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McGeary: Why it's significant

So at this point, the Nationals have announced it, and it's just up to us to sort it out. The nitty-gritty: Washington has granted a $1.8 million bonus to left-handed pitcher Jack McGeary, a high schooler from Newton, Mass., who attended Roxbury Latin. The deal is a bit creative. According to sources, McGeary will be allowed to attend Stanford - where he had committed to play baseball, and where most people in the sport felt he would end up - and play pro ball for the Nationals in the summer. The Nationals are picking up the cost for his education, because if he doesn't play ball there - and he won't - he loses his scholarship. He'll be allowed to attend the entire school year.

So figure the whole deal's worth about $2 million, what with the cost of the education.

As an aside, I do think it's funny that baseball draft bonuses get reported as exorbitant when the Nationals are about to pay Ronnie Belliard $1.6 million next year and Dmitri Young $5 million. But that's just me. The difference is those guys are proven major leaguers, I suppose, and we don't know whether McGeary will ever end up in the big leagues.

Several aspects to this one, but let's start with that. This bonus, and this signing, aren't significant because it's guaranteed that Jack McGeary will end up pitching for the Nationals in two, three, five years - or even ever. This bonus is significant because it represents a willingness on the part of the Lerner family - a willingness that even people inside the organization weren't sure was there - to not just pay the money (which - in a world where a ballpark costs $611 million and a payroll of $38 million is considered tiny - just isn't that much) but to buck MLB.

To review what I wrote in yesterday's posts: The Lerners are new to the exclusive and very political club of MLB owners, which has all of 30 members. While Tigers owner Mike Ilitch and others - Yankees, Red Sox - are snubbing their noses at MLB's suggested guidelines that assign bonuses to players based solely on where they're drafted, there was no guarantee the Lerners would be willing to do that in what is their first full season in that exclusive fraternity.

So this took some work, and there's a good reason it went down to 11:45 p.m. I was in touch with people at 11 who didn't know whether it was going to happen. How close was this to getting done, even a day before? McGeary and his advisor, Brodie Van Wagenen, were both in town yesterday to close it, and they did so with GM Jim Bowden late last night at a downtown Washington steakhouse.

As it's been described to me, the Lerners wanted to take the industry's temperature. If there were a bunch of other "above-slot" deals, then they would become more likely to jump. Keep in mind: What they were considering doing was paying more for a sixth-round pick than any team had ever paid before. But because McGeary, had he told teams prior to the draft that he would likely play pro ball, would have been selected higher it was going to take much more than sixth-round money to get him.

As one baseball person I talked to last night said, "Stan Kasten and the Lerners really stepped up and showed something." Don't discount, however, the pressure Jim Bowden and Kasten put on their ownership group to do this. Those two have been in baseball a long time, and the Lerners are learning (Lerning?) the business. They had to be convinced of this.

The bonus: The Nationals just paid Josh Smoker, another high school lefty, a $1 million bonus, and he was taken 31st overall, one pick outside the first round. But Smoker, by virtue of saying he wanted to play pro ball from the start and spurn his commitment to Clemson, didn't have the leverage McGeary had. Thus, the difference in bonuses.

The Nationals now have signed each of their top 20 draft picks. They also signed three players in the top 15 in strict overall talent on their draft board - lefties Ross Detwiler, Smoker and McGeary - plus another player, outfielder Michael Burgess, who was a consensus first-round pick before he had a lousy senior season and fell to 49th.

Will all those players make it to the majors? I wouldn't bet on it. But the club needs to have inventory. Some players will break down. Some won't pan out. Some low-level picks will surprise and excel. But they have to have numbers in order to compete. Look at that pitching staff at short-season Class A Vermont, the kids the Nationals are touting now. Not all of those kids will make the majors. Heck, I covered the New York-Penn League for two seasons, and I can count the number of major leaguers on the teams I covered on one hand. But there is strength in numbers, and the Nationals are assembling some.

OK, I'm rambling. It's late. All of this - in our very inside baseball world here - overshadows what was a pretty darned good game, and any time I can write about Ray King, I'm happy. The notebook deals with McGeary, though if you got the $.35 edition (man, I still love holding that paper in my hands) and you have it delivered to your home, you got some stuff on Ryan Zimmerman working on his fielding. I'll recycle that as a Journal post in the next day or so for those who only read on-line. (Is there anyone like that out there? Maybe, people in Alaska or New Brunswick?)

I'll probably wait to post until I get to the park tomorrow with lineups, etc., for the rubber game of the Phillies series. But discuss here whether you think this is a big deal or not - and why or why not.

By Barry Svrluga  |  August 16, 2007; 1:26 AM ET
 
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Next: Zimmerman's D

Comments

Barry,

You rule - go to bed. Thanks for the ever-present, round-the-clock coverage.

Posted by: Grateful Latenight Readers | August 16, 2007 1:37 AM | Report abuse

first

Posted by: antonio | August 16, 2007 1:38 AM | Report abuse

I'll gladly discuss in the (real) morning. Executive summary: You bet your sweet bippy it's a big deal.

Meanwhile, Barry, go to bed, as others have suggested. (As should I, and shall shortly.)

Repost from the previous thread...

