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Around the NL East: It’s official — The Mets are here to stay

Aug 4, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

Aug 3, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) is greeted by teammates after scoring a run during the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports


The Braves continued their retooling effort with a big (and a little bit confusing) three-team trade between they, the Dodgers and the Marlins in a deal that involved 13 players. The net result was that Atlanta let go of Jim Johnson, Bronson Arroyo, Alex Wood, Luis Avilan and minor league prospect Jose Peraza to acquire a draft pick and three players, including 30-year-old Cuban defector Hector Olivera.

Olivera appears to be the centerpiece of this deal, which seems counterintuitive for a club that presumably wants to get younger and build for the future. But President of Baseball operations John Hart and Assistant GM John Coppolella appear to be enamored with his talent. In the Dodgers’ minor league system, he hit .348/.392/.493 with two home runs and seven RBI in 19 games.


Though the Marlins were busy near the trade deadline — they unloaded Dan Haren to the Cubs in addition to being involved in the aforementioned three-team deal — it doesn’t appear as if they acquired an impact player of any kind. That, to go along with the fact that they shipped away a draft pick, probably leaves Marlins fans scratching their heads a little bit. Is this club’s future brighter after these moves? It doesn’t really seem like it.


Here come the Metropolitans.

New York had what was probably the wildest and most memorable week of anyone in baseball, concluding it by claiming sole possession of first place. It all started with the infamous Wilmer Flores trade-that-wasn’t, leaving the 23-year-old infielder in tears on the field thinking he was about to play his final game as a Met, only to hear that the deal fell through at the last minute. A day later, the Mets blew a 7-1 lead to the Padres to fall to three games behind the Nationals in the division standings.

And that’s when the fun started, much to the chagrin of the local baseball team. The Mets acquired power bat Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers just hours before the trade deadline and have since won four straight, including a weekend sweep of the Nats to claim the top spot in the NL East. With Cespedes now on board and a dynamic pitching staff getting in a groove, you can bet that D.C. fans are starting to get a bit nervous. However, there’s still plenty of season left, so this race is far from over. But it’s clear the Nats have their work cut out for them if they wish to repeat as division champs.


The Cole Hamels saga in Philadelphia has finally come to an end as the club pulled the trigger on a deal to send the lefty starter and Jake Diekman to the Rangers. The Phillies got an impressive haul in return, netting veteran pitcher Matt Harrison and prospects Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson, Alec Asher and Jerad Eickhoff.

Most pundits praised the deal, saying the Phils got both quality and quantity (considering the club held off this trade for so long, you’d hope that would be the case). The most intriguing player in this bunch is Alfaro, a catcher with power potential, who Baseball America rated as the Rangers’ third best prospect prior to the season. His development is the key to this trade being considered either a success or failure. Either way, the Philly fans should celebrate the club taking a big step toward reshaping the roster for 2016 and beyond.

  1. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2015 at 1:13 PM

    Daniel, it’s official? I’ve seen no surrender from Mike Rizzo. They were ahead by 4 1/2 games at 1 point in the season.

  2. scnatsfan - Aug 4, 2015 at 1:22 PM

    And I think its a safe bet to say they will be around for seasons. With their pitching their future looks brighter then ours… if their owners can stop stealing money (ex owners).

    • jd - Aug 4, 2015 at 1:35 PM

      I will tell why you are wrong:

      At the deadline the Mets acquired decent major league level players mainly so they don’t have to trot out Campbell, Siciliani, Muno etc. however the players they acquired are:

      Uribe – 36 years old and a rental.
      Johnson – 33 years old and a rental.
      Clippard – 30 years old and a rental.
      Cespedes – 30 years old and a rental.

      In addition:
      Duda – 29 years old with 2 years left before free agency.
      Granderson – 34 years old.

      So other than Comforto and perhaps one of their catchers who are their young position players to compete with Harper, Rendon, Turner, Taylor?

      • Met fan - Aug 4, 2015 at 1:46 PM

        Here’s the thing the mets have a lot of postion players in the minors as well. We also have conforto in the mlb right now if we were to not sign anyone this winter heres what it would look like

        2B-DILSON HERRERA,Flores

        5.wheeler (mid year)

        With that rotation we only need a league average offense to win 90+games

      • jd - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:00 PM

        Met fan,

        You are right in your last statement provided your manager doesn’t burn out his young pitchers. Also, the lineup below is not a scary lineup and I also wouldn’t pencil David Wright into that lineup just yet.

