Chatter Up! Mets @ Nationals 7-1-2010 to 7-4-2010

Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose on 02-07-2010

Tagged Under : Bryce Harper, David Wright, Jose Reyes, New York Mets, Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

Welcome to another edition of Chatter Up! on a busy week for the NL East.   For each Divisional Match Up we ask 5 questions to affiliate bloggers concerning their respective team. This week we will be featuring questions concerning the four game weekend division Match Up between the New York Mets and Washington Nationals

Answering our questions concerning the New York Mets this time we have Eric King of TheRealDirtyMetsBlog… Ironically all the questions to him, came from our Nats affiliate, CenterfieldGate who we will ask some things to later.

Mets Logo

Q- CFG recently ran a piece which said that with Reyes the Mets could contend, but without him they’re sunk. So: is that true. Or, should the worst happen (and he has a history, after all, with a hamstring) can the Mets survive?
A- Reyes is for sure an important piece in the Mets puzzle.  I am not sure there is one player that could completely sink the Mets chances just like there is not one player that the Mets could bring in and lock up a WS.  As for history?  What does his history with a hamstring have to do with back/oblique issues?

Q- What the biggest disappointment for Mets fans this year — and what’s the biggest surprise?

A- The biggest disappointment so far for the Mets fans would most likely be the inconsistency of Johan and the lack of run support regardless of his results.

Q- How did Mike Pelfrey get to be Mike Pelfrey. We haven’t seen this from him, but this year he’s been lights out. What happened?

A- I get to pat myself on the back for Pelfrey.  I really thought last year was just that dreaded slump that happens to many young pitchers.  This year he looks like the Pelfrey I expected him to be.  Confident and yippless.  Could be that his new pitch has given him that confidence.

Q- The trading deadline looms. The Mets are surely buyers. What do they need to buy?

A- SP, SP, SP a BP piece or two.  I see no need for more offense.  The bench when/if Beltran returns will be much better as well.

Q- What accounts for the resurgence in David Wright?

A- Resurgence of David Wright.  LOL.  Poor Wright, the guy has been one of the most solid hitters in baseball for his first 7 years.  He has one slightly off year and everyone is ready to send him out to pasture.  The guy is just a good hitter.  Period.

Answering our questions concerning the Washington Nationals we have Mark Perry from the blog CenterfieldGate

Nats LogoQ- Strasburg, Strasburg, Strasburg…. Lets forget all the positives for a minute, have you seen anything from him so far that worries you or makes you question him?

A-
Yeah, well. Strasburg, Strasburg, Strasburg. Frankly, even though I view myself as a diehard Nats fans, I worry that the attention given to St. Stephen is a distraction for our non-fans: for those who follow other teams and don’t pay attention to what is going on at Nats Park. We have a solid, solid team (I know, not lately) and good players. The face of this franchise is not Stephen Strasburg, in my opinion, it’s Ryan Zimmerman, who was here through thin and thin.

If I had to express a worry it is this: that he will not fit into the team. All the evidence, so far, is that he is doing just that, that he’s mature and cares about wins and losses. But there is this nagging part of me that worries that he views the Nats as skim milk – not the real deal. It will take a while, I think, for him to “get” what’s going on here: to understand that Nats fans are not just inheritors or a failed Montreal franchise, but celebrate the Nats as a continuation of a finer and older tradition that goes back to some of the first teams in the game. If Stephen gets that – and you have to listen to how much Zimmerman and Dunn and Willingham love this franchise to really be convinced of it – then he’ll be an even greater pitcher than he is now.

One other thing, just to make this clear. I have seen every outing he has pitched. And you need to see him to believe it. In the first game, in the section where I was sitting, there were people in tears. You had to see him to believe it. I’ve seen hundreds of games and that game, and those strikeouts, are indelibly imprinted in my memory. Forever.

Q- What happened? Up until a few weeks ago, the Nats were very much in competition and showing what all Nats fans thought this team could be.

A- Defense, defense, defense. The Nats are last in defense. Again. Standard, minor league (and Little League) plays seem to elude them. The team is young, Ian Desmond is going to make mistakes, he’s a rookie and (I believe) a future star. But there seems to be a disturbing lack of focus on the team during important in-game situations. This has to change, but it will take more than a stern lecture from Jim “glass half full” Riggleman. It will take time. In themeantime, we have to keep things in perspective. The goal for this year was to get better, not to win the World Series. That is what has happened; this team is competitive, fun to watch, and a reflection of the strength of the franchise’s front office. No one would have guessed that would be the case 12 months ago.

Q-  Do you feel that Bryce Harper is as much of a lock as Strasburg was/is?  He is still in his teenage years and so far has never faced anything but High School and Junior college pitching.


A- Yeah, actually, I do. Well, maybe not a lock, but as close to one as there can be. The only thing that would stop this guy is the mental part of the game, not an insignificant obstacle. I believe the reports of his “attitude,” but he’s only 17. Actually, we all know this, but I’ll say it for the record. The only thing that distinguishes Bryce from me when I was 17 was that he can hit. If you’re 17, you always have an attitude. But we’ll see. The Nats will bring him along very slowly.

Q- This weekend aside, it seems that because of Strasburg mania, the Nationals are the #1 team in the DC area.  Have games had a much different feel even on nights he isn’t pitching?

A- I wish you were right. I turn on Sports Radio here and I get (during one Strasburg outing) a group of guys talking about the Wizards (“the Sports Reporters”) and the other talking about the meaning of fatherhood among NFL players. And the first group of reporters were talking about the NBA, and the Wizards, while broadcasting from Nats Park. Unbelievable. Nauseating. So I have to admit: this is a football town; people can’t even see straight when it comes to the Washington Wachamacallits. But, that said, the people have turned out not only for Strasburg, but have turned out in increasing numbers for the other games as well. The team is getting rooted in this city in a way that it might not have if Strasburg were not here. One Yankee fan said to me: yeah, well, they’re only turning out because of Strasburg. My answer was, and is: okay, so tell you what. Go ahead and trade A Rod and Jeter and see how many people show up for your pathetic team. We’ll take it, celebrate it, and we’ll be happy.

Q- Finally, as I noticed you wrote about predictions in your post this morning, besides the Mets, are any other team’s putting a potential hole in them?  If so, do you feel as strongly about them as the Mets falling/gaining from their current position?

A- Well, this is the problem about making predictions in baseball. The game defeats everyone, especially amateur analysts. I said the White Sox would spiral into oblivion, it hasn’t happened. I said the Phillies were the Yankees of the NL East and they have turned out to be the ah … well, the Blue Jays of the NL East. I said the Braves didn’t have a prayer. Guess what? But some other things I’ve said have turned out pretty good – and since you asked, I’ll brag. I said, two years ago, that Ubaldo Jimenez was on the verge of being a great pitcher. I was right. I said earlier this year that the Cubs need to sell, I was right. I said that the team to beat in the NL Central was the Cincinnati Reds. And I said that the Nats would finish above the Mets. I’ll stick by that one. But not for much longer.

And now I’ll ask myself a question: what has been the biggest surprise of this year for the Nats. And my answer will surprise some, but I think I’m right. It’s been Adam Dunn, and it has nothing to do with his bat. The guy can actually field his position. He’s been the rock, even more so than Zimmerman. Who would-a-thunk-it?

Chatter Up! Mets Vs Marlins 6/28-6/30

Filed Under (Chatter Up, NL East Chatter) by treilly on 30-06-2010

Welcome to another edition of Chatter Up! For each Divisional Match Up we ask 5 questions to affiliate bloggers concerning their respective team. This week we will be featuring questions concerning the Mid-Week division Match Up between the Florida Marlins and New York Mets.

Answering our questions concerning the New York Mets this week we have James Figueroa of TheRealDirtyMetsBlog…

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Q- With Ruben Tejada’s recent success both offensively and defensively, do you see him staying with the club when Luis Castillo is ready to return from injury?

A- Tejada is in a tough spot. No matter what Tejada does, since he has options to go down to the minors, he will go down when Castillo comes back. It’s a shame because that kid has earned a spot here. If Cora’s option doesn’t vest, Tejada is back up here full time next year.

Q- Would you like to see the Mets go out and make a big splash for the Likes of a Cliff Lee or Oswalt or look to hold onto their core young talent and go after a Ted Lilly or Kevin Millwood?

A- Well, let me start by saying I would love for the Mets to get Cliff Lee. I think a guy like Lee would give the Mets the most formidable rotation in the east if not the NL. I think Lee could be had while still holding on to core young talent. It all depends on the Mariners at this point. What kind of package would they accept? What are they looking for? Stuff like that. Oswalt is another guy that won’t cost a lot in prospects since he has a monster contract but the Astros farm is barren, so that is going to be an interesting game with Houston. Lilly or Millwood would be a good option but the Mets are in a position that they can acquire a top tier pitcher like Lee or Oswalt; I would like to see them go after those two before settling for Lilly or Millwood.