Closing it down at the hutch with news of props:

First, of course, Barry got the McGeary signing into the Notebook, presumably for $.35 edition publication this morning. I don't know how these deadlines can possibly get met, but I'll be at the paper machine at Silver Spring Metro bright and early in the ayem.

Second, Bill Ladson has posted news of the signing on MLB.com. He does not mention how he blew the scoop earlier, not that it matters very much.

We should presently, like tonight, be in the eye of ESPN et al. Dress appropriately for Thursday night's contest (my last, sadly, before my round-the-world business trip that starts Friday).

Posted by: Hendo | August 16, 2007 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Ladson's "blowing" of the story, I wonder if that wasn't a negotiation ploy on the part of the team, that by publicly giving up hope, they pushed McGeary into showing his cards.

This sounds so weird, but I have a feeling that the Nationals are going to end up trading several of these talented new kids over the next year or two - some this winter to fill holes and some next summer before the trading deadline.

Mike Rizzo rocks!

Posted by: Farid @ Beltway Boys | August 16, 2007 2:17 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Ladson's "blowing" of the story, I wonder if that wasn't a negotiation ploy on the part of the team, that by publicly giving up hope, they pushed McGeary into showing his cards.

This sounds so weird, but I have a feeling that the Nationals are going to end up trading several of these talented new kids over the next year or two - some this winter to fill holes and some next summer before the trading deadline.

Mike Rizzo rocks!

Posted by: Farid @ Beltway Boys | August 16, 2007 2:19 AM | Report abuse

Hey Barry -

1.) As a DC native born and raised currently in permanent exile in Chicago, you can bet your sweet bippy that there are folks outside of Alaska and New Brunswick who only read the online edition of the WaPo. It's still my primary MSM news source, given my local affiliations (and my firm belief that its news/op-ed/sports coverage is the best in the MSM business), but only my parents get to hold the $0.35 edition in their hands.

2.) The signing of McGeary is a stunner to me, and a profoundly encouraging bellwether. You've explained the reasons why well enough in this entry. Thank you for the up-to-the-minute coverage you've given us w/r/t draft coverage. I'm going to miss you ridiculously once you depart from the Nats beat at the end of the year. WHY GO NOW??

Posted by: Jeff B. | August 16, 2007 2:35 AM | Report abuse

Ladson was correct, McGreary IS going to Stanford. It's just that he's not playing ball there, minor details, right?

Posted by: SF Fan | August 16, 2007 3:06 AM | Report abuse

Yep, I'm living in South Korea for a year so I depend on this blog and the online edition to keep me informed until I get back to DC. This signing is huge, and it is encouraging to see our farm system come so far from where it was when MLB owned the Expos and ran it into the ground.

Posted by: Paul | August 16, 2007 4:05 AM | Report abuse

I realize that I didn't really answer the prompt in my initial post, despite talking around it. Anyway, the reason I think our signing of McGeary is a big deal is, ironically enough, as a riposte to the type of post made yesterday afternoon by Nats blogger Chris Needham over on Capitol Punishment (http://dcbb.blogspot.com). Over there Chris, in a fit of premature anger, labelled the Lerners ownership team as being craven Selig myrmidons: so grateful have gotten the winning bid on the Nats that, in the politicized environment Barry has (*very* suggestively) emphasized with his every post on the matter, they would be reluctant to buck the MLB slot money recommendation and anger the ownership collective.

But it turns out that either...

a.) the Lerners had more moxie than Nats bloggers gave them credit for;

b.) Bowden/Kasten/Rizzo/Brown are near vaudevillian in their ability to do a convincing soft-shoe routine for TEH BOSS;

c.) the Detroit Tigers did us all a huge favor by pulling out that massive above-slot deal for Porcello the day before;

...because as Barry's source said, "Stan Kasten and the Lerners really stepped up and showed something" tonight by getting McGeary. Stanford has a notorious track record of getting its baseball commitments to stick with the Cardinal regardless of their draft choice, so poaching a quality lefty like McGeary, and for such a reasonable price, is a massive coup.

Getting Detwiler was obligatory. Getting Smoker was a prerequisite to proving we're serious about farm development. But getting McGeary actually sends the sort of message to SERIOUS DC baseball fans that Lerner/Kasten/Bowden have been trying to get across for a year now while being met with varying degrees of skepticism: this ain't your father's penny-pinching, MLB-pwned Expos/Nats franchise. To me, getting this deal done is remarkably symbolic, as if to say: "Nobody tells the Nats what to do anymore. We're lookin' out for #1 from here on out."

As someone who wasn't too thrilled with the Belliard/Young signings, the overall Nats haul for the 2007 draft (with the filip of the McGeary signing) represents the most encouraging sign for this franchise since our reinvestment in the Dominican and the signing of Smiley Gonzalez. Thanks again for the great reporting, Barry.

Posted by: Jeff B. | August 16, 2007 4:15 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Ted Lerner.

Posted by: swanni | August 16, 2007 4:47 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Lerners! Now just sign a big bat OF, a decent starting pitcher, and make sure that next year's season tickets are promptly delivered in the off-season, and we'll be all set! ;-)

Seriously though, this is great news.

Posted by: Natsphan | August 16, 2007 5:29 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Ted Lerner!

