Divisional Recourse: The Six Strikes of Bryce Aron Harper

New York Mets

Carlos Beltran is no longer in the running for the division’s best center fielder, because Carlos Beltran is no longer a center fielder.  As the story goes, Carlos decided his bat was really the only important thing when it came to his contributions, and he could still use it while playing right field and not having to move around so much.  Slap-happy Terry Collins agreed with the idea, and the next you knew, the Mets started their next Spring Training Game against the Nationals with Carlos in right and Angel Pagan in center.

Radical changes like this could be the antidote for the Mets’ baseball poison they’ve been guzzling for several years, so you almost want to give Carlos props for bringing the issue up himself.

“He’s one of the best center fielders out there and I want to try to be like him,” Pagan announced after the switch had been made.  He would go on to lose a fly ball in the sun and allow a triple and the game’s first run in the first inning.

For once, though, the mistakes of the Mets played second fiddle in the headlines–we’ll get to that later.  The important thing is everybody is getting paid on time.  Hopefully.

Yet another possible buyer of the Mets, this time the owner of Vitamin Water, is no longer interested in buying the Mets.  Jeff Wilpon says there are puh-lenty of other potential investors out there, so don’t you worry, little lady.

Currently worried are people who work for the Mets and would like to be paid for it; namely, the Mets themselves.  The organization is quite convinced they can manage just fine, now that they’ve got that totally normal $25 million loan from Major League Baseball.

Washington Nationals

A record-breaking stone’s throw from Disney World, a teenage face paint enthusiast stepped into the batter’s box and everybody stopped laughing at Angel Pagan’s play from earlier in the game.  Bryce Harper was here.  And he was going to change everything.

“I felt really good up there, actually,” Harper said.  He got two at bats on the day, and used both of them to send a message to Major League Baseball:  Bryce Harper has arrived.  And he is not yet fully developed.  Harper saw six strikes at the plate, smothering the wildly inappropriate expectations that we had taken the liberty of assembling for him.

Off the field, Mike Rizzo has been fairly verbose as of late, as you may have heard, he “…fucking hates the Phillies.”  But according to the mop-up duty he’s had to go through because of the comment, we now know that he has “…nothing but respect for Ruben Amaro, Charlie Manuel, and the Phillies.”  Kind of overshooting it in both circumstances, but I think we can all safely agree that Mike Rizzo is one man whose personal feelings about the Phils will have little to no effect on baseball in 2011.  If he wants to hate us loudly and in public, go ahead.  It’s not like he’s revolutionizing the game by hating a team from Philadelphia.

Atlanta Braves

Time to carefully organize that enormous collection of Braves gear.

Here’s a fun little nugget from Brian McCann’s contract, brought to you by Tomahawk Chop.  Your NL East All-Division catcher (And now All-National League catcher–VOTE FOR THE AL  DIVISIONS TOO ON CALL TO THE PEN) has a deal that’s basically built on winning awards.  The more Silver Sluggers, Gold Gloves, and All-Star Games he gets into, the more likely he is to be rewarded with $3 million.  Speaking of Braves’ players personal accolades, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman made the cover of Sports Illustrated, prompting this trip down memory lane of all Braves covers.

The best cover story:  “Atlanta Rookie Jeff Francoeur is Off to An Impossibly Hot Start.  Can Anyone Be This Good?”  The short answer?  “No.”

And, with 21 of their 25 players settling into one-year deals, the Braves really only have that one guy to watch unflinchingly.  His name is Chipper.  And he’s apparently doing just fine.

Florida Marlins

Donnie Murphy’s freakishly fast healing abilities have opened the door for him to take the downed Mike Stanton’s role on Opening Day.  Some may have assumed the wrist injury Murphy suffered would have put the brakes on his hopes of making the start, but those people were wrong.  Dead wrong.  Now, with bench spots filling up in Florida at an alarming rate, the Marlins Spring Training camp has become a frantic scramble between utility outfielders, all hoping to have food on the table come April.  And it is clear that some will go wonting.

Murphy isn’t the only one repairing his body; but in this case, it isn’t sheer force of will–its lasers that are fixing the problem.  Chris Volstad looks to rebound from that god awful .093 batting average last year by having laser eye surgery on his right eye.  Marlins management couldn’t care less, seeing as how he is a pitcher, and has no right to be worrying about his offense while competing in the division that reader votes decided was the best in the National League on Fansided.  Jong’s opinion seems to indicate that Volstad may not be the prized peach, but with the rotten choices left dangling on the free agent market, the Marlins’ best option is to just give him a thumbs up for the eye thing and power through that five-hole in the rotation.

But mainly, they’re just glad they won’t have to see somebody like human stegosaurus Wes Helms playing third.

Tags: Braves Bryce Harper Carlos Beltran Grapefruit League Marlins Mets Nationals NL East Phillies Spring Training

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