My cable modem blew up or something, so I have no internet at my house for the interim. I don't have the resolve to write a proper introduction on a tablet, so I'll save you all the effort and go straight to the links (that I gather at the office).
Welcome back to the basement.
Hunter Pence TRAIDED to Giants for Nate Schierholtz and minor leaguers - TGP
Aside from OF Nate Schierholtz, the Phillies also receive RHP Seth Rosin, and apparently the centerpiece of the deal is catching prospect Tommy Joseph.
Pence claims he didn't see deal coming while trying to hide his excitement to be sent to contender - Phillies Zone
It's kind of amazing how Pence went from one sinking ship to a contender, and as soon as they began sinking, he somehow managed to get shipped to yet another contender. In a way, I wonder if this means the Giants are screwed, or much like Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco, will start playing way over his head as well.
When you look at it that way, it kind of was a bad deal - Beerleaguer
Phillies fans can play the Mark Teixeira game too! When you look at the conditions that led up to the Hunter Pence deal, it's comprehendable to see why the Phillies got what they did for Pence. But if you factor in the players that the Phillies unloaded to the Astros in order to get Hunter Pence in the first place, pull out the e-pitchforks and e-torches, because now ITS A BUST.
Don't worry, Hunter Pence bobblehead night at Citizens Bank Park is still on schedule - Crossing Broad
If any Phillies fans are interested, I'll trade you a Braves Mark Teixeira bobblehead for one of these.
Shane Victorino TRAIDED to Dodgers for Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin - TGP
Seeing this deal kind of makes me get why the proposed deal for Victorino for the Reds' Logan Ondrusek didn't go through. Dealing with the Dodgers also notched the Phillies some minor league depth with Martin, who is a former first round pick who had some issues, but still appears to have some upside with an outside chance of being a serviceable starter. But the fact that the Phillies got this for a rental of Victorino means it could have been a good deal.
Too bad nobody read the splits on Josh Lindblom - Phillies Nation
When pitching at the pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium, Lindblom's numbers are pretty good. Away from the pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium, not so much. What's going to happen when Lindblom's home becomes the slightly-less-pitcher-friendly Citizens Bank Park?
People don't seem to understand how waivers work - TGP
Cliff Lee was put on waivers. Who cares? Pretty much every player in baseball is put on waivers after the TRAID deadline? Why? Because no matter how untouchable people think certain players are, no GM wouldn't not listen to any proposal, because you never know who's willing to do something stupid for what they perceive as a necessary component. Greg Maddux at his prime with the Braves was put on waivers every single year. A hilarious (albeit flammatory language) collection of nitwits who don't understand, brought to you by who else? Twitter.
The New Look Outfield - Crashburn Alley
With lineup mainstays Victorino and Pence now both gone, look at the list of names who will be playing in a revolving door in the Phillies outfield until the end of the season, barring any waiver deals: Nate Schierholtz, Juan Pierre, Laynce Nix, John Mayberry, Jr., and Domonic Brown. Y'think they're going to be targeting an outfielder like Michael Bourn in the off-season?
The best player on the Phillies has a nagging foot problem - TGP
Despite leading all MLB catchers in WAR, Carlos Ruiz has been dealing with Plantar Fasciitis, which is a problem in the heel. He is fourth in the National League in plate appearances, which kind of says he's being used an awful lot this season; if the Phillies do fall out of contention, it's not the worst idea in the world to let him rest up a little early, before likely exercising the option for 2013 and keeping him for another year.
In spite of the talent shedding and Hamels contract, Ruben Amaro still claims Phillies will have room to maneuver - Phillies Nation
So in other words, the Phillies will still be capable of spending money this off-season, despite the fact that a ton of money is already locked into Halladay, Howard, Lee, Utley, Rollins, Papelbon, and now Cole Hamels.
Marlins TRAID Gaby Sanchez to Pirates for Gorkys Hernandez - Fish Stripes
Also included in the deal is fairly mediocre minor league pitcher Kyle Kaminska to the Pirates, and the Fish receive the Pirates' competitive-balance pick. As we Braves fans recall, Gorkys was sent to the Pirates in the first place in the deal that brought Nate McLouth to the Braves, and neither really amounted for anything. But at least Gorkys can expect some regular play, as the Fish really need an actual center fielder these days.
After speculation of TRAID, Josh Johnson is kept after all - Marlin Maniac
See, I was really hoping that the Braves would have made some Uggla-like deal, or at least made some convoluted trade with the Tigers to where they got Omar Infante, and then they could ship Omar Infante back to the Marlins again in a package that netted them Josh Johnson in return. But alas. Oh yeah, Josh Johnson has reportedly said he wishes to finish his career in Miami, so we all know what that means.
