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Position by position: Center field

So thanks to, as one of you put it, the Talented Ms. Shipley for a fine gamer and notebook on Maxwell last night. Rainy here in D.C., so probably best the boys are on the road - even if there's that inevitable Dolphin Stadium rain delay in the offing. Beats getting rained out this late in the season. (Nats have had just one rainout all year - knock wood.)

OK, onto our next position-by-position - and this is, I think, the position most likely to change for next year. Center field. Which one of these brown-eyed, handsome men headed for home could be your guy next year? You decide.

Nook Logan
Age: 27
Contract: $392,500 in 2007, not eligible for arbitration until after 2008
2007: 103 G/282 AB, .270 average/.315 on-base percentage/.351 slugging percentage, 0 HR, 20 RBI, 33 runs scored, 17 doubles, three triples, 20 stolen bases, four times caught stealing, 76 strikeouts, 19 walks
Career: 306 G/827 AB, .270/.318/.348, 2 HR, 55 RBI, 53 stolen bases, 13 times caught stealing, 172 strikeouts, 59 walks

Justin Maxwell
Age: 23
Contract: pro-rated $380,000, the major league minimum
2007: 0 for 2 with one strikeout
Minor league career totals (all at different levels of Class A): 203 G/759 AB, .269/.351/.458, 31 HR, 120 RBI, 56 stolen bases, 12 times caught stealing, 83 walks, 205 strikeouts

Brandon Watson
Age: 25 (turns 26 later this month)
Contract: pro-rated $380,000, the major league minimum, for his time in the majors earlier this year
2007: 5 G/18 AB, .278/.316/.333, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 stolen base in 1 attempt
Career in majors: 40 G/86 AB, .198/.250/.279, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 2 stolen bases, 4 times caught stealing
Minor league totals (all levels, including parts of four seasons at Class AAA): 900 G/3,547 AB, .305/.349/.360, 8 HR, 265 RBI, 518 runs scored, 110 doubles, 31 triples, 189 stolen bases, 100 times caught stealing

And, because this is what this discussion is really about, here's the three free marquee free agents:

Andruw Jones
Team: Atlanta Braves
Age: 30
Contract: Six-year, $75-million covered season from 2002-2007
2007: 139 G/516 AB, .223/.314/.419, 24 HR, 85 RBI, 65 walks, 126 strikeouts, 5 stolen bases, 1 time caught stealing
Career: 1,746 G/6,352 AB, .263/.342/.498, 366 HR, 1,108 RBI, 712 walks, 1,382 strikeouts, 138 stolen bases, 54 times caught stealing

Torii Hunter
Team: Minnesota Twins
Age: 32
Contract: Four-year, $32-million deal covered 2003-06, and club picked up $12-million option for 2007
2007: 142 G/535 AB, .290/.334/.525, 28 HR, 99 RBI, 34 BB, 87 strikeouts, 15 stolen bases, 7 times caught stealing, 85 runs scored
Career: 1,216 G/4,427 AB, .271/.324/.471, 192 HR, 703 RBI, 313 walks, 856 strikeouts, 123 stolen bases, 58 times caught stealing

Aaron Rowand
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Age: 30
Contract: One-year, $4.35-million for 2007 avoided arbitration, free agent for first time after this season
2007: 142 G/532 AB, .314/.380/.519, 23 HR, 80 RBI, 41 walks, 105 strikeouts, 6 stolen bases, 3 times caught stealing, 93 runs scored
Career: 830 G/2,584 AB, .286/.344/.461, 89 HR, 338 RBI, 155 walks, 491 strikeouts, 54 stolen bases, 19 times caught stealing

Also free agents:
Mike Cameron, Darin Erstad, Kosuke Fukodome, Steve Finley, Kenny Lofton, Corey Patterson

Let's start in-house with Logan - understanding that Maxwell isn't ready for 2008, given that he hasn't played above Class A, and that the organization does not believe Watson has long-term potential. (Yes, he has a very high career batting average in the minors, but look at the lack of pop and the inability to get on base 40 percent of the time. I'm not saying. They are.)

Logan: Anybody who thought, on June 1, that this guy would be hitting .270 for the year and would be installed at the top of the order from time to time - congratulations! I would like you to manage my stock portfolio, and I'd love to join you at the racetrack some day.

Logan stopped switch-hitting on June 5. Through that date, he was hitting .224/.257/.299. Ick. In the 75 games he has played in since (through Monday night), he's .284/.332/.367. Much more acceptable, though he still doesn't walk enough. Against left-handed pitching in that span, he's .337/.394/.494, which is, for him, out of this world. In those right-handed hitter vs. right-handed pitcher matchups, he's a much more mundane .246/.286/.278.

The Nationals have had a tough time getting him to bunt enough - and to work on his bunting. That was his greatest weapon when he came over from the Tigers late last year. He had seven bunt hits after his August trade last year. He has eight bunt hits total this year. Colorado's Willy Taveras has 37 - 37! Juan Pierre has 15. Those hits are valuable, and they can change the ensuing at-bats, making the third baseman play in on him, providing more of an opportunity for a hard grounder to get through.

