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The Chief, and the future: What's next?

So Chad Cordero is clearly, clearly struggling, and the disturbing part is that he's no longer sure what's wrong. I think it was rather easy to figure out what was happening a couple of years ago, when he was relying on his slider far, far too much and got away from his fastball.

But Sunday, when Cordero blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Cordero went back to his fastball, and he still couldn't find the strike zone to begin the inning. Four straight balls to Cliff Floyd to start the inning? Cordero knows that's inexcusable.

And you know what was crazy? After starting the inning with six straight balls, Cordero pounded the strike zone. There were runners on first and third when Alfonso Soriano hit a short fly ball to right for the first out. Then Ryan Theriot came up. Cordero pounded him with a couple of fastballs for strikes to start, going up 0-2. He missed with a ball off the plate, then threw a fastball that was -- what, exactly? Too high? Just off the plate?

That pitch could have been strike three, and for a pitcher that had been completely in control of his location, he might have gotten the call. But to that point, Cordero certainly didn't deserve the benefit of the doubt. He didn't get it. Thus, Theriot fouled off three 2-2 pitches. And then he didn't exactly rip a pitch, but did a good job fisting it over the head of Felipe Lopez at second base, tying the score.

This is obviously a huge concern for the organization, not just because Cordero is failing to save games now, but because it could impact his standing within this franchise -- or another. Cordero's stuff is essentially the same. His results are not. His confidence has to be wavering.

No one -- not Cordero, not Manny Acta -- is willing to lay it all on the fact that Cordero does not get regular work in save situations, just because the Nationals simply don't hit well enough to get a lead.

"I don't make excuses for my guys," Acta said after Sunday's game. "Still, yo ugot to go out there and get the job done. He's still my closer."

Acta was clear: He doesn't feel there are other options, and he believes that -- even if there were -- Cordero has proven himself in the role, and five bad weeks don't mean he loses his job. Keep in mind that the Nationals have twice won when Cordero has blown a save, so it's not like the team would be way up the standings if the Chief was performing to his capabilities. That said, would you keep him in that roll?

We'll get to that in an official capacity. (And, if you didn't check the Journal over the weekend, see the below entry about what your lineup would be with Logan and Guzman back. Plenty of room for commentary there.)

The second part of Sunday's activity came with John Patterson being placed on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation/discomfort/pain/tightness in his right elbow and biceps. Patterson was nearly emotional after the game. The guy had 30 starts and 200 innings in his mind since the offseason, and now it seems extremely doubtful that he'll make either goal.

Patterson's history is well-documented: a world of talent, but a world of health problems to go with it.

So, we ask two questions:

1. Would you keep Chad Cordero as the closer? If not, what's your solution.

2. Will John Patterson ever develop into a consistent 15-win, 200-inning guy?

Much to chew on. I'm driving to Milwaukee Monday morning. Maybe I'll run into this guy. When I get to Miller Park in the afternoon, I expect to have plenty of thoughtful answers.

By Barry Svrluga  |  May 7, 2007; 12:53 AM ET
 
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Next: News and notes, in-game edition

Comments

Certainly if sheer desire and grit can do it then the answer to your question about Patterson is clearly yes. Of course, it is foolish to even ask that question until we know the prognosis of this latest arm problem. I wonder , instead of just treating the injuries as they occur, if anyone has tried to discover the underlying cause of the injuries and what, if anything , can be done to prevent them in the future. Is there an inherent weakness in the arm? Could it be hereditary - his father's pitching career was cut short by an arm injury from which he did not recover. It is extremely disheartening for Patterson, the team, and the fans, for him to recover - if he ever really did- from one arm injury, only to come down with another before he has regained his 2005 form. I thought this was one of the reasons the team has trainers and doctors.

Posted by: thunderstrucknatsfan | May 7, 2007 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Barry, you made me laugh and made me thirsty. I hope I don't squirt beer from my nose.

Let's take the easy question first, #2. In a word, NO. Maybe Nasty is most valuable in a bullpen role, a la Jason Isringhausen.

#1: Sunday's loss is puzzling, because Cordero looked great Saturday.

After today's loss, I finally realized that a team this bad does not need a closer. Especially a closer with an arbitration salary.

