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Around the NL East: Hope for Miami

May 7, 2013, 4:58 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today

By Steve Roney
CSNwashington.com

Yes, it's still the Braves in the catbird seat, but after faltering in two losses against the Nationals, the division lead is certainly in doubt. Meanwhile, Tim Hudson reached an important milestone and there seem to be signs of life in Miami.

Atlanta Braves (19-12)
Atlanta's hold on the division has remained fairly constant, with the lead now 2.5 games over the Nationals, who finally broke through early last week with two victories in Atlanta. Evan Gattis has cooled sufficiently and will lose at-bats whenever Brian McCann returns from the DL, and the outfielders not named Justin are showing no signs of perking up just yet, though Jason Heyward could be forgiven, as he is disabled while recovering from an appendectomy.

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  1. Whack-a-Mule - May 7, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Mule is delighted with Mark's designation of the Marlin's Marcell Ozuna as "Player of the Weak(sic)" !"Rem acu tetigisti"

  2. Sec. 3, My Comfortability Sofa - May 7, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Sec. 3, My Comfortability Sofa - May 7, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Nevermind.

  4. Sec. 3, My Comfortability Sofa - May 7, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    "Player of the Weak" is cute, but it's Chase's post, not Mark's.

  5. Section 222 - May 7, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    And it's Steve Roney's story, not Chase's.

  6. NatsJack in Florida - May 7, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    It actually appears to be a "Steve Roney" and not Mark or Chase.

  7. karlkolchak - May 7, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    "Enjoy these kids for the next five and a half years, Marlins fan."More like two-and-a-half before they hit arbitration.

  8. Theophilus T. S. - May 7, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Theophilus T. S. - May 7, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Too many cooks roil the froth.

  10. Section 222 - May 7, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    NJ, I invite you to pay up on the NIDO Spreadsheet. :-)

  11. NatsJack in Florida - May 7, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Now updated.

  12. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 7, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    The Braves may still be on top but they have problems throughout their lineup and rotation. Freddi leads off with BJ Upton with his .148/.231/.269/.500 and he K'd 4 times in 4 official at-bats. Heyward who is on the DL for another week wasn't producing before he went on the DL and Uggla isn't doing much better.Where they have found a way to win is that combo of JUp, Chris Johnson, and Freeman as their most consistent players.While the Braves are still a couple of games ahead of the Nats, the Braves have also had a much easier schedule.

  13. baseballswami - May 7, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    I find it interesting that Miami sent all of their "elite" players to Toronto and we all thought they were left with with the dregs after stripping their team bare. What is actually happening is that those very same players who did not click in Miami are not clicking in Toronto either. The players that remain in Miami seem to have a chance to be a decent team. So was it the organization or was it the players? Not that I think the Miami organization is a paragon of baseball ownership or anything, but maybe they did the right thing in sending them packing as early as they did?

  14. baseballswami - May 7, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Also — since I have been at work all morning I did not get to chime in on the Bryce situation. Question for all of you — do you think that the umpire persecuting the team's little brother helped rally them on Sunday? That game seemed like a perfect set up for an implosion, but yet, they rallied. They have not exactly been rallying a lot this season. I was thinking that maybe someone picking on Bryce, who has already been playing hurt, got their backs up and they rallied around each other a little more. I have heard people say that they team needed a fight or something to spark them — was that it?

  15. EmDash - May 7, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    The Marlins-Blue Jays case is really interesting. I remember being a bit skeptical when the were hailed as instant contenders after trading for most of a terrible team, but I didn't expect them to flame out as badly as they have been either. They made some bets on players, and every one turned out poorly – Reyes and Josh Johnson couldn't stay healthy, and Buehrle and Dickey couldn't perform as well in a stronger offensive division. It's a bit sad, and I hope the team can at least try to compete for their fans' sake.

