NL East Notes: Hamels, Chipper, Harper

A few NL East notes to pass along on the day Livan Hernandez departs the division after spending the past three seasons there, with the Mets and Nats.

  • The Phillies will have a tough time re-signing Cole Hamels at anything less than full market value, writes Ken Rosenthal of, as GM Ruben Amaro has rewarded big contracts to both under-control players like Ryan Howard, and free agents such as Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon and Jimmy Rollins.
  • Within the same piece, Amaro addressed the signing of Papelbon this offseason, saying the club regarded Pap slightly higher than the incumbent Ryan Madson, who eventually signed with the Reds for far less. “We didn’t just want any closer. The way our team is set up, we wanted the best guy, or one of the top two or three guys. We could have gotten a ‘B’ or ‘B-plus’ closer. But we wanted an ‘A.’ With (Papelbon), as good and as durable as he has been, I felt he was the right fit for us.”
  • Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, 40 in April, said 2012 may not be his final season, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Jones is in the final guaranteed year of his contract, but his deal includes a $7MM club option that will vest to $9MM if he plays in 123 games.  “As long as I stay healthy and I’m having fun, I’m going to keep going. I sit here with three weeks to go before spring training and I’m not ready to say this is it.”
  • Nationals manager Davey Johnson wants Bryce Harper to start the season as Washington's right fielder, hears Jon Heyman of That seems like an aggressive approach to me, but it would create quite a bit of buzz in Washington — and in baseball, in general.

115 Responses to NL East Notes: Hamels, Chipper, Harper Leave a Reply

  1. Livan will be missed…by the other teams in the East

  2. Corey Italiano 3 years ago

    Can we at least let Harper crush pitching above A ball first?

    • Matt 3 years ago

      Next Billy Beane.

    • jwsox 3 years ago

      You realize he finished last season in AA right?

      • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

        you realize he hit .256/.329/.395 there right

        • FS54 3 years ago

          I believe his AA numbers are partly a function of his slow start. He has had that problem at every level I think. Even in AFL, he started out slow and then started crushing the ball. Anyways, I am not up for him as opening day OF yet.

  3. Good for Chipper. There aren’t many 39-40 year old hitters that can keep performing at a good level. He needs about 3 more seasons to get to 3000.

  4. NickinIthaca 3 years ago

    “I sit here with three weeks to go before Spring Training…”

    The greatest news I’ve heard all day!

    • InLeylandWeTrust 3 years ago

      “People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

      -Rogers Hornsby

  5. LUWahooNatFan 3 years ago

    It’s not Johnson’s decision as to where Harper will start… My best guess is that Harper starts the year in AA and if he dominates gets called up in June/July

    Morse LF, Werth CF, Bernadina/DeRosa RF to start the year unless someone like Ankiel gets signed, in which case he would be the RF

    • $4555515 3 years ago

      i like ankiel better in center field, he’s actually 1 of the better defensive Center fielders when playing i see no reason to switch him and werth. of course this wont matter if he doesnt resign

      • comish4lif 3 years ago

        Of course, the Nats would actually have to resign Ankiel….

  6. Hahpah didn’t disappeah! He was skinned alive!

  7. Bryng on Bryce! I would love to see this kid get dominated by major league pitching.

    • TimotheusATL 3 years ago

      even if major league pitching did dominate him, at least he’d get to face the mets a lot.

      • Owwww. come on man, why you kicking us when we’re down. really down…

        • Mattsui 3 years ago

          …we’ll be down here in the sewers for quite a while…at least we have the Ninja Turtles to keep us company…

    • rainyperez 3 years ago

      Yep he is a tough division. Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Johnson, Sanchez, and the Braves young pitching staff. 

      • Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

        He’s also got the privilege of coming up and facing three of the best left handed specialists in the game in Venters, O’flaherty, and Bastardo.

        He’s going to earn his success.

      • bravesdude 3 years ago

        Sanchez ? The other names are good . But Sanchez ? Buerhle will be better against Bryce than Sanchez .

      • lefty177 3 years ago

        luckily for him though, he doesn’t have to face the ace of his team’s staff (Strasburg)

      • rundmc1981 3 years ago

        Johan Santana feels left out. He’s holding up his 2 Cy Youngs with his surgically-repaired arm. 

        Josh Johnson wonders why you included him. He averages just under 19 games started in 6 seasons and has only surpassed 30 GS in 2 seasons. Not to mention he’s only under team control through ’13.