Defense: You see him make those diving catches coming in? Don't be fooled. The guy appears to break back on nearly every ball, and then makes up for it with his great speed as he charges in. He takes poor routes to lots of balls, according to a scout I spoke with recently. He can run it down in the gaps with the best of them, and I've seen opposing fans groan in disappointment as he goes back on balls and tracks them down, sure doubles turned into outs.

Keep in mind that Ryan Church can play this position decently as well, and that Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena have played there in the past some, too. I feel like it's way better to leave them to the corner outfield discussion, but it's worth bringing up.

I'll make one comment on each of the free agents, then turn it over to you.

Jones: Essentially, it comes down to whether you believe 2007 is an anomaly or a harbinger of the future. With Scott Boras as an agent, he's not going to be giving a discount because of one lackluster season.

Hunter: At 32, he has already set career highs for doubles (40) and is three off his career high for homers (31) and RBI (102). Note slugging percentage that's 54 points higher than career average. An electric defender, do you worry about how that pounding on the turf over the years has affected him?

Rowand: A Nationals person said to me last week, "I wonder who's going to over-pay for Rowand." Here are his numbers at Philly's Citizens Bank Park: .335/.399/.589. Here are his numbers on the road: .294/.361/.450. He has career highs in doubles (40) and RBI (80) and is one off his career high in homers (24).

Fukodome: The most intriguing candidate, the 2006 MVP of Japan's Central League underwent surgery on his elbow late this season. Some scouts prefer him in right field, and he's likely a doubles-hitter/OBP guy in the majors. A signing of Fukodome - who is not subject to the posting system that cost the Red Sox so much for Daisuke Matsuzaka (Fukodome is a free agent in Japan) - would be a signal that the Nationals are playing in a world-wide market. But they'd have to like the player enough to do that, and I'm not sure that's the case. Will investigate more.

All right, you guys take it from here. Really sorry this post is so late in the day. A reminder: Even though I'm not in Florida, I have a chat at 1 p.m. Wednesday. So join me then. There's only a few more times this season.

By Barry Svrluga  |  September 11, 2007; 5:38 PM ET
 
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Next: Minor League Awards Show

Comments

Logan's good enough until Maxwell is ready or we get a free agent actually worth the money we'd pay them!

Though I haven't counted out Trader Jim yet...

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 11, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

NOBOBY'S going to give Jones a long term deal, next season. If he wants to play next year, he'd better get ready to sign a one-year deal, to restore his value for a long term deal in 2009.

I wouldn't mind the Nats signing Jones to a one-year deal.

Posted by: Paul | September 11, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I'd love the Nats to sign Rowand to a 3 yr deal and see if Maxwell pans out. Am I wrong to think Rowand will be the most affordable of the three? Or should I say, the least overpaid?

Posted by: G-town | September 11, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Logan: "The Nationals have had a tough time getting him to bunt enough - and to work on his bunting. That was his greatest weapon when he came over from the Tigers late last year."

Last night he had two of 'em, so maybe what they're saying to him has finally sunk in? Or was it just crappy pitching?

Posted by: Juan-John | September 11, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

It's worth pointing out that even Rowand's road numbers are better than anything we have in CF ... or RF ... or LF. The new park next year, while no Citizen's Bank park, should at least be a little more forgiving to hitters than RFK. Certainly it's all about price but Rowand's home/road splits don't really bother me.

Posted by: Mike | September 11, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

If Kasten and JimBow decide to go the FA route I think the question is going to be years, not dollars. I think they would have been glad to match the Cubs on salary for Soriano if he would have agreed to a 3 year deal.

If Jones will sign a one-year deal that would work for me (up to say 15-17 mil), but I think (hope?) That Boras will blackball the Nats for Kasten having cut him out in prior negotiations.

I'm very happy that the organization realizes that Rowand is a chimera, his numbers in away games are very goo actually, and if we could only pay him for those numbers I'd be all for it. Not going to happen!

Hunter is interesting too, I would love to have him, but similair to Soriano he's going to want a long term deal so he can secure the remainder of his career, and there is no way this organization will give a 32 year old a 5+ year contract.

Fukodome intrigues me, though I don't know or understand enough about Japanese baseball to venture an opinion. Not having to pay to negotiate with him is very key though, let's see what he's got!

Something tells me that Kasten is going to set JimBow on a "Mission" to find a deal for a Carl Crawford type CF (both in age and ability), or they will stick with Logan/Church and rush Maxwell through AA and instead try to wheel and deal for a middle infielder since we have 1 probable vacancy there this year (2B) and another looming after '08 (SS) and no prospects available before 2010.

Posted by: estuartj | September 11, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I'm expecting a trade, not a FA, and wouldn't be surprised if it included a battery on this end. (B.J. Upton?? Naaaaa...)
Other teams, CWS for one, will be competing hard for a center fielder.

