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McGeary: Not done yet

Before we get to last night's game (Shawn Hill, Ryan Zimmerman), let me just make clear that this Jack McGeary situation is not over. The Nationals are in this, and the kid - refresher course: sixth-round pick from Roxbury Latin in Boston, a native of Newton, Mass., a left-handed pitcher with first-round talent who fell in the draft because of a strong commitment to Stanford - may still be a National.

The factors I laid out in yesterday's $.35 edition and a bit in today's are still at work. From what I'm told, money is not going to be a problem. The question, rather, is are the Lerners - new to baseball, trying to make inroads into a very political operation - willing to (potentially) ruffle a few feathers by signing a sixth-round pick for first-round money? According to Baseball America, MLB wants picks after the fifth round to receive no more than the last slotted bonus in that round, which was $123,300 this year. Clearly the Nationals would have to go well, well beyond that to land McGeary, who - just like No. 6 overall Ross Detwiler and No. 31 overall Josh Smoker, lefties already signed by Washington - was in the top 15 on the Nationals' draft board.

This is likely to be an all-day affair because the Lerners are going to be watching other deals that are announced/reported over the course of the day as we work our way toward the 11:59 p.m. deadline. As of this morning, there were still nine first-rounders - including the top three picks in the draft - who hadn't signed. The largest rumbles were sent - and people predicted this as far back as draft day - by the super-aggressive Detroit Tigers, who gave high school right-hander Rick Porcello more than $7 million. Talk about upsetting MLB.

What, though, does upsetting MLB mean? There are no financial penalties for paying draft picks more than their "slot" value - a value suggested by MLB and assigned to each choice in the draft. The fifth pick receives a bit more than the sixth who receives a bit more than the seventh, and so on. Porcello was taken 27th, but he has the largest bonus thus far, so you can see how much that means.

The Lerners, though, feel they're in a precarious position. One of the reason they won the eight-horse derby to get the Nationals - and a reason Commissioner Bud Selig and his people capped the bidding at $450 million, so they could choose their favorite group - was that managing principal owner Theodore N. Lerner preached a conservative fiscal approach. You might recall last winter when Lerner spoke at his alma mater, George Washington University, and expressed some alarm at recent free agent signings. That's exactly what the Commissioner, a pawn of the owners, wants to hear from people he just welcomed into a new club.

With Ted Lerner and his son, Mark, headed to Toronto today - along with Nationals President Stan Kasten - for the league's owners' meetings, this is a particularly interesting time. The Lerners have joined an extremely political organization, and it's clear they feel some debt to the Commissioner - something like a $450 million debt, I suppose - for allowing them to buy the team.

But there are other people involved who would make the following argument. Keep in mind who sold the Lerners this team. That would be MLB, right? And why did the Lerners inherit what was widely perceived as the worst farm system in the sport when they took over last July? That would be because of MLB, which wouldn't allow the Nationals to pay a dime over slot value on draft picks, didn't provide the club with a full complement of scouts and didn't pay good money to minor league player development people.

So the Lerners could pay McGeary - and it appears, as I said, the amount of a bonus isn't going to be the true issue here - and say to MLB, "Look, we know you don't like it, but we're not the only team doing this kind of thing, and plus, we're doing it merely to fill the holes that you folks created when you nearly ran this franchise into the ground in Montreal. Plus, you would prefer that the franchise in Washington succeed, right? Is it worth getting all worked up over $1-2 million?"

So as I said, don't think this thing is over. It's not. McGeary could well end up at Stanford. And while most of the officials with the Nationals I spoke with yesterday didn't seem overly optimistic about signing McGeary, they absolutely were still working on it, the Lerners were absolutely still weighing the political ramifications, and it is absolutely still a possibility.

On to the game, which was a really fun one. I was finally, after a three-month hiatus, able to swoon over Shawn Hill's sinker again. Aaaaaaah. So refreshing. But even though he was down on the sharpness of his off-speed stuff, I was impressed, as was Manny Acta. He got several strikeouts on changeups. Too bad for the pitch count (80 was the max), but what a nice way to return.