I can't wait to see how the Nats' draft is ranked this year, and anticipate that the farm system rises many slots from the cellar in next spring's rankings. My family will celebrate with a trip to the Potomac game tonight, and hopefully several more trips to RFK before this happy reason is over. We don't make it often, but we are usually a crowd of 9 when we and our friends get there.

Posted by: Curly W Rising | August 16, 2007 6:35 AM | Report abuse

HUGE!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Dick | August 16, 2007 6:48 AM | Report abuse

Online reading? It's the only way I do it, Barry. That way I can select the little bit I want from the Post (mainly your column and Eugene Robinson's) from what has otherwise become a reactionary and devalued old media rag.

Cheers!

Posted by: bdrube | August 16, 2007 7:12 AM | Report abuse

I was going to say something snarky about the next task on the list is to get rid of Clint and Screech. But I don't wanna be snarky. I just wanna sit here grateful for a little while, so disregard that.
Barry and everyone hit the nail on the head on why this is so AWESOME: it speaks volumes about the cohesiveness of everyone, through to the top, buying-in (so to speak) on this plan. (Kasten and Bowden's hard sell aside)
Jeff B. is right on: "Nobody tells the Nats what to do anymore. We're lookin' out for #1 from here on out."

Posted by: NatsNut | August 16, 2007 7:18 AM | Report abuse

No offense to Barry, but I think the organization played him and us, and I'm happy they did it.

They needed time to let the Detroit signing sink in, they made a big public show of caring what MLB thought (via Barry) and then they waited until the very last minute so it looks like they tortured themselves over the decision.

Personally, I think they had this deal worked out days or weeks ago. There is a guy named Aaron Chang working for the Nationals who used to be a White House Communications specialist (back when that was a good thing) and this is exactly how you play out a potential bad story to make it a great story. Props to the Lerners for having the b@lls to play the game right, if Washingtonians can't handle a little company politics we should just give up and go home.

WTG Boys, now let's go out and win the rubber match tonight! Go Zim, Go Meat, Go Hanrahan!

Posted by: estuartj | August 16, 2007 7:19 AM | Report abuse

This signing validates that the LLerners are true to their word and that the Plan is real. It is also a potential bell weather for future Free Agents who will note this signing and be more comfortable that ownership is serious about winning. I think that this signing is the answer to any questions about NOT signing Goriano last year.

Great job to the Team Ownership and great news for the fans.

Now, save up your pennies and sign Torii Hunter!

Posted by: roman1735 | August 16, 2007 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for my lack of personal editing in the last post!

Posted by: Roman1735 | August 16, 2007 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Many Kudos to the Nats management team for going 20 for 20. Hail to the Nationals, hail victory, Nats on the warpath, fight for old DC. Can't help, I'm just so giddy right now about McGeary...I'm Jacked up, you might say. Take that Bud. I don't care if we ever get an allstar game...I'd rather have a pennant. GO NATS...STAY HOT

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 16, 2007 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Couple questions for Barry and the group;
Does anyone know when classes run from and to at Stanford, how much of the minor league season will he miss?
Did McGreary sign a 2007 or 2008 contract? If he's not going to play this year no sense in "starting his clock"
Does anyone know the track record of guys playing ball in the summer and going to school the rest of the year? We mentioned Drew Henson and the guy from ND last night, neiter are success stories as far as baseball is concerned.

Posted by: estuartj | August 16, 2007 7:38 AM | Report abuse

A big signing for all the reasons already outlined.

Kudos to Barry. Long Live Barry!

This is the kind of management that "sole" Dovgan (caps propsect) a couple of years ago. The Florida Panthers tried to draft Ovechkin a year early, and while it didn't work out for them, it shows the kind of moxie management is willing to make.

Thanks to the Lerner's for shelling out and looking out for the team.

Posted by: NW Nats Fan | August 16, 2007 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Barry, super coverage on this the last several days. Thanks!! And, to be ignorant, where are you going? This is your last year on the Nats beat?? Did I read that correctly? Sorry, I'm slow and didn't know this.

Lerners - This is huge, more so from the committment it shows than the individual himself. This is a significant step in showing us, the fans, that you are willing to spend the money.

JeffB - Excellent post.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | August 16, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Of course there are online-only readers of the Post and this blog in particular. Anyone who made comments here about not understanding why the now apparently former overplay of the Orioles in the Post was an issue is obviously an online-only reader. Why? Because anyone, whether they were personally in favor of the Post covering the O's or not, who was not at least aware of how the Post used to play up the Orioles in the print edition had to have been someone who had rarely if ever seen the print edition of the Post. And there were quite a few commenters here who were saying "what's the big deal?" when that discussion went down.

Also, there's the fact that this blog is barely referenced in the print edition (especially in comparison with Steinberg's blog, which is excerpted daily in the print edition, and the Redskins and soccer blogs), and even in the few times it is referenced there it is often incorrectly labeled as "Nationals Insider". Folks here have complained about how hard it is to find this blog when you hit washingtonpost.com. Try finding it if all you ever hit is The Washington Post after you lay down your 35 cents. You won't.

So I would actually guess that the majority, maybe even an overwhelming majority, of readers of this blog are online-only when it comes to reading the Post. The rest, like me, read the print edition but also check out the online features. And by definition, nobody here is a print-only person.

