NL Notes: Braves, Adrian Gonzalez, Cubs, Cardinals

The Nationals and Cardinals began their NLDS today, 79 years to the day of the last playoff game for a Washington franchise. The series will also feature the largest age gap between two managers facing off in the post-season (27 years and 235 days between 69-year-old Davey Johnson of the Nationals and 42-year-old Mike Matheny of the Cardinals), according to the Elias Sports Bureau via a tweet by ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Other notes and nuggets from the Senior Circuit:

  • It is highly unlikely the Braves will attempt to sign Josh Hamilton because they typically don't pursue top-of-payscale free agents who come with questions, tweets the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien.
  • Adrian Gonzalez told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he felt he struggled this season because he was "trying too hard." Gonzalez was even disappointed by his career-high 47 doubles. Also in the profile, the Dodger first baseman discussed the responsibility he feels as a Mexican-American athlete in a heavily Latino city.
  • The Dodgers will continue to strengthen their starting rotation which could lead them to target Zack Greinke, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
  • The Cubs will need to acquire two or three starting pitchers merely to put a representative team on the field, opines Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Wittenmyer adds don't look for the Cubs to sign Greinke or Jake Peavy, as Shaun Marcum and Anibal Sanchez are more in line with the current front-office thinking.
  • Jake Westbrook, rehabbing from discomfort in his right oblique, threw a bullpen session this morning and hopes to be available for bullpen duty if the Cardinals advance to the NLCS, reports MLB.com's Jennifer Langosch. The throwing schedule for Westbrook is fluid because he will be leaving the team after Game 2 to be with his wife, who is scheduled to be induced into labor for the birth of their fourth child on Thursday.
  • The Cardinals will win the World Series in six games over the Tigers, predicts Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com in his playoff prognostication column.


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36 Comments on "NL Notes: Braves, Adrian Gonzalez, Cubs, Cardinals"


WrigleyTerror37
2 years 10 months ago

Marcum and Sanchez i dont mind at all. im hoping that the cubs make a run at Dan Haren if he becomes available. ID really like if the Cubs sign Edwin Jackson tho.. but hey as long as we get some more pitching ill be happy

windycitywarrior
2 years 10 months ago

Edwin Jackson would be a good fit but I like Dan Haren more. I think he just hit a wall with the AL hitters and a switch back to the NL would do him good. Marcum seems like a injury case though and Sanchez will probably be overpaid. Im a White Sox fan and don’t really want either one in this rotation rebuilding year.

2 years 10 months ago

Whoa someone is actually betting on the Cards???

This is a new experience.

2 years 10 months ago

Why not bet for the Cards? They have good pitchers, good hitters, and Sam Holbrook on their team!

2 years 10 months ago

Because they’re the Cardinals.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
2 years 10 months ago

It’d be quite a story if they won the season after their future HOF manager retired and future HOF star hitter left.

Robert Berner
2 years 10 months ago

Your team has won two World Series in the last seven seasons. Drop the pessimism and the victim mentality.

EcurbTheMighty
2 years 10 months ago

I find it funny anyone would assume the Braves would go after a Josh Hamilton. Great player no doubt, but I can’t remember the last time we targeted a big name free agent. Through trade is a different story. I’d still like to see Cody Ross in a Braves uniform.

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

Not saying they will or should go after him, but now would be a good time. Bourn is a FA and Chipper is also retiring. Now could be a good time for them to try name another franchise guy

Robert Berner
2 years 10 months ago

Not one on the wrong side of 30 who has issues with staying healthy as well as “off field” questions recently. If anything, trading for a younger star would be the way to go, but who would be the answer? I’m not sold that somebody like Justin Upton is that answer, but I’d rather have him than Josh Hamilton.

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

His off the field issues are well documented, but his “recently” thing was him having a beer after a game, realizing it was bad for him, and him personally reporting it. If anything, thats the opposite of “issues”- he understands the problem and when he needed to, he was the one to seek help.