Much of the blame will fall to Jon Rauch, and rightfully so. He said he made a, "excuse my language, a horse[dung] pitch" to Russell Branyan, and that was the difference in the game. But the rally started with Ryan Zimmerman's error. Instead of two outs, nobody on, the Phillies had one out and a man on second. In a Didn't-Make-the-Paper moment, Zimmerman was asked afterward if he thought - now that he has 18 errors - that he had a mechanical problem he needed to work on.

"No, just a bad throw," he said. "If you have 300 attempts or whatever, you're going to throw a bad one every once in a while, and that's what happens."

Acta feels differently. He believes Zimmerman is the best defensive third baseman in the league, and when you watch him every day, you understand why the manager would feel that way. I can't tell you how many 5-3s I have in my scorebook that have little stars next to them, a play on which Zimmerman backhanded a ball no one else gets to or lunged to his left to start a 5-4-3 double play.

But the errors are piling up, and they can't be ignored. He's now tied with Miguel Cabrera - a lousy third baseman - for most among third basemen in all of baseball.

"I think it's just a footwork problem right now," Acta said, "where he's standing too straight-up when he's going to throw the ball - and ... especially when guys are not as fast."

Which is what happened last night on Jason Werth's ball. As I mentioned in the $.35er, Acta intends to work with Zimmerman on this, whether Zimmerman thinks he needs it or not.

Other items: Notebook discussed the Smoker signing and the McGeary situation. The tiny, weekly, non-Nationals Journal version of the minors notebook is here. Boz was on hand, and the pennant should be locked up shortly. The podcast has Zimmerman and Rauch explaining their boo-boos, but also lots of Shawn Hill.

Oh, and don't forget, we chat at 1 p.m. I do not expect any McGeary news by then. And, finally, I should be on "Washington Post Live" on Comcast SportsNet at 6:15 p.m., live from the park.

(McGeary makes me think of one of my favorite beers, back from good ol' Maine. Anyone had it?)

Talk to you at the chat, then from the ballpark.


By Barry Svrluga  |  August 15, 2007; 10:56 AM ET
 
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Next: Nats lineup, and a Detwiler update

Comments

It was just bidness when MLB decimated the Nats farm system and signed over our broadcast rights for eternity to another franchise.

So similarly, it's just bidness if we want to upset MLB's apple cart by signing picks outside the "slots". If they don't like it, they can [Joey Eischen].

Posted by: joebleux | August 15, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the very thorough update on McGeary. I'm okay if we don't get him, but now you've shot me with a little hope. Oooooh, this is going to be exciting.

Are we sure Hill can't pitch tonight too?

Posted by: NatsNut | August 15, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Barry,

Did McGeary take a physical during his recent visit to RFK/DC?

Posted by: Phillip | August 15, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Phillip: No physical last time. But it wouldn't surprise me if arrangements were made in the last day or so to have one just in case they get a deal done at the last minute.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | August 15, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

This *is* exciting! Thanks, Barry, for the updates.

Nice [Joey Eischen], joebleux. I agree that if MLB doesn't like it, they can go take a flying [Jon Rauch]. You're still a-okay in my book, Wookie!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Wyley Moe Peena? Haha, Kevin M..

Good to see they are still talking.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | August 15, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The Rauch remark reminds me of an expression I once heard used by eccentric left-handed pitcher Bill Lee: "[dung]-ball pitch" or "[dung]-baller" (not to say that I feel Rauch either throws one or is one; I just found the expression particularly, uh, pungent).

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I hope they sign McGeary for the simple fact that they will essentially end up with three first round draft picks, all LHP out of one draft. I don't think the Lerner's should worry much about what MLB is saying when they inherited a franchise with no farm system. Hopefully as the team continues to get better over the next few seasons our best draft positions will be in the 20's, so they need to take advantage of the talent when they have a chance to sign someone who should have been a first round selection.

Posted by: NeedANatsFix | August 15, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure that Kasten/Bowden are being very aggressive in pushing McGreary to sign. I'll bet the real question isn't with MLB, but with McGreary himself. How much will it cost to steal him from Stanford? If he wants top of the first round money, say a Detwiler-ish $2M or so go for it, but if they'll need to dish out a Porcello-ish size bonus I don't think it's worth it, both for financial and political reasons.