Let's give Cordero another month, and hope he can be effective (Unfortunately, Cordero may be forced to take bereavement leave during this month).

While Cordero is improving, Bowden needs to find a fair trade involving Cordero and pull the trigger. Waiting for a one-sided trade offer from a desperate playoff contender is too risky.

Posted by: BrianH | May 7, 2007 3:10 AM | Report abuse

cordero never had the stuff to be a great closer, his fastball is unimpressive and he does not dominate al a billy wags or mariano. i think jon rauch would be better in the roll of closer. i wish they had not dealt bill bray...he was as close to billy wags as we will see in the next 10 years.

as for JP, he is too fragile, much like many of today's pitchers. think kerry wood or mark prior. power pitchers are a thing of the past. shawn hill with his natural pitch movement are the best bet today's game.

i love chief...but the league has figured out his mediocre fastball. as for JP, great stuff, no durability.

Posted by: love | May 7, 2007 3:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a fan of the one-inning closer to start with. Rather than bank every close game on one pitcher's command of one pitch, it would seem far wiser to groom a Jon Rauch-type to become the next Bruce Sutter, not so much to preclude the use of a specialist in the last inning as to leverage the team's resources most effectively.

As for Patty, it's mightily tempting either to be too hopeful or too pessimistic. While resisting both extremes, I note that in this past winter's mad market for pitchers, JP drew an arbitration award that was only half what he had been asking. What did that arbitrator know that we don't, hmmm...

Posted by: Hendo | May 7, 2007 5:49 AM | Report abuse

I like the Chief, even though - as many have said about him all along - he always makes it interesting. But at this point, I do think the best move would be to anoint Colome as the closer. Because, as we all know, Jesus saves.

Posted by: Section 419 | May 7, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Barry, the word is role, not roll; but in any event, as I have said before, Cordero is overrated and we need a closer we can count on. Same goes for Patterson. One thing is sure, we will never be able to count on Patterson to be a number five, let alone a number one. He's a big baby. Buy him some Pampers and send him down to AA until he grows into his potential, then trade hime to some sucker real quick.

Posted by: Dancer | May 7, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

1) Of course we should keep Cordero as our closer. Right up until he starts doing well, after which we should trade him to Cincinnati for two of their starting position players.

2) We don't have a lot of evidence indicating that John Patterson will ever be able to do that, so no. We have to assume that he's not available when making plans for future years. If he's healthy, he can surely beat out whoever we pencil in for the #5 spot in the rotation.

Posted by: Lindemann | May 7, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Agree with the other comments, Nasty is our own personal Prior/Wood, hopefully we come to that conclusion sooner rather than later. After watching Chief again yesterday, its clear that everyone has figured out his lame 89 mph fastball. Location ability is gone, seems like he goes up there and hurls the ball and hopes for the best. Every save appearance is nerve wracking. I'm REALLY looking forward to the draft next month, there are some brutally good LHP's in the top 10.

Posted by: G-town | May 7, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

As much as I love the Chief, he's been living on borrowed time for a while. Are there any other successful closers who routinely throw in the 80s up in the strike zone? The only analogue I can think of is Bob Wickman, who keeps the ball down more. Two options: 1) Give the ball to Colome; 2) Keep rolling Cordero out in the closer role & hope he can save 3 games in a row so he can be traded.

Posted by: Section 418 | May 7, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm frustrated about Cordero, but I'm willing to work with him through Memorial Day and see if he can get collected.

As another comment said, I'm concerned that his rookie-season one-pitch trick has been figured out by the league and that might be all he's got. That may not be the problem, but that's plausible.

But since he's blown four saves and we've scrapped back to win two of them, his struggles have cost this team a total of two games (and immeasurable heartburn). With a record of 9-22 it wouldn't matter all that much. If there is ever going to be a time to throw him into the deep end and let him figure out a new way to outsmart major league hitters, now is that time.

That said, if he doesn't work out, I'll be the first in line to get a Jesus Saves t-shirt.

Posted by: i hate walks | May 7, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Future? What future?

The Nats do not understand the concept of the "insurance run," so I wouldn't place all the blame on Cordero. Also, given his performance, he likely has ceased to be trade bait for anyone but Kansas City. So I'd keep him in that role.

