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Around the NL East: Very Little on Account of the Holidays

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As we rest and relax between the holidays, most of the NL East shares the sentiment.

Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIR

Welcome back to the basement.


NFL the Ocho ranks Nationals #2 on preliminary power rankings - MASN
To get the whole list it's obviously behind ESPN's silly pay wall, but the Giants are ranked #1, which I can't say I agree with one bit, regardless of the fact that they're the reigning World Series champions, which I actually forgot about. But anyway, the Nationals are ranked at #2, which is a little more believable with the additions of Dan Haren and Denard Span, in addition to their mostly-returning solid nucleus of talent from 2012.

The Nationals really don't want to wait until April 1 for LaRoche's decisions - Nationals Journal
Despite the fact that Roachy is able and willing to play the waiting game, the Nationals really don't like having to play along. They feel that the longer they're forced to wait on Roachy, the harder it becomes to make the appropriate reactionary move after it's resolved, which has everything to do with the future of Mike Morse.

Brilliant analysis in regards to Adam LaRoche vs. Mike Morse - Nats Insider
Let's take Mike Morse's breakout year, and compare it to when Adam LaRoche was playing a torn labrum, that'll be a fair comparison. In all fairness though, Morse has shown some impressive numbers when he's actually managed to stay healthy enough to play, but there's a consistency with LaRoche that the Nationals are clearly interested in, otherwise this wouldn't even be a story in the first place.

Draft pick compensation system possibly the reason why LaRoche and other notable names are still homeless - MASN
The bottom line is that every team is hell bent on keeping their draft picks, and after LaRoche refused arbitration, few teams want to be on the hook of giving the Nats their draft pick for the right to sign Roachy. Not going to lie, it's interesting to see some major names left hanging because so many teams don't want to give up such long-term commitments to developing youngsters.

Can Washington become a baseball town? - Nats Insider
The bigger question is, can the Nats continue to be a contending team? Because's that's where the answers lie, and I speak from the experience of having grown up in the DC area. There's no way to sugar coat it; DC is a fairweather town, and although all the teams will have their dedicated core fans, it still takes winning to get the more substantial number of sheep to hop aboard the bandwagon. And honestly, it doesn't hurt the Nats that their current identity and apparel are subtle and more stylish than the days of the NATINALS block letters and identity, which have obviously paid off on the merch sales front. But if the Nats ever return to the days of 100+ losses, kiss all these fans goodbye again.

You KNOW it's slow when people are writing about Henry Rodriguez - MASN
Honestly, I actually forgot he existed. But the guy with the 100mph+ fastball, who falls into the overflowed category of "plus-plus fastball, but no control" who occasionally shows some moments of brilliance before having a walk-fest which exacerbates even the most patient of managers until he's jettisoned back to AAA.


What does the future hold for Chase Utley? - Crashburn Alley
An interesting read about what could be in Chase Utley's future, as it pertains with the Phillies. 2013 is the final year on Utley's existing deal, but it devolves into the popular argument of if the already-overspending Phillies should show some loyalty to to a guy who has had a very hard time staying healthy and staying in the lineup over the last two years, and has been trending downward statistically. But honestly, it's hard to imagine a Phillies team that doesn't have Chase Utley on it, or seeing Chase Utley in someone else's jersey.

Same as it was last year? - High Cheese
The Phillies made a lot of little moves; traded some pieces away, acquired some new faces. But will any of it really change the outcome of how 2012 went? With Ryan Howard and Chase Utley still dealing with some nagging injuries and pains, will all the new names and faces really make that much of a difference?

All this talk of platooning doesn't sound very promising - Beerleaguer
To think in a perfect world, the outfield would have just been Darin Ruf, John Mayberry Jr, and Domonic Brown, but instead there's this theoretic world where all of them have dramatic enough platoon splits to cause necessity to inject guys like Laynce Nix and Scott Hairston into the mix to neutralize the platoon advantages.


What do the Mets have in Ruben Tejada? - AA
With one full season under his belt as the Mets (mostly) every day shortstop, AA takes a stab at assessing what they'll have moving forward:

with the upside of a Yunel Escobar

Minus the drama, that alone isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Mets need starting pitching, continuing to examine the scrap heaps - MetsBlog
Names thrown out there so far are washouts like Carl Pavano and Chris Young, other free agents like Shawn Marcum, and even the possibility of trades with the Dodgers for their surplus of starting pitching with guys like Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano. Not one of these names scares me as a Braves fan except Capuano, because that guy OWNS the Braves.

Despite being on his way out of New York, baseball is just a blip in the radar for R.A. Dickey - NY Daily News
Sure, winning 20 games and bringing a Cy Young Award to the Mets is cool and all, but it's so small in comparisons to the things Dickey hopes to accomplish in his life, to the betterment of the rest of the world.

Mets' Spring Training home now nameless - NY Times
Formerly known as Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie, the actual Digital Domain company has gone bankrupt, and is removing their name off of anything it was on previously from the Mets' Spring Training facilities. In a way, it's kind of fitting that a company associated with the Mets went bankrupt, but for what it's worth, the Mets are on the lookout for a new sponsor to buy up the naming rights to the park.


John Maine signs minor league deal with Marlins - Fish Stripes
This honestly, is one of the only stories to come out of Marlins land this week. Seriously. Almost all of the Marlins blogs and sites I peruse through for any semblance of Marlins news still has featured stories back from the start of December, when Placido Polanco signed with the team. And even this is pretty dismal, considering John Maine hasn't been relevant since he was on the Mets almost three full years ago, but it's a move that happened.