Posted by: estuartj | August 15, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Barry,
Great write-up about the McGeary drama unfolding today. Could you clarify whether or not there is any team compensation for not signing him (a 6th round draft pick although he would've likely been a first rounder)?

--------
Hey Wigi,

I thought the compensatory draft picks were only available for unsigned 1st rounders, not for a 6th rounder like Cardinal McGeary.

That being said, if we don't sign him today, I hope we made a positive impression that would interest him 3 years from now after a CWS win or two...

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 15, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Last night is on RZ, not so much Rauch. It'd have been nice for Rauch to pick up RZ, but you can hang last night on Ryan.

Posted by: Wes Mantooth | August 15, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

ShawNatsFan, I think you're underestimating Wigi's vengeance.

He's talking about drafting McGeary in 2010, lowballing him, and then accepting a compensatory pick for him when he refuses to sign.

Posted by: joebleux | August 15, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

No compensatory picks for a sixth-rounder. Compensation only in rounds 1, 2 and the supplemental.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | August 15, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I would hope the Commish isn't that concerned about locking up a draft pick - it's not like the Nats are trying to buy a bunch of superstar vets for a championship run (a truly spineless tack, in my opinion).

Posted by: mrm0to | August 15, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

thanks Barry!
I think that's the first time I've heard that 2nd rounders who don't sign will earn a compensatory pick as well.

Joebleux: Nice one!

While on the subject - it's pretty rare for a 3rd year college player drafted in the 1st round to not sign right? If they're drafted lower, that's a different story I guess.

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 15, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

They shouldn't be scared of anyone after paying $450 m.

Posted by: Ed | August 15, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Selig has threatened to delay All-Star games for teams who over pay for the slot.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | August 15, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

With all the appearances Rauch has had this year (70-something, right?), I hope last night was just a fluke.

Posted by: Juan-John | August 15, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"Selig has threatened to delay All-Star games for teams who over pay for the slot."

I'd gladly trade one week in July every 15 years or so for ANY home game in October! :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | August 15, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

65.1 per the team site. I was telling my husband last night (after I, uh, vented just a wee bit) that Rauch has been "rode hard and put up wet" all season.

---

With all the appearances Rauch has had this year (70-something, right?), I hope last night was just a fluke.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Also, they will not be allowed to send their key players to take part in the World Baseball Classic...

"Selig has threatened to delay All-Star games for teams who over pay for the slot."

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Forgot the smiley again on my last posting, dang it...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey!

Ball-Wonk is back!

http://www.ball-wonk.com/

No, I'm not him, and never fear, Barry, you're still on my daily bookmarks list.

Posted by: Juan-John | August 15, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I haven't heard those things from Selig, and I'm slightly appalled. Do you guys have sources on that?

Also, I've just got to say I'm tired of Ryan Zimmerman looking like, well, Miguel Cabrera on these routine groundouts. It seems to me that he always makes a perfect throw on his way up from a diving stop or when he's only going to catch a speedy runner by half a step. But when he has all the time in the world, the ball soars over the first baseman's head as often as not. I hope Manny can help him out in these mandatory infield drills...

-----
Also, they will not be allowed to send their key players to take part in the World Baseball Classic...

"Selig has threatened to delay All-Star games for teams who over pay for the slot."

Posted by: just another nats fan | August 15, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

KING OF THE HILL

So I replayed last night's game and I'm just as WOW'd today as I was watching it live. Hill, while not having his best stuff, looked the he had the Phillies by the throat. Minus a couple of misques we had them on the mat. That was fun to watch (except the 8th inning). Bowden must have been spanking himself last night (you da man..you da man..).

Posted by: uptown | August 15, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I was joking in mine. That's why I said I forgot the smiley.

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Also, they will not be allowed to send their key players to take part in the World Baseball Classic...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Alternatively, who's my daddy? I'm my daddy...

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Bowden must have been spanking himself last night (you da man..you da man..).

