NL East Links: Rollins, Lowe, Heyward, Nats

The National League portion of the playoffs don't start until tomorrow, but there's plenty of news coming out of Senior Circuit. Let's round up some links from the NL East…

  • "That's a tough call, a tough call" joked Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies when asked by Newsday's David Lennon if he would play in New York (Twitter link). Rollins will become a free agent after the season, like Mets shortstop Jose Reyes.
  • Braves GM Frank Wren told Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Derek Lowe is not projected to have a spot in the rotation next year (Twitter link). The bullpen or a trade are options. Lowe is owed $15MM next year, the final one on his contract.
  • Wren also said that Jason Heyward is not guaranteed to start in right field next year, but the GM told's Mark Bowman that the Braves have never talked about trading the 22-year-old (Twitter link).
  • Mark Zuckerman of looked at five issues the Nationals must deal with this offseason, including settling on a manager.

83 Responses to NL East Links: Rollins, Lowe, Heyward, Nats Leave a Reply

  1. cookmeister 4 years ago

    Wells for Lowe straight up.

    In all seriousness, if the Braves really have decided already that he isn’t going to be in the rotation, might as well try and trade him and save as much as possible.  He does have bullpen experience, but is it really worth $15 mil to pitch in the pen?

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      this season was not a lot worse than the last two for. the ERA-results of sinkerballers like lowe depend heavily on the defense behind them. he can be an effective mid-rotation guy next year for a team with strong infield defense

    • soxfanme2 4 years ago

      I’d give you Lackey for Lowe.

    • Will 4 years ago

      Unless Wren can convince the idiotic Cubs that they need another overpaid useless player, the Braves are likely going to eat $10M of that contract anyway. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in the ‘pen and he would be a good guy to have around for a spot start or when the inevitible happens and Jurrjens needs to miss a month or two.

      • SunsetStripper 4 years ago

        Or Tommy Hanson.

      • NYBravosFan10 4 years ago

        Maybe the Royals would bite? Sometimes I think Kauffman Stadium should be renamed “The Atlanta Braves Garbage Dump”

  2. roberty 4 years ago

    Hopefully Heyward will earn the starting right field job next year.  He is too talented to give up on.  Maybe some more time in the minors could help him learn to make adjustments at the plate. 

  3. RiverKKiller999 4 years ago

    Derek Lowe for a bag of corked bats. That might solve their pitching and hitting problems all together.

  4. $3866193 4 years ago

    I hope what Wren meant was “we recognize that Heyward is an extremely talented young player who needs some coaching and training, not further benching.”  Because if Fredi and Wren keep up this play-Contanza/bench-Heyward nonsense while Heyward is still just 22 years old and developing, they will have wasted one of the top premier young talents of the next decade.

  5. Nikka 4 years ago

    Nikka please

  6. Joey E 4 years ago

    wait, Wren says Heyward isn’t guaranteed to start in RF next year, but they haven’t talked about trading him either. seems odd, though i know Wren wont come out and say they’re shopping him

    • Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

      He could play in AAA.

      • Sniderlover 4 years ago

        He has nothing to learn at AAA though. 

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          i don’t think that’s necessarily true. and even if it is, i think there’s something to be said for the ‘psychological momentum’ of crushing the ball for a month and then getting back to the bigs

          if he has a strong spring, there’s probably no need. but if he’s struggling early, it might be best for him to go somewhere for a few weeks just to get his groove back

          • Sniderlover 4 years ago

            I guess that can be true though I don’t really buy it. If a player has to make adjustments and get better in the bigs, he needs to do it while facing big league pitching.

            Besides, I think a healthy Heyward is fine. 

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            so was a healthy carl crawford. i’m an unabashed stat guy, but human psychology is part of the game

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            carl crawford has the weight of his contract on his shoulders and brings it up every AB…

            Baseball is one of the few sports where trying too hard is actually detrimental and works in reverse of your ultimate goal. 

        • Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

          When he’s in the Major Leagues, he’s under pressure from EVERYONE in baseball. He has to be the super prospect. He has to be the future face of the franchise. He’s a 22 year old man. Going down to AAA would allow him to clear his head, reestablish some confidence and work on some things without having to deal with all that pressure.

