Nats struggle to build bullpen
As the winter meetings of general managers are about to get under way in Nashville, the Washington Nationals are scrambling to get a championship-caliber cadre of relief pitchers. GM Mike Rizzo says he has plenty of "irons in the fire," but for the most part he has struck out so far. See MLB.com Last Friday they signed left-hand pitcher Oliver Perez to a two-year contract worth $7 million. They were interested in acquiring free agent pitcher Darren O'Day, but he decided to stay with the Baltimore Orioles since they offered him a four-year contract. In any case, former closer Drew Storen is widely expected to be traded in the near future.
In contrast, Rizzo still talks as though Jonathan Papelbon is going to be the Nats' closing pitcher next year, but that's probably just a way to keep his trading value higher than it would otherwise be. With a record of trouble-making like Papelbon has, who would want him? And as somebody said on Facebook, the Lerners refuse to "eat" the salary they owe him for next year. Awk-ward!
Chapman trade is held up
Another player the Nationals were seeking is Reds' closing pitcher Aroldis Chapman, but they lost out to the Dodgers. It may be just as well, however, as Chapman was accused of domestic violence by his girlfriend. It was recently reported that she told police of a violent argument which they had on October 30, so now the deal is on hold while MLB officials investigate. See ESPN.
Sun Life Stadium tweak
Ever the perfectionist, I added a few missing details to the Sun Life (Dolphin) Stadium diagrams. There are terraces for handicapped fans in the deep corners of the upper deck, to the left and right of center field, and also on the right side behind home plate. These were not present when the Marlins started playing in 1993, so they must have been built several years after that, at least. Plus, there is (or was until this year) a small field-level seating section near the right field corner, a press box at the top of the upper deck on the south (first base) side, and camera wells at the front edge of the upper deck at the 50-yard line. I may [eventually] indicate on those diagrams which parts of the upper deck were closed off for baseball games. By the end of the Marlins' stay there in 2011, they stopped selling upper-deck tickets altogether.
Also, week or two ago, I added a new upper-deck diagram for U.S. Cellular Field, showing the support beams which were added when the upper deck was reduced in size and given a new, bigger roof in 2003.