fish Bytes
"Unidentified" teammates cranked the volume when an Ozzie Guillen interview on the radio hit, so that everyone could hear Ozzie address the Heath Bell criticisms. Bell himself feels that he has lost all the respect of his teammates now, which is kind of qq sad. But what's slightly more telling is that when Bell tried to call Ozzie to actually iron things out:

Bell said he phoned Guillen Monday night to say he was sorry.

Guillen said he didn’t answer because he didn’t recognize the number. He also said that, by accident, he erased the message that Bell had left thinking it was from a media outlet wanting to talk to him about the incident.

So in the end, Heath Bell blames the media for "misquoting" him - Marlins Diehards
Look, even when all this is done and buried, I still think Heath Bell is a great guy. Very candid, down to earth, and a likeable personality. But at this point, he just needs to stop everything and just keep quiet. The more he opens his mouth, the more he's digging himself deeper into this media quicksand.

Somewhere else, Fredi Gonzalez and Jeffrey Loria flung stones - Miami Herald
Fredi says that Loria is insatiable, and that no manager could ever satisfy him. Loria calls Fredi a colossal failure, despite the fact that Fredi was at the helm the last two times the Marlins actually had winning seasons.

But Ozzie is still being heralded as the scapegoat for 2012's failure, even if he doesn't necessarily deserve it - Fish Stripes
Ultimately in the end, it's really not Ozzie's fault that guys underperformed, got hurt, or the perfect storm of misfortunes that all happened in the span of one baseball season. But as we all know, sports like to have scapegoats and tangible symbols of what causes failure, and as unfortunate as things may be, it could very well end up costing Ozzie Guillen his job.

In case any Marlins fans were wondering what else the Marlins could fail at this season, how about four strikeouts in an inning? - Sun Sentinel
As most of us witnessed earlier in the week, Craig Kimbrel struck out four batters in an inning by virtue of a wild pitch allowing a batter to reach first base. Sadly, this isn't the first time the Marlins have "achieved" this feat, having struck out four times in an inning back in 2001 to the Reds.

Marlins on pace for top-5 WORST seasons in franchise history - Fish Bytes
Prior to the season, I made a bold prediction that the Marlins would be one of the Wild Card teams on account of the fact that they had new uniforms and that in pro sports, new uniforms are typically good enough to become contenders in a debut year. Well, I was completely wrong, because the Marlins took the Miami Marlins moniker and acted more like a new expansion team, and stunk it up all season to the effect of possibly having one of the worst records in franchise history.

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Davey Johnson not really thrilled about current playoff system - Nationals Journal
It's understandable. If the Nationals lock down the first seed, then they have to wait the very longest and have the least amount of time to prepare for their wild-card opponents due to the silly play-in game the Braves would have to play. Whereas the Giants and Reds will have ample time to prepare for one another, and have time to rest players, line-up starters and strategize for each other.

Davey Johnson hasn't actually formally committed to returning in 2013 - Nats Insider
There's little reason to believe Johnson wouldn't come back next year, but for all intents and purposes, he hasn't actually committed. At 69 years old, Davey holds the title of current oldest manager in the big leagues, but he's still in good health, and he's got a monster of a roster that would be at his disposal in 2013, so in all likelihood, I'd bet that Davey is back next year.

In the unlikely chance Davey doesn't return, don't count on Bo Porter - Nationals Journal
Because the well-liked-by-his-peers Bo Porter, the current third-base coach for the Nats has just been named the next manager of the AL's Houston Astros, starting in 2013. He insists that this development will not hinder his focus as the third-base coach of the Nationals, but it would be cool to see like some kind of Mike Holmgren-like distraction, and the Nats collapse.

Addled Mike Morse will continue to play with gimpy wrist and hand - MASN
Mike Morse has injuries in his left wrist and his right hand, and on cocktails of "everything," will continue to play as the Nationals continue their pursuit of the NL East crown, that they will only get later rather than sooner, as long as the Braves can keep the pressure on. But it doesn't look like it's affecting him too badly.

Ian Desmond joins some fairly elite company this year - Nats Insider
For all the Nats I lurked on, I was always surprised to hear how down on him people were after his first two years, citing him as an error-prone liability who struck out too much, because I figured he would eventually mature into a decent player. And Chipper Jones' scouting prediction on Desmond, back from 2009, has come true, as Desmond has already hit 24 home runs for the year, and combined with 20 steals, becomes a 20-20 guy, accomplished only by names such as Mike Trout, Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez and Jimmy Rollins.

Adam LaRoche also having a career year - Nationals Journal
I'm happy for Roachy, because I don't ever think he's gotten the respect that he deserved throughout most of his career. As I'm writing this, Roachy has matched his career-high of 32 home runs, at the age of 32, from when he hit 32 home runs back in 2006 for the Braves at the age of 26. And he's currently sitting on a career-high WAR of yep, 3.2 on the year.

Gio Gonzalez is also having a career year, first to 20 wins - Nats Enquirer
Despite falling flat on his face during the process, Gio Gonzalez is the major's first pitcher to hit 20 winz on the year. In the post-game interview, Gio might be one of the nicest guys in baseball, but he's also clearly a slob along the lines of Brian McCann, whose locker is strewn with $20 bills and random jars of pharmaceutical drugs.

Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen to "co-close" meaning Storen will become closer - Nats Insider
Ahh, the old "co-close" tactic, to blatantly shift one guy out of a job and another one in. We've seen this before with Rafael Soriano to Bob Wickman and then Rafael Soriano to Mike Gonzalez, and momentarily Jonny Venters to Craig Kimbrel. But since the Nats don't want to be ungrateful and be considerate of Tyler Clippard's feelings, they're using it to transition Drew Storen into the closer's role.