As to Patterson, it's time the Nats/MASN stopped running promos during the game highlighting Patterson. Come to think of it, no Nats player deserves to be in a promo at this point. Those ads are embarrassing, because they juxtapose some mediocre Nat against Chipper Jones or John Smoltz or Tom Glavine. Give me a break.

Posted by: JohnR (VA) | May 7, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Cordero will be fine. It's all about location and he is missing his spots right now. His track record merits hanging with him for considerably longer than 5 weeks.

Patterson has had one decent healthy stretch in '05. That's it. I am afraid that G-Town summed it up beautifully:
he is our Prior/Wood.

Posted by: Section 214, Row 10 | May 7, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Barry -- I'll donate $50 to the Nationals Foundation if you slide down Bernie's slide this week and write a post about it. Any other commenters like to join me in this mission?

That'd knock that Steinbog back on his heels for sure.

Posted by: Sam | May 7, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

1. Patterson -- not a guy you can rely on. He reminds me more of a pitching Griffey circa 2002. Obviously he has the desire but there is some karma somewhere making him repeatedly get hurt. I'd keep him on the team, because his salary isn't that high and there really is little risk and could still potentially be some reward. The disappointment is only in the expectations of him, which were probably unrealistic.

2. Cordero. I would trade him right now, because I think the league has figured him out and he's never going to get any better. This isn't a bad stretch, he has been pitching this badly throughout 2007. I saw him do the same thing in Jupiter in spring training against the Marlins' B team. Sad to say, because I really like the guy, but for the psyche of the team and the paying customers, he has to go.

Posted by: Ray | May 7, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

There used to be a time (cough2005coughcough) when these two guys were basically demi-gods in my view. It seemed if they were involved, the game was a win. Sadly, now I think this:

1) Chief is toast. He might not be able to save above AA. A 88 mph fastball, even if it has precision, is just not going to cut it now that everyone knows to look for it. The slider doesn't compliment him at all because everyone knows he can't throw it for strikes. Solution? Put him in a trade package with Dmitri Young when Nick comes back. That will hopefully increase the value of what we get back. And I'm not sure if I want that Jesus saving...although I admit there aren't many options. Maybe Levale?

2) Patterson...let him ride out his injuries, and then pitch him only in long relief. I like the comparison to Isringhausen. Not only do I think we have people (Simontacchi, Speigner, Traber, O'Conner) who can do an as good, if not better, job as him, but for his arm's sake. He can't be allowed to pitch multiple innings anymore.

Now is when I wish we had Sori the most. He could pick us up some real pitchers.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | May 7, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Whoa.

Let's put the Chief's performance in perspective.

I'm frustrated too. Along with Zimmerman and Patterson, we are counting on him to be a strong performer on a weak team. When he fails, it really hurts, because the opportunities to win have been scarce.

But Zimmerman and Patterson have also performed far below expectations. Chief has been a top-notch closer in the NL. He is young and is developing off-speed pitches. He is better today than he was April 1, while holding the most stressful job on this team. Let's be a bit more patient and give the Chief the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: BrianH | May 7, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Keep Cordero as the closer, but use Rauch in some save opportunities. I'd use Rauch to help break a losing streak or when Cordero has put two runners on in a row. And if you already had used Rauch, I'd consider putting in anyone who is left in the pen.

On a related matter, I would recommend sending Wagner down for a month and let him work a little less and find his stuff/arm slot again.

While I'm managing the team, I'd also bring Hanrahan and Simotacchi up for Patterson and Williams respectively and I'd send Chico down and bring up anyone who is healthy.

Speaking of which, we need an update on Claussen. What's the ETA? What happened to Astacio? Last I heard he was signed in the spring. Is he pitching in Columbus or did he get released again?

Finally, I've got to believe that there is a better defensive 1B out there. We don't have a legitimate 1B defender on the team. I guess there is no chance that the Reds would trade Conine to us for an injurred reliever (or is there????).

Posted by: NatBisquit | May 7, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I understand the sentiment on giving up on the Chief....I feel it too....but I remember feeling the same way about one Claudio Vargas---don't we face him and his 3-0 record tonight?

Posted by: pk | May 7, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Wow, lot of anger against Patty and the Chief. Don't quite get that, raise your hand if you thought we'd be much better than we are right now??? Let them struggle through it.