Q- What do you feel is the biggest reason the Mets are playing so well at home this season?

A- They finally learned the advantages of their home field. I figured they would struggle their first year in a new ballpark, it isn’t much of a home field advantage if you don’t know how to use it to your advantage. I think with a year under their belts, they know where to hit the ball and how to hit the ball in Citifield…something visiting teams that doesn’t play here often won’t know how to do.

Q- Are you concerned about Johan Santana’s recent struggles or do you feel he will return to becoming the Old Second Half Johan come July?

A- Johan has always been a better second half pitcher, his stats reflect that. What is concerning is reports that quote Santana as not being completely healed from his surgery. Santana is still an Ace in my opinion but just doesn’t mix and match his pitches that much anymore. There isn’t much of a differential between his fastball and change to keep hitters off balance. He needs to mix in his slider more and perhaps learn another pitch to make the loss in velocity not stand out as much and keep the change up a very good weapon. I think Santana will be just fine but I’m sure I’m speaking for myself.

Q- Do you think the Mets can survive with their bull pen as stands or do you think it will be necessary to add another middle reliever?

A- I think bullpens are a crap shoot. I think the Mets have the pieces to survive a 162 schedule. For the first month or two, we were the best bullpen in the majors. It is hard for me to believe their recent struggles cannot be attributed to fatigue and injuries. If Valdez and Igarashi can get healthy while Nieve gets some rest, they can have a decent bullpen. A lot of people overlook how good Feliciano and k rod have been, not to mention Dessens. The bullpen is more or less like every bullpen in the majors, some good days and some bad.

Answering our questions concerning the Florida Marlins we have Chris Towers from the blog FishGuts…

Marlins LogoQ- How is the Team handling the firing of their Manager?

A- The players seemed a bit stunned by the news at first, but there hasn’t been much public grumbling among them. You’d think they’d want to get everything sorted out as soon as possible to avoid potential distractions, though. The longer this drags out, the worst it will be.

Q- Are people speculating Hanley Ramirez had something to do with the firing?

A- There has been nothing said about that, and to Hanley’s credit, he came out and said Fredi would be missed. He hasn’t taken any shots at Fredi as he’s leaving. I don’t think he’ll miss him, but there’s an outside chance Hanley was actually starting to respect Fredi.

Q- What has been the biggest cause for the recent struggles of the Marlins?

A- The bullpen cannot hold a lead and the offense has been terribly inconsistent, particular the guys who are supposed to be the run producers. Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla are slumping big time, and Cody Ross and Mike Stanton are both struggling too.

Q- What are your early impressions of Mike Stanton?

A- He looks like a 20 year old at the major league level should. He’s overmatched and he can’t catch up right now. He’s looked very bad, but nobody is panicking. He’s 20, struggles are to be expected. Everyone knew he would strike out a lot, but he’s bound to make some changes and at least find the power stroke.

Q- What exactly is getting in the middle of the Bobby Valentine hiring?

A- Sounds like Bobby wants an assurance from the team that they will be buyers at the deadline and will add payroll heading into the 2011 season, and this is the holdup.
I would expect it to get done, but Loria is going to have to make concessions if he wants to get his guy, and frankly, spending the season before the stadium is a smart move anyways. Fans want to see them compete right away to stay excited.

Chatter Up! Phillies @ Mets 5/25-5/27

Filed Under (Chatter Up, Phillies Phandom, Real Dirty Mets, Series Preview) by treilly on 25-05-2010

Tagged Under : Add new tag, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies

Welcome to this Years First Edition of “Chatter Up”, Throughout the season we will be asking 5 questions to each teams affiliate blogger concerning their respective teams and the upcoming series. We open up with the hottest rivalry in the division for the last few seasons, The Philadelphia Phillies Vs. The New York Mets.

Answering our questions concerning the Mets and this upcoming series we have James Figueroa from “The Real Dirty Metsblog”

Mets Logo

Q: What do you see the Mets doing Long Term with their open spots in the rotation behind Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana?

A: If by long term your referring to this season, I would say the rotation will be as it was on opening day. Realistically, I see Oliver Perez back in the rotation soon followed by Jon Niese. The real question mark is John Maine. I think the Mets will take a hard look at a guy like Milwood and perhaps make an offer for his services but thats about it. I do not think Roy Oswalt is coming to the Mets.

Q:  Has this rivalry become the second biggest in baseball behind the Yankees vs Red Sox?

A: If both our teams are playing well and are healthy, absolutely. No rivalry in ALL of sports is going to top Yanks/Sox, everyone knows this. Due to our recent history and the close proximity of our towns, it is the second biggest rivalry in sports. Id say the twins/sox/tigers is a close third.

Q:  After this weekend’s attendance for the Subway Series do you see the Mets fans packing the stadium this week for this rivalry as well?

A: I think it will be packed. Philly fans are very loyal to their team and they do not have a problem showing up in other peoples houses. I expect a similar crowd to the subway series, especially since we beat the Yankees 2 times in a row and we are playing good baseball.

Q:  If and When Carlos Beltran comes back, Do you see the Mets keeping Pagan in the starting line up using him in right field rather than the struggling Jeff Franceour?

A: That is an option. Due to Pagan’s awesome play this year, there is no doubt the Mets have to keep him when Beltran comes back. The obvious odd man out when that happens should be Gary Matthews Jr(im sure nobody will shed a tear at this point). The good thing about Pagan is his ability to play all the outfield positions and play them well, not to mention he can handle a bat. Pagan has played himself into the long term plans of this team.

Q: What do you feel will be Daniel Murphy’s Ultimate role to the Mets once he is ready to return?

A: His role should be what it was always supposed to be, a utility player. Daniel Murphy is a grinder who’s hard work is something that makes him a good role model for guys coming up, which seems to be the direction the Mets are going in. The players like Murphy and management likes Murphy. The other thing about Daniel that is great is his great attitude toward doing whatever the team needs him to do. Right now, he is learning other positions in AAA to help our club. A guy with that work ethic is hard to come by and is one they should try to hold on to.

Answering our questions about the Phillies and the Upcoming series we have Matt Smith from “Phillies Phandom”

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1) Have the Phillies considered yet that Jimmy Rollins Calf injury might just be a lingering injury that could affect him most of the season?

It’s a definite concern, but I think Rollins and the team feel that the injury won’t hinder him throughout the year. Right now it’s considered a mild calf strain, which isn’t as severe as the first time. He should be back after the 15 days. Then again, his game is based largely on his speed, so you never know.

2) Do the Phillies handle series against the Mets any different now that they have owned the rivalry for the past 3 seasons?

It’s still a huge rivalry to the Phillies. The Mets are feeling good after taking two of three from the Yankees, while the Phillies have to regroup following their worst two games of the year against Boston. As far as I’m concerned, this is an important series. If the Mets sweep, they would be only two games out of first place.

3) Are the Phillies worried about the Back end of their Bullpen with the recent struggles of Ryan Madson and the durability of Brad Lidge?

Jose Contreras has done a fantastic job in Lidge’s place. Danys Baez is just another guy. The bullpen is average at best, but not bad. I think the team realizes it can get by without Lidge and Madson for a while. Right now, the bullpen situation is not a concern.

4) Who do you feel will be the biggest threat to the Phillies in this year’s NL East Race down the road?

The Braves are playing really well right now. With their starting pitching, they can get hot and stay hot. I would say they are the No. 1 favorite to knock off the Phils.

5) Are there any problems the Phillies are concerned about for the rest of this season, despite looking as the class of the NL once again thus far?

Injuries. We’ve managed to be OK without J.A. Happ and Rollins virtually the entire season. We’re hanging on right now, but one more major injury would kill us. Every team has its issues, but at this point, I don’t see how the Phillies lose the NL East unless major injuries are a factor. This is a team that knows how to win when it has to win.

