corey seidman

NL East departures of Josh Donaldson, Anthony Rendon are like a free-agent signing for Phillies

NL East departures of Josh Donaldson, Anthony Rendon are like a free-agent signing for Phillies

A lot happened across baseball last week, so much in fact that a $92 million contract was kind of overlooked.

Josh Donaldson signed early in the week with the Minnesota Twins. Four years, $92 million for the 34-year-old third baseman who returned to an All-Star-level in 2019 with the Braves. Donaldson went to Atlanta last offseason on a one-year, $23 million deal and proved his health, hitting .259 with a .900 OPS, 37 homers, 94 RBI and 100 walks. He's always been a plus defender and last season was no exception.

This is a big loss for the Braves, and you have to say their offseason looks worse in light of losing Donaldson. They were active early, signing Cole Hamels, lefty reliever Will Smith, righty reliever Chris Martin and catcher Travis d'Arnaud.

But the loss of Donaldson negates most, if not all of that. 

The Braves are still probably a playoff team — 88 or so wins feels right for this team. 

Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. are still MVP-caliber players. Ozzie Albies, Mike Soroka and Max Fried are good, young players. At third base, the Braves can use 23-year old Austin Riley or 26-year-old Johan Camargo. 

Riley's first 30 games as a rookie last season were so impressive — he hit .298, slugged .628, went deep 11 times and drove in 32 runs. It was a nightmarish, swing-and-miss-filled season for him after that. 

Camargo, you'll recall, was productive in 2018. It was his first full season and he hit .272/.349/.457 with 19 homers and 76 RBI. Most teams would take that at third base. The Donaldson signing by Atlanta last offseason was a surprise because of what the Braves had at the hot corner. There are worse third base situations than Riley/Camargo.

Still, Donaldson is such a difference-maker. Another difference-maker who has left the division. The exits of Donaldson and Anthony Rendon are huge plusses for the Phillies and Mets. It's tough to conceptualize it, but not having to face Donaldson and Rendon is almost as beneficial as a one more solid free-agent signing for the Phillies. The drop-off from those two third basemen to Riley/Camargo in Atlanta and Starlin Castro/Asdrubal Cabrera in Washington is massive. Like, maybe 50 fewer extra-base hits.

Donaldson and Rendon had 145 combined plate appearances last season against the Phillies. Rendon hit .353 with a 1.102 OPS in his. Donaldson hit six homers, four doubles and drove in 16 runs in his 18 games.

All told, the NL East (aside from the Phillies) lost more than it gained this offseason. Out are Donaldson, Rendon and Dallas Keuchel. In are Hamels and Smith in Atlanta; Dellin Betances, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha in New York; Will Harris, Castro and Eric Thames in Washington; Corey Dickerson in Miami.

Aaron Nola will not miss facing Donaldson and Rendon. Those two hit a combined .345/.456/.545 with four homers and three doubles in 68 plate appearances against the Phillies' top starter. 

Donaldson is also 9 for 16 lifetime against Zack Wheeler, 6 for 14 with five extra-base hits off Zach Eflin and 4 for 12 with three homers vs. Nick Pivetta.

Rendon is 11 for 21 with four homers and 10 RBI off Pivetta.

Phillies fans may be frustrated by the post-Wheeler/Didi Gregorius period of the offseason, but Phillies pitchers are cool with how it's played out.

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Brian Dawkins schools Phillies prospects on how to handle boos

Brian Dawkins schools Phillies prospects on how to handle boos

A group of Phillies prospects was in town this week for the organization’s annual prospects education seminar.

One of those lessons came from a legend.

Brian Dawkins, the most motivational athlete this city has ever seen, shared with the group his thoughts on playing in Philadelphia and responding to the passionate fan base.

“Playing in Philadelphia is different,” Dawkins said. “If you get on the field, there is a 99.99 percent chance you will be booed. The thing I always knew though was that you may boo me that one time but I’m not gonna make the same mistake again.”

The group included Alec Bohm, the Phillies’ top offensive prospect, and Cristopher Sanchez, a pitching prospect with a 100 mph arm profiled here by Jim Salisbury.

Check out the video here if you’re seeking some extra juice at the gym or just want to see Weapon X drop some jewels.

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Mets part ways with Carlos Beltran

Mets part ways with Carlos Beltran

This has truly turned into one of the most historic scandals in MLB history.

The Mets parted ways with manager Carlos Beltran on Thursday afternoon, less than three months after hiring him. He's the third manager in the last week to be either fired or step down following the Astros' cheating scandal, joining AJ Hinch and Alex Cora. That's two World Series-winning managers and another in Beltran whose hire resulted in near universal praise.

Will our great grandchildren be talking about this 100 years from now the way we still reference the Black Sox scandal of 1919?

Beltran was named in commissioner Rob Manfred's report which detailed the Astros' sign-stealing. Beyond Cora, Beltran's name was mentioned the most. As recently as two months ago, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen dismissed questions about Beltran's involvement and told reporters he saw it as an Astros issue.

Not anymore.

"We met with Carlos last night and again this morning and agreed to mutually part ways," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and Van Wagenen wrote in a statement.

"This was not an easy decision. Considering the circumstances, it became clear to all parties that it was not in anyone's best interest for Carlos to move forward as manager of the New York Mets.

"We believe that Carlos was honest and forthcoming with us. We are confident that this will not be the final chapter in his baseball career. We remain excited about the talent on this team and are committed to reaching our goals of winning now and in the future."

It seemed inevitable over the last 48 hours that Beltran would be let go. The focus shifted from Hinch and former Astros GM Jeff Luhnow to Cora and then to Beltran. The stink kept spreading and the Mets obviously feel they're better off cutting ties now to avoid any awkwardness or questions about their own franchise.

"Over my 20 years in the game, I've always taken pride in being a leader and doing things the right way, and in this situation, I failed," Beltran's statement read. "As a veteran player on the team, I should've recognized the severity of the issue and truly regret the actions that were taken."

This shakes up the NL East a bit. No, managers don't have the same impact on baseball teams that head coaches in the NFL or NBA have, but the Mets are now in scramble mode. Pitchers and catchers report in less than a month. 

And beyond that, the Mets might be the third-most attractive managerial vacancy right now behind the Astros and Red Sox.

Buck Showalter? He's a New York-savvy guy and was a finalist for the job here that went to Joe Girardi.

As disappointing as the post-Didi Gregorius/Zack Wheeler period of the offseason has been for many Phillies fans, two events this week did benefit them: the Mets' disarray and Josh Donaldson's departure from the Braves to sign with the Twins.

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