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Around the NL East - Phillies could get richer, Goodbye, Gary Carter, HanRam still throwing tantrums, Ryan Zimmerman talking extension

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It's funny, over the last week or so, it's safe to assume that somewhere around 50-60% of Major League Baseball players have already reported to Florida or Arizona, to their respective Spring Training facilities. It's almost to the point of where it becomes baseball-meme worthy, kind of like ITBSOHL. This has been the case over the last few years too, where players are showing up to camp early, regardless of if they're a pitcher or catcher or not. Infielders, outfielders, the utility guys, everyone's showing up early these days. It makes me wonder if such behavior becomes the norm, if the teams will eventually just try to declare reporting dates earlier, thus restarting the cycle, to where suddenly players are reporting in, in Florida and Arizona in late-January.

Speaking of Florida and Arizona, I have a small confession to make. I've never done a Spring Training trip before, despite the fact that once the baseball season begins, I'm pretty much a wandering nomad for much of it. But if I were to decide on a Spring Training destination, I'm pretty sure I would choose Arizona over Florida ten times out of ten, in spite of the fact that the Braves play in Orlando. As states, I just don't like Florida, and after spending last fall in Arizona and driving around several of the parks during the AFL, it's kind of a no-brainer where I'd rather be.

Welcome back to the basement.


You think the Phillies have money now? Imagine if they get their own TV deal -
Much was made in Braves Country about how the Braves were handcuffed to Fox Sports until essentially the end of time. The Phillies are also under contract with a network, Comcast in their case, but their sentence actually ends in relatively short time frame of 2015. Anyone paying attention to Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Rangers or Padres are well aware of the financial benefit that comes with having their own networks, but imagine if the city of Philadelphia hopped on that boat too? Look, ambivalence or hate, Philadelphia is a fantastic sports town. The Eagles and Phillies are monstrous brands in their own right, and the 76ers are getting some notice, and they're capable of keeping a hockey team. It makes all the sense in the city's sports to have their own network, and if such comes to fruition, they pretty much officially become the Yankees of the NL.

Look who's wandering around again - The Good Phight
Link takes to the best part - the comments. But it's like a goblet of Bleacher Report with Bill James' projections.

Chase Utley's gritty, hard-nosed style might be why he runs out of gas - Crashburn Alley
Interesting take on the graphs, but almost like clockwork, Utley's bat begins cooling off pretty consistently after July, which has been the case his entire career.

LOL at the thought of Vladimir Guerrero on the Phillies - Phillies Nation
Well, the Phillies could use a competent righty off the bench, but the sheer thought of Vlad Guerrero on the Phillies, in the same lineup with Jim Thome is kind of laughable. They're combined to be anywhere from 78-81 years old, and neither can really field anything these days. And people were crying the Phillies "getting old" last year?

Projections favor not the Phillies "sophomores" - Beerleaguer
In short, pretty much all the popular projectors (Bill James, PECOTA) think regression is on its way for anyone on the Phillies that is under the age of 27.


Gary Carter, 57, passes due to brain cancer - MetsBlog
The Hall of Fame catcher, eleven time All-Star, and member of the 1986 World Series champion Mets succumbed in his battle against brain cancer.

Your weekly Johan Santana update -
By the time you read this, he'll have thrown his first, albeit short, bullpen session of the spring. This is very likely one of the rare instances where he has actually thrown a baseball off a mound in quite some time.

Ike Davis is fine and has been for quite some time - Amazin' Avenue
I would hope he would be considering he hadn't played in a game since like May last year. That's quite a generous amount of time for him to recover, but after all the crap he's been through, I hope he regains some health and manages to keep it that way throughout 2012.

Daniel Murphy, wash, rinse, repeat - NY Times
As planned, Daniel Murphy is wasting little time at getting his reps in at practicing drills to improve his footwork around second base, and especially simulating a steal. All this a week before pitchers and catchers are even to report.

Scott Kazmir might come full circle - NY Daily News
Fortunately it won't cost the Mets a lot if they sign him, but their former pitching prospect, sent to the Rays for lowly Victor Zambrano is available, and the Mets are wanting to give him a workout to see what he's got left. In 2011, he pitched just six times, with only one of those starts coming at the major league level, before being released by the Angels.

Mets to get a sample of new ballpark dimensions in Florida - NY Times
Down in Port St. Lucie, the fences at Digital Domain Park are going to be slightly altered in order to give the approximate dimensions of the currently in renovation Citi Field. David Wright salivates at the idea of having to overcome less ground for dingerz.

Sabermetrics and Me: Drowning on Objectivity - Amazin' Avenue
I'll admit that I feel this way about 81 times during a baseball season. A decent, thought-provoking read, nonetheless.

Mets to use deception and Giants' success to sell merch - The Apple

"We are not above tricking people into buying a shirt or two. Is it underhanded? Maybe, but things are tough for us. We need every dollar we can get."



Yoennis Cespedes signs with Oakland A's instead of Marlins - Fish Stripes
At first, I was like "why would anyone want to go to Oakland?," but it kind of answered my own question. When thinking about places in the United States where any sort of immigration issues might go unnoticed, two places came to mind - Cincinnati, Ohio and Oakland, California. Besides, why would a Cuban guy want to relocate to another country and end up still being around 200 miles from home?

Jose Reyes feels bad for the Mets - NY Post
It's funny how pretty much no baseball player doesn't succumb to their daddy issues, and how many times we hear on a yearly basis about how a player feels all butt-hurt because their former team didn't even make an offer. Think about the flip side, it's like asking an unattainable girl out on a date; not doing it is sometimes better than the very likely rejection.

