NL East Infection: Optional Exercising Edition!


I hope you guys like stories about contracts and paper work and handshakes and briefcases and yelling into the phone and coffee and not this coffee and cinnamon lattes and where’s that intern with my cinnamon latte and I am not even going to breathe a breath of trading Andre Ethier without my GOD DAMN CINNAMON LATTE.  Because it’s winter, the World Series is over and the NL East is on the move!  Or staying still, in many cases.

Atlanta Braves

“Hey guys, who wants to catch the Van Diesel matinee? I’ll toss in some moo-lah for the popped corn.” Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

The Braves already lost one treasured mainstay through the magic of retirement, and they are not ready to lose anymore.  Clutching to their veterans like Halloween candy, the team just activated their options for historical Carlos Ruiz-outvoter Brian McCann and crafty survivalist Tim Hudson.  McCann, despite a 2012 OPS under .700 and reports that his right shoulder is a surgery or two shy of tiptop shape, was worth $12 million to them.

The rest of us may not have to catch a glimpse of the spectacled backstop until late April, giving us precious little time to beat the Braves without some kind of wonky clutch double or superb catching getting in the way.  With this in mind, the Braves are also giving second string backstop David Ross a seductive wink in hopes of filling any McCann-holes come spring.

Hudson was rewarded $9 million of his own, though he will be 38 this coming July.  This is the baseball age in which execs start waving their arms and squinting.  “Eeehhhhhh…” they say, trailing off and checking their smart phones for any messages regarding the guy’s health that he himself may not know about yet.

Especially for a starting pitcher, his body has to be rejecting baseball by now, but Hudson swears that neither his physical state–why, he’s even entered a home run derby–nor the ambiguity of his placement alarms him, claiming that he is a “big boy.”  

He wants to end his career as a Brave, having longfully watched the team play as a child, a mere 90 minutes south of Atlanta.  But it is not reported how much “childhood sentimentality” enters into the Braves’ offseason dealings.

The Braves will also be bringing back starter Paul Maholm, for whom they will spend $6.5 million.  Maholm posted impressive post-Cubs numbers, but there are few numbers that do not appear impressive in such context.

New York Mets

R.A. Dickey clears up a teammate’s back rash by gently touching it with a baseball he has blessed with one of his life-giving knucklings. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PREWIRE

R.A. Dickey, 2012 Cy Young candidate, he of the 20-6 record, league-leading complete games (5), shutouts (3), innings pitched (233.2), and strikeouts (230); the NL’s starting pitcher for the All-Star Game, mountain climber, author, and sole present day representative of the Knetwork of Known Knuckleballers,  will stay a Met for $5 million next season, receiving a less than $1 million raise and  probably using the money he makes to fund an orphanage that specializes in teaching kids that they can succeed at anything, as long as they find a loopy, impractical, impossible to fathom method of performing the task at hand.

The Mets will also save the rest of the league from logjamming into each other by keeping David Wright off the market as well, for the time being.

You’d assume at this point that the “face” of the Mets’ franchise would be that of a hideous monster, wailing in agony to be killed, and kept under the staircase to live in darkness and scamper through the ventilation system at night.  But it’s actually Wright’s rather handsome mug, and will continue to be so through 2013 for a cool $16 million.

After that, Wright hits free agency, unless the Mets latch onto him hard, which they seem to want to do, offering him a $1oo million extension.  To start.

Miami Marlins

28 months.  Six managers.  Jeffrey Loria is stepping over the contract of Ozzie Guillen on his way to shaking Larry Bowa’s hand as well as whoever else interviews to be the future bad fit for the Marlins franchise.  Some people, including people you could refer to as “all” people, believe that perhaps it is time to consider it isn’t the pack of scapegoats who are the problem in Miami.  They blame someone Jeffrey Loria hasn’t even considered firing.

"“Jeffrey Loria overstepping his bounds and ignoring the people that he, himself, put in charge of making decisions makes me rage with the fire of a thousand suns. His inability to recognize where his organization’s problems stem from (hint: the fucking mirror) makes me unreasonably stabby. He’s an idiot savant, without the savant. He’s real-life trolling the shit out of an entire fan base and he doesn’t even mean to.This is torture. This is hell. This is Jeffrey Loria.”—Strip Club with Stanton“You can surround him with an opulent new, state-of-the-art ballpark but, well, he’s still Jeffrey Loria.  New team name, new logo, new colors, new uniforms, new stadium, new players … same old meddling owner leading the league in impatience.”—Greg Cote, Bradenton Herald“The Marlins’ failures — including Guillen, himself — aren’t Guillen’s, but Loria’s.”—Zach Stoloff, NESN“At this moment inside the Marlins offices, there are two groups of people. There are those who think team owner Jeffrey Loria is doing an increasingly shabby job of running the franchise right down to Tuesday’s firing of manager Ozzie Guillen.And there is Jeffrey Loria.”—Dave Hyde, Palm Beach Sun-Sentinel"

So that’s probably one of those problems that gets better if you just look away from it for about a decade.

Washington Nationals

Also he’s got all that snot up there. Scott Kane-US PRESSWIRE

Ah, the Nationals.  What do the Nationals have to improve?  Maybe their Stephen Strasburging policies.  But that matter isn’t trendy or relevant anymore, especially now that there’s a World Series trophy en route to San Francisco.

Whatever, let’s just… let’s just sign Adam LaRoche to some kind of thing.  What kind of thing, you ask?  Why, a long term thing that doesn’t make a ton of sense for a 33-year-old first baseman!  Yes, LaRoche had a charmingly productive season, battering 33 home runs and 100 RBI.  So, why not ink him to a long term deal?  Well, because he’s old, for a guy expected to provide consistent offensive production for years to come.  And he’s got a $10 million option they could pick up to keep filling a hole.  But, hey, why not!  Other than the reasons I just said.

The Nats are also going to have a decision to make about another trustworthy 2012 perfomer.  Sean Burnett was their late inning lefty out of the pen–whatever the hell that is–but now that he’s having “surgery” to “remove” a “bone spur” in his left “elbow,” the team is considering leaving him by the side of the road, what with the impending free agency and all.

Real classy, D.C.