  16. JD - May 7, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Swami, I think you hit it. From a baseball perspective there was no reason to hold on to overpriced, oft injured under performers. They weren't going anywhere with them any way. The issue here is that they signed all these guys with great hype and fanfare to go along with their new publicly financed stadium in a pretense that they will use their new found wealth on the team instead of lining their pockets. In fact Loria et all never had any intention to run a team with a top echelon budget. They have pulled their shtick before and shame on Commissioner Bud for letting them in and for allowing them to continuously fleece the fans.

  17. Alphabet Soup Erik - May 7, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    If they weren't the Marlins, everybody would have praised what they did last year by unloading all of that garbage. Many of you on this blog said what a joke this franchise was last year when they gave up all of these "stars" and decided to cut their losses. I thought it was a great move. What did they really lose? Reyes (injured all of the time), Buehrle, Josh Johnson (nuff said), Hanley Ramirez (only good player of the bunch, but he would be too old by the time the rebuilding process pays off at all, Anibel Sanchez (easily replaceable), Heath Bell (over the hill). Just wait until they get two #1 picks in a row (or maybe 3). They had to rebuild once they knew they couldn't win with their current hand.

  18. JD - May 7, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    We should be right there whenever the Marlins decide to dump Stanton's salary. I hear the Mets inquired and were told that it will take Wheeler, D'Arnaud +. To translate to Nats I think we are talking Rendon, Goodwin +. I wouldn't do that.

  19. JD - May 7, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Erik,You miss my point entirely. The issue here is that they tricked the local governments into building a new stadium for them where they also get all the concessions and parking rights promising to field a strong contending team. Then they sign every free agent on the market continuing with the charade and finally dumping everyone so they can continue to get profit sharing money from the Yankees et al and stuffing their pockets.

  20. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 7, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    JD, any corporation or individual that heard there was a 'no trade' clause should've thought twice about anything more than a 1 year commitment with Loria on advertising, suites and season tickets. He has done it before to that fanbase and I think any hope for 'trust' has been ruined forever. The taxpayers really got screwed.Reyes is a star but just doesn't seem the type of star to lead a team. Buehrle is good as a #4 or #5 pitcher and Josh Johnson was injured and a risk.I said after the trade I felt bad for the Marlins fans but thought if any of those players materialized they got in return they would have a good young team. It wasn't a horrible trade in much the same way Boston sold that grouping to the Dodgers.

  21. JD - May 7, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Ghost,'It wasn't a horrible trade in much the same way Boston sold that grouping to the Dodgers.' That's exactly right. If you are paying top dollar you should field a winning team otherwise you go back and rebuild. I think Beinfest knows what he is doing baseball wise; he always has. When it comes to Loria, when that shyster comes into your town you better hide your Women and children and hold on to your wallets real tight.

  22. Alphabet Soup Erik - May 7, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    JD,I think they tried to build a contender and had to jump ship once they realized it wasn't going to work. I don't buy into the whole trickery concept in this case regarding the stadium, etc. They sold off their players after WS wins because they couldn't afford to keep them playing in that dump of a stadium. I can't really fault them for that. Didn't the Ravens just do the same thing? Granted they have a salary cap, but the bottom line is that professional sports boil down to that bottom line. Just wait until we lose Desmond, Zimmermann, Harper, Strasburg or Gio because we gave Zimmerman and Werth contracts that were entirely too big and too long.

  23. NatsLady - May 7, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    OK, Erik, if you are around, I published and it didn't "take". I haven't published since yesterday's "injury daze." Here is the post. In the on-going series, some of which are in my blog reading list, some aren't. Opening Day Startershttp://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/05/second-best-opening-day-starters.html

  24. JD - May 7, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Erik, Whatever you say. Just keep in mind that the Marlins get oodles of money every year in equalization payments from other teams and they don't put that money into the team. Don't tell me that what they did last year was try to contend. They were in on every free agent including Pujols with great fanfare specifically to try and make a splash in an effort to sell their stadium out and placate their critics.