    • LongTimeFan1 3 years ago

      Ditto. The kid is just arrogant and immature shows disrespect for the game.

      • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

        I know right!!

        what kind of 19 year old does he think he is?  He plays baseball, so he should totally be different than every other 19 year old male out there.

        get over yourselves please.. if he does his stuff at 25, 26 then you can criticize him, but criticizing a teenager for being immature is beyond ridiculous.

        • While I semi-agree with you, just because someone is 19 doesn’t mean they have a pass to act a certain way. It depends how you’re raised of course. I’m sure Harper has been put on a pedestal since he started playing.
          There’s something to be said about being humble, of course I get that isn’t everyone’s personality…it would just be nice to see.

          • Infield Fly 3 years ago

            Sometimes a strong veteran presence on the team is a big help in encouraging rookies not to get too high on themselves…for example, the way Billy Wagner made it his business to get Lastings Milledge back in line.

            (For the never-ending debate about whether Milledge was really out of line or not, please try next door).

          • Mattsui 3 years ago

            I thought that was David Wright with his “know your place, rook” message he put on Milledge’s locker?

          • Infield Fly 3 years ago

            Nope. Although it was done anonymously it later came out that it was the “Sandman” himself who dunnit (and that’s hardly Wright’s style — recent attempts to get tough with Pelf notwithstanding).

          • rundmc1981 3 years ago

            Who is going to be that in WSH? Jayson Werth? Zimmerman is a better candidate in my mind.

            Honestly, the pitching staff needs some leadership and WSH can’t seem to sign any FA to provide that leadership (see: Oswalt, Buerhle, Wilson, etc.)

          • bravesdude 3 years ago

            Agreed with everything you said . It’s like back in 2010 when everyone was talking about Heyward . There was as much talk about his demeanor and his poise as there was his offensive upside . He impressed with his attitude towards the game and was respected for it .

          • Jeff 3 years ago

            Heyward at 19 was a completely different person in AA.

          • I’m a teenager and I have to say, when he blew that kiss at the pitcher after he hit a bomb, I liked him even more.

          • JTT11 3 years ago

            I couldnt agree more.  I wouldnt mind one bit if a few more ball players wore the black hat.

          • rundmc1981 3 years ago

            I’m praying for him to blow a kiss at Zambrano after he hit a bomb off of him. I’d love for the School of Hard Knocks to get another graduate.

    • Mattsui 3 years ago

      Thank you! Totally agree.

    • Mattsui 3 years ago

      Thank you! Totally agree.

  8. thebigbangdito 3 years ago

    i would have to say… that would def bring an interest to watch the washington games if bryce is starting in Rf (or anywhere) and then strasburg on the mound.

  9. heh heh, oh Chipper.  As long as he’s willing, able, and we have no one better to replace him, I’m ok with it.

    • bravesdude 3 years ago

      I would like to see the FO restructure a deal where they ease him into a player/coaching role after this next season . Keep him in the system with the team .

    • rundmc1981 3 years ago

      Keep your eyes on Terdoslavich.

  10. Boras told Heyman to say that Johnson wants Harper to start in the Major Leagues this year, is what that should say, right?

  11. Runtime 3 years ago

    Bryce Harper is the next Travis Snider

    • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

      Travis Snider’s 23 broseph

    • FS54 3 years ago

      pretty sure he never reached the can’t-miss prospect status that has been given to Bryce since his SI cover.

  12. Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

    As much as I know I’m going to dislike Bryce Harper as a player and a person… I’m excited to see if he can live up to the hype or not. I hope he’s in the majors on opening day.

    • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

      I feel the same..

      I have a feeling he will be a yankee eventually.. the same way I always knew A rod would be

      • Ian_Smell 3 years ago

        Didn’t he say he wanted to be a Yankee? If he’s at least half decent, I bet he’ll definitely play for them.

        • He’s a Cowboys, Lakers, and Yankees fan…in other words the worst possible type of bandwagoner there is. lol
          (and i’m a Cowboys fan)

          • Ian_Smell 3 years ago

            Geez. I want to say I hate him, but I don’t know the guy, but I know plenty of people like him. It’s like I hate him vicariously… or something.

          • lol I’m really apathetic about him. I’m intereseted to see what he can do, but at the same time I don’t get caught up in the hype. I more than likely would if he were a Rangers prospect i’m sure.