Marlins TRAID Edward Mujica to Cardinals for minor league third baseman Zack Cox - Fish Stripes
Interestingly, a team with a spotty bullpen trades one of their more competent relievers away, but I guess since the Fish traded away Hanley Ramirez as well as Matt Dominguez, the third base depth was more or less ransacked. Anyway, Cox is pretty much a guy with a big swing, can't take a walk, but has good power when he can actually connect. I wonder if the Braves floated Juan Francisco to the Marlins last week?
Marlins tried and failed to TRAID Carlos Lee - Palm Beach Post
Due to the rapid degeneration into fire sale mode, the Marlins tried to unload Carlos Lee, despite only having for the better part of a month that also cost the Marlins Matt Dominguez. But the incapability to find a deal that worked eventually led to the TRAID of Gaby Sanchez.
So Marlins put Carlos Lee on waivers and really hope to TRAID him still - Fish Stripes
If the non-waiver deadline fails, try again on the waiver deadline (about another month). The difference with Cliff Lee is that the Fish will probably take anything they can get for Carlos.
Logan Morrison put on DL, possibly done for remainder of year - Palm Beach Post
As if things couldn't get any worse, LoMo was put on the DL for a problem in his right knee that seems to have stemmed from off-season surgery. If he has surgery on it, he is effectively done for the remainder of the year.
Marlins mishandled the situation at first base. Pretty badly, I might add - Fish Stripes
A well-written summary of the first base debacle by the Marlins by Michael Jong. Prior to the season, the Marlins had two capable first basemen, during the season, instead of giving the second one a chance, they instead made a regrettable trade to get another one. And now the two capable guys from the start of the season are both gone, and all they have left is an impending free agent rental who will probably be gone after the year is over.
Carlos Zambrano is calm, accepting and understands being sent to the bullpen. Just kidding, he wants out, as soon as humanly possible - Fish Bytes
Welp, so much for reformed Carlos Zambrano. Despite the fact that he vultured out a win against the Braves on Wednesday, Big-Z is still not content with being a relief pitcher. Naturally, he's very vocal about his feelings, which will probably go completely unpunished or unacknowledged by Marlins brass.
What's the best way to cope with a series of bad trades? Point out how badly the traded are performing on their new teams - Fish Bytes
Yep, when the crosshairs of criticism are pointed at you, do what any other team would attempt; try and point them at the guys who aren't doing so well in their new homes.
Nationals made zero moves at TRAID deadline, Mike Rizzo said there was no need to - MASN
From an outsider perspective, I kind of agree. They have a very good starting rotation, several very talented relievers, and an offense that has already kicked the snot out of the Braves all year long. Making a move for the sake of making moves or because everyone else is making moves isn't ever a good idea.
Davey Johnson says it was fun to watch the Phillies in fire sale mode - The Bog
My favorite part is that he insinuates that his squad is still missing key components, but doesn't change the fact that they've handled the Phillies and stayed a top the division adequately all season:
Shoot, I’m still missing three key players — I’m missing Willy Ramos, Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth. They’re not in my lineup. So they’ve fallen on some hard times over there, and they had a little fire sale today, which was fun for me to watch.
He also believes he should be fired if the Nationals do not make the playoffs - The Bog
I know such things seem like they're easy to say when you've got the best record in the division, but the Braves are still within fairly reachable striking distance with plenty of head-to-heads left, and all it takes is one bad series, and a team could be completely out of the playoff hunt altogether with so many teams in contention for one of two Wild Cards.
Jordan Zimmermann is July's NL Pitcher of the Month - Nats Insider
For the third time out of the four months this season, a Nationals starter has taken this honor. Jordan Zimmermann joins Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez as NL Pitcher of the Month, for the month of July. He held 138 batters over 37 innings in six starts to a paltry .202/.226/.273 line, struck out 31 vs. 4 walks, 0.97 ERA, 2.08 FIP and a team best 1.4 WAR.
So it's kind of funny that the Nats have even glanced at the recently DFA'd Derek Lowe - The Nats Blog
The Nats have probably the most talented starting rotation right now, so why are they looking at Derek Lowe? Due to the coddling of young arms such as Stephen Strasburg and even Jordan Zimmermann to a lesser degree, the Nats are keeping their eyes peeled for some rotation fortification. I wouldn't classify Derek Lowe in that category, but they're looking anyway.
GM Mike Rizzo sort of can't wait until the Strasburg shutdown - The Bog
48.2-58.2 innings remain until Stephen Strasburg hits the purported 160-170 inning mark that the world believes will be Stephen Strasburg's innings limit, because it's what Jordan Zimmermann endured the year prior. Regardless of what the Nationals' fortunes are at that time. That's roughly five or six starts, provided he delivers "quality starts." The best part is that Rizzo claims that Strasburg will have input into this choice, but then finishes it off with:
Ultimately, when it’s gonna happen will be my decision, and we’ll move on.