Special Thanks to both James Figueroa and Matt Smith

Check out there blogs for more information on these teams:

The Real Dirty Mets Blog

Phillies Phandom Blog

Chatter Up! Nationals @ Mets 9-18-09 to 9-20-09

Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose on 18-09-2009

Tagged Under : Alberto Gonzalez, Austin Kearns, Bobby Parnell, Bobby Valentine, Bryce Harper, C.C. Sabathia, Carlos Beltran, Centerfield Gate, David Wright, Derek Lowe, Fernando Nieve, Javier Vazquez, Jerry Manuel, Jim riggleman, Johan Santana, John Garland, John Lackey, Jon Niese, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Josh Thole, Livan Hernandez, Manny Acta, Mike Pelfrey, Mike Wuertz, New York Mets, oakland a's, Omar Minaya, Orlando Hudson, Ray Knight, Ricky Nolasco, Rob Dibble, Ronnie Belliard, Stan Kasten, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tim Redding, Tom Seaver, Washington Nationals

Nats Logo chatterup Mets Logo
Welcome to Chatter Up! This week features Mark Perry of Centerfield Gate against DirtySanchez and TRS of The Real Dirty Mets Blog. On the field, there isn’t much to determine, but maybe this can be more interesting, lets see.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): Most likely you guys will have the first pick in the draft again. Since you drafted a phenom of a pitcher last year, what position do you think they will use their #1 pick on?
Mark P(CFG): I would love to see them draft a middle infielder – unless there’s a Babe Ruth on the board. But what I want and what will happen are two different things. This is Stan Kasten’s team and his philosophy is unyielding: draft pitchers, pay for players. So that seems to indicate that it’s likely that we’ll draft and sign a big lefty or some big righty (out of some college is my bet) and draft a middle infielder in about the third round. That’s the typical thing for Kasten. The next draft is filled with power arms, so that seems to tilt it in favor of pitching. But there is one guy who could change all of this. Bryce Harper is the newest can’t miss player: a high school catcher who is considering enrolling in community college just to be eligible for the draft. If I were Kasten and Harper is there, I would grab him.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): Do you think the National will add payroll for next years roster? There were rumors about the money you were willing to drop on Texieira…any chance the Nationals use that cash to bring in some FA talent?
Mark P(CFG): My understanding is that the front office has been wiggling all year to cut here and there to have some money in the bank at the end of the season: they reportedly have about $20 million they can spread around and that’s what I expect them to do. I don’t think they’ll offer a blockbuster deal to anyone like they did with Tex: I wouldn’t expect, for instance, that they would bring in a John Lackey. Instead, I think they’ll try to land two or three guys that will bolster the overall team: a reliever, a middle infielder and a second tier starter. I would like to see them dangle some money to Orlando Hudson and John Garland – and re-up Livan Hernandez and then go for a high end middle innings guy, like Oakland did with Mike Wuertz. Of course, he won’t be around, but someone like him would really go a long ways to fixing some sadly broken things. You know: I bet I will be writing the same damn thing next year.
Matt R(NLEC): How has attendance been this year at Nats park? From a fan perspective, are they optimistic of the future right now? The off-field stories like Strasburg have to be a nice plus, but on the field, there is no consistency.
Mark P(CFG): I think we have to find a way to assess attendance as a function of projected and real team finishes. It’s probably already being done, but if not I’ll take full credit for the idea. For instance, I think we need to assess whether (as the worst team in baseball) the Nats could have been expected to draw better than the A’s, Marlins, Pirates, Indians, Reds and Royals — which they have. And I think the answer would be “no.” Which leads me to conclude that the front office got a gift: the fans did all the heavy lifting. Everyone else in major league baseball has a better record and yet the Nats are 24th in attendance and not all that far behind the O’s, Blue Jays and Padres. That’s pretty strong stuff. The really weak team in that list — as a measure of fans against production — are the Marlins, who are contending for the wild card but playing in a mausoleum. You could pass gas in Land Shark stadium without anyone hearing it. No. No. You’re exactly right. And there’s no getting around it. This is a terrible team. But the fans keep coming. You know, it’s weird in D.C. If you show up in the first inning, before the first pitch (a matter of principle for me), there’s no one there. And you think: oh, oh. But then you look up in the second inning and people are streaming in. And by the third the stadium is half full — or almost so. And then they announcement attendance, and it’s always between 20-24 thousand. Which isn’t bad at all. If this city had any kind of team at all we’d be in the top 10 in attendance. Which is a great thing, really, when you think about it. Because the slam against the city is that it is a football town. And it is: but the Nats, just in virtue of what they’ve drawn this year, are here to stay. They are going to draw 1.8 million for the worst team in baseball. Not bad.
Matt R(NLEC): You wrote in one of your blogs lately that you think the Nats will finish ahead of the Mets next year (I think). How do you come to this conclusion?
Mark P(CFG): Because next year the Nats will have a better team. Well, okay. Let me explain and I am saying this not simply to bait Mets fans or because I am a Nats fan. I actually believe that all of the evidence points to it. Most of all, I point to the differences in the front office. My sense is that the Mets front office knows that their team had a terrible year and that it has to be improved. But for them it’s: ‘well, we can do this. We’re not that far away: a little dit here and a little dat there, and bingo, we have a contending club.’ And then they think: ‘and if Reyes comes back and Beltran is healthy and Johan is Johan,’ … well you know — there they are. Atop the NL Least. Winner winner chicken dininer. The Nats operate under no such illusion. The front office knows this is disaster and they have been working all year to get it better and to clear things out for the off-season. It’s not a little dit here and a little dat there, it’s a reset, a makeover. They don’t need to start the makeover in the offseason, they started in July. Then too, the Nats have more at stake. If the Mets fail, well you’re in New York and there’s all that TV money and the payroll is above $100 million and sooner or later they’ll get it right and they have a history — and the Miracle Mets and Casey and Tom Terrific. There’s history there. Not so with the Nats. They need to get it right and they need to do it right now. They’ve got $80 million and that’s it. And in DC, everything is at stake. Even the future of the franchise. At the end of the day, I don’t think it comes down to Wright or Zimmerman, or Dunn or Murphy or any of that. The strength of a team starts in the front office. And right now, amazingly, the Nats front office is just better. Something happened in New York. And it wasn’t on the field — and it wasn’t good. And it hasn’t been repaired. That’s not true for the Nats.
Matt S(PP): Rob Dibble is a blabbering idiot. Did you enjoy his color commentary and should he return to the booth next season?
Mark P(CFG): Yeah, Rob Dibble is a blabbering idiot, but he’s our blabber idiot. Thankfully, he’s married to a schoolteacher, so at least she’s in her element. That poor woman, I’ll bet he’s a handful. I look at it this way: if you think Dibble is bad, you oughta get a load of what we had before him. We once had Ron Darling in the booth and he was as soft as a pillow. He used to hang around media conventions looking for a job. He was desperate. It was pathetic too. So he ended up on Nats’ broadcasts for about a year. I remember he once said, as the Nats took the field: “Wow, those are sharp looking uniforms.” Sharp looking uniforms? The guy was total Brooks Brothers. If you go down there now in Manhattan and wait a while he’ll show up. Then we got Don Sutton. This guy spent his time in front of the mirror practicing his salute and telling us how great Austin Kearns was because he was just such a solid citizen. I mean, who cares? I would sign Stalin if he could hit the ball. And Sutton had this habit of talking, unintentional I’m sure, that signaled all the wrong things: like how he was giving us these really inside little gems that were big secrets. So now it’s Dibble, and he’s a child – but he can be fairly entertaining and when he actually talks about the game (which isn’t all that often) he can sometimes actually be right. Thing is, he’s often as wrong. He and his sidekick (Bob Carpenter, who really is very good) loved Ronnie Belliard, for instance – going on and on about what a good hitter this guy was. I think Ronnie was hitting about .183 at the time. And they play favorites. They don’t like Alberto Gonzalez (not the attorney general, the second baseman), who’s actually a good, young, up-side guy. But they’re down on him. Thing is, when he started to break out of his slump last week the damage was done. So they treated everything he did as a fluke. You know, I think I have to say something good about Dibble, just to kind of even it up. So here it is: back when the Nats were really suffering (back in April and May) he just let them have it. He was unrelenting. It was ruthless, ugly, articulate, and right on. So I give him that. He’s not a homer. There are long silences during some of these games, in the middle of a sixth inning collapse, and you can actually hear him breathing. And then he’ll say: “Long inning.” Great stuff, really. The really good news is the in-studio guy is Ray Knight, and he’s terrific. A great grasp of the game, a way of putting the viewer at ease, and he can be very outspoken. I like him: he cares about the team, the fans, the viewers. Just an all around nice guy who is always prepared.
Thanks again Mark, now onto DirtySanchez and TRS
Mark(CFG): I know things look bad now and it’s been a long season. But can you take a look at the bright side? What was the good news for the Mets this year? What surprised you? What was the good news, the unexpected news — the player who exceeded expectations that promises a brighter future?
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): Lol not sure there are too many bright sides but here we go. The good news for the Mets is next year, since they did so awful they will have a high draft pick that most likely will be protected. Personally what surprised me is how drastically the defense deteriorated as soon as Randolph left. Have to admit, we played better defense under him and we improved every year. The good news is like the old saying “obstacles in life are opportunities in disguise”. With all the injuries this year, we were able to put players in a position to showcase their talents. We saw Omir Santos, Fernando Nieve,Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell all step up to the bright lights and deliver. Granted Nieve and Niese both ended up with everyone else on the DL but I do not think they would have had the chance if the starters were all healthy. I believe at this point the only player that promises a bright future would be Josh Thole. Thole looked very good in his brief time up here but obviously still needs work. I believe we will see him in the majors sooner than later.
Mark(CFG): You have a new stadium and now you have a bullpen. And the NL East is weak. There is a minimal best case scenario for the Mets winning the NL East next year — especially with the Nats, Marlins and Braves in the mix. Can you give a sense of what the Mets could do in the off season that might catapult them into contention next year?
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): Well first things first they need a #2 pitcher. Mike Pelfrey has been given the chance to fill this role but obviously he cannot…yet. With the Phillies having the tandem of Hamels/Lee, Marlins with JJ/Nolasco and the Braves with Lowe/Vasquez…we need to be able to trot out a good 1-2 punch. What the Mets in my opinion have going for them to get this accomplished is the fact they play in such a pitchers park. If I were Omar Minaya I would totally use this as a selling point to bring in someone like Lacky. Its no secret AL pitchers do better in the NL. Now couple that with a pitchers park and you have a good foot in the door.
Mark(CFG): Who is the one pitcher, this year (obviously, the answer is not going to be Tim Redding — but all of us in Washington could have told you that) who could shine next year — outside of Johan. Is there a guy sneaking around at Triple A who’s the next C.C.., the next Tom Terrrific?
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): I unfortunately don’t think we have anybody of the caliber of CC or Tom Terrific in our system. I believe the pitcher that could realistically shine next year would be Jon Niese(if not traded) or Fernando Nieve(if not traded). These two defiantly picked up their game in the majors and had their season cut short due to injury. They should be good to go in ST so it should be interesting to keep an eye on these two.
Mark(CFG): There’s no doubt in my mind that David Wright can and will bounce back. If you had to predict the other one player who will also bounce back, who would that be?
DirtySanchez(TRDMB):That’s a hard one to judge because David was the only core guy healthy for most of the season. I would guess that Reyes will have a bounce back season next year and this is why. There has been many rumors in the media that Reyes was “milking” his injury. Reyes has come out the media and appeared to take that to heart. I want to say that Reyes will use this as motivation for next season to prove a lot of these media guys wrong…at least I hope lol.
Matt P(PP): H Is Jose Reyes on this team next year? What are the Mets fans’ feelings about Jose and his struggles to return from injury. His drive and motivation (and, uhh, baseball intelligence) have been called into question before. Agree or disagree?
TRS(TRDMB): Yes there are few things for certain in Mets land, however, injuries to Beltran and Reyes actually in my mind assured the core would stay intact for 2010. If they had both been healthy all year and we still missed the playoffs they were both game in my mind. I don’t think you can question his baseball intelligence as he is still developing that as all players do. I can’t speak to motivation or drive because I am not around him only what we see on the field and aside from a few times in which his immaturity has shown I do not recall seeing Jose dog it. I do think his maturity is questionable and because of that he allows talk to go to his head. What bothers me, as I have pointed out at TRDMB is that for 2007 and 2008 he had terrible Septembers. We can blame that on conditioning, coincidence, choking, but that is for sure a concern.
As I felt this year, I believe that next year will be the last for the core unless they win.

