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Cordero's future

I'm going to break this down, likely for a post tomorrow morning, but I've got a few things to take care of before I can get into anything in depth. But there are a couple things to think about in regards to Chad Cordero.

Thursday night, as I was writing my running game story (the version filed right at the end of the game that appears in the papers that are delivered to far-flung areas), I wrote that Cordero, quietly, was having a very nice season. His ERA was about to drop to 2.51 had he pitched a scoreless ninth.

Now, it's just 48 hours later, and his ERA is 3.39, and the confidence of the fan base is shaken, though I really don't believe Cordero's confidence is shaken. He had this problem earlier in the year -- when his fastball was cutting over the plate as he tried to throw it outside -- and he and Randy St. Claire fixed it.

But this much is undeniable: Cordero has eight blown saves, two more than anyone else in baseball. And that doesn't even count last night, because he entered with a four-run lead, and as ugly as that was, it doesn't count as a blown save. His save percentage -- 77.8 percent (28 of 36) -- ranks 24th among all closers in baseball.

Give me a while to get a good comparison post for the position-by-position series up there. There are some interesting arms in the minors, and Cordero's contract status -- two more years in which he's eligible for arbitration -- makes his case particularly interesting.

Until then, here's last night's gamer, if you can stomach it. And here's the official $.35 version of the news on Bergmann and Patterson from yesterday. And if you want to hear the words directly from Cordero before making any judgments, listen to the podcast. (On that podcast page, too, you'll find the "Washington Post Live" clip with Ross Detwiler's interview, which you might find interesting.)

Will talk to you from Coors.

By Barry Svrluga  |  August 25, 2007; 1:37 PM ET
 
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Comments

I see all this dissecting of who should have pitched the 9th as "20/20 hindsight" stuff. If Cordero performs, no one is critical of Acta. Leaving Ayala in for another inning would have made him unavailable for tonight's game. I'm sure that was in the back of Manny's mind.

As far as whether Cordero should be the closer, he clearly is the guy on the staff with the best demeanor and most experience to be in that role. He attacks hitters and generally bounces back from failure very quickly. One blown save does not ruin a staff's confidence. Baseball players realize that this is a hard game and that bad nights are part of it. George Will once said that "baseball is a game of managing failure". Chad is good at doing just that. I've never seen him blow saves in bunches, except at the end of 2005 when he was gassed and at the beginning of this season when he was struggling with his grandmother's health. How many saves has he blown since he returned from her funeral? I think it's only 3 or 4 in about 30 chances. A 90% conversion is fine. This conversation is a little like the one about Schneider. Sure we'd all like to have Joe Mauer behind the plate and Jonathan Paplebon as the closer. Should the Nats maybe groom one of these pitchers they've drafted to become a closer? Sure. I'm only saying that we shouldn't all bail on Chad because he blew a save. He's a quality closer in the upper half of the league.

Posted by: #4 | August 25, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I can't locate a podcast for last night's game via the link above or some poking around on the site, though there is one for the game on Thursday. Perhaps yesterday's has not been posted yet?

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 25, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

there is a great interview with zimmerman on espn.com. Here is the link.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2990162&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab2pos2

Posted by: natsinthevalley | August 25, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

While it seems Cordero has a closers demeanor, I think the league has figured him out. If his location is pinpoint on, he's ok, but if not, well, you saw what happened last night. While its not a blown save in the stats, its worse than that. Perhaps they should tag two blown saves on your record when you're up more than 3 runs. Perhaps he needs another pitch in his arsenal to keep hitters off balance a little more. Off season work for he and Randy.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 25, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Forgive me for double posting, but I had posted this to the previous discussion, before I knew this one was up. It's perhaps more pertinent here.

Cordero went down in flames last night (August 24, in the 6-5 loss to the Rockies). Agreed. But does one bad outing undo the record of 119 saves in 142 tries? Or being the second youngest pitcher in MLB history to record 100 saves?

Last night was embarrassing. Agreed. But is it worse than Rivera blowing a save against Baltimore on the 13th and giving up three earned runs against Baltimore on the 15th? Or Wagner and Hoffman both blowing saves in Thursday's game in NY? Or Hoffman's three blown saves since August 10th? Or, for that matter, the August 12th game from the Diamondbacks point of view, when their bullpen and closer gave up two leads and allowed us to win?