Also not to be ignore this little nugget:

"We don't talk about [the position change]," Reyes said. "But I can't wait to get started. And I want to wish the Mets all the best and I'll see you soon. ... I hope they win a lot of games, but not too many."

Apparently the position change is a sore subject down in Florida, biggest surprise ever.

Because, Hanley was against the move as early as last month - Fish Bytes
Surprise, surprise?

Ozzie Guillen likens Hanley Ramirez to LeBron James - Sun Sentinel
The intention is good, the explanation valid, the alleviation of pressure off the shoulders a good thing, but man, from the get-go that comparison does not have many positive connotations to it.

And now Hanley's gone media silent - Fish Bytes

"I don't have nothing to say," Ramirez said.

Typical Hanley.

Love the "typical Hanley" snarky remark from the beat reporter himself.

Josh Johnson up to throwing three days a week, no pain - Marlins Diehards
This is great news for the Marlins, bad news for all their opposition.

Ten years of Jeffrey Loria - Fish Stripes
Apparently it's been ten years since Jeffrey Loria has taken the reigns of the Florida Miami Marlins. He gets no credit for the 2003 World Series, and gets all the credit for essentially cleaning house and turning the team into his personal ATM. But with the new park, a boatload of free agents, and suddenly hope for the immediate future, a lot of his misdeeds could be absolved.

It's apparently going to be really hard to get Opening Day tickets for the new park - Palm Beach Post
52,000 people registered for an opportunity to get two of 1,000 available seats.

Marlins to un-retire jersey #5 because Logan Morrison's dad liked George Brett - Marlins Diehards
The gesture is nice, and the intention is good, but the point of retiring a number is so that nobody else can wear it again. Apparently Logan Morrison is being a little selfish here, and the organization is trying a little too hard to keep their resident loudmouth on the happy side.

Naturally, previous #5 owner's family not pleased - Palm Beach Post
Carl Barger was a team executive that passed away, and his favorite player was Joe DiMaggio, so the Fish retired it in his honor. I'd love to have heard the conversation on the phone, where it had to be explained that because he never actually played, the retirement didn't count, probably.

Apparently, this site really exists - Marlins Logo Sucks dot Com (ht Marlins Diehards)
The funny thing is that anyone in Braves Country who clicks this, a bunch of Braves fans will have essentially doubled the hit counter on the site.


Ryan Zimmerman will cease extention talks when Spring Training officially begins - Nationals Journal
I often was kind of perplexed at the notion that players didn't want to let salary talks become distractions once a certain time period came about; I mean, who in any profession doesn't think about what they're making? But between Zimmerman and Jayson Werth, it kind of made some sense - it's not so much for their own distraction, but for their peers and teammates; they don't necessarily need to know what so-and-so is making while they're not.

Minor league option Tetris - The Nats Blog
Guys like Tyler Clippard and Henry Rodriguez are kind of no-brainers, they're going to make the 25-man as relievers without much debate, but it's more like guys like Roger Bernadina who also has to compete with Rick Ankiel and Mike Cameron for an OF spot, and Ross Detweiler, who has to compete with Chien-Ming Wang and John Lannan for a starter's spot that should be kept an eye on. Regardless of the outcome, the Nationals will have some remainders that will have to be sold low on out of necessity.

GM Mike Rizzo essentially points out Bryce Harper's ego and cockiness - Nationals Journal
Obviously, this goes back to more criticisms of a 19-year old being cocky and well, being a 19-year old.

Where's the monster truck?? - Nats Enquirer
Speaking of Bryce Harper, he apparently got a new Mercedes and didn't waste any time Tweeting to the world his new ride. And in a LOLworthy moment, Chad Dukes of 106.7 The Fan up in D.C., which happens to be the flagship station of the Nationals up there, wasted little time at calling the guy he'll be making a mess over himself about in the near future, "a huge douche."

Ian Desmond looks to be the default lead-off hitter - MASN
This kind of reminds me of the post-Furcal Braves, where the team more or less didn't have a genuinely prototypical lead-off hitter until, well crap, Michael Bourn.

Back to center field, it's kind of a wealth of mediocrity - Nats Insider
As mentioned before, the three options for CF this year are Roger Bernadina, who hasn't really been able to put it all togehter, Mike Cameron who is old, and Rick Ankiel who strikes out too much and isn't at all that great anyway. Why hasn't this been rectified when the Nationals have been so good about addressing other needs? Far better free agent CF class next year (Bourn, Victorino, Upton), and the theoretical Harper callup which moves Werth to center.

Apparently the Nationals have Jorge Sosa - The Nats Blog
That is, meaning Edwin Jackson seems to have the same tendencies as Jorge Sosa used to have with the Braves - very hittable with nobody on base, but exponentially tougher once guys start getting on base. As my boy Beard often said, playing gangbusters with base runners.

Nationals A-ball squad intending to move - Nats NQ
Long-time readers know how many times cbtits and I have talked about how big of a (crap)hole that High-A Potomac's Pfitzner Stadium is, and that they'd be the likely culprit to move at a moment's notice, but it's actually the Nats' Low-A squad that looks to be getting out of dodge first. Municipal Stadium, in Hagerstown, Maryland is about as big of a dump as the Pfitz is, and apparently the Suns have already signed letters of intent to get out of there. If such comes to fruition, the Low-A Nats will end up in Winchester, Virginia, which I'm actually okay with.

I think I might have to go to this - Nats Enquirer
I'm a big fan of Chad Cordero, even if he was more or less Andruw Jones' personal (female dog) when he was still on the Braves. But a free beer stein and Chad Cordero night says that I should probably go visit my parents in late-July.