      • Met fan - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:14 PM

        I agree this bafoon Collins has said he would save innings by taking them out when we have a big lead and he hasn’t done that and BTW in a perfect world the mets and nats both make the playoffs and meet in the nlcs

      • nats106 - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:20 PM

        Met Fan, JD’s point is spot on. Collins is Matt Williams Lite and he’s going to burn out his best and brightest (Harvey threw way too many pitches this past weekend).

        In addition to JD’s point, you still have no long term answer in your bullpen. That lineup doesn’t exactly strike fear in anyone’s heart, although we do enjoy singing “Camptown Races” whenever Duda comes to the plate. We used to do it in 106 when he was playing LF.

        That being said, you’re correct-it’s a great, not good rotation on paper, but you Mets fans will find out, just like we are that there are other aspects to the game that are needed to win-particularly in the post season. If the Mets come out ahead of schedule and happen to win the NL East, you’ll find out yourself.

        Glad you self identified as a Mets fan, I think it makes for good, reasonable discussion.

      • chiefwj - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:21 PM

        Wouldn’t bet big dollars on David Wright ever coming back to his old form. The diagnosis is spinal stenosis, which is different than the strained back that you, me, or Denard Span might have, in that it’s degenerative and frequently congenital rather than traumatic. Rest may or may not help and surgery is not always effective.

        But props to the Mets for picking up some useful temporary pieces without mortgaging the future.

      • Met fan - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:27 PM

        Chief no I do not think DW is going to come back like he was sadly it’s a stop to a good carrer and almost all of our pitchers have had TJ already not to say they can’t have it again and innings limits will defidently be an issue that being said the mets and nats have the weakest scheldule in the mlb so I think both teams can look foward to a good race and October baseball

      • scnatsfan - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:39 PM

        Understand I say this as a Nats fan… their pitching is scary good and young. Will Collins burn them out? Who knows; the Nats (God forbid) could have their guys blow their arms off too, its a crapshoot. But my theory is as long as they have cheap excellent pitching and an ownership with $ then they will sign FAs to fill out the roster.

      • jd - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:52 PM


        It’s not the elbows of young pitchers you have to worry about so much. It’s more the shoulders. Harvey and DeGrom are a bit older so they should be fine but when I saw 22 year old throw 109 pitches in a high stress situation and still throwing 99 MPH I thought to myself, this isn’t going to end well. As a baseball fan I would love to be wrong but the baseball history pages are littered with young pitchers who were not used properly before the age of 25 and ended up with careers which were over by the time they were 25.

      • Met fan - Aug 4, 2015 at 3:03 PM

        Yup I’m just waiting for thor to go down with some type of injury however he will be replaced by matz and wheeler but it defidently will be a huge hit to the rotation.

  3. stoatva - Aug 4, 2015 at 1:27 PM

    I’m thrilled for the Phillies and their fans, of course.

    • scnatsfan - Aug 4, 2015 at 3:02 PM

      +100 couldnt happen to nicer folk

  4. bowdenball - Aug 4, 2015 at 1:45 PM

    Anyone holding out hope that the Mets will fade again should take a look at their remaining schedule.

    I don’t think they’re all that good, but against that schedule they don’t have to be. Meanwhile the Nats still have to deal with a brutal ten game west coast road trip and a trip to St. Louis. That should scare Nats fans much more than the relative quality of the teams.

    • jd - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:05 PM


      You are right but we will have to compete with the good teams if we are to go anywhere. There were stretches this year where we were able to beat all comers. As I recall we swept both the Pirates and the Giants just before the entire lineup was decimated.

      I agree with you that our position is not ideal and I wouldn’t be stunned if we fall short. On the other hand everyone projected this team to win about 95 games and we are now nearly healthy and the returning players should start rounding into form soon.

      My biggest concerns: Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmermann and MW not playing the players who give him the best chance to win.

      • nats106 - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:22 PM

        Yessir, you are spot on.

  5. jfmii - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    Yes the West Coast trip and the 3 in St. Louis really loom large don’t they? A formula of success will be 7-6, even 6-7 in those 13 games, and feast on the NL East, including 4-2 with the Mets. Should be fun. Do-able.

    • jd - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:09 PM

      Well we have to start by beating Arizona and Colorado.

      • jfmii - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:20 PM

        Yes, especially at home

  6. jfmii - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:19 PM

    1. I do believe Fister needs to come out of the rotation.

    2. Given the dearth of left-handed hitters, I am once again joining the club saying Desmond should sit. Espinosa provides more solid defense at the most important position, and provides a left-handed bat against righties. It is August, and Ian still looks dazed and confused in the batters box. If he is the team player he is purported to be, he will take a demotion without noise and provide leadership from the bench.