Chief and his fastball. Joe Borowski is 2nd in the majors in saves and not sure he's ever broken 90. Every year, some team unloads him because a closer has to through 97 and every year someone else signs him and he saves just about every game he's put into. Location, location, location. Loved the idea of letting Chief turn it around and then trade him to Reds for two position players. Great idea.

Would LOVE to see Colome as closer only for the Jesus Saves headlines. Can't beeat that.

Patty - Thanks to Thunderstrucck, I now know that he threw 198 IP in '05. As the husband of a lifelong Cubs fan, I can tell you he is a long way from being Prior/Wood. After three years of 40IP we can bust out those comparisons. Give him some time because we can afford it. If he can't do this year and next, then maybe he goes to the bullpen. He's dirt cheap and has a great year under his belt.

I thought we'd be a little better than we are right now but not much. Just relax everyone. We're supposed to stink this year. If they do this in '09, then we get angry. This year, we just look for pieces on which to build the future. Very happy at the prospects of Bergman, Hill, Colome, Rauch, Zimm, and even Cordero and Patterson. Give them some time.

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | May 7, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

1. Rauch, Rauch, Rauch

2. No. Keep him, but PLEASE make people stop using the words "ace" and "Patterson" in the same sentence

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | May 7, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Dancer: "... then trade hime to ..."

... presumably you meant to write "him"? Mistakes are a dime a dozen these days, so chill.


Barry: ... while you out there in Cheesetown, go knock on Bud Light's door and give him a big thank you for all he did for my Expos when he held the reins.

Posted by: david f watts | May 7, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I still remember June 2005 when the Nats were looking at finishing in 1st place in the NL East, the same month that Chad Cordero tied the Major League record for saves in a month (15). He became and remains my favorite Nats player... fun personality with loads of talent. The lead was always safe with Chad, even if he made it interesting. He was the best reliever in baseball.

Although he wasn't as good in 2006, he still was a respectable closer and turned in a solid performance throughout the year.

So yeah, he's had a bad start this year, but let him figure it out. It's not like you could trade him now for anything anyway. If he figures out his stuff again and adjusts, it'll be worth it either for return in a trade or, as I'd prefer, a reliable Nats closer for years to come.

Posted by: cass | May 7, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Patterson is a Wood or a Prior? Why not say Pavano, too? It's scary the Nats "braintrust" is counting on this guy to be a key part of that future championship contender.

Posted by: Silver Spring | May 7, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Cordero has ever been an effective closer. People always say something like he makes it interesting, well that's the problem. A closer shouldn't make it interesting, they should close ballgames. I would like to see, even in 2005, the ratio of 1-2-3 innings he pitched versus innings where he put men on base. I also don't buy the arguement that he hasn't been in enough save situations. He won his arbitration case and is making how many million a year now? He is a professional athlete. The problem is he doesn't have much but a borderline fastball and the league has figured him out. No way anyone trades for him now. The Boston trade should have been pulled off before the season ever started and moved Rauch into the closers role.

As far as Patterson goes, I am a big Patterson supporter. But as one of Barry's Babes put it so well, let's not use the words Patterson and Ace in the same sentence. As much as I like him, he will never be a 15 game winner year in year out. In reality he's a number 4 maybe even 5 starter on most rotations other than our Nationals.

Posted by: Mike | May 7, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

1. The two big issues with Cordero are that he doesn't get a lot of save opportunities (already noted by others), but that he has virtually no margin of error when he comes in either. I don't know the answer to this, but when was the last time Cordero came in with more than a one-run lead? After all, it isn't like Theriot hit a rocket to score the tying run. If you take Cordero out of the closer spot, he loses just about all his value (trade and otherwise). And he's 25--he's earned the chance to straighten this out.
2. Patterson (I believe) is 29 and maybe this is the best we can expect out of him. He's a gamer, to be sure, but is fragile. As long as he has a relatively favorable contract, the risk is low, with a potentially high reward.
Tough times, but go Nats!

Posted by: mdmatth | May 7, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Cordero as closer? - Yes. He's the best option and struggled last year before putting it together. Besides, what's the big deal if he fails? No one seems too concerned about winning games this year. He could still be a good closer.