Posted by: Section 419 | August 16, 2007 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Say it ain't so Barry. Postings by JeffB indicate you're leaving us at seasons end??? Hopefully, he means only for the winter and that you'll be returning to Viera in the spring.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 16, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Here is why it matters:

1. MLB has been put on notice: You no longer own us, and you no longer dictate how we may run our business, and accordingly we no longer roll over for you.

2. MSM has been put on notice: Dismiss us all you like, but we intend to stick around, and to be relevant, for a while. Maybe longer than you will.

Posted by: Hendo | August 16, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Hendo,
What is MSM?

Posted by: estuartj | August 16, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

this is great. nats respect his wishes and pay up at same time while locking an incredible draft. for him there's no worry about being mishandled in college ball. and we don't have to worry about him being rushed. i think this shows a great mixture of patience and assertiveness by the nats top brass in signing him. now i can't wait to see how persuasive we are with some of these free agents this winter.

Posted by: the plan | August 16, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse

My guess is that Jeff B wasn't serious about Barry leaving, just acknowledging Barry's talent and the liklihood that he'll be snatched away.

I'm wondering too: What the heck is MSM?

Posted by: NatsNut | August 16, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I believe the Pirates drafted Chris Young after his sophomore year at Princeton. As the folks in San Diego will tell you, that worked out okay.

I do think Stanford is on the quarter system and classes don't start until mid-September. Or at least they were as of a few years ago. That would make for long summers, but also late springs.

Posted by: JP | August 16, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

And Chris Young finished at Princeton, is what I meant.

Posted by: JP | August 16, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

... last night, swanni 'A-Rod-ed' me, drawing out a response with his sly but premature statement that McGeary had finally turned down the Nats' offer. swanni, I salute you and your cunning linguistic acumen.

... but in spite of the truth reflected by the cold light of dawn, I stand by my stated comments offered in response. "If" Jack had opted for Stanford, I would have supported that decision and stood by him against the more negative views - those which suggested take the Nats now, and education later.

... that he has done just that does not change my opinion, neither of the right-ness of the other choice, nor of him for making the one he did.

... I believe that he may very well have impressed the Nats FO both on his dogged belief in education, and on his ability to be a shrewd negotiator.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 16, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I think MSM is mainstream media. They never get it right anymore.

Couple other thoughts:

1) Barry, please please please quash this notion you may be leaving the Nats beat at the end of the year. Say it ain't so, Joe! What could you possibly want to do more than follow a 4th place ballclub around the country and blogging your guts out to us?

2) I hope there was some level of facetiousness in your question about whether you have online-only readers. I live in Arlington, work downtown, and can't remember the last time I held a paper copy of the Post in my hands. It has nothing to do with the $.35, but everything to do with time. Time to find the copy, flip through it for waht I want, dispose of it. When your Post reading comes in 90 second intervals over the course of the whole day (and night), and may happen at home or work or even in the car (thanks mobile internet!), online is so much easier than lugging paper around. Leaves a smaller carbon footprint, too!

Posted by: Section 408 Row 1 | August 16, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

MSM = Main Stream Media :-)

"I'll recycle that as a Journal post in the next day or so for those who only read on-line. (Is there anyone like that out there? Maybe, people in Alaska or New Brunswick?)"

Quite honestly, the only time I read the $.35 version nowadays is when it's wedged between the toilet stalls in the men's room.

So they really did sign McGeary, huh? Glad to know it wasn't just a dream.

One last thought about last night's game: Nook Logan musta been thinking, "[RF]-ing RFK!!" after that missed-by-inches near-homer-turned-double.

Posted by: Juan-John | August 16, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

MSM = Main Stream Media. C'mon bloggers, get with it.

Posted by: loman | August 16, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

But natscan, my understanding is that Jack will attend Stanford and play for the Nats in the summer, so that he hasn't given up on education? I was pleased to see that the Nats were picking up the cost of his education. Like you, I believe in the value of an education, and I like it when players go on to college rather than going to the majors right after high school (it sets a good example for kids, too, I think).

---

... but in spite of the truth reflected by the cold light of dawn, I stand by my stated comments offered in response. "If" Jack had opted for Stanford, I would have supported that decision and stood by him against the more negative views - those which suggested take the Nats now, and education later.

... that he has done just that does not change my opinion, neither of the right-ness of the other choice, nor of him for making the one he did.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 16, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Juan-John, eeeww!!

---

Quite honestly, the only time I read the $.35 version nowadays is when it's wedged between the toilet stalls in the men's room.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 16, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

This deal really does encourage one to have faith in ownership, the front office and The Plan. Whether or not the kid pans out, this is creative, dramatic and declares that the Lerners are not going to be associate members of the fraternity. Anyone who ever did a real estate deal with them will not be surprised by that. And, good points Barry about the chanciness of player development and the importance of inventory. Hope the Post makes a similar dramatic move to keep you.

Posted by: Section 314 | August 16, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, and especially for NatsNut: woo-hoo! who's MLB's daddy? who's MLB's daddy? boo-YAH!! YEAH!!! (from a semi-early-to-bed, semi-baby boomer)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 16, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Hey, what's with all the Barry-leaving chatter? It's just a rumor, right??

