NL East Links: Gonzalez, Kendrick, Phils, Uggla, Mets

Phillies right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez threw three innings in an extended Spring Training appearance and ramped his fastball up to 95 mph, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. tells CSN Philly’s Jim SalisburyThis was the first time we’ve seen [95 mph] since we signed him. He was really bringing it. It’s a good sign. He’s progressing.” Amaro said the plan for his team is to keep Gonzalez in the rotation, though many scouts do feel he is eventually ticketed for bullpen work. Here are some additional links on the Phillies and the rest of the division…

  • David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News looks at the Phillies‘ biggest two flaws: their weakness outside the No. 3 through 6 spots in the lineup and a bullpen that lacks power arms. As Murphy points out, the No. 7 through 2 hitters in last night’s game entered with a combined five extra-base hits in 217 plate appearances, and only four of the bullpen’s arms are strikeout pitchers. Though the team is currently 15-15, one injury could significantly dampen the club’s outlook.
  • If Kyle Kendrick can continue his current pace — a 3.58 ERA with 5.5 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 52.7 percent ground-ball rate — he could do quite well for himself in free agency next winter, writes CSN Philly’s Corey Seidman. Seidman notes that while Kendrick wouldn’t be in the top two tiers of free agent starters, he could be one of the better third-tier options available. He looks at contracts such as the ones signed by Scott Feldman and Phil Hughes in noting that Kendrick would fetch a multi-year contract worth something similar to this season’s $7.675MM value.
  • Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez wouldn’t comment on specifics regarding his second base dilemma when asked by Mark Bowman and Joe Morgan of MLB.com. However, the MLB.com duo reports that some Braves players have privately voiced the opinion that Tyler Pastornicky could be a productive replacement, and Bowman and Morgan add that there’s a chance the team could promote the hot-hitting Tommy La Stella from Triple-A as well. That move, however, could require the Braves to think long and hard about the possibility of biting the bullet on the remaining two years of Uggla’s contract.
  • Andy Martino of the New York Daily News spoke with a veteran scout and asked about the Mets‘ top young arms — namely Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero — to see if they could help the team’s floundering bullpen. The scout pegged deGrom as more of the relief type than Montero: That’s the one who seems like he has a better chance. As a starter, I see him throw 94, touch 95. The he settles in around 92-92. If you bring him in for an inning, he could just blow it out.”

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