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Around the NL East - Wilson Ramos kidnapped/rescued, Jonathan Papelbon to the NL East, Marlins offering contracts

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As most of you are already aware, the Washington Nationals' rising talent catcher, Wilson Ramos was kidnapped at gunpoint in his Venezuela. Naturally, this is a frightening and unfortunate occurrence, and until further details are released as the days pass, we as baseball fans can only hope and pray for the best in regards to Wilson Ramos' safety, as well as the well-being of his family and friends.

My initial opinion of this event is one of confusion; no disrespect to Wilson Ramos by any means, but in terms of professional athlete salaries, he's still a pauper. If his rookie season was any indication, big money is easily in his future, but it's a bit puzzling to why the athlete himself was kidnapped, especially one who makes league minimum. Long ago, there were reports of Edgar Renteria moving family members out of Colombia, upon making his first million. A few years ago, Manu Ginobili of the NBA's Spurs, signed a $56M contract, and the first thing he did was get his family out of Argentina. Just two years ago, Yorvit Torrealba's son was captured and held hostage, also in Venezuela; fortunately he was freed physically unharmed.

Regardless of the facts and circumstances, it's all widely irrelvant and pointless when a human life is in danger. I would rather have Wilson Ramos be the ultimate thorn to the Braves and hit back-breaking hits against Atlanta his whole career, than to hear of Wilson Ramos' life being in jeopardy like this.

The links are a little sparse this week because one, it's the slow offseason, two, by the time you read this, I'll have been in Arizona for a few days watching AFL games and three, everything else just seems so unimportant compared to Wilson Ramos' safety.

EDIT: Wilson Ramos is safe.  Obviously most of you are already aware of this, but if you don't, he's safe now, which is tremendous news.  Also, Phoenix is an inconveniently different kind of place than what I'm used to, but I'm sure I'll blog about that at another time.


Wilson Ramos confirmed alive by Venezuelan police - Nats Insider
I'm not quite sure how they confirmed this without any contact being made from the captors, but for what it's worth, that's great news.

Reasons why Venezuela is a scary place - MASN
Featuring a list of more occurences than the aforementioned ones that makes me sometimes wonder if sending prospects down there to play baseball is really such a good idea in the future.

Nationals are way ahead of the Orioles in rebuilding - Nats Insider
Which is kind of sad, because the O's have been rebuilding since like, 1998, and the Washington Nationals didn't even come into existence until 2005, and the being the Expos previously didn't really help their cause.

Chien-Ming Wang re-signs with Nationals for one-year - MASN
One year, $4M guaranteed, plus potential incentives. Figure that, a guy actually staying loyal to the team that gave him a chance to return.

How close is Bryce Harper? - Nats Insider
Well, the bat is essentially the hottest thing in the hitter's AFL, but the outfield is still definitely a work in progress.


Marlins invited Jose Reyes to tour new ballpark - NY Post
The first team to really be hot on the trail of the Jose Reyes saga none other than the Fish, who apparently got in touch with Jose Reyes at 12:01 a.m. the night he was free to negotiate with all teams. The funny thing is the article doesn't actually give any indication to how Jose Reyes feels about the park itself. Because it probably stinks.

Aside from Jose Reyes, Fish pursuing other available names - Sun Sentinel
Names floating around on the Fish's wish list, are pitchers Mark Buerhle, C.J. Wilson, naturally Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, and one darkhorse in Cuban center fielder, Yoenis Cespedes.

And now they've actually been offered "substantial offers" - Palm Beach Post
No numbers are really revealed, and it's obvious that none of them are going to accept anything prior to the winter meetings, but if anything at all, it feeds the fragile egos of baseball players to know that they're wanted, even if it is by the Marlins.

Logan Morrison is off-limits - Fish Stripes
Except unless traded for Tampa Bay's James Shields.

The New Uniforms - Fish Stripes
Poor Omar.  He looked better in a Braves uni, any time in his career.

Apparently the Cards winning it all was all because of Omar Infante - Marlin Maniac
I'm pretty sure that most of us could name at least ten other events that occurred in the month of September that led to the Cardinals winning the World Series, but I'll let this Marlins blogger think it was all because of Omar Infante.

Marlins prez predicting 30,000+ average per game for the 2012 inaugural season - Fish Bytes

Mike Stanton in Holland with Prince Fielder to spark instant interest in the game of baseball - Palm Beach Post
Seriously, are there any two more powerful sluggers to send overseas and try to get people interested in baseball than Stanton and Fielder? Not lost is the fact that Stanton is still wearing Florida Marlins gear, obviously trying to stick with a tolerable look as long as humanly possible before the switch is made. And nothing screams "happy birthday," like spending the big 22 at the Anne Frank Museum.



Jim Thome returning to Philadelphia - Phillies Nation
Man, and I really wanted to keep liking Thome, but now that he's a Phillie again, I have little choice but to boo and root for an out, every time from now on out. One year, $1.25M for the power bat off the bench the team has desperately needed throughout the 2011 season.

Ryan Madson close to new deal with Phillies - The Good Phight
Early reports indicate four years, $44M, with an option for a fifth year

Just kidding, it fell through, and now we're back to square minus one - Phillies Zone
A new tactic by Scott Boras, perhaps? Seriously, there wasn't any way Madson was going to sign that quickly, especially if he were waiting for free agency.

Nevermind, he was getting screwed over somewhat because Jonathan Papelbon just signed a multi-year deal with the Phillies - Beerleaguer
At least the Phillies now have a pretty adequate personality to fill in at closer to fill the void of having someone to actually not like in that role, in addition to a lot of the other Phillies Braves fans have come to dislike.

Glad to know we don't have to play a 2012 season - CSN Philly
Guess who's the paper champions of 2012 already? See how well that turned out in 2011...

Phillies retain the services of the Connect Four champion of Major League Baseball - Beerleaguer
Pete Orr already granted an invitation to Phillies spring training.



FanGraphs dissects David Wright's value - FanGraphs
Leave it to FanGraphs to kill all inklings of emotion, and tell it how it is, based on dollars, numbers and statistics.

David Wright still hanging on to dismal thread of hope for Jose Reyes - MLB
It's almost a little sad to imagine the tone in David Wright's voice, when it comes to all these quotes about how he still thinks there's hope for the Mets to re-sign Jose Reyes. I don't much like drastic changes myself, but I also tend to look at the circumstances around it which may or may not make them more likely than not.

Reading a little too much into things - NY Post
I'm not really a fan of modern rap music; not a lot of good lyrics, too much reliance on shock value, lewdness and profanity as opposed to actually being verbally artistic. That being said, the Post is apparently taking way too seriously, of all things, a rap song performed by Jose Reyes, where he lyrics "there are no friends."

Meanwhile, the Daily News just goes the route to pronounce the Mets dead where they stand if and when he signs elsewhere.

Angel Pagan to be tendered - Amazin' Avenue
I'm actually a little disappointed by this. I like Pagan, and I figured when the Mets would inevitably non-tender him, the Braves would be good to take a flyer on him, for his versatility, speed, and serve as an overall great fourth outfielder-type. Apparently, some Mets brass saw the same idea, and figured it would be worth tendering him his Arb-4 contract.

Mets to ditch the shadows on the jerseys - MetsBlog
Good for them, the age of "popping" logos and scripts can be done with. Flat is clean, flat is simple.

R.A. Dickey's off-season workout routine - The Apple
If you need a good chuckle, this might do the trick.