Barry, as others have said, thanks for the excellent, careful reporting. After reading the posts this a.m., I was imagining Mrs. Nats Journal grousing, "Okay, Mr. Big-Time Blogfather, that's enough now. You can blog in the "real" a.m. It's time for bed now."

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 16, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

... just want to follow up with my last post, in which I reiterated my concern for and appreciation of Jack McG.'s educational determination.

... having said that, let no one mistake the fact that as a Nats fan, I'm deliriously giddy this a.m. to take note of the fact we now have a VERY SOLID pitching core to last us from here to the WS!

... GO NATS ... ABSOLUTELY AND FOREVER.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 16, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Juan-John, what were Chief and Bacsik singing? Inquiring minds (and radio-listeners) want to know.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 16, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Online-only reader in KY who would be very interested to hear about the footwork / defense work by Zimm the other day.

Posted by: Scott M. Collins | August 16, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

If the Lerners bucked MLB, it's fair turnaround for the shafting they took on the TV deal. My guess is that talking about the cap was a negotiating ploy. If they were planning on doing this all along and made it look like they were worried about it, it might have induced the signee to make the first move to take less money. Fair business strategy, as far as I'm concerned. He didn't have to take the deal.

The downside is it means the Nats are committed to someone who is scheduled to pitch for a short-season minor league team for three or four years AND not pitch in college.

Posted by: Section 418 | August 16, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

If MLB is unhappy with the deal that has been forced on it, we can give them a 33% ownership share in McGeary.

Posted by: Svrlugamania | August 16, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, and I love the blog and chats, don't get me wrong, but I'm with Barry: I love holding the paper edition in my hands (and perusing the standings with my morning cuppa Joe -- speaking of which, guess who's left 9 teams sucking their exhaust as of this a.m.? Uh-huh, that's right, the "lowly" Nats. That that, MSM).

Whew, talk about run-on sentences. And I call myself a proofreader.

Last, but not least, congrats and thanks to the Lerners and the rest of the powers that be for their 20-20 draft season!!

Now I suppose I'd better do a little actual work.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 16, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Another example of why those who want to rip the Lerners, Kasten, and Bowden are wrong. Just because they own and run the team does not mean they suck. Actually it is possible that owners/managers do good work in difficult circumstances. No conspiracy / no confederacy of dunces required.

Go Nats. Thanks owners and managers.

Posted by: NatBisquit | August 16, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

"those who only read on-line. (Is there anyone like that out there? Maybe, people in Alaska or New Brunswick?)"

hey Barry,

... the most hard working sports writer I've ever read and follwed, has nailed it corectly. While I would gladly go out and buy a paper edition of the WashPost, I'd venture to say it'd be about a week late by the time the dog teams finally dragged it up to Maine and across the border.

... so thanx Barry for the tip-o'-the-quill (above) and always be assured there are some(I'm one) who read you on-line exclusively.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 16, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Um, so, okay, make that 8 teams sucking their exhaust. Chalk that one up to irrational exuberance...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 16, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Serves me right for soaking in the victory last night and heading off to bed around... 11:45pm!

Sure, nothing else going on!

Woo-hoo! This is a smart smart move by the Kid, Mr. Pale Ale in a Happy Meal (McGeary).

The actual single A season isn't much longer than the summer for Stanford. He misses some workouts, but spring break is two weeks in Viera (not Daytona Beach, but...)

For inquiring minds, Freshman arrive Sept 19 and the school year goes until June 6 for classes and the 13th for finals.

Yes! Congrats to the scouts, FO, Bowden/Kasten/Lerners and some moxie in the face of big bad Bud. Nice communications work on that one, if indeed that was what it was.

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 16, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

... before I get back to work (as my boss has verbally suggested), I just gotta say this: prior to the draft and the subsequent negotiations and signings, I had pegged JimBow as a lightweight when it comes to being a GM.

... now, in the aftermath of the past month, my estimation of the man has gone up greatly. I think I can finally forget JimBow of the CinReds and focus on Jim Bowden of the Washington Nationals.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 16, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Damn!!! I was looking forward to venting plenty of spleen over how those tightwads weren't going to spend a nickle to improve the team and just milk DC baseball fans in perpetuity. Curse you!!!!1 What's next? A big FA signing in the off season? I may not make it.

Posted by: Disappointed | August 16, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Signing McGeary (please stop typing McGreary, there is only one "r"!) is indeed a huge deal and the reasons have bascially been mentioned.

Barry covered the thing about not bending over to MLB's "slot" and Ken Rosenthal wrote a nice piece about that issue yesterday on Foxports.com (though I'd never suggest anyone leave Nats Journal to go read it).

The other significant aspect is that the ownership and management of the Nats are walking the walk. They are indeed showing there is a plan and that they are committed to executing it to the best of their abilities through scouting and the draft. Also, keep in mind, this draft does not take into account the Nats increased presence in the Dominican via Jose Rijo. As we all know there is a constant high level of talent from the DR and having this increased presence, not to mention a Dominican manager in the big leagues and the fact that the Nats play in the our nation's capital and I think there is an incredible formula for success in DC.

Bottom line -- It's a great time to be a Nats fan so we can all say, "I was there when..." as we watch our pennants raised in 2010 and beyond!!

Posted by: Ryan | August 16, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

... and oh yeah. As a former Expos fan, it does my heart good (no 'great') to see the reincarnation of 'my' old franchise tell Bud Selig: "Man, your days are over. Bye-bye."