Please feel free to email any recommend questions or comments about the segment to this forum topic and post a reply.

Chatter Up! Mets @ Braves 9-15-09 through 9-17-09

Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose on 16-09-2009

Tagged Under : Adam Dunn, Adrian Beltre, Atlanta Braves, Back to the future, Carlos Beltran, Chipper Jones, Daniel Murphy, Delorian, Derek Lowe, Fred Wilpon, Garrett Anderson, Ike davis, Joe Sheehan, Jordan Schaffer, Josh Thole, Kenshin Kawakami, Luis Castillo, Mark Prior, New York Mets, Omir Santos, Pedro Martinez, Stephen Strasburg, The Braves Baseball Blog, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson

Braves Logo chatterup Mets Logo
Welcome to the second Chatter Up! of the day here at NLEC. This week we bring in The Real Dirty Mets Blog as they continue a divisional road trip against The Braves. So we have Connor Tapp of The Braves Baseball Blog, lets get it on!
MrNorthJersey(NLEC): Now that the team has been eliminated how soon do you think it will take before Fans get an idea of what the front office off season strategy will be going forward for 2010?
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): Hopefully soon after the world series. I imagine the Mets will be making internal changes and adjustments as they decide where they want to go with their team. Fred Wilpon has already said he does not like the current direction of the team and I imagine nobody does either. We will have a considerable amount of people potentially leaving this year and there is A LOT of room to improve this team so hopefully they are developing that blueprint as we speak…because I mean cmon, what else are they doing
Matt S(PP): I don’t mean to sound like a cocky Phillies fan, but … Shouldthe Mets be missing Pedro Martinez right now? Or was it the right decision to not re-sign Pedro, considering the tough year the team has had? What do the fans think about Pedro?
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): If we had in our possession a 1982 Delorian with a flux capacitor I would say yes we would be missing pedro right now lol. Fact is with Pedro’s injury plagued seasons here, he had worn out his welcome. I do not believe Pedro was in any way shape or form going to happen for the Mets. By the time Pedro became “affordable”, the Mets were realistically thinking about the Wild Card and the reason being was due to the amount of injuries we sustained. For us to think about adding and depending on an injury prone player like Pedro(since we lived it for 3 years) would be death to Met management. It was a calculated risk to not gamble on Pedro, one that has not looked very good every time he steps on the field with a Philly uniform. I cannot speak on the fan base as you can tell on TRDMB, they each have their own opinions on EVERYTHING but as far as I am concerned….I will always remember the pedro of 05(and the sprinklers going off during his start) and the promise he embodied of brighter days ahead, and then I will realize that his absence due to injury may have partially been the reason the Mets look the way they look today and(no offense to ollie..well…maybe a little) why the Mets were not champions in 2006.
Matt S(PP): Any chance we’ll get to see highly-touted prospect Ike Davis before the end of the season? On a similar note, Josh Thole showed flashes of brilliance over the weekend against the Phillies. Do you feel he’ll be a everyday player next year?
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): I believe Thole has definitely added stock. I hope he is not as I don’t think he is quite ready yet but there is always that possibility. The Mets are a little bit of cloak and dagger when it comes to their finances so there is always a chance the Mets will start 2010 with Omir/Thole. I for one would like to see him start in AA or AAA because he has merited that consideration. Ike I believe is still at least a year or two away from coming up but we may see him in September next year. I believe in Ikes case, it depends on what the Mets do at 1b. If they trade for a young and power bat, they will try to convert Ike into an OF and we may see him break in under that capacity or if they stay with Murphy for 1b, we may see him sooner rather than later.
Matt R(NLEC): Since the year is about done, what has been the biggest POSITIVE surprise of the season?
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): Im sure there are several and everyone will tell you different. For me it’s a tie between Luis Castillo’s rebound performance this year and Daniel Murphys at 1b. Daniel was…well lets face it…horrible in the OF. To see Murph handle 1b in the way he has is remarkable and has been a definite positive in a player who has become somewhat of a fan favorite. Luis Castillos first year here was similar to Carlos Beltrans first year, injury plagued. In New York it is VERY difficult to bounce back from a bad first impression. Luis has been the constant professional and has worked his ass off to make sure he had a great sophomore year here and it has paid off. Many fans were concerned with the 6 million tied up on a injury plagued 2b, but he has quieted a lot of critics with his season this year.
Matt R(NLEC): Going into the offseason, do you think there will be much positivity on the team for next year if all injuries appear to be healed, or do you expect this offseason to be just as painful if not worse than the past few?
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): I believe there will be positives going into next year. One because they all had a years experience in a new ballpark and I believe they will be more comfortable with it. I believe everyone realizes that with as many injuries we sustained at the same time was the prime reason we did not compete this year, so given the fact that we have everyone back with a clean bill of health should warrant some positive morale. I believe this offseason(as it seems we say every offseason) will be extremely challenging and I do no expect the Mets to plug up EVERY hole on the team. They need to separate the needs from the wants and make a plan based on that. I see a lot of changes for this team, just hoping it will be for the better.
Thanks Dirty now to Connor Tapp of The Braves Baseball Blog
MrNorthJersey(NLEC): Tommy Hanson has had an impressive rookie year. If you had to compare him to another pitcher who would you say he most resemples?
Connor T(BBB): It’s a cop-out, but I’d say it’s too early to make any meaningful comparisons. For example, the comparisons of Strasburg to Prior don’t tell us much
MrNorthJersey(NLEC): Do you expect Braves to pick up Hudson’s $12 million dollar option for 2010?
Connor T(BBB): Every indication from the front office has been that his option will be picked up. Seems like the smart move. (Like it or not, the Kawakami & Lowe contracts are sunk costs.)
MrNorthJersey(NLEC): Who do envison playing 1st base on Opening Day 2010?
Connor T(BBB): I’m going to go out on a limb and say Chipper Jones will get the start at first base, with Adrian Beltre at the hot corner.
Matt S(PP): While the Braves aren’t dead yet, what would you say is the one area that cost this team a chance to win the wild card/division title and why?
Connor T(BBB): It’s simple: signing Garret Anderson in lieu of Adam Dunn. Joe Sheehan just wrote a great piece for Baseball Prospectus demonstrating how that blunder cost the Braves about five wins.
Matt S(PP): What is Jordan Schaffer’s status in the organization? Is he still regarded as a key part of the Braves’ future? Why or why not?
Connor T(BBB): 2009 was something of a lost season for Schafer. First, he whiffed his way back to the minors. Then, injury cut the rest of his season short. I’d downgrade my upside projection a touch, but talent doesn’t (usually) disappear overnight.