With Upton, you’re taking a risk. He had one great year and has been good but not great other than that. He’s still extremely young, but you’re going to give your top 4 or 5 prospects for him. Instead, Hamilton will cost money and a draft pick. He has performed at the MLB level consistently and is much more of a sure thing than Upton IMO

2 years 10 months ago

why would they want him? He has one season with 156 games and has averaged 122 games the past 4 seasons. He’s a great player, but he’s hurt a lot and disappears for months at a time.

guest_54
2 years 10 months ago

Greg Maddux is the last big name free agent signing I remember the Braves signing . . . from about 20 years ago.

BruinPirateAnteater
2 years 10 months ago

Dodgers should NOT go after Zack Greinke. He is not fit to pitch on a big market team. I would much rather the Dodgers go after Kuroda and another durable veteran. I’m comfortable with Kershaw, Capuano, Harrang, Beckett and Blanton for now. Add Kuroda and Blanton becomes backup if any of others falter/get hurt. We would still have Lilly and Bills coming in at some point during the season, at which point Beckett and/or Harrang can be backup, or maybe Cap can start in the rotation and move to the pen late in the season (as he seemed to get a lil tired towards the end). Greinke would be a very expensive mistake

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

Blanton is a FA. Lilly and Bills are both coming off surgery/ potential surgery. Very few pitchers are able to outright avoid TJS once it gets to the point of Billingsley’s case. Even if he doesn’t need it now, it is very possible. With that, our rotation is Kershaw, Beckett, Capuano and Harang. You know what to expect from Kershaw and Beckett to a lesser extent. However, Capuano faded, like you said, and Harang is not talented enough to rely on being your #3 if you want to compete. There is no way that Blanton should ever come back. He was horrible for us. The Dodgers, even when Bills and Lilly are healthy, lack a true #2. Bills has become a very nice #3, but he is not a guy that you slide in behind Kershaw and know what you’ll get every 5 days. He has amazing days, and then he struggles. Greinke is a stud. He is a #1 on most teams, and would make a great 1-2 punch with Kershaw. Imagine a playoff rotation of Kershaw, Greinke, Beckett and Bills. Yes, Bills would be the #4 starter. The Dodgers are not concerned about money and SP is the biggest need for the team. We have not had a solid 1-2 punch in a very long time

LazerTown
2 years 10 months ago

That would be a very good team. I think they are looking at alot better team next year with Beckett, Agon, Crawford, Hanley for the whole season. Sure they took on alot of salary, but I think they could surpass the Giants next year. Greinke would only help that out, A 123 of Kershaw, Greinke, Beckett would be pretty dominant.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
2 years 10 months ago

You pretty much said it all. I’d add that if either Billinglsey or Lilly are fit next season, the Dodgers are faced with a surplus of starting pitching. Normally not a bad thing, but not such a good one when you have nobody to demote to the minors to hold in reserve.

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

Look at the braves this year. No such thing as too much pitching

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
2 years 10 months ago

That’s the old rule, and it’s true, normally. But the rule alone doesn’t answer the question of where a team stashes extra starting pitching. The best place is at AAA, but the Dodgers traded away pretty much everbody who they can use that way. If everbody is healthy and they add a starter, then they will have to move two starters to the bullpen. Maybe that works out.

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

Well here is a harsh reality- Lilly cannot be counted on really. Injury and age is hard to rely on him. Billingsley will probably need surgery at some point. So you have Kershaw, Beckett, Cap and Harang. A SP fits in easily, and honestly 2 SPs are not out of the realm of possibility, with one of Cap or Harang being trade bait for a bench piece.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
2 years 10 months ago

Well sure, but my point was based on Billingsley and Lilly being available. The moves the Dodgers make this winter will tell us a lot about whether they expect one or both to spend most or all the season on the DL. It isn’t like they can demote either Capuano to Harang to the minors as insurance.

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

Yeah but if you sign a guy like peavy or greinke, you find a spot in the rotation. That’s why I think if we sign one, we trade one of cap or Harang. Or we just hold onto them and put one in the pen to start the year

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
2 years 10 months ago

Right, I agree, but if either Harang or Capuano are traded to make room for the likes of Peavy or Grienke then the rotation insurance is reduced, and you also don’t know if the remaining extra starter would be useful out of the bullpen. Maybe the Dodgers have a pitcher coming up who they think could see some major league playing time next year if needed, but I don’t know who that would be.