Cordero doesn't look or pitch like Papelbon. Agreed. But are we remembering that the Red Sox were rumored to be trading for Cordero when Papelbon said he thought he might do better in the starting rotation...because he was fatigued after 59 games and 68 innings pitched in 2006? (Compare to Cordero's 62 games and 61 innings pitched when there are roughly 33 games to go.)

We will remember last night for a long time. Agreed. But can we either try to think like the Nationals ball players and say today is a new ballgame, (and we plan to move on), or remember to do a quick look at the long term stats and story lines?

Posted by: Sect 422 | August 25, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

How 'bout a series on Rauch's future? He's blown four games in the past ten days. Cordero is at least good some of the time.

Posted by: Ray | August 25, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

RE: Cordero and Rauch

are they perfect? no. are they good? usually. but are they dominant? not often enough.

They're good, and I like them as individuals, but looking at the organization, i'm sure it'd be easier to find comparable players in our system than the prospects/hitters we could've traded them for. Relievers are easier to replace.

hard to say, but it's probably the truth.

Posted by: q | August 25, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

So Barry are you saying my team should already have 65 wins? I need to talk to PeterA up the road to see if he agrees.

Posted by: MarkL | August 25, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of pitchers'future is Sutton coming back for next season or is he home sick?
By the way are the radio guys going to get a long term contract?

Posted by: Tom | August 25, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Bad outings happen. Give Cordero and Rauch a break. Did it suck to blow that game? You betchha. But they've blown some before and guess what? They'll blow some again. We just need to keep sticking by them.

However, I disagree completely with Manny bringing Chad out there to begin with. I don't have a problem with him taking Hill out after 7. I don't want any more injuries to him.

I think in the 8th, he should have done a double switch and have Church come in for WMP and Ayala for Hill. Church could have taken Hill's spot in the batting order (which was due to lead off in the top of the 9th) and Ayala takes WMP's spot.

Have Ayala start the bottom of the 9th. If he stumbles, then bring Chad in to save the game. If Ayala pitches two innings, then he's not available for tonight's game. So what? King, Schroder, Colome and Rauch are all capable to pitch 1 inning or more tonight, especially since none might have been used last night.

As for Chad, he pitched Thursday night and now Manny used him last night (unnescessarily). Now, he's not available to close tonight (he rarely pitches in three straight games). I would rather have had Ayala pitch two innings and sit out tonight, then have Chad pitch in two straight games then be out tonight.

To quote Dennis Miller, "[RF] it, who wants pie?"

Posted by: e | August 25, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, natsinthevalley. Nice to see Zimm getting some recognition at the national level.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 25, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

My faith in him isn't shaken... actually he's never really had it. In most of his saves, it seems he's on the verge of losing the game as winning it. They don't call him Cardiac Cordero for nothing. Have we forgotten he gave up 2 runs the night before in the Houston game? I don't trust him. He's done this too many times for me to ever believe in him again. It's unacceptable to go into a game with a 4 run lead and lose. Unfortunately, we didn't get rid of him when we had the chance. I think TPTB need to add closer to the list of things to look for in the off season.

Anthony

Posted by: Anthony D. Langford | August 25, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Moving my post forward as others have...

I just read the gamer online (having read the early version in the 35-center), and I have to say that I feel bad for Chad (not that I wasn't yelling at the tv last night, mind you). I seem to remember reading about the head-in-the-locker phenomenon before, perhaps with another player. Is that a traditional, unspoken way for someone to indicate to teammates that he needs some space/time to process things? From what I observed in tv shots during the game, Chief was upset about his role in the loss. At any rate, I hope that somebody was there to buck him up at some point after the game. Shawn Hill, too. The way he hung his head at the final out was telling. I noticed that Dmitri was sitting next to Hill late in the game, so I would think that would have happened. On a related tangent, I love Young's visits to the mound for encouragement/support when a pitcher is in trouble. I like to announce "first baseman's visit to the mound" when it happens. I am easily amused, as you may have noticed...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 25, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Ugh. I was MIA last night (not in MIA) but last heard a report of 5-1 in the 8th. I thought to myself "Sorry to miss Hill's outing at Coors" and went back to the group I was with.