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 7, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Erik, I can see what you are saying but they always had that 'no trade' as their fail-safe if they didn't win immediately and you knew it was a possibility. The taxpayers are the ones who had no say in it and were screwed.It was clear a few months into the season that combo of Reyes with Hanley wasn't going to work. Their pitching wasn't getting the job done and they team lacked chemistry.

  26. baseballswami - May 7, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    But I think the Miami brain trusts really did think those players were going to get them a ring. I don't think they were trying to fake anything – they just are really, really poor judges of talent. Toronto obviously went to the same well thinking it was just a Miami thing. Fool me once… fool me twice.

  27. Alphabet Soup Erik - May 7, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    For those that bash Loria, what would you have done if you were in his shoes? Just asking. I am much more neutral than most on that guy, because I just don't think he did anything I wouldn't have done. He wanted a new stadium (which was absolutely needed) and promised to build a contender. He tried (poorly) and failed. He then decided to cut his losses by getting rid of these players and starting over. He probably knew (like Steve M said) that this was a strong possibility. So…he took a long-shot gamble, got a new stadium, and is rebuilding now like he thought he might have to do. At least he has a new stadium to do it in…and taxpayer dollars go to much dumber things anyways. If they have a really good team in a few years at least now they will have a stadium that brings in the $ to keep some of the players there…if their loser fans show up. Will they do it is the question. I guess a strong fan base really can help win championships!!!

  28. NatsJack in Florida - May 7, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Next thing you know, someine will step foreward telling us what a wonderful job Angelos has done bringing baseball back to DC

  29. Section 222 - May 7, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Erik, check out this article by Jeff Passan. It's one of a number of good summaries of why Loria is so despised. One of the main reasons is the long history of moves designed to maximize profit regardless of outcome on the field.

  30. Alphabet Soup Erik - May 7, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Nice informative argument NatsJack. Like I said…answer my question. What would you have done? Fund the new stadium out of your own pockets? The only mistake he made (and nobody knows for sure who really pulled the trigger) was signing those guys in the first place…and I can even argue that even that wasn't a mistake. They received quite a few prospects for dead weight. A good start to the rebuilding process that may have been almost a foregone conclusion to them in the first place. They were in an all or nothing situation last year because they knew the Braves and Nats were set for a good 5 years. What did Loria really cost the franchise by these decisions?

  31. Eric - May 7, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    >OK, Erik, if you are around, I published and it didn't "take". I haven't published since yesterday's "injury daze." If this is to me (just being clear as I have a 'c', whereas Alphabet has a 'k'), if my read on the blog roll is correct, it's a matter of two cycles converging: 1) The blog roll crawler has to make a pass where there's new content on the blog AND 2) it has to be your blog's "turn" to show up when the crawler passes.I suspect yours will be up soon. Washington Sports Bog wasn't too far below yours yesterday, and it's at the top of the list now.

  32. Alphabet Soup Erik - May 7, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    Section 222,Good article summarizing the disdain for Loria and hearing his side of the story. I still don't disagree with what he is doing. As an owner, you are damned if you spend money and damned if you don't. If the Nats stunk and still played in RFK (drawing what the Marlins did) I wouldn't have minded doing what they did. Stanton, 6 of the top 100 prospects, 2-3 future top 3 picks and a new stadium is a good start. I have yet to see evidence of him solely seeking to maximize profits at the expense of performance on the field. The political side of his dealings is no doubt very shady, but honestly, who wouldn't do the same thing.

  33. A DC Wonk - May 7, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. Section 222 - May 7, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    The political side of his dealings is no doubt very shady, but honestly, who wouldn't do the same thing.Really? Your expectations are pretty low I guess. I don't love the Lerners by any means, but they sure seem like they care more about this city and the fans than Loria does about Miami and the Marlins fans.

  35. DWS - May 7, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Loria has fooled enough. Time for a commissioner to not embarrass himself. If not what's the point?

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