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 16, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

A potpourri of responses:

1) I think the Barry's leaving the Nats beat comment was a tip of the hat to Mr. Svrluga's talent by suggesting a promotion is imminent for his hard work. I wondered at first, but when I saw none of you knew, I figured it couldn't be true.

2) The Chief and The Pitcher Who Gave Up the Home Run (it cracks me up that some people think of Bas like that now) were singing "Shout!" with Chad singing the verses and Mike doing the "shouts" and it was hilarious. The best part was that Cordero had his same stern, slightly perplexed look he always has when pitching. Combined with Ray King singing "moving on up, to the bullpen", it's the best Wireless Wednesday ever.

3) swanni thanked the Lerners. It was very classy by him and I think indicative of the most important part of these signings - the Plan looks believable.

4)Sect 419 said, "Anyone who made comments here about not understanding why the now apparently former overplay of the Orioles in the Post was an issue is obviously an online-only reader."

OH NO YOU DON'T! I have not been collecting all this [RF] data from the Post every day, including spending three hours on it when I came back from vacation just to have you hedge everything right now! Grumble, grumble.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 16, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Yes Boss, hold on; I'm coming!!

... you're right natsfan1a, about Jack and Stanford. But when I wrote my first post of the day, I hadn't heard that part of the deal.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 16, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Q1: 9/24 to 12/7
Q2: 1/8 to 3/14
Q3: 4/1 to 6/4
Q4: 6/24 to 8/14

Posted by: Stanford's Calendar | August 16, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Svrluga;

My thanks and my compliments for your digging and your late-night and early-morning posts on this blog. You have really committed journalism this time, sir.

If the rumors that you're changing beats are true, it's our loss. If you're also changing publications, it's The Washington Post's loss.

And, Natscan Reduxit -- dog teams? Can't someone in Ottawa convince Bombardier to rebate a little of the subsidy money that company has been getting from your Feds in order to give Canada Post a good deal on some Skidoos?

Posted by: Section 502 (with journalistic kudos) | August 16, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Oh, the question of Stanford - my ex's alma mater which I followed for years and hence my Carlos Quentin fascination as well.

For anyone looking for the Ken Rosenthal article on the "slot" signings for 1st rounders (remember, Pale Ale in a Happy Meal "should" be considered 1st rounder), here's the link: http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7123784

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 16, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Barry - What other sports writer takes the time to keep his loyal public informed for a draft pick signing at 1:30 am? All hail Barry! However, I am going to start worrying that Mrs. Barry is not going to tolerate your late night postings!

Its a huge deal. I think it tells the other teams in the league that the days of MLB control of the Nats is over, that we have funds to spend, and that we are here and here to win. I like it on so many levels I'm just giddy!

Posted by: Nats Fan in KC | August 16, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

FOLLOW UP SUGGESTION FOR BARRY -

Just checking in quickly - glad to see the great news about Smoker and McGeary. Next week, the Nats are in Houston. Brad Ausmus had a similar deal with the Yankees, playing pro ball in the summer while attending Dartmouth. Perhaps he'd have something interesting to say about the arrangement.

Posted by: natsagain | August 16, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

First off, thank you, Barry. Your dedication does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Secondly, I am an online-only reader as well. I used to have a subscription, but that was when I lived in Maryland (so I'm not one of those "someone who had rarely if ever seen the print edition of the Post," despite my claims that Orioles coverage is no big deal). I may be able to pick up a hard copy at Border's, but until now, it hasn't occured to me to do so. Washingtonpost.com is my home page, and has been for years.

Thirdly, great news on the McGeary signing. As I said yesterday, I'm encouraged by the apparent strength of the scouting department, and it's great to see the Lerners and company backing that strength.

Finally, did Church really hit it into section 467 last night? Our seats were there last year!

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 16, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Sweet work by the front office!

I want a Jim Bowden t-shirt that says "20-20 Man" on the front of it.

Posted by: G-town | August 16, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Great news! It's nice to see the same committment from ownership that season ticket holders are showing the club. This is very exciting.

Posted by: Collin | August 16, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I have nothing to add to all the good points people have made about the McGeary signing, except YEAH!!! It'll be interesting to see how much money they have left over for a FA signing, but I'm impressed with commitment.

This seems like a week ago, but on the reaction to my Braves roster building post:

1. There are 120 position player seasons because I looked at 15 seasons (1991 - 2005). That's 15 x 8.

2. My poorly constructed comment about them not giving up anything in trades was really meant to mean that they never traded prospects away that amounted to anything anywhere else. I think most of the guys mentioned by MF were guys who played a few years in the MLB for the Braves and then were flipped for prospects or other big leaguers. I will say though that even that list is longer and more impressive than I thought.

3. Greg Maddux was signed as a free agent and accounts for most of the number in that column for starting pitchers. The others they signed were: John Burkitt, Shane Reynolds, and John Thomson.

Posted by: #4 | August 16, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Welcome, Ryan McGeary! Can't wait 'til we see him anchoring the rotation with Ryan Smoker and Ryan Detwiler.