Reading all that transpired since the 8th today is a toughie. The team was picking up momentum going into another series they can take on the road. Playing well, getting the support of Zimm and WMP showing his stuff.

My concern with Chief is all about next year in the new, smaller park. With so many long fly ball outs, I'm not convinced he is our main man next year, despite how much I respect his attitude and ability to shake things off.

My hope is that he gets a chance to put last night behind him asap. Even though he hardly ever pitches 3 nights in a row, he's chomping at the bit to move on. Just like Rauch last week, these guys have a mentality to put it behind. Even if it is 1 or 2 outs instead of a full inning, I'd love to see Chief come in as a vote of confidence from Manny.

Finally, a question I haven't seen yet: Can Cordero succeed with developing a killer change-up? Considering his best heater hits 91 on a good day, but that his slider just doesn't slide and got him in so much trouble earlier in the season, would he benefit from developing a worthy change-up? Hoffman goes from 90-91 down to 77-79 with his.

Chief's fastball only works because of location, not necessarily movement. The change-up would follow the same pattern (and big IF he could really develop it).

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 25, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Rauch -- I'd be interested to know how many of his wins have come from him blowing a lead only to have the Nats score some runs in the inning after he pitches so that he is statistically credited for a win after a horrible outing.

Cordero is a tightrope walk everytime, but he does the job as often as not. I don't think the same can be said for Rauch.

Posted by: Ray | August 25, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Enjoyed listening to the podcast and watching Detwiler's interview. Re. the broken rearview mirror, my husband has two words for him: duct tape. Seriously, I they get his check processed expeditiously (get on it, Bud).

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 25, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I meant to say "I hope they" get his check processed expeditiously.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 25, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Even with last night's performance we aren't going to making any changes with Cordero's status anytime soon.

More importantly with Bergmann coming back and Lannan getting shut down were very close to getting a preview of the 2008 starting line-up, once Chico comes back when rosters expand I think you'll see the same line-up that we'll start with after spring training 2008;

Hill
Bergmann
Redding
Chico
Hanrahan

Detwiler, Balester & Lannan in AAA ready to fill in if and when any of the starters struggle or get hurt. The wild card is John Patterson, but if he doesn't pitch in 2007 (and that looks very unlikely) I don't see how we have him under contract for spring training next year.

Posted by: estuartj | August 25, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

"Leaving Ayala in for another inning would have made him unavailable for tonight's game. "

Hi #4,

... my feeling is that of course Cordero should have started the ninth. That is the role the Nats have given him, and which he has agreed to take on.

... my quibble is with Manny for leaving him there for one, maybe two AB's too long. The reason Manny did that, I assume , is the same one all managers share: they put more confidence in their closer than they do in other, possibly just as qualified relievers; in this case, Manny put his faith in 'the closer' as if 'the closer' deserves more faith. I don't think that's a good way to look at the game or the team. Manny has had no trouble using whomever he felt was the right guy for the job in other positions. I think that he, like most other managers, is too enamoured with 'the closer' than he should be.

... lost in all this reading of entrails, is notice of the great outing Shawn Hill had.

... Go Nats.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 25, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Without question Chad is a competitor. All pitchers need to advance their capabilities during their careers. Chad is no different. Right now the league has started to figure him out. Chad now needs to make his adjustment. A change up, a curveball whatever it takes he'll have to perfect them after the season is over for next year. But for now he needs to become less predictable. He will be ok. That is why other teams are still interested in him and will be for years to come. Unfortunately, it .seems the only teams JB can trade with are the Diamondbacks and Reds. The trading base needs to be broadened.

Posted by: Tom | August 25, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Hi Natscan:

I agree with you about Hill. His sinker had tremendous movement last night. It was dancing. Given the pre-game predictions about how it wouldn't move in the light air, I was particularly happy to see that.

I don't understand others trepidation about Chad in the new park. His ERA is a 1/2 run lower on the road this year - at least before last night. I don't think the RFK dimensions are that significant for him. I agree with others that Chad does need a change-up or fork ball - something that would be a bit more of an out pitch. I've never felt he was a finished product at 24. Let's not forget in all this how young he is.

Posted by: #4 | August 25, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Tom, I do believe there was a recent Nationals trade where the Red Sox were involved. Now if you had said "teams that wear red", well then you might have had a point...