Please feel free to email any recommend questions or comments about the segment to this forum topic and post a reply. We need questions for our next Chatter Up! Those games are Nats @ Mets and Phillies @ Braves. Thanks for everyone’s participation!

Chatter Up! Nationals @ Phillies 9-15-09 through 9-17-09

Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose on 16-09-2009

Tagged Under : Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Brett Myers, Centerfield Gate, Chad Durbin, Chan Ho Park, Chatter Up, Christian Guzman, Cincinnati Reds, Clay Condrey, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, Ian Desmond, Joe Blanton, Joel Hanrahan, Josh Willingham, Los Angeles Angels of Aneheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Cain, Mike MacDougal, New York Yankees, pedro feliz, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, San Francisco Giants, Scott Eyre, Shane Victorino, St. Louis Cardinals, Stephen Strasburg, Tim Lincecum, Tyler Walker, Washington Nationals

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Welcome to another edition of Chatter Up! here at NLEC. This week will match up Mark P Centerfield Gate against Matt Smith of Phillies Phandom. Enjoy!
MrNorthJersey(NLEC): Do you want and expect Willingham back in a Nationals uniform in 2010?
Mark P(CFG): There was talk of trading Willingham all season, but it never happened — and for good reason. The guy proved to be the hitter that we anticipated (and that I anticipated) when we got him from the Marlins. I think he’s now untouchable. You know, nothing’s impossible: but it would be hard to name a guy who the nats could get for him that would be as good. The fans love him and the guy just hits the hell out of the ball: who knows what he might have done had he started the season in the outfield, instead of that other guy … what’s his name? Oh yeah, Austin Kearns. How the Nationals brain trust could have ever concluded that he was better than Willingham is a question so embarassing it cannot be asked: and gives the term brain trust a whole different meaning.
MrNorthJersey(NLEC): Do you think MacDougal will opt out of his contract and test free agency?
Mark P(CFG): Good question. I somehow don’t think so. The Nats front office seems to think he will be back, talking endless of getting a set up guy that will make him the reliever for the team in 2010. This scares me, because MacDougal is one of those 9th inning guys who just scrapes by — but barely. The last thing this team needs is another collapses bullpen in 2010. Th next to last thing it needs is placing its trust in just one closer. I wouldn’t hold an audition for the spot necessarily (Joel Hanrahan won the audition in the Spring, for pity sake) but I sure wouldn’t think that “Heart Attack Mike” is the only answer we have.
Matt S(PP): The Nationals have been a much-improved squad over the last several weeks. Adam Dunn has had a tremendous season. Are you surprised by Dunn’s production this year and do you view him as a vital piece to the puzzle for next year?
Mark P(CFG): Yes, I’m surprised. You know, Dunn came with baggage: that he was a good hitter but with an indifferent attitude. That turned out to be false, or rather, perhaps it was true because Dunn got bored in Cincinnati (which is more than possible). I thought he would come in with about 29 to 32 homers and make a mash of the outfield. I could see it in my dreams: Dunning chasing down a ball hit over his head, dropping a line drive, tripping over his feet going into the corner. But not only has he really hit the cover off the ball, he has made a real effort to get better as a first baseman. You can see his defensive improvement, which is key, considering Guzman’s boot em and throw em away capabilities. If his defense gets better and he keeps hitting I would expect that the Nats would try to extend him. There aren’t many guys in the majors who can hit 40 homers and drive in 100 runs. And for some reason (stop the presses) Dunn seems to love it here. Who knew?
Matt S(PP): Are Nats fans clamoring for Stephen Strasburg at this point? Can you explain how Strasburg making the team out of spring training would impact the franchise and its fanbase?
Mark P(CFG): I am surprised and gratified by the patience showed by Nats fans. We regularly draw 20,000 to games in which the late innings are so painful that people have to wish they were somewhere else. But they keep coming back for more, night after night. That same patience is being shown now by fans who realize that while it would be nice to see Strasburg right now — or early next year — it would be far better to see him in the post-seasons, with a healthy arm, in 2011. If Strasburg makes the team out of spring training I would advise the front office (they’re not exactly on the phone with me all the time, but there you have it) to pitch him during the third or even fourth home game — when they absolutely need to fill the stadium. My sense is that when Strasburg arrives DC will have to assign more cops for crowd control. The place will be packed. We’re patient, very patient. But honestly, we can’t wait to see this guy.
Matt R(NLEC): I read on your site that it seems the Nats have asked Christian Guzman to move to 2b, how helpful will this truly be for the Nats going forward or does it just shift his suspect defense to a different position?
Mark P(CFG): I think this is a bad decision that confirms the kind of decision making that baseball eggheads rightly criticize: which is based on the assumption that a bad shortstop will somehow improve when he moves to second. I don’t buy it. Not even a little bit. You know, I am such a fan of Alberto Gonzalez (for those who don’t know, a kid out of the DR) that I hope the Nats put him at second, keep Ian Desmond (our rookie phenom) at short — and work a trade for Guzman. He will command an $8 million dollar salary next year and freeing it up would help us to get some middle infielders who can do the job. Or, better yet, we can use the money to sign a guy like Jon Garland. But then, of course, we’d really need a replacement for Guzman, as Garland is a ground ball specialist. To answer your question: putting Guzman at second simply shifts his suspect defense to a different position
Thanks again Mark, now onto Matt Smith of Phillies Phandom
MrNorthJersey(NLEC): With names like Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, Shane Victorino, Chan Ho Park, Scott Eyre, Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey, Tyler Walker, and possibly Pedro Feliz ($0.5mil buyout), becoming free agents this year who do you feel will they miss most if they do not resign them for 2010?
Matt S(PP): Well, most of these players are arbitration eligible. Blanton, Victorino, Durbin, Walker and Condrey won’t be free agents until after the 2010 season. In fact, I’m pretty sure Victorino has at least two more seasons until he can become a free agent. That said, I’m positive Victorino will be signed to a long-term deal in the neighborhood of three-four years. I have a feeling Blanton will ask for a lot of money, so he could go to arbitration. I don’t expect Myers back unless the Phillies feel he can compete with Brad Lidge for the closer role. At the same time, I don’t think Myers will turn down starter’s money in free agency, and the Phillies don’t really have a spot for him in the rotation. I think Chan Ho Park will re-sign, unless, of course, he’s hellbent on being a starter again. The Phillies should pick up Feliz’s option, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they let him go. And don’t be stunned if Pedro re-signs, too.
Matt R(NLEC): Continuing from the question above, I know the Phillies have bigger fish to fry (literally?) but do you think there are any obvious off-season targets?
Matt S(PP):Not at the moment. I’m sure they’ll look for a left-handed reliever and some bench help. If they part ways with Feliz, they’ll obviously be in the market for a third baseman.
Matt R(NLEC): If you had to choose today, rank what potential National League playoff teams you’d like to see the Phils play and why.
Matt S(PP): Dodgers, Cardinals, Rockies, Giants in order of which team I’d like to see them play in the first round. There is nothing the Dodgers are doing that worries me. I don’t think they have the starting pitching to win a playoff series. The Cardinals have an excellent lineup and an awesome one-two punch at the top of their rotation, but we’ve played them well this year, winning four of five games. The Rockies are hot right now, so they can be a scary opponent. If the Giants somehow get in, I fear facing Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain in the first two games of a five-game series.
Matt R(NLEC): What about the American League? The Phils took two of three from the Yanks early in the year, but this Yankees team is very different now, what about the Angels and Tigers? How well do you see the Phils matching up if they get there?
Matt S(PP):I actually think they match up well with any AL team. It’s so far off the radar, I prefer not to think about any potential World Series match ups right now :-) In the AL, starting pitching isn’t as worrisome as some of those NL teams I mentioned.
Matt R(NLEC): Health check: Bullpen.. . after this weekend, are you more, less, or just about the same confidence in the bullpen?
Matt S(PP):Less. It’s been a struggle. It’s not a good thing having question marks at the back of the bullpen. It’s a different situation from last year, when the team was good to go in the pen. I know the offense has been hit-or-miss the last month or so, but the ninth inning is the biggest concern right now. Nothing will really change from now until October, either.

Please feel free to email any recommend questions or comments about the segment to this forum topic and post a reply. We need questions for our next Chatter Up! Those games are Nats @ Mets and Phillies @ Braves.  Thanks for everyone’s participation!