Posted by: Tom Servo | August 16, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

You know I am in LOVE with the Nationals for working out a way for him to go to Stanford and with McGeary for pushing it. In another thread there was a conversation about education v. pro ball, and I think it's great to see McGeary literally getting the best of both worlds. It makes the academic geek in me sing with joy.

Posted by: Atlanta | August 16, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Folks -

Let's not give the Nats too much credit on the pro ball v. education thing. That's SOP for 1st round draft picks, if the player wants it. It's a good sign though that McGeary made it part of the deal. It shows he has a little something upstairs. It's not surprising given that Roxbury Latin is one of the top private schools in the country. He's received one of the finest secondary school experiences there is. The fact that his parents sent him there shows that education is a priority for them.

And, no. I'm not a Roxbury alum.

Posted by: #4 | August 16, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

... earlier today, someone mentioned: "Also, keep in mind, this draft does not take into account the Nats increased presence in the Dominican via Jose Rijo."

... which reminds me of a question going 'round in my cranium. With all the attention and importation of Asian ball players in recent years, does anyone know if any MLB teams operate similar development institutes in Asia as they do in Latin America?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 16, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

On-line only readers: Of course that was a facetious reference. I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of folks on the Journal -- whether they're in the DC area or not -- are on-line only folks.

I do, still, enjoy the paper. But that's just me.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | August 16, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

"I do, still, enjoy the paper. But that's just me."

... no Barry. It's not just you. In my family's daily existence, newspapers are more than simply the source of family income; they represent the ability of society to interact with one another in the most tangible way possible - certainly in a way which often seems more real, more honest and more reflective.

... there are those of my age who have embraced the internet and blogging as another form of media communication in immediacy, informality, and community-mindedness. But such vehicles are not newspapers and never will, nor can be.

... my great disappointment will be the loss of depth that newspapers transmit, when the bulk of our society and population place the internet at the top of the communication ladder. A large and important part of life will have been lost, and the sad thing is that many people won't know what that part was.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 16, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

John asked from Minneapolis, "did Church really hit it into section 467 last night? Our seats were there last year!"

He really did. the ball landed three or four rows up and in the middle of that section.

I can confirm that because we were at last night's game, sitting in (I'll bet you can guess where).

Posted by: Section 502 | August 16, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Natscan:

My understanding is that they don't. Because the Asian countries have such well established major leagues, teams simply scout players through that. The academies sprouted up in the DR because the league there does not really have a development system. BTW, if you ever get a chance to go to a Dominican winter league game, do it. The atmosphere is outstanding. No exploding scoreboards, no t-shirt give ways. It's all baseball with people who are passionate about the game. I had the pleasure of attending a game in San Pedro de Marcoris last November - seeing visiting Licey against the home team - Las Estrellas de Oriente. Robinson Cano was making his season debut for Las Estrellas. The place was electric. The on line picture of Manny Acta throwing out a first pitch at a Dominican game has him wearing a Las Estrellas hat - green with a white star.

Posted by: #4 | August 16, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I so humbly recall that I actually sent to Barry in his last or next-to-last online chat the very question: why don't the nationals sign him and let him go to stanford....Barry didn't post or answer it, but I gather bowden saw it ;-)

Man, let there be no doubt: Barry is the both the best and most committed (ie. the quality and quantity of this blog) baseball beat reporter there is.

So does Rauch need a rest more than just one game or what?

Posted by: natcat | August 16, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Section 506 sez "I think the Barry's leaving the Nats beat comment was a tip of the hat to Mr. Svrluga's talent by suggesting a promotion is imminent for his hard work. I wondered at first, but when I saw none of you knew, I figured it couldn't be true."

Barry did state, sometime during the off season or in spring training and either in this blog or on his chat, that 2007 would be his last season as Nats beat writer for the Post, with some other Post writer rotating onto the beat next year and him rotating onto another assignment at the Post. (If anyone wants to go digging through all the blog and chat archives, you should be able to find where he said it. I know I'm not gonna go looking for it myself in order to cite it, though. You'll just have to take my word that he wrote it and I read it.) But noticing how Barry does seem to duck the topic whenever it's raised now, maybe that decision is subject to change and things are up in the air right now. I'm not gonna get spun up over it myself. Barry does a great job and I can't imagine anyone else would do it better, but OTOH the travel and the other non-stop aspects of covering an MLB team would have to wear anyone down after a few years. If he is to get a break from all that, either by his choice or the Post's, I for one would not begrudge him that at all. I'd miss him for sure, but he has definitely earned it.

Posted by: Section 419 | August 16, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

With the draft now in the rear view mirror, I wonder what the Nats next move will be. Will they pursue a trade for that power hitting outfielder, or will they sit back and wait for FA? Will they be willing to give up any of this highly touted but unproven pitching they seem to have acquired? I hope they somehow land the Twins Tori Hunter as he seems to have an attitude that would fit nicely into the new oval clubhouse in next years new digs. In the meantime, I'm just going to enjoy the rest of this season as I now am supremely confident that the brain trust will continue to improve the depth of this team. How different does this seem than the Bob Short Senators? What a breath of fresh air in Washington this team is with an owner willing to put his money where his mouth is.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 16, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Sect. 506, thanks for the terrific description of the Chief-Bacsik duet. When did King's solo take place? Gee, I wish I'd seen both of those performances... I HAVE to convince natsfan1c that we need to get FIOS tv... :(