Jayson Werth returns after three months, play in center field - Nationals Journal
Henry Rodriguez put on the DL for sucking to clear up roster spot.
Jayson Werth wants to bat leadoff upon his return - MASN
Nevermind the fact that he's historically hit poorly in the leadoff spot when he's been there in limited capacity, but hey, what the hell, why not throw a monkey wrench into the team with the best record in the NL?
Mike Gonzalez providing the cliched veteran presence in Nationals' bullpen - Nationals Journal
When Brad Lidge was DFA'd, the Nationals didn't just lose a washed up reliever, they lost veteran presence. That role has been succinctly filled by our old friend Mike Gonzalez, whom like Mike Morse prefers to be referred to as "Michael" now. But Mike was always a good guy, and it's good to read a story about how he's well accepted and liked by his peers and that he's actually working and contributing today.
Bryce Harper Bump Baileys, J-Roll scores inside the park home run - Nats Enquirer
I know people like to laugh at Bryce Harper's misfortunes, but actually my first quesiton is the same as the poster - where the f*@% was the center fielder (Roger Bernadina) on this play?
Suns Out, Guns Out - Nats Enquirer
Sometimes, all you can do is sigh, smirk, and shake your head.
Guns out John Mayberry, Jr - Nats Enquirer
But in the same series, Harper redeems himself for allowing the inside-the-parker by gunning down John Mayberry, Jr. from the outfield to snuff a Phillies run from scoring.
Mets make zero moves at TRAID deadline, Sandy Alderson says none worth making - NY Daily News
I agree with this too, for the most part. Anything's possible, but the season appears to be getting to the point where playoff aspirations are looking kind of glum now for the Mets, and it serves them no purpose to trade away any quality assets unless some high-potential prospects could be returned. And with none of those really realistically available, the Mets stand pat.
And that's okay - AA
The fellas at AA analyze the decision, and they agree that it was the best thing to do. Had the Mets not stumbled so hard out of the All-Star break, it would have been a different story, but with such a quick and rapid fall, it was just best to stay put.
Not to say they didn't try though; Bay to Marlins deal fell through - NY Post
Jason Bay for Heath Bell and John Buck; the Mets get what they need in catching depth and potentially fortifying their bullpen, but Jason Bay doesn't really solve anyone's problems. To no surprise, this deal doesn't go through.
Jason Bay is the worst free-agent signing in Mets history - NY Daily News
A great big rabble piece by someone mad at the existence of Jason Bay, but I have to question the hyperbole in the claim - is Jason Bay really worst ever? Even compared to Bobby Bonilla, and the fact that the Mets still owe him like $20 million dollars or something?
Matt Harvey ignites hope for the future with shining debut - NY Daily News
In his debut game last Thursday, Matt Harvey struck out 11 Diamondbacks, and broke the Mets record of strikeouts in a debut, shared between none other than Tom Seaver and Bill Denehy. With the season looking like it's sliding down the drain, Matt Harvey gives many Mets fans something to continue to watch for through the rest of the season.
Zack Wheeler getting promoted - AA
To AAA, that is. The 22-year old top-prospect has demonstrated solid efforts to cut down his walks, and will likely be finishing out the remainder of his season playing in Buffalo for the Mets' AAA squad.
R.A. Dickey to go on short rest at some point - MetsBlog
I'm not sure what this accomplishes. I know knucklers have less stress on their arms, but with many signs pointing towards punting on the season, I'm not sure what the point would be for R.A. to start pitching on short rest, unless there's some sort of attempt to inflate his stats. He's got an option that the Mets would be stupid to not pick up in 2013, and if the rest of the team is going to phone it in, why should Dickey have to go on short rest?
Josh Thole isn’t a bad major league catcher, but he has hardly brought the kind of stability to the position the Mets have needed. Thole should consider the final two months of this season a tryout for 2013. His defensive shortcomings would be less noticeable if he drove in a few more runs.
Thole can't seem to catch a break. It's like Mets beat writers forget that their catchers prior to Josh Thole had been guys like Ramon Castro, Brian Schneider (and his McCann-equaling D), Ronny Paulino and Rod Barajas.
Wal-Mart to be built near Citi Field? - The Mets Police
Honestly, I don't know what would be worse between the ghettos and slums outside of Turner Field, or a big gaudy Wal-Mart outside of Citi Field.
Jordany Valdespin actually surprised that teammates would vandalize his self-aggrandizing t-shirt - NY Times
"NY Loves Valdy" on the front. "El Hombre" on the back. Sure, what could go wrong about having that shirt? Everyone knows the only El Hombre is
Albert Pujols Stan Musial. Anyway, I'm guessing it was probably Tim Byrdak who probably tried to Hulk Hogan the shirt, but Valdespin returned to the locker room to find it torn up and written all over. Know your place, rook