Patterson - Nope - too weak mentally, too damaged physically. Will never make 200 IP IMHO.

Posted by: Natswriter | May 7, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

With respect to your Patterson question, NO is the correct answer. For whatever reason, this guy can not get healthy.

Cordero is young and has a recent history of success. 2005 is not that long ago. I think he has gotten off to a shaky start but he should be given the opportunity to regain his 2005 form. Besides, what alternatives are there at this point? Hopefully, he will not be another Dick Hyde. I looked him up but old-timers with a better memory than me may recall that reliever Hyde was 10 and 3 with 18 saves and a 1.75 era in 1958 with a wretched Senators team that barely won 60 games. He could not really be described as unhittable but he was pretty darn good in 1958. He never did anything after that.

Posted by: bethesda | May 7, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Just to clarify...I'm a big fan of Cordero. Got my bobblehead displayed, cheer for him, etc.... But I like Rauch too ... and Colome ... and Rivera ... I'm not being disloyal to Cordero by suggesting that he get a little help in closing games. Yes, we all know the Nats are going to lose more than they win this year, but you don't want to 'train' your players to lose. You have to try to win every game, you have to want to win every game. The players have to believe that management wants to win every game and that is why at some point you have to spend a little money now or at the very least try a little something different when things are not working. Everybody has to do their best everyday including Fick, Church, Cordero, Acta, Bowden, Kasten, and the Lerners.

Posted by: NatBisquit | May 7, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Barry, I like David F. Watts' idea although I have no special attachment to the Expos.

I really like the photo you linked in this post. Maybe you could rearrange his face to resemble that photo.

Just a polite request, not a demand.

Posted by: BrianH | May 7, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I am strangely relieved about Patterson going on the DL. I was ready to assume that he was just not mentally there... in previous posts I mentioned that he had a lot of excuses. If there is something medically wrong, let him get healthy. We've seen what he CAN do, and we already know that nothing that happens this year counts, so why not let him get healthy and then come back and do his thing?

As for Cordero... I am dismayed, but I think much of the problem lies in the hitting of the team behind him. Yesterday's game was a perfect example... a two run lead, and it isn't a blown save. Moreover, Piniella made all sorts of moves during the game that could have easily come back to haunt him and the Nats didn't make them pay. There's no question that Cordero gets hit pretty hard, but he's always gotten hit hard.

The other side of the coin is that opposing teams are always trying to score runs, and Rauch's performance has been a lot better than Cordero's... Not to mention the fact that Rauch is a rather imposing figure, being eleven feet tall.

Give Cordero a two or three run lead, and we're not having this conversation.

Posted by: Wigi | May 7, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"Give Cordero a two or three run lead, and we're not having this conversation."

Therein lies the rub.

1. Would you keep Chad Cordero as the closer?

Yup. Or maybe trade him for the Brewers(?) closer who's also named Cordero. Nobody'll notice, right? :-P

2. Will John Patterson ever develop into a consistent 15-win, 200-inning guy?

Nope. He should be in the bullpen (although there's no telling what that might do to his confidence).

The amazing thing is when JP is in that zone, like he was in that game last year against the Marlins, he's *really* in that zone and God help any opposing batter.

But maybe just trying to get into that zone is what gets him hurt more often than not?

Posted by: Juan-John | May 7, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

someone mentioned using Patterson in the bullpen. I know we're starved for starters, but I kind of like the idea, if only to keep him theoretically healthier, using Rauch as an example. Any thoughts, folks?

Posted by: bob | May 7, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

For those that think it is okay for a closer to give up a run, think about the fact that that equals an ERA of 9.00. Don't really think that's all that great. As for Patterson in the BP, he can't do any worse than the guy that "pitched" on Saturday.

Posted by: Dancer | May 7, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Expos, MLB.com has an auction for baseballs autographed by 2003 Expos Tony Armas Jr., Luis Ayala, Rocky Biddle, Chad Cordero, Zach Day, Scott Downs, Joey Eischen, Scott Stewart, T.J. Tucker, Javier Vazquez, Brian Schneider, Orlando Cabrera, Jamey Carroll, Will Cordero, Fernando Tatis, and Brad Wilkerson. Opening bid $500 for the lot. No bids yet. Big surprise.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 7, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Funny someone mention "the other Cordero." He's had some absolutely terrible years (like last year and the year before), now he's the best reliever going. That's one advantage we have now, we can afford to let Chad work this out. And what the other Mike says above is wrong. Chad hasn't been an effective closer? He was effective in 2004 and 2005, and through much of last year. He's got much more of a body of work than John Patterson, he's all hype.