LivingSocial.com rescues Nationals from a possible playoff PR disaster - The DCist
Because the Nationals don't care enough about their fans to front the money necessary to accommodate their fans in light of the coming playoffs, a third party had to unnecessarily intervene to bail the Nationals out. Somewhere in this, there's a joke about Washington D.C., politics and bailouts, but to be honest, I'm far too ambivalent about the political world to come up with one, but I don't think it was necessary for LivingSocial to have to intervene.

Stupid teenagers shattering windows with baseballs - The Bog
Guess which player managed to shatter a window with a foul ball?

But it's nothing compared to what a Jayson Werth foul ball can do (Possibly graphic) - Nats NQ
A Jayson Werth foul ball is just a little more hazardous to human flesh, clearly.

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Jayson Werth is perfectly fine with being public enemy #1 in Philadelphia - High Cheese
Apparently since the Phillies suck this year, all they can really talk about this week is how much they hate Jayson Werth because he deked the fans behind the dugout with the fake ball toss, and then stepped into the box and hit a back-breaking, insurance-run(s) single in late innings. And his acceptance at being the bad guy, and apparent relishing in the idea is kind of turning him into a baseball version of Reggie Miller.

Crashburn Alley's Bill Baer thinks he still deserves Philly's respect - Crashburn Alley
I like Baer's writing a lot. He's one of the very few Philly bloggers I take seriously, because he's apparently one of the only people in the city of Philadelphia that seems to be capable of actually acknowledging talent outside of Philadelphia. However that being said, as much as I enjoyed this post, I think Baer's fighting a drastic uphill battle. It seems more people are willing to own the idea that Philly sports fans are hateful and hate everyone not in Philly as opposed to giving some thought and admitting talent and respect.

Shane Victorino's impression of Andruw Jones could be Phillies' benefit - Beerleaguer
Meaning, in a very crucial walk year, Shane Victorino has more or less fallen flat on his face, and will likely not get the gigantic free agent payday he was hoping to get. But hey, if he's suddenly cheap, maybe the Phillies would want him back; to which would be preemptively funny, considering the Phillies are already a team full of aging players, why not add another aging player who appears to be showing some decline?

If only Roy Halladay were Roy Halladay this year dot dot dot - Phillies Nation
lol. Every fan of every team can play this game, pal. Don't act like Roy Halladay is the first guy ever to have an off-year.

Roy Halladay aiming for one last start in 2012 - Phillies Zone
Some might wonder "why?" considering his questionable health this season, but the answer is pretty simple - innings. Roy Halladay is not guaranteed a $20M 2014 season unless he pitches 415 innings between 2012 and 2013. Considering his ineffectiveness and DL stints in 2012 alone, he's going to need quite a few CGs in 2013 to have any outside shot at getting to 415, but any little bit he can knock out in 2012 will be a help. The bigger question is, will the Phillies themselves be capable of tampering with Halladay's use in 2013 so they wouldn't have to pay out $20M for an aging pitcher?

Chase Utley the third baseman idea still up in the air - High Cheese
He's taking more and more sessions of BP at third, and it's still up in the air on whether or not we'll see him take the hot corner in any of these meaning last few games this year.

Well nobody's perfect - Crossing Broad
Despite the fact that he's eclipsed 10 WAR, will probably win AL MVP (contingent on Miggy getting the Triple Crown, probably), AL ROY, a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and probably the AL Cy Young and Rolaids Relief just for the heck of it, Mike Trout has one glaring flaw - He's a Phillies fan.

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David Wright achieves Mets milestone amidst amidst dismal season - NY Times
David Wright becomes the Mets' all-time career hits leader, surpassing Ed Kranepool's mark of 1,418 hits. Amazingly, Wright has achieved this mark in almost roughly four seasons quicker, as Wright has done it in 1,255 games compared to Kranepool's career of 1,853 games.

R.A. Dickey notches 20th win of the season - NY Daily News
Dickeyface becomes the first Mets pitcher since Frank Viola to notch a 20-win season, 22 years ago. And it came at home, in Citi Field's last game, it really couldn't have happened to a better person.

Jason Bay will in all likelihood NOT be cut in 2013 - NY Post
The team that eventually relented and ate $18M to get rid of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo doesn't want to eat any more money, and will probably not cut Jason Bay going into 2013. AA goes into greater detail of why this is probably not a good idea.

As an obvious result, the Mets will likely not be pursuing free agent outfielders - AA
But the folks over at AA are pretty optimistic that this year's dregs shouldn't be too hard to upgrade upon with minimal effort, and on the waiver wire and trade markets.

Lucas Duda pulls a J-Roll, Terry Collins pulls a Cholly - NY Post
Sure the Mets are in the toilet, and these current games seem like they're meaningless, but respect the occupation enough to hustle. Lucas Duda nonchalantly jogs to first on a bloop that would have been a double with a little bit of effort, and Terry Collins yanks him from the game as punishment.

Unfortunately, Mets fans have already deemed these last games as meaningless, evidenced by attendance - WSJ

A rock concert can reach 120 decibels, and a momentous sporting event can be almost as loud. During Game 6 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals in Boston, NHL.com reported decibel levels of up to 118.

But what about Citi Field?

For most of the night, it held steady around 65, putting it in the same range as "washing machine" and "electric toothbrush."

And if that doesn't tell you anything, look at this picture of a Citi Field concourse - during a game.

Frank Francisco likely done for season - AA
He's under contract for 2013. This is a wise decision.

Keith Hernandez will shave his iconic moustache for charity - NY Daily News
He of the "that stache is trash!" tag line, Keith Hernandez, will be shaving off the old Charles Bronson for Alzheimer research center, the Jacquelyn Hernandez Health Center. And ends up looking kind of like a rough George Clooney, oddly

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