Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Around the NL East: Breakups at the bottom

   USA Today Sports Images

By Steve Roney
CSNwashington.com

Atlanta Braves (51-38)
Would you have picked the Braves to lead the NL East for pretty much the entire first half of the season, and yet produce only one All-Star? Stranger things have happened, sure, but unless first baseman Freddie Freeman can continue to hold off Dodger wunderkind Yasiel Puig in the Final Vote, Craig Kimbrel will be the lone Brave in New York for the Midsummer Classic. Still, outside of Freeman and Mike Minor, there aren't many with legitimate gripes. So far, the sum is greater than the parts in Atlanta.

The outfield for the ages that hasn't yet materialized, though they will likely earn a bit of ignominy, as both Upton brother are almost a lock to hit 100 strikeouts by the All-Star break. Second baseman Dan Uggla more than beat them there, currently sitting with 111, though he does lead the team with 16 home runs. Chris Johnson continues to be a nice surprise, and Brian McCann is mashing like it's 2009 since his delayed debut. 

Player of the Week: McCann, C: 6 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .500 AVG


Miami Marlins (32-56)

Cue Tobias Funke: "Oh my god, we're having a fire...sale." There's no panic, or even disappointment, in Miami -- this is simply how things are done. Ricky Nolasco, the Marlins' most attractive -- and, not coincidentally, highest-paid -- trade chip is out the door and headed for the Dodgers, where he'll join the nightly Yasiel Puig highlight reel in search of more run support and a higher win total. He likely wasn't disappointed to hear the news.

Coming back from LA as payment are three relatively low-level prospects: pitchers Angel Sanchez, Steve Ames, and Josh Wall. All are on the older side for their current minor league level, and none were among the Dodgers' top ten prospects. LA also sent six figures' worth of international free agent bonus pool money, which is probably the best part of the deal for Miami, as it will allow them to take an extra flier on a talented, extra long-shot teenager. 

Player of the Weak: Jose Fernandez, SP: 1-1, 14 IP, 15 K, 1.93 ERA, 0.76 WHIP

New York Mets (37-48)

New York's campaigning paid off, as David Wright has taken his deserved place as the starting third baseman for the National League in next week's All-Star contetst. Wright, 30, has done everything asked of him, but has continued to do it mostly by himself; he leads, is tied for the lead, or just off the lead in just about every offensive category. Only Daniel Murphy (.270) is within a cab ride of Wright's .306 batting average.

The other season-long bright spot in Queens, starter Matt Harvey, is in prime contention to start the All-Star game, though he did pick up another blemish on his win-loss record, which now sits at 7-2. Jeremy Hefner has come on strong of late to win a pair of games for himself, and Dillon Gee (6-7) has pitched in nicely. The previously serviceable Shaun Marcom, however, has not; if he was any better than his 1-10 record, he'd likely be headed out via trade, but I'm not sure anyone will take a flier on him.

Player of the Week: Hefner, SP: 2-0, 14 IP, 14 K, 1.29 ERA, 0.64 WHIP

Philadelphia Phillies (44-46)

Domonic Brown is back, quashing the 'fluke' label with a resurgent start to July after scuffling through the middle weeks of June. During that slide, he hit .192 with just three RBIs and no home runs; the Phils were 5-9 in that stretch. In the two weeks since breaking out of that lull he's hit .321, clubbed another four homers, and even managed a half dozen walks. In those hot two weeks, he's lead his team to an 8-5 record. It's not hard to see how the rest of Philly's season is going to go.

You don't want to declare anyone out of it when they're just two games below .500 at about midseason, but with Ryan Howard out for the next 6-8 weeks thanks to knee surgery, let's just say that Philadelphia might not be buyers at the deadline. Infield pieces Michael Young and Chase Utley are prime candidates for a trade, especially Young, signed to just a one-year deal and still a useful bat (.288 avg) at age 36. Utley will be much tougher to part with as a lifelong Phil, but at 34 and with an injury history of his own, the Phillies would be wise to sell relatively high on him, as he likely has so much left in the tank. Cliff Lee would fetch a major return to help infuse youth in an otherwise aged lineup/barren farm system, but Ruben Amaro might choose not to blow up the whole ship just yet -- though he probably should.