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

oh. right. my bad. (I feel like a little bit of an idiot...)

Also, don't you just love it when Boz puts a smile on your face?

Posted by: just another nats fan | August 15, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey Barry! Nats.com is reporting that McGeary is attending Stanford next year. Is this report premature?

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070814&content_id=2148481&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Posted by: Vlad | August 15, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

>> Selig has threatened to delay All-Star games for teams who over pay for the slot. <<

I'd much rather watch playoff games at the new ballpark than All-Star games. So if the kid can help make that happen, then sign him.

Also, Selig will be gone in a couple years (probably with the Mitchell investigation still going on). So what's the big deal?

Posted by: Ashburn | August 15, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

oh. right. my bad. (I feel like a little bit of an idiot...)

Also, don't you just love it when Boz puts a smile on your face?

---
I was joking in mine. That's why I said I forgot the smiley.

Posted by: just another nats fan | August 15, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

On the Nats web site there is a link to a story dated last night that says Nats will not sign McGeary.

Barry, sounds like maybe you have better info and maybe this story by Bill Ladsen was a bit premature?

Posted by: pk | August 15, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I'll keep any images of Bowden spanking himself out of my head, thank you very much! But I like Natsfan1a's take on it!

I know the postings about "offending the MLB gods" were jokes, but on a potentially serious note - what can MLB really do? The All-Star game location is one "sanction" but so is any efforts to review or take a stand on Angelos and the MASN fiasco. While I don't think the Nats should run scared, I do believe the Nats have a softer ledge to stand on against MLB than just about any other team out there.

Ok, Barry chat time!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 15, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Not at all, just another nf, I should have made it clear that I was joking.

---

oh. right. my bad. (I feel like a little bit of an idiot...)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Re: Nats.com article

Odd that Ladson cites no source for his declaration thet McG is attending Stanford. Ladson's been doing a lot of that lately (D Young will be moved to left field, etc.).

What's up with that?

Posted by: Ashburn | August 15, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know a good site to get the info on 2007 draft picks, both with their status and background?

Posted by: estuartj | August 15, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Barry,

Thanks for the thorough McGeary info, that will hopefully educate the fans into not simply blaming the Lerners for "being cheap" because they didn't sign him. Although I hope they do!

Also, always appreciate the farm reports!

Posted by: G-town | August 15, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

natsfan1a: I was hoping you weren't joking. While I'm sure our players find it an honor and a thrill to play in the WBC, it was a deep well of excuses for the slow start last year.

And it isn't like DC is going to be hosting the all-star game before about 2014 anyway. I'm sure my blue seat will be quite personalized by then. :)

So: [RF] MLB, sign the kid for the money he's worth (and not much more). Do it! Then next spring won't be like sleep-away camp for 37 pitchers, it will be like a stable of guys coming to work to train, formulate, and execute a plan to take the East.

Posted by: i hate walks | August 15, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Barry you forgot to list the ____("RF" won't cut it here) deal MLB cut with the t_ _ d of Balitmore. The Lerners, if McGeary says yes, should stick it to their so called fellow owners.

Sorry fellow fans, after Zim's error it was 2-1 and one out. If the error had let the Phillies go ahead then it was on him. Rauch did not have to blow the lead anymore than the Cubs (sorry, one should let last threads go) had to blow that game 7 in 2003 after the guy caught the ball.

Posted by: Sec 417 Row 8 Seat 9 | August 15, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

IHW, I agree completely re. the WBC. I was trying to be ironic, but ended up being merely misleading (channelling Chris Farley and slapping my own forehead here -- stupid! stupid! stupid!)

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natsfan1a: I was hoping you weren't joking. While I'm sure our players find it an honor and a thrill to play in the WBC, it was a deep well of excuses for the slow start last year.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Geary's Ale is one of my favorites, had the pale ale last time I was home (Cohasset)

Posted by: SacredCod | August 15, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I believe that you may be referring to one Mr. Bartman? ;)

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Sect. 417, twisting the knife a bit, opined: Rauch did not have to blow the lead anymore than the Cubs (sorry, one should let last threads go) had to blow that game 7 in 2003 after the guy caught the ball.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

From your mouth to the baseball gods' ears, IHW. Today (well, okay, next year) the East, tomorrow the (MLB) world!!