Chatter Up! Nationals @ Marlins 9-11-09 to 9-13-09

Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose on 12-09-2009

Tagged Under : Adam Dunn, Alberto Gonzalez, Chatter Up, Christian Guzman, Cody Ross, Dan Uggla, Elijah Dukes, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Freddy Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, Ian Desmond, Jeremy Hermida, Jesus Flores, John Garland, John Lannan, Jorge Cantu, Josh Willingham, Livan Hernandez, Logan Morrison, Matt Lindstrom, Mike Rizzo, Mike Stanton, Nyjer Morgan, Philadelphia Phillies, Ronnie Belliard, Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

Nats Logo chatterup Marlins Logo
Welcome to another edition of Chatter Up! here at NLEC. This week will match up Mark P CenterfieldGate against Wally Londo of Londo of FishGuts. Enjoy!
Stickguy(TRDMB): rate the odds (highest to lowest) on which guys will get traded in the off season. For the Nats, special emphasis on Dunn.
Mark P(CFG): The odds? I think the odds of Cristian Guzman being traded are about 80 percent, Dunn about 10 percent and Zimmerman 0 percent. The marginal, veteran .230 to .250 hitters (Belliard et al) are gone and what is left are prospects, projects and the core. No one will touch the core (Zimmerman, Lannan, Dunn, Willingham, Flores, Morgan) the projects (Gonzalez and Dukes) are projects (no one really knows how good they will be — or if they will be good at all) and the prospects are the great unknown — like Ian Desmond and Stephen Strasburg are coming, they are good, and they will make a difference. But not right away. So trades? There’s not much to trade, to be honest, with the exception of Guzman.
Prismo(TRDMB): What do you think is the most needed area for improvement in the offseason for the Nationals?
Mark P(CFG): Defense, defense, defense. And I don’t see how the Nats get better at defense without moving Guzman off the ballclub. The problem is his $8 million (due next year) and his shakiness at short. So if you can’t move him and Ian Desmond is going to be handed the shortstop job, you think odd things: like shifting him to second. It’s a bad idea, but you never know. With Nyjer Morgan playing a full year and Flores back from an injury the Nats should be better in the field, but should be probably won’t be good enough. They need a good glove man, like Orlando Hudson, up the middle.
Prismo(TRDMB): Starting pitching seems like the obvious pick, but the offense has been bipolar, the bullpen mostly terrible, and the defense very shoddy at times. Or should they just ignore these problems, and fully focus on minor league development?
Mark P(CFG): If you ignore these problems for this next year, the next problem you will have will be putting people in the seats. And right now, that’s not a crisis. People here in DC still go to the games and still root for the team. But it could be a problem in the future and you can’t ignore it. So I don’t think the Nats are just going to focus on minor league development. Yes, it’s important to Mike Rizzo, but the Nats lost so much credibility before he was named as Bowden’s replacement this year that the team just can’t afford to ignore what’s happening in the parent club with all eyes on the future. I would expect them to resign Livan Hernandez and pick up another veteran pitcher (like John Garland, or a John Garland type) and sign a middle infielder with a good glove. And their offense hasn’t been “bi polar” — it’s been good. Very good, in fact. You know, I also hate to read on the internet about how some club has a top ranked farm system. Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati — they have very solid farm club operations. But who the hell cares? And Nats fans will sometimes say that: well we have a good farm system. That’s great, but you know, I don’t live in Harrisburg.
Matt R(NLEC): Strasburg watch: is he pitching yet in the minors? off season plans?
Mark P(CFG): He’s not pitching yet, but he’s close. He’ll be in Arizona and he’ll then do some offseason throwing. I get the feeling from the front office that they’re watching his pitch count very closely: he has had an entire year of college ball and no one wants to see him with a dead arm. I would expect, also, that we won’t see him next year until sometime in July. He needs to get to know professional pitching — and the people in the franchise need to get a good look at his tendencies. That takes time.
Matt R(NLEC): Is it just that I don’t know much about the Nats, but who is Ian Desmond? Where did he come from?
Mark P(CFG): Hope springs eternal: so here goes. He is the bright shortstop of the future who is going to hold down that position, with Gold Glove after Gold Glove for the next ten years. Well, that’s the hope. More specifically, Ian Desmond is a 24 year old talent rich guy and former 3rd round 2004 draft pick of the Montreal Expos who has had his share in injuries, but who has gotten through them and worked hard at his game. Everyone in the Nats organization predicted that sooner or later he would be in the show. “Later” ended up being this September. He showed this year in AA and AAA that he can hit the cover off the ball. He’s solid. The only question is: has he really arrived? He looks ready to me. The other night, against the Phillies (and in his major league debut) the thing that impressed the most is that he didn’t look nervous, he didn’t look scared, he didn’t overswing. He looked like he belonged. You kind of had to be there to feel it, frankly. Down in the lower boxes, the Nats new brain trust just fell silent as he trotted on the field. And when he put one into the center field seats later in the game, they didn’t really cheer — they just kind of looked at each other. Mike Rizzo had this “I told you so” grin on his face. I think he’s here to stay.
Thanks again Mark, now onto Wally @ Fishguts
Metsfan4decades(TRDMB):Anything to the rumor of trading Uggla? If yes, what kind of chips would the Marlins want?
Wally(FG): He’s gotta be gone. Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla each look like 6m players at least in arbitration, and we can’t afford to pay one player that much if their name isn’t Hanley. For the price of one Dan Uggla, we could have a Cody Ross and a Jeremy Hermida and a Matt Lindstrom. To me, you have to spread your resources around unless it’s an absolute slam dunk of a player, which Uggla isn’t, unfortunately. He’s very good, and a big reason why we’ve been so successful recently, but he’s not worth it to us anymore.
They’ll be looking for at least what the Pirates got for Freddy Sanchez: A B+ pitching prospect, at the very least.
Prismo(TRDMB): How do you feel about the future of the organization?
Wally(FG): Wonderful. There’s a stadium 2 years away, Hanley’s locked up long term, and Josh Johnson will probably be locked up this year too. Plus there are 2 real monster prospects in AA right now (Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison) and a couple of other really really nice ones in AA or higher. The future of this franchise looks great.
Prismo(TRDMB): Are you satisfied with the low payroll, the failure so far to build a new stadium, and the low attendance numbers if the team can still be competitive?
Wally(FG): I’m a realist. I understand the limitations of our franchise, and I’m done complaining about it. it’s not worth it. A lot of Marlins fans whine endlessly about how cheap Jeffrey Loria is and the crappy fan base and all that, but at the end of the day, my team has been close to or better than .500 6 of the last 7 years, with a World Series in there. And the stadium is being built. The concrete is mixed, the base is set, the first pitch has been thrown. It’s just a matter of laying brick now.
Matt R(NLEC): Will Hanley Ramirez hold on for the batting title in your opinion? Has that spat ended now and with any permanent damage to the team?
Wally(FG): He’s definitely going to win it, I think. It’s going to take a lot for him to fall off, and he’s got a 30 point advantage on Pujols.

Everyone is saying the spat is over now, but I’m sure Hanley and Danny aren’t chummy anymore. But you know what? Hanley’s hitting .440 since that spat, and both have 3 home runs. If they hate each other and hit like they have, I’m all for it.

Matt R(NLEC): Has the buzz around the Marlins making the postseason all but diminished now? Or are you hoping for a Phils/Rockies collapse??
Wally(FG): Well, 5 games back from the Phillies with 6 games left against them. It’s a very, very, very slight chance, but I’ve got some faith. And they can’t hit right now, so it’s certainly not completely out of the realm of possibility. I’m hoping the Phillies play this years Mets, while the Marlins can cue up some of the magic the Phillies had last year.

Please feel free to email any recommend questions or comments about the segment to this forum topic and post a reply.

Chatter Up! Mets @ Phillies 9-11-09 to 9-13-09 (4 games)

Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose on 11-09-2009

Tagged Under : Brad Lidge, Brett Myers, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Pena, Chatter Up, Chaun Figgins, Clay Condrey, Colorado Rockies, David Wright, J. C. Romero, Jeff Francouer, JJ Putz, Jose Reyes, Los Angeles Dodgers, Luis Castillo, Michael Vick, New York Mets, Omir Santos, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, Ryan Madson, Scott Eyre, St. Louis Cardinals, The Real Dirty Mets Blog

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Welcome to Chatter Up! This week features TRS of The Real Dirty Mets Blog facing off against Chatter Up! veteran, Matt Smith from Phillies Phandom. This week we got a lot of questions from users of The Real Dirty Mets Blog as well, so lets get to it!
Wally Londo(FishGuts): What’s your hopeful opening day lineup next year?
TRS(TRDMB): Lineup: Figgins, Castillo, Reyes, Beltran, Wright, Pena, Frenchy, Santos.
Wally Londo(FishGuts): Which of the injured players are a good bet to come back next year and have a decent year?
TRS(TRDMB): Beltran to me is the best bet to have a decent year. The bone bruise should not hurt his hitting and at the time he went down he was having a career year.
Matt R(NLEC): Rumors are flying again of Castillo being traded, what do you think the likelihood is and what would you want in return after this successful year?
TRS(TRDMB): I think most of the Castillo rumors are just fans speculating. I think there is maybe a 10% chance of Castillo being traded. He has rebounded quite nicely but still his trade value would be one that you would still have to take on similar cash to unload him.
Matt R(NLEC): Should the Mets entertain picking up Putz’ option? Do you feel comfortable with the bullpen without him or another late inning guy if all else stays the same there?
TRS(TRDMB): Ok uhm Putz:No way in hell should they pick up the option for 8M. Putz will be lucky to get a minor league deal at this point from anyone. He is welcome to come back on a minor league deal and prove he is healthy with an incentive based contract. No I do not think our pen is set and it does need a reliable reliever but at this point that is not Putz.