          If he tears it up in Spring, it’s a non issue. I think the Braves did a big disservice to him by not optioning him out to AAA this year.

        • coolstorybro222 4 years ago

          Terry Pedelton said his swing had massive flaws in it and he even told bobby and Wren about it and recommended at least another year at the AAA level to work on it. I mean come on. 

    • austinhb 4 years ago

      I think it is more as He will fight for a spot in spring training…

    • scottandwtb 4 years ago

      Most likely means that he’ll platoon with Diaz until he can prove he belongs out there everyday.

  7. NYBravosFan10 4 years ago

    I have enough confidence in Frank Wren that he will handle the Lowe situation the way it needs to be handled. Not sure what that may be but Wren will take care of it. It’s been a while since he’s let us down.

  8. Bo 4 years ago

    A new hitting coach should help Heyward figure some things out.

    • TimotheusATL 4 years ago

      Unfortunately, we’re still waiting for the heir apparent to retire as a player.

  9. icedrake523 4 years ago

    Rollins, don’t kid yourself. You’d play in New York if they offered you the most money. The Mets would be wise to not waste time even talking to you though.

    • Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

      Why would he come out and say that?

      • Jeff 4 years ago

        Probably lots of pressure from the public- who was demanding heads, and Fredi’s statement about keeping everyone forced Wren’s hand a bit.

    • moondog45 4 years ago

      He’ll take the most money but I doubt if he”ll go to a team that’s not’s contending like the Mets. Probably SF or maybe Cincy if they come up with the money. Othwise he’s stays in Philly for 3 years

    • coolstorybro222 4 years ago

      Rollins is a washed up money whore

      • Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

        Cool story bro.

        He’s not the league MVP player he was but he’s still better than most shortstops out there. He’s a top 7 shortstop if not top 5.

        • coolstorybro222 4 years ago

          Tulo’s better, Castro’s better, Reye’s is better. Why is rollins in the conversation? oh maybe because he plays for the most overrated team in baseball. 

  10. roberty 4 years ago

    If the Braves want to win next year they have to fire Freddi Gonzalez. 

    • Jeff 4 years ago

      If the team hits better, they win another 5 games, and Fredi wouldn’t have been able to screw anything up worse.  I don’t like Fredi, but I don’t think he’s a big enough problem that talent can’t overcome.

  11. Chippers_Knees 4 years ago

    Fire Parrish, bring in a competent hitting coach for a change, yell at Fredi to stop using the same three relievers every other game even when they’re not needed (though he’s probably too dense to ever learn such obvious lessons), get rid of Lowe anyway you can since he’s a waste of a roster spot at this point (hopefully he simply retires), keep A-Gonz though make it apparent to him that he won’t be the everyday starter (swap with Pastornicky until he has his feet under him), trade JJ and Minor for Moustakas and one or two low level prospects, put Teheran and Delgado in the rotation (rotation of Hudson, Hanson, Beachy, Teheran, and Delgado), shore up the bullpen and bench.

    There. You have a game plan for the offseason Wren.

    • NYBravosFan10 4 years ago

      Fredi already got yelled at for that, remember? There was a story a little after the all-star game that was about him finally deciding to only use Venters and Kimbrel in save situations or tie games that need to be kept tied. It’d be nice if the Braves would stop it with all of the close games and blow someone out of the water a little more often

    • roberty 4 years ago

      If JJ and Hanson were healthy that would work.  It has yet to be seen if either will  be healthy enough to pitch a full season, and I think potential trade partners will be looking to buy low, if at all.

  12. Joe Momma 4 years ago

    So Lowe will be there #3 starter and Heyward will be batting in the top 5 next year. That is what I got from this…..

  13. Dylan 4 years ago

    Francona to Nats? That would be interesting.

  14. windycitywarrior 4 years ago

    Would the Braves take Alex Rios for Lowe? Money can be exchanged either way to even it up. The White Sox really have no need for Rios with De Aza, Viciedo and Quentin. I know the Braves have Bourn, Heyward and Prado but they could either flip him to a different team for a bad contract or use him a the most overpaid 4th outfielder.