Posted by: Section 419 | August 25, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

#4, I've seen more than a few long fly ball outs during Chad's appearances at RFK that would likely be home runs in most other parks, including perhaps the new one on S. Capitol St. Can't speak for others, but those long fly balls have a lot to do with whatever trepidation I have about Chad in the new park.

Posted by: Section 419 | August 25, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

It's very upsetting to see such a young pitcher continuously giving fans heart attacks every time he steps on the mound. Probably 1 out of 8 saves are 1-2-3 innings, that is TERRIBLE. Come on Chad, step it up.

Posted by: Big Goob | August 25, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Cordero- I like him, he's done well but has always made it interesting. The only worry i have is how much pitching at rfk has helped him. Would holliday's homer been a warning track fly ball in DC? Would some of the saves in DC be BS in great america or coors? Im always scared to put a pitcher out on the mound in a hitters park, especially a contact, fly ball closer like chad. Something to look for before we move to the new park.

Rauch- league leading 71 appearances after a career high 85 last year. Could this be wear and tear? i would guess so, he'll have more rest in september and i dont think this is a long term issue. They both normally pitch better and nobody normally pitches as well as hill did. Im not worried.

(as for it being easy to put together a great bullpen... we should keep it together as best we can because its rarely there when you actually need it.)

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | August 25, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Section 419:

I dunno. I watch the games too. I suppose there are some fly balls like that, but don't discount that pitchers locate pitches in certain ways depending on what park they are pitching in (although Chad certainly didn't locate them properly last night). I think the stats are more instructive than either of our memories.

Posted by: #4 | August 25, 2007 8:15 PM | Report abuse

419
I'll give you a half credit on the Red Sox trading ex-Red's Pena. But, we had to go through Arizona to get it done.

Posted by: Tom | August 25, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

With the possible exception of NFL place kickers, being a closer has to be the weirdest job in sports. Think how very few closers have as many as four or five good years. Think Guardado, Wickman, Gagne. Even a guy with a solid career like Benitez will be more remembered for the ones he blew than the ones he saved, especially in New York.
I guess my point is that unless you are very lucky indeed and happen upon the next coming of Rivera or Fingers or Eckersly there's no such thing as a long-term solution at that position. You pay your money and you take your chances.

Posted by: Salty Dog | August 25, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering, who was able to see the post game show tonight? Carpenter said that the post game show was on MASN. Of course, although the game itself was on Ch. 20, they never have the post game show. MASN had the Orioles and MASN2 had the Ravens on. Were Johnny Holliday and Ray Knight doing a show for themselves only?

Posted by: Ray | August 25, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Hope Barry is okay. No lineups tonight.

Posted by: Barry's mom | August 25, 2007 10:56 PM | Report abuse

silver lining for tonight is that our bullpen pitched 4 innings of 1 hit ball, with 8 strikeouts. Good job guys.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | August 25, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

I saw the post-game show on MASN2 - sort of. Since I have DirecTV, which is satelite, the picture was all broken up because of the bad weather, but it was definitely there. The game was also on MASN 2 on DirecTV - I don't know what happened to the Ravens. The strange thing is that the picture was so bad on MASN 2 because of the storm that I switched to 20 and had a good clear picture. Can anyone explain this??

Estuartj said "The wild card is John Patterson, but if he doesn't pitch in 2007 (and that looks very unlikely) I don't see how we have him under contract for spring training next year."

I disagree with this totally. Whether or not Patterson can pitch again this season, he certainly deserves the chance to come back next year. I realize that baseball is a business, there is no room for sentimentality, etc., etc., but Patterson was injured pitching for the Nats, after all, and has given 100% effort to get back on the mound this season.(And from a purely practical standpoint, he is clearly our best pitcher when healthy, which he has not been since 2005!) It is unconsionable- as well as idiotic - for the Nationals not to give him an opportunity to try to pitch again for this team!

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | August 26, 2007 12:12 AM | Report abuse

It's conventional wisdom that it's easier to replace relievers than other players. Not so sure - look at how many good teams have been undone by bad bullpens - the Braves of the 90's being the most obvious example, the O's of the last 2 years (well, even mediocre teams can be undone by bad bullpens), many others. The difference isn't dollars spent - look at the O's hahahahaha - it's gotta be talent evaluation, coaching and how roles are established.