Player of the Week: Brown, OF: 6 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, .370 AVG


39 comments:

That Old-School, Prestigious Way of Scooter said...

I once had a Breakup at the Bottom. But I got a Pennant-Propelling Puzzle Piece, and it cleared right up.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Mick, from the previous thread, don't you remember when Marky was bamboozled by Bowden. Mark L is a nice guy but his father is the genius no matter what their IQs are.

Dayton Eckerson said...

Editorial correction: The mathmatical aphorism in paragraph one should read: "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts."

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Future Nat report.

Lucas Gioluto made his second appearance since TJ Surgury last September.

Pitches 2 innings 1 hit 0 runs 0 BB 3 K.

Turns 19 on Sunday.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Loved Mattheus comments on Giolito.

JD said...


Ghost,

The reason the Nats stayed away from Lohse is that he wanted and received a 3 year deal. I think that Rizzo correctly chose to go year to year. Imagine if he signed Lohse to a 3 year deal and he turned out to be the disaster Haren turned out to be?

I think the Haren deal was reasonable at the time and to criticize it now (I am not accusing you of doing this but others have) is MMQ at it's worst.

JD said...


Giolito will be fun to watch develop as long as the idiot fringe doesn't start campaigning for a quick ascent to the majors. This is a 4 - 5 year project, it's not a guaranteed success and there will be bumps on the way but if it works you get another ace down the line.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Giolito in 2017 possibly 2016

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

What did Mattheus say?

Section 222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Proctor said...

Yeah, I think the earliest we can expect to see Giolito in the bigs in 2017. He'd be what--23? Interestingly, 2017 is when Gio's contract expires. So we'd be replacing Gio with GIOlito (assuming we don't resign Gio and end up with 2 Gio's).

Section 222 said...

JD, you are exactly right. And at the time Rizzo signed Haren (in December), Lohse was still looking for a four year. He didn't agree to a three year deal until the end of March. Plus, he cost a draft pick.

Haren's signing was almost universally lauded here when it happened, including by some of the people who said then, and continue to say now, that they preferred Lohse.

Section 222 said...

DP, if he's all he's cracked up to be, why won't we see Giolito, at least as a September callup, in 2015?

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I figure Little Gio Hagerstwon Potomac 2014, Harrisburg 2015 and Syracuse 2016.


I figured if Big Gio (who is smaller than little Gio) plays like he he will get an extension

natsfan1a said...

Sounds painful. Love the moniker, btw.

That Old-School, Prestigious Way of Scooter said...

I once had a Breakup at the Bottom. But I got a Pennant-Propelling Puzzle Piece, and it cleared right up.
July 09, 2013 2:19 PM

David Proctor said...

He's just so young and still raw. He has amazing stuff, but there's a BIG adjustment from pitching to high schoolers to big leaguers. I suppose it's feasible that we get a glimpse of him prior to 2017, I meant 2017 as the earliest date we can expect him in the rotation.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

David 2017 is what I see too with possible 2016 for DL coverage etc.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD, if your strategy is to stick with mistakes than you don't progress as a team but each signing is a risk and throwing away money is what teams have to do. Three years for $33 mill is a risk but not much if you get good production for Year 1 as Lohse was worth much more than $11 mill in year 1. If Lohse was worth $17 mill this year then years 2 & 3 are $8 mill each. Not a big risk.

JD said...


David,

Who knows what will happen? Signing JZimm should be the 1st hurdle cleared then of course we have to sign Stras. So is it reasonable to expect 3 pitchers earning $20 mil apiece? This is why you have to keep developing young pitching and the Nats have done well and there are some good arms in the pipeline.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

You don't think Giolito could see Hagerstown in August?

Eugene in Oregon said...

Forgive me if someone's already posted this, but the Marlins are using Gio Gonzalez to sell tickets...and in an 'exclusive' manner...

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/miami-marlins-latest-ticket-selling-gimmick-exclusively-ridiculous-180906313.html

David Proctor said...