Posted by: smarter mike | May 7, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Day 5 -- still no coverage of the Rosenthal Report in the pages of The Washington Post:

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6761858

Posted by: swanni | May 7, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

"Thanks Barry. I'll hold my fire for awhile.

Posted by: Swanni | May 6, 2007 05:02 PM"

Congratulations, Swanni. You made it a whole 23 and a half hours. Barry's on the road. How do you expect him to conduct an in-depth investigation from Chicago. Also, you're constant harping is getting old. Good things come to those who wait and don't annoy their fellow fans. So, simmer!

Posted by: Getting kind of old. | May 7, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Although it helps one's credibility when one doesn't commit egregious grammatical errors. My apologies to all for forgetting, you know, English. I'm just going to go sit in my corner of shame now. Carry on.

Posted by: Ibid | May 7, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Why does Barry have to do it by himself? Where's Boz? Where's Wilbon? Isn't there one columnist at the Post who cares about something other than ESPN national issues? Can they write about this?

Posted by: boswellisscreech | May 7, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I think Swanni is right..i would like to see more on this story and i would expect the post to be all over it. i use to live in Chicago and let me tell you, they wouldn't sit still until every stone was turned.

Posted by: senatorsfan | May 7, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Any word on what the team can pick up with the number 6 draft pick? Anyone who can step right in? As for Chad, I was behind the Braves dugout two years ago with the Nats ahead in the 9th by a few. Bobby Cox said to his guys: "Just swing at the first pitch - he greases 'em right down the middle". So the next 7 batters did just that - and Atlanta won. Is that called "predictable?"

Posted by: bill | May 7, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

By the way, to the fellow who was lamenting the lack of baseball coverage in the Post... Wilbon has always been just a b----
for Tony Kornheiser. His reporting is lazy and not very good. So you're not going to get anything from him but fluff. But the worse injustice to baseball in this town is WTEM - the All-Redskins/Wizards-all-the-time network. All you can get out of John Thompson is "they shouldn't have let Frank and Soriano go". Good Lord!! How do guys like this get jobs on the radio? The media does need to help if this is going to become a radio town.

Posted by: Clank | May 7, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Correction: I meant to say...."if this is going to become a baseball town".

Posted by: Clank | May 7, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Problem is: This is not a baseball town -- not like Boston, New York, Chicago, St. Louis anyway. This is a Redskins town -- and a front runner town. If you don't win, you don't matter -- unless you are the Skins.

The Nats' management needs to understand that. People won't wait for them to rebuild.

And if they expect the new stadium to cure all ills, they have a big disappointment coming their way. The novelty will wear off by the 2008 All-Star break.

Posted by: swanni | May 7, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I think you're unfair to Wilbon, though. He works hard -- but mostly on issues of interest to him, which is basically the top 5 stories on SportsCenter every night. He doesn't care much about local teams.

And there lies the problem with the Post. The Sports Section has been taken over by people who don't care about our local teams.

It's a shame George Solomon isn't still running things.

Posted by: swanni | May 7, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

acta needs to shake things up in the bullpen; not take cordero out of the closer's role for good but share the burden/pressure with some of the other guys like rauch, colome. i think cordero will get better (he has to!), but i don't believe he'll return to 2005 form.

as for patterson, i like the idea of him going to the bullpen. it will be easier on his arm, and he's not significantly better than any other potential starter. physically, he's just not an ace or no. 1 starter. maybe he could be if he could stay healthy long enough, but it's still just a maybe.

Posted by: kelly | May 7, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Keep Cordero - for a while longer, since they aren't going to be getting any significant offers now anyway. But not beyond this year if he doesn't make the adjustments he has to make. Maybe move him to starting, what do they have to lose?
This was Patterson's last chance, for my money. He's done. Get anything you can, if you can, for him. To the Reds for Gary Majewski, even.

Posted by: cevans | May 7, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, I hear Danny Graves is available.

