NL East Notes: Parnell, Nieuwenhuis, Nats, Phils

Mets reliever Bobby Parnell, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, says he is making good progress and expects to be ready for the spring, as Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger reports. Having suffered his injury early in 2014, it seems that Parnell has a good chance of returning early in the year, if not by Opening Day itself. That would create difficult but welcome decisions for New York, which has received encouraging production from some younger late-inning arms like Jenrry Mejia, Vic Black, and Jeurys Familia.

Here’s more from the NL East:

  • The Mets are using the rest of this year to take a long look at outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post. The 27-year-old will be out of options next year. Though he has spent much of the year at Triple-A, Nieuwenhuis has posted a strong .259/.361/.506 slash with three home runs and four stolen bases over his 97 big league plate appearances to date.
  • An underappreciated element of the Nationals‘ success is the team’s well-balanced lineup, writes Drew Fairservice of Fangraphs. The club’s current starting lineup is made up entirely of players who have produced better than league average offensively this year, and that is with Ryan Zimmerman still on the disabled list.
  • Of course, that same well-balanced group of position players will also make for some tough decisions — both now and in the future — when Zimmerman returns to the mix. His torn hamstring is improving, making a mid to late-September return seem likely, according to a report from Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. When he is activated, manager Matt Williams says, Zimmerman will play multiple defensive positions as he dials in his bat. “I would imagine he’ll play all three of those, on any given day,” said Williams. That creates some interesting possibilities for the Nats down the stretch, as they will be able to match up for the platoon advantage, give rest to regulars, and find a workable strategy for the postseason. It also could provide a look ahead at some of the possible arrangements for 2015 and beyond.
  • Whereas the Nats have plenty of options, the Phillies have few, writes Mike Petriello of Fangraphs. The club will shed only minimal veteran obligations after this year (Kyle Kendrick and Mike Adams), and arbitration raises will absorb much of that cash. Philadelphia’s problems remain largely the same as those I predicted and Petriello documented earlier this year: despite solid enough production from older players, the team’s overall roster (and, especially, its younger side) has not been good enough to rise out of the cellar. As Petriello goes on to argue, GM Ruben Amaro Jr.’s stated intention to turn over the club’s roster will play out against the stark backdrop that there are limited apparent routes — shopping Cole Hamels, getting something for Marlon Byrd, perhaps convincing Chase Utley to accept a trade — to swapping present value for future talent.

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6 Comments on "NL East Notes: Parnell, Nieuwenhuis, Nats, Phils"

1 year 29 days ago

I’d have to imagine that this offseason’s goals for RAJ (yes, I’m assuming he’s still the GM – until he isn’t) are:
1. Convince AJ to turn down the option
2. Trade Papelbon (for pretty much anything to dump the 2016 salary)
3. Trade Byrd (maybe combined with Bastardo) for a pair of mid-prospects (outside top 100, still in teams top 10-15)
4. Sign 2 risky starters to lower money, 1 year deals (Justin Masterson, Brandon Morrow, Colby Lewis, Brett Anderson, Chad Billingsley)

I know everyone wants Howard gone – but I couldn’t justify outright releasing him and eating the $60 M owed, just to “be done” with him (may change in a year if Franco is tearing up AAA, and Asche is proving himself a starting MLB 3B). I’d listen on Hamels – but would really want to be blown away on an offer for him (also, wait until after Scherzer/Lester/Shields sign this offseason if they do trade him). Other than that, you’re stuck with Lee, while Rollins and Utley have 10-5 rights, so I don’t predict anything for them. And Chooch (to me) is more valuable to the pitchers than what he would net in a trade.

Brian Swope
1 year 29 days ago

I agree with most of your post. I know a lot of people are trying to move Franco to 1st, but he’s a plus defender at 3rd isn’t he? I know Baseball America named him best defensive third baseman and best infield arm in the International League so a move to first seems like a waste especially since Asche’s defensive metrics are less than stellar. Also, do you think Ben Revere has any trade value? I realize not a good defensive centerfielder, but contact hitting, speed and a few years of team control might generate some interest.

1 year 29 days ago

I don’t want to see Franco moved to 1B straight away. My point was more, if we have two guys who are performing very well at the same position – and one could move to first, I’d then consider just cutting Howard. I think Franco could be an adequate (defensively) 3B for a few years. He has a tremendous arm and soft hands (every scouting report says that). His problem is, he’s got really clunky feet – which limits his ability to move from side to side well. The guy I liken him to (build/position-wise) is always Edwin Encarnacion. He can get by at 3B for a few years, but ultimately will be a 1B. Asche isn’t spectacular in the field, but he’s improved every year since college (going by eye test/scouts – since minor league defensive metrics are rather unreliable).
As far as Revere goes, I love the guy. I think if he moved to a corner OF spot, he’d be a 3+ WAR player (basing this on the fact that he is +9 DRS in 900 innings in corner in the majors, compared to -26 in CF).

1 year 29 days ago

Actually, I’d have to think Ruben still thinks he can make a run next year, so:
1. Offer AJ a two-year $30 million extension
2. Give Mike Morse a two-year $20 million deal to platoon with Howard and play some outfield
3. Sign Max Scherzer to an 8-year $208 million contract
4. Sign Pat Neshek to a four-year $36 million contract

1 year 29 days ago

Mejia closes. Familia gets the 8th. Black & Parnell are the 7th inning and will spell Familia/Mejia on their days off. Could be baseballs best bullpen.

1 year 28 days ago

I am failing to see where the almost 15 mil combined paid to Adams and Kendrick will be offset by arbitration raises. Arb eligible guys due for a spike are Revere, Bastardo and Brown. Failing to see more than 6 mil in raises there. I would argue Bastardo could be non-tendered, by a competent GM. I guess Rube will overpay as usual.