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Then next spring won't be like sleep-away camp for 37 pitchers, it will be like a stable of guys coming to work to train, formulate, and execute a plan to take the East.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

My coworker just dropped by to hand me two free tix for tonight's game. Saweet! Feel free to drop by and say hi if you're there.

Posted by: JennX (Sect. 415, Row 8-- tonight anyway!) | August 15, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

So, an interesting idea came up on Barry's chat today about marketing suggestions for the Nats Marketing Department in preparation for the new stadium next year.

While I think it should be the subject of its own NJ posting, I'm guessing this crowd would have some great ideas that should get some attention at Conn & L Streets. File it away for a special edition - maybe on an off day!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 15, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

ShawNatsFan: Seriously! I work just off Farragut Square and cannot for the life of me figure out how that Orioles store stays in business. Meanwhile you have to know what you're looking for to locate the Nats store a block away.

Posted by: JennX | August 15, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey JennX -
We probably cross paths any morning/evening without even knowing it.

Maybe both on the way to book club (ugh, The Road was depressing).

I tell ya, if you can get this beloved NJ group satisfied, THAT would be a marketing miracle!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 15, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, what COULD MLB do if the Lerners are among a half-dozen or so teams to flip the bird to the slot? Delay an All-Star Game to what may still wind up being the best new ballpark in years? Nobody is ... OK, maybe they ARE that stupid.
That said, remember #1 - There's no such thing as too much pitching.
*Every* signing is a gamble -- Brian Lawrence, proven vet, supposed to be a guaranteed 200-inning guy, barely got one jersey into the laundry.

Posted by: Cevansjr | August 15, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Lets give Selig the gas...sign McGeary. Afterall, he nearly gave this franchise the gas just a few years back.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 15, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Nats' sixth-round pick to attend Stanford
-- MLB.com, Bill Ladson

Posted by: DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN? | August 15, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I've missed it, but is there a single person on NJ who doesn't think they should go for McGeary? I think the opinion on the fan side is pretty unanimous.

Posted by: just another nats fan | August 15, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Moving on to tonight's game, I hope Manny shuffles up the line-up from last night. I like having Nook near the top of the order and putting Belli farther back to help out Austin and Ryan. He're what I'd go with;

1. Lopez
2. Logan
3. Zimmerman
4. Young
5. Church
6. Belliard
7. Kearns
8. Schneider
9. Redding

Maybe switch Lopez/Logan and Church/Belliard to get a better mix of Lefty/Righty batters...

Posted by: estuartj | August 15, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

AND ... (arguably) one reason we are still talking about this team was the cattle-call for pitching this spring. They would NEVER have gotten all these guys any other way, and yes, they are lucky as [Bill Lee] it worked, but the fact is, it DID. Sign 'em all, let the baseball gods sort it out.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 15, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

and ANOTHER thing ... if it's me, I sign, absolutely. Get hurt at Stanford, and you've still got a degree from Stanford, sure. Get hurt in Potomac, and you've still got tuition money for yourself, your kids, and maybe their kids.

Posted by: Cevansjr | August 15, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

just another nats fan,

I don't think anyone says we shouldn't sign McGreary above slot. I personally have NO issue with them going as high as Detwiler's 2.something million bonus. I don't think we should go crazy like Detroit did to steal him away from Stanford though.

As for the political issues, can anyone at MLB really have a problem with us giving McGreary $2M after Detroit blew up the whole slot system? Why in God's name are WE the ones worried about pissing people off?

Posted by: estuartj | August 15, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"See, the sad thing about a guy like you is in 50 years you're gonna start doin some thinkin on your own and you're gonna come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life: One, don't do that. And Two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a [RF]ing education you coulda got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library."

Posted by: Will Hunting | August 15, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Well apparently the political issues are something of a problem, because he'd be signed already if they weren't. But then, shouldn't MLB be too busy penalizing Detroit for their silly $7M to notice when we throw $1M at a sixth-rounder?