    3. Start giving Janssen the high leverage spots in the 7th inning.

    4. Williams should be ready to go get starters quicker than he has–including Scherzer

    5. Limit Rivero’s pitches/innings per appearance–Nationals need him to be available as many days as possible. Use him as needed in the 7th, 8th or 9th.

    • adcwonk - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:44 PM

      I do believe Fister needs to come out of the rotation.

      The pickle we’re in however includes:

      – Ross has an innings limit.
      – Strasburg is not yet back
      – Roark is having some troubles this year
      – we don’t want to do things like skip a 5th starter here and there, because Scherzer is already at 150, leading the NL (and may likely add 6 or 7 tonight)

      Interesting stat:

      Last five games:
      JZ 1-2, ERA 5.46
      Fister, 1-3, ERA 5.14

      Granted, Fister’s had a rough time all season, but JZ sure ain’t helping us lately, either.

      • jfmii - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:58 PM

        Yes, no kidding. What a difference a season makes.

        I would try Roark in that spot when Ross gets to his innings limit. Roark looks more fixable than Fister. And gotta assume JZ will get out of his rut. If he does not, Nationals are in really big trouble. For that matter, if Stras doesn’t pick up where he left off, then the Nationals are in big trouble.

      • jd - Aug 4, 2015 at 3:01 PM


        I,m fairly certain that Stras’s next start will be in DC. I say keep pitching Ross until it’s time to shut him down, it’d be a shame to waste these innings in the minors. I thing that based on 7 innings a game Ross has about 7 starts left. That will leave us with about 25 games to go in the season and with some days off you may be able to skip a starter a couple of times at least meaning we will only need Fister/Roark for about 2 – 3 starts.

        I think that’s the way to go given how poorly Fister has pitched and how unlikely it is that he will suddenly become effective.

        JZimm has been a real disappointment for me. He has always trended to weaken around the 3rd time through the order but the extent of the weakening has never been at this year’s levels. Having said that we have no choice but to hope that JZimm finds his game down the stretch, he has done it before and clearly it’s to his economic benefit to go out with a bang.

      • scnatsfan - Aug 4, 2015 at 3:03 PM

        Any plan that starts by counting on Roark is trouble. Replacing Fister with Roark is a lateral move of guys who cannot have good outings.

      • jfmii - Aug 4, 2015 at 3:10 PM

        scnatsfan, yes not ideal but I look to Roark over Fister because, 1) he hasn’t lost his stuff, and 2) his last relief outing Friday night was encouraging. It ain’t much, and it speaks mostly to who I think has fallen lower and who also gives me the least faith in climbing back to his previous high level (Fister). Who knew all these guys would fall off so dramatically?

  7. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:39 PM

    nats106 – Aug 4, 2015 at 2:20 PM

    Met Fan, JD’s point is spot on. Collins is Matt Williams Lite


    Thanks for the chuckle 106 – Collins is MW Lite…

    • nats106 - Aug 4, 2015 at 3:11 PM

      I aim to please, but usually miss. 🙂

  8. abqnatsfan - Aug 4, 2015 at 2:42 PM

    It will be very interesting to see what happens over the next week and a half. Nats really need to win at least 4 of the 6 remaining in this home stand and then on the west coast trip hang around .500. If they can do that they should put pressure on the Mets.

    • jd - Aug 4, 2015 at 3:04 PM


      I think the key is to win tonight’s game.

      • adcwonk - Aug 4, 2015 at 3:06 PM

        +1 (game at a time . . . )

      • jfmii - Aug 4, 2015 at 3:14 PM

        No more key than last night’s or tomorrow night’s

      • abqnatsfan - Aug 4, 2015 at 3:33 PM

        Well, if you feel that way then a loss tonight is disaster?

        I didn’t think so.

        If they lose tonight they lose tonight. But I feel that in aggregate if they return from the west coast having gone a few games over .500 this stretch it will go a long way to positioning for the stretch. I don’t think any one game in isolation is dispositive.

      • jfmii - Aug 4, 2015 at 3:43 PM

        Yup 1/162

  9. stoatva - Aug 4, 2015 at 3:08 PM

    I think Roark’s problem is that he doesn’t know from day to day whether he’s going to be the middle inning garbage man or be used in high leverage late inning situations, or start, or sit around idle for a week, or anything in between.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
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SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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