alex gonzalez

NL East Update: The one where Atlanta upgrades at shortstop

The Braves have taken “proven” over “potential” in their Alex Gonzalez for Yunel Escobar trade with the Blue Jays.

At first glance, I thought the Braves made a mistake in trading away their young shortstop with great “potential” but after much thought, I can understand why they shipped him out of town. Escobar had steadily improved year by year up until 2010, where he is batting just .238 with no home runs and only 19 RBI. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s new shortstop is in the midst of a career year, batting .259 with 17 home runs and 50 RBI. The Braves realized that in order to make a genuine run at the post season, they would have to upgrade at the shortstop position. In the end, Escobar was just too big of a liability in the field; they needed a sure thing with a considerable amount of post-season experience.

Angel Pagan has been terrific filling in for the injured Carlos Beltran, so who is going to be the odd man out?

Pagan has been the perfect fit for this Mets lineup. He adds more speed at the top of the lineup, he can get on base, hit the occasional long ball, and cover a lot of room in centerfield. I do think Pagan had a legitimate argument to be an All-Star, if Omar Infante got in, then why shouldn’t he? What Shane Victorino has been for the Phillies during their run of dominance, Pagan has been the same for the Mets. They are both gritty players who are baseball savvy and will always give it 110%, as a manager, what else can you ask for? Talk about a tough decision for Jerry Manuel, who has decided to place Jeff Francoeur, the man with the best outfield arm in baseball, to the bench.

Marlin Maniac dissects how Florida’s offense fared in the first half of the season.

Clearly, the statistic that stands out is how the Marlins have outscored their opponents by 20 runs but only have a 42-46 record to show for it. What does that say about their pitching staff…or most notably their bullpen? That is a discussion for another day. Although the Marlins hitters have put up a considerable amount of runs, is it wrong to say that their best hitter, Hanley Ramirez, is underachieving this year? Hanley probably set the bar too high after his career year in 2009, in which he hit .342 with 24 home runs and 106 RBI. Look for Ramirez to have a better second half. By the way, he has raised his average from .292 to .301 since Fredi Gonzalez got fired…I’m just saying…

Beer Leaguer gives us his take on the evolution of Ryan Howard.

A lot of people, including myself, have been giving Ryan Howard a tough time this season due to his low home run total, but the truth of the matter is, Howard is as good as he has ever been. He is tied for the NL lead in RBI with 65 and his .293 average is as high as it’s been since his MVP season in 2006. His team’s lineup has been a mess all year with no consistency so Phillies fans have to be pleased to see at least one sure thing in the batting order everyday.

Federal Baseball looks at what we have learned from the Cliff Lee deal, and how the Nationals can use this knowledge when looking for Adam Dunn suitors.

The team I keep hearing about in regards to Adam Dunn are the Angels, and the more I hear about it, the more I think it will happen (then again Cliff Lee to the Yankees was a sure thing too). Quite frankly I think Anaheim is a great fit for Dunn, the Angels need a first baseman, this would be the first time he would be on a serious contender in his career and he has the potential to hit home runs that would reach Disneyland. It sounds like Dunn wants out of Washington too, since the Nationals haven’t shown any interest in working towards a long-term deal, which is sending a negative message to their first baseman.