Posted by: just another nats fan | August 15, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

** make that 2 or 3 million $$

--
But then, shouldn't MLB be too busy penalizing Detroit for their silly $7M to notice when we throw $1M at a sixth-rounder?

Posted by: just another nats fan | August 15, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The big question mark in my mind is McGreary not Selig. We have absolutely no indication what kind of money it will cost to sign McGreary. If he wanted to play pro ball and thought he would be a first rounder, why not keep your mouth shut about Stanford and see where you get drafted?

It seems clear to me that he wants to go to Stanford, not Viera Beach next year, and it's going to take more than 1 or 2 million dollars to change his mind.

Posted by: estuartj | August 15, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

esj, what do you think we'd have to pay him? And how much do you think is too much? Just out of curiosity.

Posted by: just another nats fan | August 15, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

If we can get him to sign for $3m or less I'd say sign him 100%, if it'll take up to $4-5 million? Maybe not, if he needs something in the $7 million range - now way.

Something in me doesn't like the prospect of us throwing money an 18 yo kid to see how much his soul can be bought for.

Posted by: estuartj | August 15, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

His soul? Ouch. But then, if he asked me, I'd tell him to go to school no matter what. I agree with the Moneyball philosophy that, until you've seen a few years of college or minor league stats at least, you can't count on any accuracy from a player's numbers. But I'm also convinced that the only solution is to pick up as many people as you can lay your hands on, and hope that at least a few of them work out.

----
Something in me doesn't like the prospect of us throwing money an 18 yo kid to see how much his soul can be bought for.

Posted by: just another nats fan | August 15, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

No need to panic over Ladson's article on the Nats website. It was written yesterday and if you read the whole thing through it basically said the same thing Barry did yesterday. That there wasn't a lot of hope he'd sign, but it was still possible. And if I'm not mistaken, the story isn't even on the site anymore.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 15, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

You know, I've been thinking about this, and it's made me very optimistic about our scouting department.

After auditioning 37 pitchers in the Spring, nearly all the guys we're talking about for the rotation in 2008 are guys the Nationals already had in the organization. Patterson, Hill, Chico, Bergmann, Lannan, Hanrahan, Detwiler, all property of the Washington Nationals. The only exception I can see is Redding, who looks like he could make it in next season.

Sure, thirteen different pitchers have started for the Nats this year (can you name them without looking?), but most were just stopgap replacements necessitated by injury. Some would be good additions to the bullpen (Bowie, Speigner), and some the Nats will simply let go (or already have let go), and some could wind up back in the minors. Still, most of next year's considerations are guys the Nationals obtained outside of open invitation in Spring Training.

And speaking of the bullpen, how nicely does that set up next year? Rivera, Schroder, Bowie, Ayala, Colome, Rauch, and Cordero? I like the idea of having Speigner as a long relief pitcher, but I just don't see room for him.

All in all, I'd say the scouting department has done an excellent job acquiring talent. Barring injuries - say what you will about that - this could be a very solid pitching staff next year.

-----

Then next spring won't be like sleep-away camp for 37 pitchers, it will be like a stable of guys coming to work to train, formulate, and execute a plan to take the East.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 15, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

OK maybe buying his soul is a little harsh. Personally I don't think the negotiation is going anything like that, it seems very out of character for Kasten and Bowden to try to "buy" him out of school.

More likely I think they're offering him a very generous bonus amount with a firm foundation in where he would have landed if Stanford wasn't in the picture (plus a little for your trouble maybe). The real push is probalby much more in the, look how fast so and so (Detwiler for one) is progressing, we are on our way to being the top team in the NL, wouldn't you like to be a part of that, if you sign with us we can win a world series, if you wait 3 years you might end up in Kansas City, etc.

Or they could use Barry Switzer's famous pitch while at Oklahoma;

"You can play here and win a National Championsip or you can play somewhere else and we'll still win a National Championship"

Posted by: estuartj | August 15, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey speaking of injuries, is it just a coinicidence that all of our starters (except for MC) tend to end up injured, or should I be worried?