Matt R(NLEC): How much would it mean to you as a fan and the Mets psyche if they can take a few games from Philly this weekend and make them sweat a bit and play spoiler?
TRS(TRDMB): I don’t think it will help my psyche or even the Mets but I will say it would be nice to put someone else in the category of choke for once.
Thanks TRS and we throw it to Matt Smith.
Stickguy(TRDMB): What is the comfort level with the pen this year vs. last year? Are they concerned about the recent offensive brown outs?
Matt S(PP): The bullpen is a concern because of Brad Lidge and, now, the injury to Scott Eyre means we do not have a reliable left-hander. Last year’s bullpen was dynamite down the stretch and in the playoffs, whereas this year there are some question marks. As a whole, the bullpen has been solid, but not great. The hope is that J.C. Romero, Eyre and Clay Condrey will be healthy before the end of the season. The offense has been hit-or-miss lately, but I’m still confident the bats will get going sooner than later.
Stickguy(TRDMB): Do they realize they really need to pass the cards and dodgers for best record in order to get the rockies in rd. 1 of the playoffs?
Matt S(PP):The Rockies are the hottest team in baseball. Who would want to face them? As of now, the Phillies would play the Dodgers in the first round, which is a better matchup. Having the best record in the NL would be a bad thing for the Phillies at this point.
Stickguy(TRDMB): does it bother them that Vick is a much bigger story in Philly (and the eagles in general) than the Phils shooting for the playoffs for the 3rd straight year?
Matt S(PP): Well, the Vick story has died down in recent weeks. The Phillies are the top story except for Sundays. It will remain that way until their fate is determined in October.
Metsfan4decades(TRDMB): Are the Phils worried about blowing that 6 game lead they’ve got going into tonight? (’Cause we all know that can happen with 20 games to go). Their offense is down, their BP is struggling and they’re starting to have problems with injuries to their regulars. Their bench isn’t exactly stellar…
Matt S(PP):I would say that this year’s Phillies team is weaker than last year’s, but I don’t think anyone is too concerned expect for the manager. This is who the Phillies are — they are an up-and-down squad. Frankly, the Marlins aren’t good enough to catch the Phillies. A five-game lead is managable right now. The schedule is favorable the rest of the way. Those last two Mets teams weren’t anywhere near as mentally tough as this Phillies team. Thus, a “collapse” is not likely in my opinion.
Metsfan4decades(TRDMB) & Prismo(TRDMB): Are the Phils making plans to try another closer or will they stick with Lidge rest of the season and into Post season? What do you think will come of the closers job in 2010? Does Lidge automatically get another shot, or will the Phillies try and find another option?
Matt S(PP):It’s pretty much been determined that Brad Lidge is no longer the closer… for now. Ryan Madson and, perhaps, Brett Myers will be plugged into that role for the next few weeks. We’ll see how they do. As for next season, I think Lidge is the closer coming into spring training. Hopefully by then he’ll have fixed what went wrong this year.

Please feel free to email any recommend questions or comments about the segment to this forum topic and post a reply.  We need questions for our next Chatter Up! sessions, which are for Tuesday’s games of the Nationals @ Phillies and the Mets @ Braves.  Thanks for everyone’s participation!

Chatter Up! Braves @ Phillies 8-28-09 through 8-30-09

Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose on 28-08-2009

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Welcome to Chatter Up! again here at NLEC. This edition matches up the Phillies Blog, Phillies Phandom being represented by Matt Smith against Connor Tapp of The Braves Baseball Blog. This time unlike a few weeks ago, the Braves have fallen back a bit and the Phillies will be playing at home.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): You guys paid alot for Derk Lowe and he has rewarded you with a season of ups and downs…do you still consider this investment a winner, especially with the success of Hanson?
Connor T(BBB): No. Lowe has been bad. If the 2009 Derek Lowe shows up in 2010, he will be the Braves’ fifth-best starter. But if the Lowe that was so good with the Dodgers shows up, the Braves could have one of the best rotations in baseball.
Matt S(PP): Was the most recent series against the Padres the nail in the coffin for the Braves? There’s no excuse losing to arguably the worst team in baseball. Is there any hope whatsoever the Braves can bounce back from such a terrible series?
Connor T(BBB): I think so. The most optimistic postseason odds system I’ve seen (Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA-adjusted odds) gave the Braves a 19% chance (before Thursday’s victory), but most other systems have them at 10% or lower.
Mark P(CFG): It used to be that the Braves owned the NL East. Eleven in a row, wasn’t it. And it was just two years ago that everyone said: this year they’re back for another run. So go back in history, two years. What happened? And do you agree: they’re curve is now down, and it seems they have further to go to catch up now than they did last April?
Connor T(BBB): It was 14 consecutive division titles, thank you very much. (But you’re technically right, as three were with the NL West). The past two seasons have been uniquely disappointing – last year because of the unprecedented awfulness of that team, this year because the pieces assembled in the off-season (and during the season, for that matter) had us hoping for something more. But I have to disagree with you on the idea that the Braves are trending down. 2009 was a massive improvement on 2008, and I don’t see any reason Atlanta won’t be improved in 2010. Vazquez, Jurrjens, Hanson, Hudson, & Lowe make a nasty rotation (see answer to Question 1). McLouth will be in center for an entire season. The albatross known as Jeff Francoeur won’t be patrolling right field. (Who knows, you might even see the Braves break in uber-prospect Jason Heyward on Frenchy’s old stomping ground). There’s a young core here, and I don’t see things going anywhere but up.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): I know if it was up to Bobby Cox, he would manage from his grave. Is there anyone that could be seen as the successor to cox if one day he is forced to step down or retire?
Connor T(BBB): Sheesh. I don’t see anyone on the current staff that stands out, but then again I can’t remember the last time the Braves went with an outside hire for a high-profile vacancy. The Jeff Francoeur debacle is a stain on hitting coach Terry Pendleton’s resume, but you have to like how a couple of guys (ahem, Martin Prado) have come out of nowhere and done some good things with the bat.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): What offensive moves do you see shaking out in the offseason now that you have more or less the best rotation in the NL east(imo)
Connor T(BBB): The infield and outfield corners have killed us this year. That’s partly the legacy of the now-departed Jeff Francoeur and the soon-to-be-departed Garret Anderson. Adam LaRoche will be a free agent at the end of the year. If I was Frank Wren, I would let him walk, sign Adrian Beltre, and move Chipper Jones to first. That would add one of the best defensive third basemen in the game to back up a staff that induces a lot of groundballs and move Chipper to a position where he can (hopefully) stay healthy. I think we stand pat everywhere else.
Thanks Connor, Matt Smith of Phillies Phandom is next.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): The Rockies are the hottest team in baseball…if they stay this way through September and make the playoffs, are you concerned the Phillies will run into a dejavu of 2007?
Matt S(PP): Not at all. The Phillies ran into an off-the-charts hot baseball team that year. The Phillies were just happy to be in the postseason for the first time since 1993. They lived and learned from that experience, obviously. Also, the Phils won both series against the Rox this year, so I’m not worried at all. The Cards and Giants would present tougher match ups, in my opinion.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): The Phillies seem to be a solid team in all positions for some time…who would you consider to be the prospect that we may see break in anytime soon?
Matt S(PP): Dominic Brown is the team’s best position-player prospect. Kyle Drabek is the organization’s BEST prospect, arguably. Brown has five-tool potential. He and Michael Taylor are a lot alike, but Brown probably has the higher ceiling and should be an impact player at some point in his career. I think the Phillies will hold off on rushing Brown to the big leagues. While he may get a cup of coffee in September, I think he won’t make the roster out of spring training until 2011. Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez are locked under contract through next season, so there’s really no playing time avaliable for Brown in the near future. However, Ibanez, in all liklihood, will not be re-signed in 2011, so I expect Brown will be with the Phils by that time. I’m excited to see what he can do.
Mark P(CFG): Jimmy Rollins is the most streaky player the Phillies have. One minute he’s the best player in baseball, the next he’s hitting .212. What’s the key to his consistency?
Matt S(PP): Jimmy is Jimmy. He’s been a streaky and at times extremely frustrating hitter to watch throughout his career, from the day he was called up in September 2000. He’s basically the heart and soul of the lineup. Without him, the Phillies would never have made the playoffs the last two years. Rollins tends to slump when he’s rushing his at-bats and not working counts. Obviously, he’s never been the protypical leadoff hitter, but he’s proven his worth in the league over an extended period of time. Even when he struggles, as he did through June this season, his defense is arguably the best in the league at the shortstop position, so it’s not like you can sit him for days and days. Sure, as a Phillies fan, you want to pull your hair out and scream in frustration at times, but when he’s on he’s REALLY on. Phillies fans know what to expect from J-Roll. He’s the perfect example of taking the good with the bad, as the good far outweighs the bad.
Matt R(NLEC): You had an article the other day on the site that Ryan Howard should garnish serious MVP considerations. While I don’t disagree with you entirely, I try to compare MVP as to where a team would be without that one player and I think that is the MVP. Comparitively, do you think the Cardinals would be ANYWHERE near where they are today without Pujols? I tend to think that the Phillies in this division would still be hanging around, and likely still leading it with the other bats they have, i’m interested in your thoughts?
Matt S(PP): Great question. I’d argue that the Phillies wouldn’t be where they are without Ryan Howard. He’s a supremely clutch hitter. He carries the team late in the season, as he’s doing now. If you remove Howard from the lineup, who’s better? I mean, who would we get to replace him? Chase Utley would move to first base, as is expected if the Phillies can’t lock up Howard after 2012, but…man, I fear the day when that happens. Howard isn’t the best player on the team, but he is the most valuable player on the team. His production is irreplaceable. Yeah, they’d “hang around,” but another World Series championship would never, ever happen without him here for the forseeable future.
James F(TRDMB): I asked this question on TRDMB but how does the rivalry feel like from a Philly fans perspective given the situation that has happenEd to the mets? Does it feel the same to beat us or does it feel “cheap” considering we are pretty much fielding a AAAA team?
Matt S(PP): It’s absolutely nothing like the “real” Phillies-Mets rivalry. Frankly, it’s sad and, yes, cheap. I wrote last week on Phillies Phandom that I feel sorry for you Mets fans. You hear people making injury excuses in every sport, but in this case, the injury excuse adds credence. The team is a shell of its former self, and that’s saying it lightily. I’d be horrified if this were the Phillies’ situation. I wouldn’t be able to watch a team that was missing Ibanez, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Lee/Hamels, Blanton, etc. I still think the Mets aren’t at the same level as the Phillies when 100 percent healthy, but that’s just my opinion :-) Nevertheless, I wish things were different for you guys, because the NL East would be much, much more exciting right now. It’ll be interesting to see what the Mets do next season. Does Delgado come back? Will Reyes and Beltran be 100 percent healthy? How will Santana bounce back? More questions than answers, but you guys know that already, I’m sure!