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

The idea is you take the same amount of depth to get a guy who can give you a sub 3 ERA instead of a guy who will give you a 4+ ERA. As far as depth goes, off the bat its Fife and Ely. Magill may be ready at some point. Other than that, it would be a guy who is less known most likely. The idea is you keep on guy, probably Cap and start with a rotation like this:
Kershaw
Greinke
Beckett
Cap
Harang

If Lilly or Billingsley are healthy, then you bump the guy who is least likely to help. Or, more likely, someone else gets hurt and they help in some way

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
2 years 10 months ago

Not to beat a dead horse, but my point is you don’t get that depth if your number 4-5 starters are on free agency contracts instead of under team control. The team is forced to either send them into the bullpen or trade them if their services aren’t needed in the rotation. The pen might not be a good place to stash a career starter and if they are traded then obviously they aren’t coming back. Under this scenario the team could be forced to rely on pitchers like Ely and Fife for spot starts, or more. This is the real cost of trading Eovaldi and De La Rosa, and I’d think one of the less obvious barriers to signing Greinke.

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

My view is there is no way to let the presence of Capuano or Harang to stop the Dodgers from signing the much better Greinke or Peavy. I agree that Eovaldi and De La Rosa are going to be missed, but offense is so much more important to this team than pitching. I’d feel better trying to have Cap and Harang battle for a 5th spot or deal one. I’ll take a low 3 ERA and a battle of the 5th spot than rely on Capuano and Harang 4 and 5. The other side of your thoughts is if we don’t sign a pitcher and someone else gets hurts, then what happens?

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
2 years 10 months ago

I agree that I don’t think ownership will allow the Capuano or Harang contracts to be the deciding factor on signing someone better. They could easily dump either or both for 50 cents on the dollar to make room, but either way they are going to have to plan around not having much material in the minors to draw on if needed (and it’s always needed). It will be really interesting to watch how the Dodgers pursue starting pitching this winter. The moves will tell us a lot about whether they believe Billingsley and Lilly are going to pitch in 2013. They have similar problems to solve in the outfield, with the question of Crawford and nobody obvious in the minors to fill in if he doesn’t make a comeback. They might feel forced to make a large dollar offer to Victorino as insurance. Lack of depth in the minors is a problem all around that can’t be papered over entirely with free agents.

sherrilltradedooverexperience
2 years 10 months ago

I don’t like Greinke as a FA pickup because of LA being a large market and G’s struggles in the past. I’d rather them gradually audition the young arms that are left as needed and hope someone sticks. LA still has Zach Lee, Matt Magill, Chris Reed, and Chris Withrow. Regardless, the pain from losing all that young pitching in trade is going to be apparent this offseason. I really liked DeLaRosa despite the surgery.

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

The large market thing is from like 6 years ago in KC. He finished in Anaheim, which is almost an identical market to LA. Of the guys you listed, none are going to be ready with the possible exception of Magill. Both Harang and Cap are off the books, and if one of the guys earns it, they’ll get a look next spring.

LazerTown
2 years 10 months ago

I think they should at least check in on him. I think $20M aav is too expensive, but if they can get that lower they should look into it. You say he is not fit to pitch on a big market team, I would have agreed it is a risk before, but I think his time with the angels has proved he can handle it. Anaheim isn’t the same as LA, but it is still a pretty big market, and angels still pull over 40,000+ a game most years, not that much less than LAD.

Invaderbro
2 years 10 months ago

Dodgers are signing everyone

jdog562
2 years 10 months ago

Dodgers are gonna get josh Hamilton Zack greinke Jake Peavy David wright r.a dickey

Robert Berner
2 years 10 months ago

You are going to get commas for Christmas.

bobbybaseball
2 years 10 months ago

Yeah, if only A-Gon had dogged it, he would have had a great year.

2 years 10 months ago

I’m going to tell my boss that I’m trying too hard.

2 years 10 months ago

The braves don,t need josh hamilton got to many left handed hitters need to try to sign born find a right handed power hitter to play left filed get rid of hanson and jurgens and all the dead wiegh on the bench the team needs learn to catch the ball and learn how to hit the ball all i,m trying to say is be like the nats and the phillies bulid to win