    • RiverKKiller999 4 years ago

      We would be getting Rios for an extra 2 damn years I think. No thanks. I’d rather keep low and wait for his contract to end next year.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      you couldn’t trade alex rios for a used box of tissues at this point

  15. JestersDead86 4 years ago

    I hate to hear that about Parrish. How about the runner up last year, Jim Presley? He’s from the Southeast. Just a thought.

  16. $3081341 4 years ago

    First off, theres no way J-Roll leaves the city of brotherly love, no chance. Second, Wren should trade Lowe to his original team, its clear Wren loves gettin’ “Figgy” with it. Lastly, I would sure love to see Rizzo drastically improve that team. I mean come on. Years of turmoil in Canada (which should even have a team in my mind), now you’ve got one of the best pitching prospects in the game (Strasburg), 2 potential superstar hitters in Rendon & Harper, Zimm at the hot corner, just add another starter via trade/FA & add a couple vets to that bench.

    • I could see Rollins in SF or Oakland since he’s from Oakland… I guess it depends on how generous the Phillies’ offer is to the one guy who has been there since the badddd years.

      • $3081341 4 years ago

        I doubt he’d wanna go to Oakland, they wouldn’t offer him a fair deal anyway. Maybe San Fran. My gut still tells me he re-up in Philly, why wouldn’t he.

  17. Frank Tangorra 4 years ago

    Teams like the Phillies who have unloaded their entire farm system to win championships are foolish. I think they have one more year of dominance. Look at there roster filled with players who are getting old. The offense showed you how old they are getting. They play in a ball park that has school yard dimensions. The only legit HR threat is Howard in any park. Look at how Werth did playing outside of that school yard. And I think they are realizing that the last over hyped prospect Dominic Brown is a 4th outfielder at best. Other teams are loading there system with players and the Phillies have traded them all away.

    • ftaok 4 years ago

      I’m not a Phillies fan, but not for nothing, the Phils have gotten a bunch of division titles, a few trips to the WS and one ring (maybe another one this year).

      I’d gladly trade 5 years of future for 2 or 3 years of dominance any day of the week.

      Is continual dominance better?  Of course, but very few franchises are set up for a long run of dominance …

      • coolstorybro222 4 years ago

        There was a reason the phillies fell off the face of the earth in the 90’s 

  18. inkstainedscribe 4 years ago

    From Wren’s comments about the need to grind out at bats and make the opposing pitchers work, at least HE understands why Parrish was a disaster. Whether FG does, and will make the appropriate changes in his strategy to compensate, will tell us a lot about whether Fredi makes it past the ASB next season.

    Now if someone could only convince FG to leave his starters in for more than 5 or 6 innings …

  19. NYPOTENCE 4 years ago

    No one wants J-Roll in NY

  20. ftaok 4 years ago

    I wouldn’t mind the Mets signing him, but not for his perceived value.  Maybe offer 3 years, $22 million.  Let him come back with 4/$40 and work from there.

    I’d prefer the Mets re-sign Reyes (preferably with a hometown discount), but if you can get an top-10 SS for cheap, then you gotta go for it, regardless if the guy is a complete tool.

    Anyways, I’d suspect that Rollins will end up staying in Philly … so it’s most likely a moot point.

    • I personally don’t want the Mets to sign either Rollins or Reyes.

      I’d rather take the two picks for Reyes and finally get this team and farm system moving in the right direction.

      100+ million for a guy who posted career highs in BA/OBP/SLG all the while still being injured and me-first (Batting title) scares the hell out of me.

  21. sherrilltradedooverexperience 4 years ago

    wouldn’t lowe going back to a closer possibly make him slightly valuable to some teams despite his price tag?

    • Guest 4 years ago

      technically that would be the way to drive up his trade value. realistically, he has no trade value.  everyone in baseball knows what he is at this point in his career. he’s not a closer. at this point in time every team in baseball has a guy that strikes out 9/9 innings in their ‘pen.  an over the hill sinkerballer that makes $15 mill isnt exactly going to make anyone salivate.

  22. Kent Kimes 4 years ago

    I don’t see how Lowe could close – he can’t find the strike zone and when he does it comes up there like a Frisbee and gets hammered.