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Sure, thirteen different pitchers have started for the Nats this year (can you name them without looking?), but most were just stopgap replacements necessitated by injury.

Posted by: just another nats fan | August 15, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

D'oh! I got 'em all except my (CA) home boy, Simontacchi (nothing personal, though).

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Sure, thirteen different pitchers have started for the Nats this year (can you name them without looking?)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 15, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"Hey speaking of injuries, is it just a coinicidence that all of our starters (except for MC) tend to end up injured, or should I be worried?"

There are differing opinions on this blog. Mine is: they were on the scrap heap for a reason. Randy "Bob Villo" St. Claire can make them work for awhile, but they'll never be good as new.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 15, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

estuartj...I'm ROFLMAO about the Switzer reference you made. I loved it. I think McGeary would be wise to sign as you might not pass this way again. Who knows what could happen at Stanford. Signing would guarantee a shot at fulfilling a (presuming) boyhood dream. Not to mention lining his pockets with lifetime security.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 15, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

First of all, way to jinx Matt Chico.

Secondly, I worry about that a lot. These projections are meaningless if we're looking at thirteen different pitchers every year.

I can laugh it off by saying we have a lot of injury-prone starters in the organization, namely Hill and Patterson. Simontacchi's injury wasn't a huge surprise, either.

But it's hard to laugh it off. I don't want to have to call up Josh Smoker this time next year because we're down to three guys in the rotation.

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Hey speaking of injuries, is it just a coinicidence that all of our starters (except for MC) tend to end up injured, or should I be worried?

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 15, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Found a great website with awesome wool pennants. // www.winningstreaksports.com // click the merchandisers link to find **pennantmania** There you will find a great Nationals pennant, and a 1960 Washington Senators pennant that looks really cool.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 15, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Question from this (still somewhat rookie) baseball fan:

From today's chat:

"Baltimore: So Hill looked really good last night. Does he have what it takes to be a solid No. 2 starter on a decent team?

Barry Svrluga: I believe he does. And if he's your No. 3, look out."

My question for those of you who might know is, what difference does the order of starting pitchers make? I understand batting orders (particularly in the NL), but the whole apparent conundrum about which pitcher is the "No. 2" or "No. 1" or No. 4" starter still escapes me.

Posted by: Juan-John | August 15, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

OK, let's slow down a bit in our projections of the pitching staffs of '08 and '09. Ross Detwiler pitched this afternoon in Potomac, and gave up 6 earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. His ERA is now 9.82.

Crud.

Posted by: Kevin | August 15, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Wow, and while we're at it, Ian Desmond committed his 30th error of the season. He got pretty close to being an Original National in spring training 2005.

Posted by: Kevin | August 15, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Kevin...not a happy Detwiler report, but, even Clemens, .etc get lit up occasionally. I wouldn't put a lot of stock in it this early.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 15, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

As far as Desmond goes, he's yesterdays news and now just a body filling a spot. Could change, but it doesn't appear it will. Remember, the scouting staff wasn't much back when he was drafted. Misses were more likely than hits back then as opposed to the current scouting contingent, which is now rated highly.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 15, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

new post

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 15, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Agree with the comments about not getting an All Star game. Would rather risk that and see a game in October. That being said, with all the politicians and $$ in DC, plus the new stadium, there is no way Selig/MLB can stay away from DC for too long.

They paid Smoker. Lets pay McGreary and get some of these pitchers moving so we have choices in '09.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | August 15, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Juan-John,


... I assume what Barry was getting at was that if Shawn is number 2, then number 1 is our hot-shot. But if Shawn is #3, that means we've got TWO stronger arms ahead of him, and if that were the case, just imagine what a deep and powerful rotation that would suggest.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 15, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

That makes sense, natscan. Thx!

Posted by: Juan-John | August 15, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Ian Desmond has too much talent to give up on a 21 year old.

Posted by: Tom | August 15, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Nothing like waking up to the sweet smell of a signed left handed prospect, while at the same time thumbing one's proverbial nose at MLB.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | August 16, 2007 5:32 AM | Report abuse

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