So give the Nats more credit. Having bullpen strength 3 years in a row is a real accomplishment. And after all that's happened this year I'm not going to second guess Manny's in-game moves. After the game he said something like "a 4 run lead in Coors is a save situation to me, we needed our best out there." OK by me. Not sure I agree that Chad is his best reliever at every moment in the season, but he does have a decent track record.

Cordero seems to be at least league average - not untouchable by hitters nor should he be untouchable on the roster - but does adequately. His margin for error is slim. I was at a game in 2005 when the Braves hammered first pitch fastballs and creamed him. If his location is off he's really vulnerable. He would of course benefit from another pitch. If he had Hoffman's change-up he'd be great. Well, if Da Meat could run, he'd be a decent outfielder. If Nook had better instincts, he'd be a decent outfielder. If Kearns hit 40 HRs, he'd be a better hitter. How many of those things are going to happen?

Posted by: Geezer | August 26, 2007 7:15 AM | Report abuse

closers don't win games or seasons. granted he's blown more than anyone else this year and if he was perfect, we'd be thinking playoffs. but this team would still have the same major concerns going into next year. i think franchise closer is probably the last piece of the puzzle (rivera, k-rod, todd jones < zumaya are running examples. once we have a consistent playoff team (starting pitching, then offense) we can blame cordero even more for blowing fewer games. this entire bullpen has been overworked to cover up the deficiencies of the starters. i mean do we even have one complete game this year? how about last year? there is no wonder why these guys have the most appearances.

it's sad to say but i think these guys are consciencsiously getting sacrificed for the overrall good of the team and won't be around when everything else is in place because of it. all in all it's worth it to play some meaningful games. the entire organization has already benefited from it. i don't remember manny ever leaving a starter in to suck one up for the team. i mean truly whats the benefit of saving your bullpen? you rest them for the playoffs this year, not two years down the road. hopefully some these guys will be around for it. if not i hope it's cause we traded them. but in a roundabout way it could mean we are not as close as we think we are. all this before my first cup of coffee..

Posted by: longterm plan | August 26, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

"If he (Cordero) had Hoffman's change-up he'd be great. Well, if Da Meat could run, he'd be a decent outfielder. If Nook had better instincts, he'd be a decent outfielder. If Kearns hit 40 HRs, he'd be a better hitter. How many of those things are going to happen?"

"This entire bullpen has been overworked to cover up the deficiencies of the starters."

Geezer and LTP:

I agree with all you've said about Cordero and the rest of the bullpen. Hopefully help is on the way from the last couple of drafts in terms of starters who might eat up innings. My only fear is that the organization will properly treat all these young starter arms very carefully, and we will still be seeing lots of pitch counts and early hooks.

Of all the items you mention above, Geezer, I would put Chad developing another pitch at the top of the likely list. It would not shock me to hear a story during the off season or spring training about him doing something like that. I remind everyone that he tried to make an adjustment at the beginning of this year by starting more batters with breaking pitches. It didn't work causing a lot of his early woes, but it did show that he feels he needs to make changes in order to become a top drawer closer. Adding a pitch is not something one does is mid-season.

Lastly, I enjoyed Barry's article this morning on Mike Rizzo and the draft. Barry was a busy bee with gamer, notes, a feature article, and the Sunday baseball round up. I'm guessing that's why we didn't get line ups last night. I would love to see as follow up a projected 2009 or 2010 line up, a la the Baseball America prospect handbook. I'd like to know particularly which minor league position players are projected to be big leaguers. My sense right now is that the list is still not very long.

Posted by: #4 | August 26, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

How many of chads blown saves come after he has been put in in non save situations, gives up a run or two to be in a save situation, then blows it. My point is that Manny has put him in several non save situations that seem to really make chad lose it.

Posted by: Ed | August 26, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Agree, #4, re. Barry's work on the MLB Sunday section. He was busy, busy, busy as usual. Very interesting read!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 26, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

JPFanandProudofit,

Don't think I don't want JP back next year, someone please chime in if I'm off base here, BUT I don't think we can offer him arbitration this year and pick up a full year of salary. It's just too much money to risk on a guy who hasn't really pitched in two years.

IF we don't offer arbitration this year then JP won't be eligible to re-sign with the Nats until May 1st.

Do I have my fact right about JP's contract and how non-offer on arbitration works? Anyone...