  23. xhausted_grad 4 years ago

    that was a ridiculous question by lennon.  maybe he was just trying to create drama.  why would the mets not sign an oft-injured shortstop but sign an older oft-injured shortstop?  if the mets don’t sign reyes, tejada is their starting shortstop.

  24. NL_East_Rivalry 4 years ago

    I’d start Lowe in the Spring and see what happens there. I’m not against paying him to be in the BP because we are paying him regardless. I think he can be a great 5th pitcher next year due to his promise and his FIP inverse-regression to the norm.

    • Guest 4 years ago

      what about his FIP inverse-regression-to-being-almost-40-and-not-putting-up-good-numbers-for-about-three-years?

  25. Guest 4 years ago

    on a serious note, i also am not against putting him in the ‘pen. i just don’t think he is or should be considered for the rotation.  throw him in the ‘pen, limit his exposure, and hope that he is able to put up decent enough #’s to trade him mid-season.

  26. roberty 4 years ago

    The Braves scored 100 fewer runs this year than last year.  No Braves team managed by Bobby Cox ever scored as few runs as the 2011 Braves, and this offense was considerably more talented than last years team.  Freddi is the problem and his oldschool small ball system cannot compete in modern baseball. 

  27. Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

    That’s the problem, you’re comparing him to Bobby Cox.

    It has nothing to do with Heyward having a terrible year, Uggla having a terrible half year, Brian McCann having a bad 2nd half, Martin Prado having a down year, etc. Sometimes its the players fault.

    Bobby Cox was a special manager. If you compare every one of his successors to him, you’re going to be disappointed.

  28. NYBravosFan10 4 years ago

    Small ball system? So that’s why we had almost no stolen base action outside of Bourn and third most in the NL is home runs right? Not trying to be a jerk or anything but I wouldn’t call what the Braves played this year small ball.

  29. roberty 4 years ago

    I think when your team scores 100 fewer runs than the year before despite significant upgrades in almost every area of weakness it’s easy to be disappointed in a new managers performance. 

  30. Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

    They may have upgraded but the players who were already there (Brian McCann, Jason Heyward) were non existent down the stretch. Dan Uggla hit under .200 for the first half of the year. You’re completely ignoring the struggles of these players.

    It may have been a more talented offense but the talent didn’t show up.

    Did he make bad decisions? Yeah. But so does every manager.

    You’re going to be disappointed by any manager who isn’t Bobby Cox. The Braves collapse falls on the players. Just like Boston. BTW the Braves almost collapsed last year WITH Bobby Cox.

  31. RedCaps 4 years ago

    Fredi did try playing small ball earlier on, constantly trying to sac bunt and hit and run… things this team isn’t built for at all. It was frustrating how he kept insisting on bunting when someone was on first with less than two outs, regardless of how often it failed.

  32. roberty 4 years ago

    The Braves only stole 77 bases this year, but they attempted to steal 121 bases.  Only 4 NL teams were caught stealing more often than the Braves, only 2 teams actually stole fewer bases than the Braves.  Square peg.  Round hole.  Additionally, the Braves had the fewest opportunities for productive outs, and also converted the smallest percentage of those opportunities.  The Braves were also the least likely team to have runners reach third base with less than 2 outs, and the least likely team to drive that runner in.  Check out the stats.  link to The Braves were probably the worst situational hitting team in baseball this year, and although a lot of that blame lies with the batters themselves, the Braves would have scored a lot more runs if they had a manager who respected outs and didn’t shorten every inning by stealing and bunting.  The Braves had the smallest percentage of line drives/balls in play this year, which is a shame because this is a line drive offense. 