---

The Chief and The Pitcher Who Gave Up the Home Run (it cracks me up that some people think of Bas like that now) were singing "Shout!" with Chad singing the verses and Mike doing the "shouts" and it was hilarious. The best part was that Cordero had his same stern, slightly perplexed look he always has when pitching. Combined with Ray King singing "moving on up, to the bullpen", it's the best Wireless Wednesday ever.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 16, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Interesting tidbit from today's paper. Manny said he's contemplating a 6 man rotation when Bergmann and Patterson return this year (I love Manny's optimism), but that they would shut down one of the younger arms if they were going to be over 15 percent over last year. Lannan pitched 138 innings last year, add 15 percent to that and it's a 159 inning limit. Lannan has pitched 146 innings thus far this year so he's 13 innings from his "cap". I figure that equals two good (or 3 so so) starts left for him this year.

I guess he starts saturday vs the Mets (the same day Bergmann pitches next for Columbus) then again next Thursday vs Houston(?) And then Bergmann pitches Friday vs Colorado(?) And Manny can re-set the rotation if he wants.

I won't bother thinking about Patterson until he at least has a rehab start scheduled.

Posted by: estuartj | August 16, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Chad Cordero on WTEM very shortly

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 16, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Give us a recap when he's done. I'm in Atlanta on biz (and thinking about going to the Braves - Giants game tonight to see if Lineceum (sp?) can carve up the braves).

Posted by: estuartj | August 16, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Not a lot of substance to the Chad Cordero interview on WTEM ...they (Carol Maloney) asked him about clubhouse pranks. He talked about how they changed John Lannons cell phone to spanish so he couldn't read it while they were in San Fran. They also put clear tape on his battery so he couldn't turn it on. Talked about the blood drive on saturday that he will be at. He'll only be there from 2:30 to 3:30. They also asked about Acta and whether he thought he should be considered for mgr of year. Of course he said yes, and cited Mannys knack for getting the team to play hard everyday as the reason why. Also talked a little about how good the team chemistry is in the clubhouse and how much fun they have together as a team.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 16, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

>>I'll recycle that as a Journal post in the next day or so for those who only read on-line. (Is there anyone like that out there? Maybe, people in Alaska or New Brunswick?)

Close. New Hampshire. It's like Alaska, only without the oil. Well done on the coverage, Barry.

Posted by: Greg | August 16, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Barry - Just for reference then (since it was a facetious remark) I am an on-line only reader too since I live in CA. I was born in DC and raised in MD.

And you should also know that I just subscribed to my local print edition - the Merc - moslty due to your constant reminders that its only $.35.

Posted by: Patty | August 16, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh! And I am stoked about the Nat's latest signings particularly McGeary! Thanks for keeping us updated.

Posted by: Patty | August 16, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Hope Barry's not really leaving, he & Ivan over on Wizards Insider are the best at what they do and I feel very lucky to have them... and Barry, if you're counting, on-line only; it's only $.35 but makes for a lot of trash when it's no longer "news." 8)

Posted by: Jim | August 16, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Count me in as a fan of both the print and online editions. The glare of the computer screen is just too much for me first thing in the a.m. I dutifully subscribe to the Washington Post for 7 days a week of dead trees.

Oh and way to harsh my buzz over the McGeary signing and last night's win with all this talk about Barry leaving!

Posted by: JennX | August 16, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Re. "Shout": Oh, I get it, they must have been showing the Animal House clip then.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 16, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

New post, everyone.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 16, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Whats up with Keith Law at ESPN. He seems to criticize Bowden and the team regardless of what they do. The Nats signed a number of his top rated prospected, who he now says post draft are overrated. He was also calling for a firesale on any nats players (sans zimmerman) for anything. What other people write about prospect besides this loon?

Posted by: NATural | August 16, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I would get home delivery, if it was available... My parents used to get the paper, and on one of my recent trips back there, I noticed they didn't have the paper on the kitchen table in the morning. My mom said that nobody was reading it.

I would definitely get it, if I could... though online is pretty cool, too. By the way, there is a "My Washington Post" interface that allows you to customize your headlines, etc. that is very nice, though it has its bugs, and the technical support people are not very helpful... I've reported bugs on occasion, and they tell me that it's my browser.

Anyway, as far as baseball goes... How 'bout those Nats?? A couple weeks or months back, I posted a note to the blog about how to measure the success of this season, and I think today is one of those benchmarks. This year is truly about what happens next year and the year after... and there honestly isn't much that's happening that isn't really positive. How many MLB teams signed every one of their first 20 draft picks? How many teams got essentially three first round picks (at least as far as talent is concerned)? How many teams will go into 2008 with plenty of promising young pitchers? How many teams have better records since May? I could go on...

Bowden and Kasten have really done exactly what they promised, and now they're faced with the much less daunting task of finding some hitting. A couple trades and/or free agent signings, and we have a 90 win team.

The Nats won't be a juggernaut next year, but they really don't need to be... 90 wins will get you to the postseason.

Posted by: Wigi | August 16, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

No way to get the $.35 version from my current posting over here in Yerevan, Armenia! Washingtonpost.com is my lifeline. Don't know what I'd do without it!

Posted by: sbrent | August 16, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

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