          • Ian_Smell 3 years ago

            Tell me about it, even though I don’t like him, I was hoping for nothing more than the Nationals to pass on him so the Pirates could pick him.

  13. Mattsui 3 years ago

    I hope Bryce Harper starts in the Majors. But I’m hoping he busts big time. Hyping a kid that much isn’t good when they’ve yet to prove a darn thing when it counts. I already see him becoming a dislikable person.

    • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

      Why would you hope he busts? Is that going to make you feel better about yourself?

      • Mattsui 3 years ago

        It would make me feel better about the Mets’ slim chances at contending in this decade, yes. It might also say a little something about all the “experts” if he failed to live up to their expectations. It’s one thing to tout the kid as a top prospect, but to make it seem like he’s going to be a baseball God (whether it’s true or not) before he even steps on a professional baseball field is absurd and says something about where our country is heading. We are so eager to praise, we don’t even require that people prove themselves. Because if they fail, their feelings might get hurt. We could all use a little reality check, the baseball world included. Seeing Harper bust (or fall short of these ridiculous expectations), would send a message I believe.

    • wow, is this what the Mets do to their fans?  ill will towards others?  

  14. Mattsui 3 years ago

    I hope Bryce Harper starts in the Majors. But I’m hoping he busts big time. Hyping a kid that much isn’t good when they’ve yet to prove a darn thing when it counts. I already see him becoming a dislikable person.

  15. $4555515 3 years ago

    if papelbon is 1 of the best closers in the game right now then how come in his final 3 save opportunities last year he blew 2 saves against the lowely orioles?

    • Brad426 3 years ago

      I once saw Michael Jordan miss two shots in row badly. Doesn’t mean he was a bad shooter in the end, though.

    • nm344 3 years ago

      8.7 K/BB ratio says he’s pretty good.

    • He is good.  Is he 4 years and $50 million good?  No, and I have a hard time believing that any relief pitcher is that good. 
      Amaro’s logic scares me as a Phillies fan.  Time and time again, the evidence has shown that when you throw big money at a “closer”, you end up with nothing but pain.  Amaro praising Papelbon’s durability inevitably means that he will face a litany of injuries over the next four years as he moves through his 30’s.

    • JPH_GSG 3 years ago

      Papelbon has finished 334 games. I think looking at 3 to justify your opinion that he isn’t one of the best closers in the game is the new definition of “small sample size.” How many closers are better than him? I challenge anyone to name 5.

      • ARod's Ring 3 years ago

        I challenge anyone to name 5 closer that are getting paid more than he does….

        • Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

          … because he’s the second best closer in the game and is paid like it. (I guess a case could be made for Kimbrel but I value a track record over anything else, which I define as three years).

      • xhausted_grad 3 years ago

        heath bell, mariano rivera, jose valverde, craig kimbrel, carlos marmol, jordan walden, chris perez

        arguably: axford, putz, storen, soria

        that was easy

        • Hilarious.

          • xhausted_grad 3 years ago

            speaks volumes about you.  try formulating an argument.

          • Seriously, look at ANY stat.  Papelbon blows some of them out of the water and is AT LEAST as good as the others.

            Papelbon beat all of them but Kimbrel in K/9, beat everyone but Mo in BB/9, his HR/9 was better than most, he was .01 away from the best FIP in baseball (behind Kimbrel), beat all of them but Kimbrel in xFIP, second only to Kimbrel in WAR.  What stats are you possibly looking at to be nuts enough to think Papelbon is worse than all of those guys?

            It’s like me saying Pujols is a mid-tier 1B and being upset when people laugh at me without explaining the painfully obvious. That’s why it’s hilarious.

        • FillyPhan 3 years ago

          No no its not name closers, its name BETTER closers.

          You sited 2 unproven rookies, and 3 others with a significantly higher ERA.

          Against a closer who is the youngest pitcher to ever hit 200 saves and the only pitcher to record 30 or more saves in his first 6 seasons.

          • xhausted_grad 3 years ago

            did you just use era and saves to justify how good a pitcher is?

        • FillyPhan 3 years ago

          The funniest thing is that you shoulda mentioned Madson as he has better numbers then most you named.

          • xhausted_grad 3 years ago

            agreed.  i think madson is better than papelbon.