Posted by: estuartj | August 26, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

This is the first time I've disagreed w/ e, but only a little. I think they should offer him arb because it will result in getting a very cheap picther. He has horrific stats this year and of course missed most of the season. Arbitration is based on stats. He'll probably end up just taking a one year at less than the $850 he made this year to avoid arb. If they can sign him for like 500-600, then why not? He does have great stuff and could be a #2 starter if he could stay healthy. They have decent depth at pitcher now so can afford to take a risk that he doesn't make it next year.

Because of his great '05, then as long as he's cheap, why not keep him and see if he can get it going??

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | August 26, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I have no doubt that the Nationals WILL offer arbitration to Patterson this year. Why wouldn't they? They can name their price for him. Patterson went to arbitration last year and lost, unlike Cordero who won his case and got bumped up into the $4M a year range. Patterson is making less than $1M this year, and based on his performance this season he'll have no case for getting a raise in arbitration. If the Nats don't offer him arbitration, they are in effect casting him aside in exchange for nothing in return. Paying him his current salary (or even less) next year is not a big price to pay for delaying the decision on whether or not he's a valuable asset or someone worthy of the scrap heap. Sign him, let him come back next year and show us if he'll ever be able to pitch effectively again.

Posted by: Section 419 | August 26, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I see what happened to Brad Lidge and I wonder how Chad would react in a playoff situation. I just don't see him closing a playoff game.

Posted by: Ed | August 26, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm with 419 and the others who say we sign Patterson - IF the amount is reasonable. To pay another year of 850k after the past two seasons is a joke. He got a bump up this year, fairness would dictate he takes 2008 at 2006 prices (but no one ever said this salary bidness was fair). I think that's in the mlwagnercpa 500-600k range, and you sign him up and see what he's got.

The reality is, who out there would offer him more? If someone (anyone) would, well, that's the whole issue right?

Re: Cordero - right on the money that you don't develop a new pitch during the season. With his straight ball being his best pitch, I'm expecting we'll hear of him developing a change-up (doesn't have to be Hoffman) to go with his slider this year. Early in the year, he was starting off with his slider, with little bite, and that's when the taters were flying and his numbers were dying!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 26, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Oops, I see I pretty much just regurgitated #4's post. Sorry man, I didn't read that before posting - you're right on the money!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 26, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Barry,

... great work on the gamer this a.m., in spite of (or maybe because of) the tenor of the game. That Schroder was able to provide a marvellous Nats' positive was appreciated; that you focussed on it as a way of soothing the fans' despondency was a plus.

... thx.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 26, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Do we know real numbers on what the ranges are for JP in arbitration? If the number is anything less than $1mil then I am all about getting JP back. I think once he's healthy he is capable of having as dramatic a turn around as we've seen with Guzman and Redding this year.

I'll wait to hear from others (like Barry) what the exact numbers are for JP next year and then I'll give an option. If JP is back next year do we deal Redding to make room for some of the younger guys?

If we went strickly on the best 5 pitchers available we'd have rotation of JP, Hill, Bergmann, Redding and Hanrahan (all righties), but I really think they want to have Chico in the mix if not others like Detwiler, Balester and Lannan.

Posted by: estuartj | August 26, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Although I realize it'll be next weekend at the earliest for the CF discussion, I was reading this morning's $1.50 edition story about the Astros ability to replace some old parts with some youth.

I got to thinking - would they want Nook? Patrolling that outfield, climbing Tal's (blueberry) Hill, and covering ground for Carlos (I'm not leaving this spot) Lee and whomever they can get in right (is Hunter Pence legit in right?). Nook probably left quite an impression last week and would be close to home cooking. They also need to replace Biggio - would they package a deal for Nook and Felipe?

Unfortunately, they don't really have a lot of players to pick from, but is there anyone in their system that would be able to bundle into an off-season deal here? Coming to mind: Nook, FLop, and Hanrahan for Roy Oswalt - would you do it?

Lastly, I have to concur with earlier sentiments - are other GMs just unwilling to even talk, must less deal, with JimBow?

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 26, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Re: Chad

I remember looking at his stats earlier this year and finding that a large number of his blown saves come when he has to pitch back-to-back save situations (I guess including ones he turns into a save situation?) Papelbon and Wagner had one or maybe none of those back-to-back situations (as I recall).