  33. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    no it wasn’t? gonzalez was good but chipper and uggla were quite bad and freeman, despite all the hype about his glove, was questionable too

    it simply isn’t the case that lowe pitched like crap this year (unless you would say he also pitched like crap the last two years as well)

  34. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    “you’re probably going off what UZR”

    if you can find me a stat that likes their defense, i’ll reconsider. DRS, +/- and UZR all rate them well below average. “i’m a fan and i watched” has flaws far more serious than any of those metrics – including UZR

    “Tim Hudson is also a notorious sinkerballer.  How did he have an almost 2
    run lower ERA than DLowe if the Braves defense is to blame?”

    how did derek lowe himself have an ERA one run better last year with similar peripherals? are you unfamiliar with DIPS theory? seems like you’re playing dumb here

    think about any fielder (good or bad) fielding 100 balls off the bat behind two separate but similar pitchers. will the results be identical, or necessarily even similar? of course not. but as the sample increases, groundball pitchers with good defense behind them will almost always enjoy lower BABIPs than those with poor defenses

    hudson had a better year than lowe in terms of DIPS alone, and that explains some of it. on top of that, his BABIP was 54 points lower. maybe lowe just got hit harder? nope. hudson’s line-drive rate was 18.5; lowe’s was 18.4

    what isn’t covered by DIPS is attributable in large part to the defense. you’re welcome to show your evidence suggesting otherwise if you have some

    not arguing against the idea that he’s massively overpaid and had a bad year: both of those are true. but that doesn’t reflect on his skill as completely as most people seem to be assuming

  35. Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

    Generally players are on their own when they steal bases.

    You’re blaming Fredi Gonzalez for things he has no control over.

  36. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    what’s shocking is people acting like he was much worse this year than the last two. he was worse in 2009 than he was in 2011. and after 2009 what did he do? pitched fine in 2010. there’s not much reason to think he’s incapable of being effective in 2012; he’s just badly overpaid and depends heavily on defense the braves don’t currently have

  37. NL_East_Rivalry 4 years ago

    FIP was 3.70 and WAR was .01 point less than 09 and .02 less than 2010, can’t very well argue statistically what you are saying there.

  38. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    is FIP the only DIPS stat? no? k then. his 09 FIP was 4.06 to 3.70 in 2011; his SIERA in 09 was 4.30 to 3.60 in 2011

    the ERA-clingers are the ones with the untenable position; that’s the whole point. crying foul in 2011 but not in 2009 makes no sense, especially when you can see that in 2010 he bounced back to 3.89/3.67

    let go of ERA

  39. NL_East_Rivalry 4 years ago

    I wasn’t trying to argue with you, i was just pointing out that i can’t argue with you because this season doesn’t stand out on all stats

  40. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    “Once again, you’re basing Derek Lowe performance solely on numbers like defensive sabermetrics. ”

    you just lied. why would you lie? =(

    “I have yet to find a defensive sabermetric that was accurate on a
    majority of accounts(or even one where I had the slightest idea how it
    is calculated)”

    with all respect, that sounds like a personal problem. you shouldn’t project it onto the metric(s) unless you’re armed with articulable reasons. badmouthing UZR is in fashion right now, but a case needs to be made for disregarding UZR and DRS and +/- in favor of the infamously unreliable eye test

    but again, that’s not the only grounds on which i evaluated lowe anyway. it was mentioned as a reason not to consider him useless, the way he’s often talked about

    if you personally aren’t taking the position that lowe was much worse this year than the last two, good! just plain disliking him all along makes a lot more sense. but it is still the case that the outcry from braves fans about the guy is much louder this year. maybe that’s just because of the collapse? i know it’s making everything louder in boston

  41. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    it’s too late. you are my enemy now. stand and fight

  42. NL_East_Rivalry 4 years ago

    ??? don’t you have to have opposing beliefs to fight?

  43. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    sounds like you’re opposing my belief that we need to fight

    …wanna fight about it?

  44. NL_East_Rivalry 4 years ago

    sure, if you want to troll and blow off steam. I’ll play along.

    We shouldn’t fight, fighting about fighting is foolish.

  45. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    you seem unsure about my seriousness

  46. NL_East_Rivalry 4 years ago

    you must not be using enough emoticons

  47. coolstorybro222 4 years ago

    Yeah we almost collapsed because 1) we had major injuries to everybody to the point where they were out for periods of time 2) we had a center fielder that was having a idenity crisis and we could only play melky in center all the time. 3) we still made the playoffs even without having some of our best players. Fredi had the all the pieces and all the players and yet refused to do the work last month, refused to show he is a leader. 

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