        • marmol is god awful. theres better closers other than axford just in the NL Central….ie: Joel Hanrahan

          • xhausted_grad 3 years ago

            hanrahan is probably better than papelbon too.  and k-rod, while we’re at it.  papelbon is very overrated.  i felt sorry for sox fans for having him as their closer.

        • baaaaahahahahahahaha

        • Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

          nah. Mariano Rivera yes, other’s nope or too soon.

    • WolandJR 3 years ago

      I think that the guy’s point is that you don’t pay a closer $50 million to blow the most crucial games of the season. Anyone can pad their stats in May, but it is how you perform in September and October that gets you paid. While there is a history of success for Pap, the most recent evidence is not inspiring. Full disclosure: I am a Nats fan and I am eagerly hoping that he is a huge bust in the NL east.

      • rundmc1981 3 years ago

        Ryan Madson will have a better year. Write it down.

        • Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

          Depends on how you define “better.” If it’s save percentage there’s almost no history other than last year that shows Madson will be better than Papelbon. Papelbon will probably put up better strikeout numbers. (Not saying Madson is going to be bad… I love Ryan Madson as a pitcher always have… just saying there’s no statistical evidence that should give you that idea).

          Besides Papelbon is going to lose a lot of save opportunities to Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee which could either save or hurt his percentages… I think they’ll be about even.

  16. $4555515 3 years ago

    if papelbon is 1 of the best closers in the game right now then how come in his final 3 save opportunities last year he blew 2 saves against the lowely orioles?

  17. xhausted_grad 3 years ago

    davey johnson has a good eye for baseball talent.  he felt that gooden and strawberry were ready for the bigs at an early age, and they quickly excelled at an all star level for years.  however, we all know how their careers ended up.  harper and strasburg seem like the newest version of these players, and it would not surprise me one bit if history repeated itself.

  18. Rick Springer 3 years ago

    Chipper’s always been one of the good players in baseball who quietly performs well. It’s been mentioned he’s probably 3 seasons away from 3000 hits. A more realistic goal would seem to be 500 home runs. He’s two solid season away from that goal.

    • FillyPhan 3 years ago

      While I have always liked the guy, I just don’t see him lasting even 2 more seasons. I just dont think his body can take it

  19. I’m looking forward to seeing Harper in the Majors and what he can do.  He should be fun to watch regardless

  20. kjbaune 3 years ago

    Chipper is the heart, soul and face of the Braves organization. If he wants to come back he should. I think it would be good PR to offer him a 10 year deal at 2-3 mil a year to be a pressence in the locker room, play some 3rd once a week or so, pinch hit, be a supporting coach. That would be great!

  21. Yea, it definitely won’t be with the Braves.

  22. rundmc1981 3 years ago

    You’re acting like that’s atypical for someone in the twilight of their career. It happens with everyone. In all honesty, Chipper still performs above-average on the rare occasion he’s out there. I just hope we can find a decent LF (not Diaz, Hinske) that can fill-in when Jones sits and Prado is at 3B.

    I love that Chipper is still around, but because of his constant inconsistencies from injuries and sitting twice a week most weeks, I can’t wait to see Terdo/Salcedo or whomever else take over the corner slot.

  23. Michael Gardiner 3 years ago

    He is not going anywhere. He will stay with the Braves or go home thats at least how it seems.

  24. It depends on how badly he wants that 3000th hit with or without the Braves. Unless the Braves want to start playing him at 1st until he surpasses that mark it’s hard to see him playing 3B for 3 more years…at least.
    It’s not like i’m rooting against him or anything. I love seeing players spend their careers with one team.

  25. bravesdude 3 years ago

    I have often thought about that , Chipper at first . You could take and move Prado to 3rd after this year . Move Freeman to the OF (LF) . His defense out there can’t be no worse than a few other big bat , no D LFers . And let Chipper finish out his career in the uniform he started with at a position that will be lesser wear and tear on the knees .

  26. Yea, if anyone that age can get to 3000 it’s Chipper. He still produces offensively on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for my favorite ballplayer, Pudge.

  27. Yea, if anyone that age can get to 3000 it’s Chipper. He still produces offensively on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for my favorite ballplayer, Pudge.

  28. RedCaps 3 years ago

    Freeman has bad range at first. His range in the OF would be horrible. And anyway, I’m not really sure that first would cause much less wear than third. Actually, I can imagine Chipper stretching to scoop a ball only to pull/tear a muscle.