Something about doing that high stress situation the second night in a row really gets to Cordero, if I recall the stats (And I remember that he was nearly flawless the third night in a row). If that is true, might not less high-pressure situations from an increasingly reliable lineup drastically reduce the blown save numbers?

Can we look at the stats on those 8 blown saves? How many were one-run games? how does that compare to other savers? I still believe that Cordero is an upper-echelon closer that's victim to severe overworking and poor offensive performance.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 26, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"Do we know real numbers on what the ranges are for JP in arbitration?" From the way I understand it, the range is determined like this: The club makes an offer, the player makes a counter-offer, they go to arbitration and the arbiter has to choose one or the other. No splitting the difference. Conceivably the club could make its offer less than the player's current salary if they wanted to. Likewise, no matter who Patterson's agent is I don't see how they could argue any kind of case that he's due a raise, based on his lack of performance this year. So I don't think there's any way Patterson would be back next year for anything more than he's getting this year, and it could be less.

"I still believe that Cordero is an upper-echelon closer that's victim to severe overworking and poor offensive performance."
Huh? How can a closer be victim to poor offensive performance? They are given a lead to protect. That's their job. By the time they get the ball, whatever offensive performance there is for that game is over, and it was obviously good enough to give the closer a lead to protect. Which of these cases would be considered having a closer be victim to poor offensive performance anyway - having to protect a 10-9 lead, or having to protect a 1-0 lead? Ten runs is a lot more offensive performance than one run, but it's still just a one run lead.

Posted by: Section 419 | August 26, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey 506,
If you're right about Chief's back-to-back difficulties, one other thing to consider (that I think is more relevant) is that hitters get a chance to see him a second time, or after more first-hand looks.

Chief doesn't have much variety - when he's on, he's just very effective in hitting great locations. The problem comes when he's not pinpoint on, or when he gets an ump that doesn't give him that spot down and away and forces him to elevate or come more in the middle. The pitches are more or less straight, as highlighted in today's $1.50 by St. Claire.

Of course, that has nothing to do with Friday's disaster which was the first game of the series in Denver. But, I've noticed a similar result in back-to-backs, whatever the actual reason.

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 26, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

#4, nice post as usual. My lumping Chad with the fantasies was to make the point that we must accept him as he is - and that's ok. Not superb, but at least ok. When and if he develops another pitch, then it will be time to re-evaluate. I felt some were criticizing Chad because he isn't something that he's not. Statistically he's fine - he doesn't give up excess hits or walks, doesn't blow an excessive number of games. We just remember the gut-wrenching failures and near-failures, and forget the smooth outings. It's the way we humans are wired.

To second what others have said, Barry, thanks for all you do. A story request for you or Sheinin now that the signing period is over: How is the MLB draft different from NFL and NBA? I think that college basketball players can't return to school after they hire an agent. But baseball players can, right? Various team avoided some players due to their agents (Boras), but the threat to not sign remained. And doesn't the NBA enforce a bonus system for the draft order? They only have 2 rounds, a big difference. I think Cal and Billy Ripken speculated (on their XM radio show) that things might not fall apart with no draft at all - the $ advantages of the big market teams would be offset by the opportunity to play sooner in other organizations.

Posted by: Geezer | August 26, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Sect. 506 was referring to the difference between a three-run lead and a one-run lead, i.e., less margin for error (not a factor the other night, of course, because it wasn't a save situation due to the four-run lead).

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Which of these cases would be considered having a closer be victim to poor offensive performance anyway - having to protect a 10-9 lead, or having to protect a 1-0 lead? Ten runs is a lot more offensive performance than one run, but it's still just a one run lead.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 26, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Is Cordero's mechanical flaw now similiar to the mechanical flaw he had at the end of 2005?

Posted by: Sect 422 | August 26, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, it was poorly worded. I was trying to say protecting a 1-run lead is a great deal more difficult than protecting a 3-run lead. I was musing that perhaps Chad has a lot more 1-run leads to protect than other closers and wondering if someone could check on that.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 26, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Jesus Colome needs to be the closer as cordero is taking it into his own hands to blow mannys acta manager of the year chances.

Posted by: Biggoob | August 26, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, 506, that's what I'd figured you meant.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 27, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

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