Tagged: NL East

Toss-Up: Giancarlo Stanton or Carlos Gonzalez?

Giancarlo StantonAccording to MLBTradeRumors.com, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News has information that the New York Mets’ front office may be looking seriously at trying to swing a trade for either Miami Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton or Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies.

We don’t need to tell you that the Mets’ outfield is a mess (the two highest-paid outfielders on the team aren’t actually on the team), or what kind of impact either one of those bats would have on a young lineup struggling to keep pace with the monster of the NL East. But, that’s what we’re here for. So…

…it’s this writer’s opinion that trading for Stanton is the best hypothetical move for the Mets. I prefer Gonzalez as an all-around player, but he’s more expensive to maintain in the long run than the 23-year-old Stanton would be and allows them a lot less financial flexibility to bring in free agent replacements for the pitching staff.

Though the Mets front office has indicated they are willing to increase the payroll (contrary to popular belief, it is not so they can pay Bobby Bonilla even more interest), the 27-year-old Gonzalez would bring over a contract that owes him nearly $65 million over four years, whereas Stanton will be under team control through 2016.

But as Mets’ superfan and MLBFanCave Dweller Travis Miller (@AtTravisMiller) mentions: “I’d go with CarGo. Even though he’s a few years older, he’s a proven .300 hitter who can swipe bags, and is gold glove-caliber in the outfield. A 500-foot bomb is pretty to look at from time to time, but I’ll go with the five-tool player every single time.”

It’s a tough choice, knowing that either trade would likely cost the Mets their top two prospects in Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud, as well as a hefty financial investment. But the opportunity to improve the heart of the order and complement David Wright may be too good to pass up.

CarGo

Stanton brings massive home run potential and has been improving his batting average every year in the big leagues (career high .290 in 2012), but Gonzalez has won a batting title and two Gold Gloves, and sports an average slash line of .299/28/97 with about 25 steals.

Would CarGo struggle away from the thin air of Coors Field? Would Stanton continue to blossom into a premier all-around hitter? Nobody knows for sure, but it seems the Mets may be willing to pay in order to find out.

Vote in our poll below–who would be the better hypothetical pick up for the Mets? And comment with who YOU would prefer if your team was in the same situation.

– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

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More Proof That Chicks Dig the Long Ball

Well, the San Diego Padres are the newest organization to give a big middle finger to traditionalist baseball fans by announcing they would move their outfield fences in for the 2013 season. Petco Park will follow Safeco Field in Seattle, Citi Field for the New York Mets before the 2012 season, and the ridiculous right field porch at the new Yankee Stadium.

What happened to the good old days? What happened to stadiums like the Polo Grounds (483 feet to the center field wall)? Okay, that’s a bit extreme. But still, since when does giving in to the fan’s thirst for the long ball take precedence over classic, fundamental baseball?

I’ll tell you when. It was 1998 when a juiced-up Mark McGwire hit a then-record 70 home runs in the same season Sammy Sosa hit 66. In 2001, Barry Bonds got so big it looked like he would have trouble lifting his arms above his shoulders, and he smacked 73 home runs in a single season.

Even though everyone and their mothers know those numbers were inflated, Americans really fell in love with the home run. And it’s understandable – to most fans, there is nothing more majestic than a perfectly squared up fastball hitting the upper deck on the fly. It’s the biggest, hardest, farthest, most impressive feat a batter can accomplish.

But we have the Home Run Derby every July, so why can’t we get our fix then? When the Mets decided to move their fences in to a more attainable distance, for lack of nicer terms, it didn’t help. They still finished in fourth place in the NL East, and star third baseman David Wright didn’t see a huge jump in his power numbers.

So what’s the big deal? Personally, I think it’s a cop-out. Did the Yankees really need a joke of a right-field fence? Did the Mariners really finish in fourth place because their fences were too deep? If the Padres get better in 2013, is it going to be because the fences were 11 feet closer? Or because they have a better team in general, regardless of the stadium?

Mets GM Sandy Alderson admitted that when the Mets decided to move the fences in at Citi Field, it was because “scoring brought excitement.” Well Sandy, so does winning.

The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers have two of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball, and neither team were a power threat in their own stadiums in 2012. They finished 1-2 in the NL West and now the Giants are in the World Series.

Let’s ban the moving of the fences (and the wave while we’re at it…sheesh), and put together teams that thrive on base hits, good base running, bunting, defense and pitching.

You know…how baseball is supposed to be.

Alas, chicks dig the long ball. Fences will continue to move. But are you for or against it? This blogger says nay. Vote below:

If you like what you see, follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook!

– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

National League East Midseason Awards

The race in the National League has been tight all season.  The Nationals and Mets have surprised.  The Marlins and Phillies have disappointed.  While the Braves season has been full of ups and downs.  Here’s who is tops among the players at the midway point of the season.

Rookie of the Year

Bryce Harper, Nationals

This accolade easily goes to Harper as he has been great in the Nationals lineup since getting called up in late April.  He’s hitting .282 with 8 home runs, 10 stolen bases for Washington and has been the cure to the Nats outfield injury woes.  Harper became the youngest position player to make an All-Star Game at just 19 years of age.  He’s redefining the teenage Major Leaguer.