Posted by: cevans | May 7, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, he's probably done, too, but he'd be cheap.

Posted by: cevans | May 7, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

the all name team -- and the headline writers -- have GOT to love the idea of Colume as a closer.

Posted by: Willie Gandebol | May 7, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

What is the big deal with Ken Rosenthal's ramblings for Fox Sports?? He discovered that when the Lerners took over some Nationals employees quit and some were fired. He does not approve of their procurement process. Some people weren't paid on time. He told us that Nationals have a low payroll and they did not sign Alphonso Soriano and on and on.... He disclosed that Jim Bowden says things will get fixed and Stan Kasten says the proof will be in the pudding. Mr. Rosenthal is an agitator and he's good at it but I hate to think his article is the only reason the Washington Post would address the issues of Nationals ownership. I will be looking forward to that.

Posted by: abb | May 7, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

OK, this Rosenthal Report thing is a little much. Read through it. Clearly the investigation began as a result of bad blood among former employees. (would these be the same employees who helped build the current franchise player development? -- yikes!!) Yes Rosenthal did some good reporting, he cites some real facts and some real opinion. Clearly the topic interested him. But, it's about as fair and balanced as FOX News. OMG, take any organization in the world, go interview former employees and report on the management style of the man who was in charge when they were fired/quit/retired. Good grief. Are the Lerner's cheap? maybe. Is Bowden volitile? ummmm, yes. Does the franchise need to change? Absolutely. In fact lets start by getting rid of a bunch of malcontented, never was's and hire some undisputed talented staff. How can it be a surprise that less than 12 months after franchise sale that there would be some turnover and changing of priorities? Please. Rosenthal does not suck alot as a reporter. But when he starts drawing conclusions and making editorial comments he is stretching beyond his strength. Can I get an AMEN?

Posted by: NatBisquit | May 7, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Barry,

Could you please elaborate, if possible, on your convo with Mike Rizzo. Thank you sir and hope you win the Sausage race.

Posted by: Jonathan | May 7, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Cordero- Let him work it out, what's the worst that could happen. If Zincola is ready to come to the bigs then think about selling him off for nothing. (How is Zincola doing in the minors btw? I heard we could see him by the trade deadline, is that still a possibility?) Until we get another kid to come up and do it then we might as well see if his stock could rise.

Patterson- Again, what's the harm in seeing if he could get healthy. I wouldnt object to him spending some time in the bullpen, maybe with a couple years of a lower inning count he could move back to the rotation a la john smoltz. Worth a shot to see, he's cheap, but im not holding my breath.

Swanni- Shut up.

Posted by: Nats fan Down Under | May 7, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Two things --

1. Wilbon. I think he should be writing for a Chicago newspaper, not a Washington one. His analysis on ESPN of the Soriano signing was, and I quote -- "Good. Who cares about the Nats?"

2. Rosenthal -- Every organization that comes under new management has turnover and some growing pains. Why are the Nationals any different? I thought his piece was much ado about nothing.

Posted by: Ray | May 7, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

To NatBisquit: No, you may not get an Amen. Would you be more inclined to credit Rosenthal's findings if they had appeared in ESPN or the Philadelphia Inquirer rather than FOX Sports?

On the comments re Wilbon and Kornheiser: Amen! Barry, please suggest to your bosses at the Post that these guys be allowed to float off into national TV land, and bring back local sports!

Posted by: Hendo | May 8, 2007 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Stick with Chad. He's got the moxie, he'll be back and he's going through no worse than the offensive players who are in word, pathetic. I imagine the Nats will stick with Zimmerman, Lopez and the others who can't hit with men on base. And why is Young still there. He's poor defensively and has something like a 225 batting average. Let's give Whitesall a chance. He's eating up the pitchers at Double A.
2. I like Patterson but unfortunately, for all concerned, he'll never be healthy for any sustainable amount of time.

Posted by: j campbell | May 8, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Re: Rosenthal story--all it proves is that Bowden shouldn't be supervising anyone. More of his moves have been positive than negative so far & he seems to have an eye for talent. Let him make the deals & have someone else be in charge of front-office personnel. Just because someone is good technically doesn't mean that they have the people/administrative skills to lead other workers. Don't we all know this from our jobs?

Posted by: Section 418 | May 8, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

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