  29. inkstainedscribe 3 years ago

    The problem with moving Chipper to 1B at this point in his career is that his health problems have mostly been leg-related, and all the awkward stretching and extensions he’d have to do at 1B could make him even more injury-prone.

  30. rundmc1981 3 years ago

    You obviously haven’t seen Freeman play defense then. Freeman had a -14.2 USZ/150 in 2011. Bourn would need to cover an impossible amount of ground – if he is even re-signed – to make up for the flat-footed Freeman. There’s a reason Freddie is at 1B.

    As much I’d love to see Chipper get 3000 hits in a Braves uniform, I’m not willing to sacrifice the playoffs and possibly World Series contention for him to do it. He wouldn’t either. He’s a 1st ballot HOF.

    @bravesdude, you really want him playing 1B over Freeman? Seriously? I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Prado doesn’t have the defense to be a long-term 3B solution and definitely doesn’t have the power bat that is typical for a corner position. Jones has never played 1B in MLB…please go look. To suggest a 40-year old who has never played 1B taking over when we have the ROY runner-up (Freeman) and someone who most likely will be an All-Star this year moving to LF where he doesn’t have the defensive metrics to play is just ridiculous. 

  31. Jeff 3 years ago

    I really hope Chipper doesn’t make 123 games this year.  He’s meant a whole lot, but while he’s worth $5-7mil on his own merits these days, a $9-13mil contract hamstrings this current team and its potential.

    I’d love to see come back on a smaller deal though.

  32. Rabbitov 3 years ago

    You realize that you are the man, right?  (see, not always condescending 😉 )

  33. WeDontNeedToFinPracticeRANDY 3 years ago

    This is coming from a Cardinals fan, so take it as you will…but I’m not sure if the league could handle many more T-Plushes.

  34. $3513744 3 years ago

    But there’s a big difference in not liking them and hoping they fail.  How miserable would baseball be if all players flopped except the ones on the team you like to watch?   

  35. FS54 3 years ago

    I hope you are right about him being AS and MVP-caliber player.

  36. jwsox 3 years ago

    i do agree about his slow stats and his AA numbers are not that impressive(sorry but for a guy who is what 18 or 19 those are good numbers) but its also a small sample size..

    As for him being an all star in his 1st or second year…maybe..He could make the all star game yes, but it does not mean he is a true All star. But he will get a ton of fan votes. Being an MVP by his 2nd or 3rd year? Come on thats not going to happen…It might but the odds are it wont…

  37. jwsox 3 years ago

    i do agree about his slow stats and his AA numbers are not that impressive(sorry but for a guy who is what 18 or 19 those are good numbers) but its also a small sample size..

    As for him being an all star in his 1st or second year…maybe..He could make the all star game yes, but it does not mean he is a true All star. But he will get a ton of fan votes. Being an MVP by his 2nd or 3rd year? Come on thats not going to happen…It might but the odds are it wont…

  38. So you do speak english? lol

  39. rundmc1981 3 years ago

    He’s making $12M this year. Even if he gets the option in 2013, he’ll still most likely make less than in 2011, knowing he most likely won’t play 128 games or more.

    I don’t want to see him back at a smaller deal, frankly. This guy has meant too much and he’s one that feels the pressure of a substantial contract, so if he has an adequate one, he’ll feel the pressure to perform. Either he needs to be a starter and perform like it, or retire and coach. Those stats won’t do anything to make his case for a HOF he already has.

  40. rundmc1981 3 years ago

    It’s just as fun watching those players squint when getting beaned in the back and watching the close-up of the pitcher with a grin on their face hidden by their glove.

  41. $3513744 3 years ago

    Then turn it off.  It’s your own fault for watching it.

  42. $3513744 3 years ago

    It’s really not that difficult.  If you don’t like something, do something about it, or else you really have no one to blame but yourself.

  43. CC 3 years ago

    Calm down man

  44. $3513744 3 years ago

    See, that’s exactly all you have to do.  No excuses.  No problems.

  45. undocorkscrew 3 years ago

    Just noting that using one year of defensive metrics doesn’t mean much at all. I agree that Freeman doesn’t have the best range, but the man just isn’t a liability on defense like the metrics say. He’s got a ridiculously strong throwing arm that’s extremely accurate and he’s quite good with scoops. He’s not going to have much range, but as long as he keeps all that up he’ll be perfectly fine at 1B.

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