Please feel free to email any recommend questions or comments about the segment to this forum topic and post a reply.

Chatter Up! Mets @ Marlins 8-25-09 through 8-27-09 Edition!

Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose on 25-08-2009

Tagged Under : Angel Pagan, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Brian Stokes, Brooklyn Dodgers, Chone Figgins, Chris Carpenter, Chris Coghlan, Citi Field, Cora Sullivan, Dontrelle Willis, Emilio Bonifacio, Fernando Nieve, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Fred Wilpon, Gaby Sanchez, Jeremy Reed, Jon Niese, Josh Johnson, Luis Castillo, New york Giants, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Nick Johnson, Omar Minaya, Ricky Nolasco, San Francisco Giants, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tim Lincecum, wildcard

Braves Logo chatterup Marlins Logo
Welcome to NLEC’s Chatter Up! This edition will be the first between the New York Mets and TRS of The Real Dirty Mets Blog matching up against The Marlins and Wally Londo of FishGuts.  Enjoy everyone.
Matt S(PP): While 2009 has been a total disaster in so many ways, Luis Castillo has been very solid. Has he rid himself of last year’s disappointment? How do Mets fans view Castillo’s very good 2009 season and should he be the team’s second baseman for next year?
TRS(TRDMB): Castillo has been very solid. With the casual fan I think he has redemed himself quite nicely. However, there are still a few that are still very adimant about the contract and just don’t like Castillo’s brand of baseball. He could have a OBP of over .400 and it would not be enough. I think Castillo WILL be the 2nd baseman for next year but my hope is they also consider bringing in a guy like Figgins who can play OF and IF.
Mark P(CFG): I keep reading that Citi Field has not panned out for Mets fans this year in a way that the franchise had hoped — so what’s wrong? Is that the way you see it? This was supposed to be a “no brainer” ball park. What happened? Or do you view it as an unquestioned success?
TRS(TRDMB): I can not answer this question as I have not been. Matt Rose maybe you would be better to answer this one. I also assume that if the season had been better the ball park would not be an issue.
Matt R(NLEC): I will say that I do love the stadium and while it does not have the mystique of Shea Stadium for a Mets fan, it still is a success in my mind. The gripe most fans have is that it is/was too oriented towards the Giants and Dodgers of old, and while I agree, the Mets are starting to make it more like home, I think once the Mets say they are “done”, then we can really begin to judge, for now though, it feels like home.
Mark P(CFG): Red Sox fans keep saying that the beantowners have just gotten too old. The same seems to apply to the Mets: is that your view? How do you get younger: who goes and who stays.
TRS(TRDMB): Looking up and down our roster we are actually younger than most teams in our league. We don’t have a lot of age on the roster that is locked down after this year. In fact of the players coming back, I can’t think of any right now that are old. Age has never seemed to be a problem for the Yankee’s so I don’t see an issue with the Mets or the RSox Age.
Mr North Jersey(NLEC): Many Mets fans were annoyed to hear Fred Wilpon quoted as saying that Minaya will be back in 2010 to which Minaya then expanded upon to say if he’s back so is Manuel. If true and you must put up with one more year of Minaya/Manuel do you feel he will be aggressive to try and win back the fanbase or passive this off-season?
TRS(TRDMB): That’s a great question. I think the Wilpons will be desperate to put a competitive team on the field and Omar will know his job is really on the line this time. There really are no excuses left and to me we are one more try away from rebuilding.
Matt R(NLEC): What players that have needed to play in the injury prone season have actually shown an ability for next year? Do you think these players have solidified their standings for 2010?
TRS(TRDMB): It’s hard to say because really who have we seen because of injury on a consistant basis? Most have been scrubs or broken old guys. One would assume that Pagan will be here. One of Reed or Sullivan will be here. I expect Cora to be brought back on a lesser contract. Nieve and Niese should factor into the 5th spot competition. I think Stokes has really locked down his spot as a potential 7th inning guy for next year.
Thanks Eric, great debut! Now, moving on to FishGuts and we welcome back Wally
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): Does Emilio Bonifacio fit into the long term plans of the marlins?
Wally(FG): It certainly seems so. With how he has been treated by management and also how management has treated his potential competitors (moving Coghlan to Left Field and moving Gaby Sanchez to Left Bench), it seems obvious he is the team’s long term choice at 2nd base. He’s certainly showed flashes of being a great defensive player, and moving back to his natural position, and one that is less stressful on his arm, should prove to be a good move. But if his bat doesn’t come around, I’ll never be a fan.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): Can you give the mets any tips on playing spoiler?
Wally(FG): Ha!

Our lips are sealed. Sorry, buddy.

DirtySanchez(TRDMB): How confident are the Marlins to leapfrog atl/sf/col in the WC?
Wally(FG): I’m sure the team is brimming with confidence; No use taking the field if you don’t think you are going to win it all until you are absolutely mathematically eliminated.
Now, as a fan, I’m not confident at all. I always thought we had a chance, and at times a damn good one, but I never thought we were the favorites. If Nick Johnson can get back healthy and Anibal Sanchez shows what he did against the Braves, this team can still make it interesting.
Mark P(CFG): Ricky Nolasco went down to the minors earlier this year, but now finally seems to have hit his stride. He has mastered his fastball. Is he here to stay?
Wally(FG): I’m one of Nolasco’s biggest boosters on the various Marlins sites I go on. When he’s on, there’s no pitcher in baseball I prefer watching. And he has been on more often than not since he got called back up. I think he’s here to stay, and I think he’s here to stay as a very good number 2 starter. The only question is whether the team will pay him in arbitration, and he is where that dreadful start has a silver lining: it should knock his numbers down enough to make his salary palatable to the team.
Mark P(CFG): What do you think the prospects are for Josh Johnson winning the Cy Young? What does he need to do the rest of the way?
Wally(FG): There’s not a whole lot he can do. I really think Tim Lincecum deserves to win it. Chris Carpenter is having a hell of a year, but as I’m still bitter about his win in 05 over Dontrelle, I’m boycotting him. The simple fact is The Freak has thrown more innings than anyone in the NL and only one other pitcher has thrown higher quality innings.
I don’t think anyone in the NL is going to sniff a Cy Young for the next 5 years but Lincecum, barring injury.
JJ would have to go on a historic type of run to get to the 220 IP, 200 K, 2.6 ERA type of numbers that would really put him in the discussion, but I don’t think it’s a discussion. He’s having a great season, but so are a lot of people.

There goes another segment of Chatter Up! please feel free to email any recommend questions or comments about this or a future segment to this forum topic and post a reply.