In the Running: Andrelton Simmons, Braves and Kirk Nieuwenheis, Mets

Cy Young Award

R.A. Dickey, Mets

There are a few other people in contention, mainly any one in the Nationals starting rotation, but Dickey has been so fantastic he blows them away.  Dickey leads the National League in wins, WHIP, complete games, and shutouts.  The knuckleball has been magical for Dickey this season.

In the Running: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals, Gio Gonzalez, Nationals, Cole Hamels, Phillies, and Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals

Most Valuable Player

David Wright, Mets

Wright leads the N.L. in WAR, while being in the top 5 in batting average (.351), on-base percentage (.441), OPS (1.004), and doubles (27).  He’s also 5th in runs batted in with 59.  Everyone on the podcast picked the Mets win total to go under at the start of the season, Dickey and especially Wright are making us look like fools right now.

In the Running: Michael Bourn, Braves, Carlos Ruiz, Phillies, Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, R.A. Dickey, Mets, Ian Desmond, Nationals

Who do you think have been the best in the N.L. East?  Let us know in the comments!

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

The All-NL East Team

The NL East has a lot of tight battles for best player at each position.  Here is what I’m going on my All-NL East team.

The Starting Lineup:

1)      Jose Reyes, Shortstop, Marlins

It was tough to decide who should bat leadoff, but Reyes OBP edge over Michael Bourn was a deciding factor.  Reyes can be the most exciting player in the game when healthy, especially when going for a triple, a category he’s led four times in his career.  He’s also the obvious pick at shortstop in this division.

Honorable Mention: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies

2)      Michael Bourn, Center Field, Braves

If Reyes doesn’t get on base, then Bourn hopefully will.  This takes a page out of the Marlins book that speed kills, but instead of Emilio Bonifacio, we have the player that led the National League in stolen bases the last three seasons in Michael Bourn.

Honorable Mention: Shane Victorino, Phillies

3)      David Wright, Third Base, Mets

This was the hardest position to fill in the entire division.  You can make a case for Wright, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Zimmerman, or even Chipper Jones’ leadership skills.  I already have enough speed at the top with Reyes and Bourn.  Wright is a career .300 hitter and is the prototypical #3 hitter.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals, Hanley Ramirez, Marlins, and Chipper Jones, Braves

4)      Dan Uggla, Second Base, Braves

The defense isn’t there, but no one can clean up like Dan Uggla.  Uggla is the only second baseman in history with five consecutive seasons of 30 home runs or more.  With Chase Utley’s injury problems this pick is easy.

Honorable Mention: Chase Utley, Phillies

5)      Hunter Pence, Right Field, Phillies

This was another difficult choice for this position with Giancarlo Stanton and Jayson Werth sitting there.  I’ll show restraint on my love of Stanton and go with the more proven player in Pence.  Pence has flourished into a .300 hitter and a sleeper MVP candidate for the Phillies.

Honorable Mention: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins and Jayson Werth, Nationals

6)      Brian McCann, Catcher, Braves

This might be the only division where the catcher hits ahead of the 1st baseman.  McCann has been the most consistent offensive catcher in MLB.  McCann has won four straight Silver Sluggers and made six straight All-star appearances.

Honorable Mention: Carlos Ruiz, Phillies and Wilson Ramos, Nationals

7)      Ike Davis, First Base, Mets

First base has a lot of young talent in this division, but no clear-cut choice.  I’m going to go with Davis who I feel has the most upside of the NL East first baseman.  Davis is unfortunately off to a terrible start to the 2012 campaign.

Honorable Mention: Freddie Freeman, Braves and Gaby Sanchez, Marlins

8)      Juan Pierre, Left Field, Phillies

Left field is the weakest of the positions in this division.  I would love to just move Giancarlo Stanton over to left field, but I digress.  I’m going to put Pierre in the lineup over Jason Bay and Logan Morrison just for the speed factor in the bottom of the lineup.

Honorable Mention: Logan Morrison, Marlins and Jason Bay, Mets

 

Starting Rotation:

Roy Halladay, Phillies

Cliff Lee, Phillies

Cole Hamels, Phillies

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals

Josh Johnson, Marlins

 

I’m not even going to mess around with the best 1-2-3 rotation in baseball and let them do their thing.  Strasburg has been fantastic so far this season and seems to be completely recovered from Tommy John surgery in 2010.  Josh Johnson when healthy is one of the best starters in the game.

Honorable Mention: Tommy Hanson, Braves, Mark Buerhle, Marlins, and Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals

 

Setup Men:

Jonny Venters, Braves

Tyler Clippard, Nationals

Venters is arguably the best relief pitcher in the game and made his 1st All-star appearance in 2011.  Clippard joined Venters at the 2011 All-Star Game in Arizona, making the NL East the only division to have two setup men play in the midseason classic last year.

Honorable Mention: Eric O’ Flaherty, Braves and Antonio Bastardo, Phillies

 

Closer:

Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies

Hard to go against reigning Rookie of the Year Craig Kimbrel, but I love the consistency that Papelbon has shown during his career.  It was a sneaking signing by Philadelphia to lure him away from the Red Sox.

Honorable Mention: Craig Kimbrel, Braves, Drew Storen, Nationals, and Heath Bell, Marlins

Who would you put on your All-NL East team?  Let us know in the comments!

-Bryan Mapes