Gio actually has a vesting option for 2018 if he pitches 180 innings in 2017. He's really a bargain here for a while. Only made 3.5 mil last year, 6.25 this year. That'll go up to 12 mil in a few years, but he's still well worth that, I think. 5 years/42 mil for someone who has been as good as Gio is a bargain with what pitchers are getting these days.

JD said...


Ghost,

Lohse so far this year has already had one long trip to the DL which is not unexpected from a 34 year old pitcher. HE has pitched well of late but he overall contribution IMO won't be worth more than the $11 mil he is earning.

In my mind you just don't sign a 34 year old pitcher for 3 years. Better pitchers than Lohse (Halladay) have broken down way early in their contract,

JD said...


Ghost,

Giolito could see Hagerstown in August but I think he's going back there next April regardless. I don't see any value in rushing him up the ladder like the O's did with Bundy.

alexva said...

Giolito is 12 months from TJ surgery. I doubt he'll be pushed that hard this year. Auburn maybe

after that his success will dictate his progress but he could make an appearance in MLB by age 21 if he's a good as projected.

Section 222 said...

Ghost, it's true that you wanted Lohse last winter, but after Haren signed you didn't criticize the move or suggest that Lohse could have been had for just three years. In fact, you were happy with the Haren signing when it happened. You said it had a big upside, and you praised Rizzo for getting the job done quickly rather than waiting for the dominos to fall. If you want to revisit what the best off season move would have been, that's fine. But you're arguing with yourself.

I don't get why people feel the need to criticize the signing in hindsight. It was a good idea that didn't turn out. The question is what should Rizzo do now. How many more starts does Haren get before you consider him a lost cause and a sunk cost and move on?

If there's someone out there now who will be better, I'm ready to bite that bullet. I just didn't see any kind of marked post-DL improvement last night to justify further rope for Haren. He was hit hard and was lucky to get away with giving up only 2 runs. He's especially lucky that he owned Delmon Young. If someone else had been in the lineup in that spot, several more runs would have scored.

Tcostant said...

The Marlins joke gets funnier, check this out:

http://miami.marlins.mlb.com/mia/ticketing/supergroup.jsp?group=gio

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Coming off Tommy John I wouldn,'t think so. Lots of rehab, but not A leadue ball yet.

David Proctor said...

James Wagner ‏@JamesWagnerWP 3m
The Hairston era begins at the top: Hairston LF, Desmond SS, Harper CF, Zimmerman 3B, Werth RF, LaRoche 1B, Rendon 2B, Suzuki C, Jordan P.

Section 222 said...

The funniest thing is that Gio isn't even scheduled to start against the Marlins. Wed vs. the Phils will be his last start until after the break.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I keep Haren will start clicking like he did a few years back.

I was not against the move at the time. I keep trying to cheer good play into existance.

Section 222 said...

Davey playing it by the numbers. Hairston is good vs. Colbert, and so is Harper. Good call I think. Span back tomorrow, with Harper getting the day off against Lee?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Section222, to be fair check my comments when Haren was first rumored as available. I said there was still Lohse available.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

WODL will like tonight's centerfielder.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

That is what I am thinking.

Section 222 said...

Ghost, I'm not disputing that you preferred Lohse. But when Haren signed, you liked the move, as did virtually everyone here. I've already shown you the videotape. To say now that in hindsight, knowing how good Lohse has been and how bad Haren has been, the Nats should have waited and tried to get Lohse on a 3 year deal is fine, but not particularly insightful. (You'll still get an argument from JD and others who don't think giving someone his age a three year deal is a good idea, but it's a good matter for debate.) To say that's what you said at the time Haren signed is disingenuous.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Whereas, Bartolo Colon was also available on a one-year deal for somewhere upwards of $1,000,000. Maybe a lot upwards, but not a whole lot. If we're revisiting, I get dibs on that one.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Dayton Eckerson said...
The [mathematical] aphorism in paragraph one should read: "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts."



Thank you. I was afraid I was the canary in a gold mine there, making money hand over foot, but bleeding like a stuffed pig.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Mr. inOregon and TCos, thanks, those are hilarious. And the sad thing is, most of the people who really are friends, Gio has probably already comped.

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