It's been covered to death by now, but Jayson Stark's breakdown of Andruw Jones's break down on defense is, well, stark. So to speak.
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2880979

"Andruw is a man who has built his reputation around his Gold Glove parade, his exceptional ability to glide around center field and suck sure-thing doubles out of the sky without overheating a single sweat gland. But while most of us weren't paying attention, Andruw was slowly, apparently imperceptibly, losing the part of that gift that made him special."

Posted by: Cevans | September 11, 2007 6:24 PM | Report abuse

The concensus is there wil be no first tier pitcher on the FA market this year.
So I expect this to be the year the field players get overpaid. Expect even to see Jones get a long term deal (5 years).

Posted by: Tom | September 11, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

My thinking over the season has changed. The more I think about this, the more I think that the solution to the CF problem (and the rest of the positions, too) will be about the value that can be found in the trade and/or free agent market at any number of positions -- all of the outfield, plus middle infield... and not just in center field. Adding WMP to the lineup certainly adds pop, flawed as it might be... but it takes at least some of the pressure off finding someone that can swing for the (now closer for 81 games) fences.

That being the case, I think the Nats are more likely to pursue the big presence at any of those five positions, and shuffle the remaining player to make it work. I don't think Nook Logan is the solution at center, but a Logan/Church platoon might, if you get a big bat at second (the best solution, but also least likely) or at short... and then figure out what to do with Lopez and/or Guzman. This is also more palatable, if you think that JMax is going to pan out in center.

I think the bottom line is that there are lots of possible solutions to the personnel problems, and not all of them require that the Nats pick up a new CF through trade or free agency.

As an aside... What is it about center fielders (like Endy Chavez, and perhaps Nook Logan) that make them so resistant to coaching? Can't at least some of Nook's shortcomings be addressed with coaching?

Posted by: Wigi | September 11, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe Andruw Jones would agree to only a one year deal.

In three years at RFK, I've seen three players who were not intimidated by the long fences - Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Howard and Andruw Jones.

He's 30 years old, had an off year, and is a lock every year as a Gold Glove. He's never been a high average guy, but his career OBP is above average and his career slugging percentage is way above average.

I think he is the guy the Nats will want to go after - it will just come down to whether or not they believe he will be worth what Scott Boras demands for him.

Posted by: myow | September 11, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Bacsik is in trouble already, somebody warm up Detwiler!

Posted by: estuartj | September 11, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Yea WMP! Way to take them the other way, score an RBI and now take 3rd.

Adam Dunn who?

Posted by: estuartj | September 11, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

The issue with Jones is, what if we pay the gazillions we need to, and he does this again? We're stuck with this HUGE contract (a la Houston in a few years, Chicago in a few years) and no production from a key position. i.e. we're where we are now but spending massive amounts of money for it.

I like Rowand better. His splits aren't bad, they're way better than 6 of our starting 9, even on the road. He's a go-getter, great clubhouse guy and produces. Plus, let's not forget, he's used to a pennant race, he knows the postseason. We need someone like that on the roster, why not get him now?

My list:
Rowand
Hunter (probably costs too much, but will be a great face for the franchise, which we need)
Fukudome (if not for the name alone)
Jones (he just costs too much)

Posted by: NattyDelite! | September 11, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

We'll see what happens with Maxwell in fall ball, if he continues the wau he has I don't see the brain trust spening the money and committing the years it would take to get any of the FA CFers we're talking about, though Fukodome still intrigues me...

There aren't any decent FA middle infielders avaialable so I think it's time to let Bowden be Bowden (Kasten keeps him on a short lease) and wheel and deal himself a new 2Ber.

Does anyone know what top SS/2B guys are FA after '08?

Posted by: estuartj | September 11, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Has there ever been a recent FA signing where the club did not "overpay?"

If "we don't overpay for FAs" is the mantra of Kasten & Co., then there will be no free agents added to the Nats' roster.

I don't know whether the result will be better or worse for no free agents, but "overpaying" is what free agency is all about.

Posted by: JohnR (VA) | September 11, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Play the Terp.

Posted by: 6th and D | September 11, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I've been looking at all major league 2nd basemen, and generally they aren't very impressive. The two that I think we could net in a trade, and would actually help us out are:

Brian Roberts - Orioles
Whether you hate them or not, this guy can play. The Orioles need to rebuild, big time. Maybe they will listen to offers for him, especially since they are looking to break up the double play partners already by moving Tejada.

Kelly Johnson OR Yunel Escobar - Braves
The Braves have a log jam in the infield (and everywhere else, as always). Unless they move Chipper or Renteria, Escobar isn't going to get much playing time. The kid's clearly got talent, so why not move Johnson (.287 avg, .384 OBP, .477 SLG 9 SB, 15 HR) to someone for prospects?

If the prices aren't too high, I like these two in our infield next year more than most other options.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | September 11, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I got your Dunn, baby!

A single homerun in the first.

A grandslam in the third.

WAHOO!

Posted by: Viva Livan | September 11, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

WMP is 5 for 5 with 2HR 5RBIs 1BB and NO Sos on his last 6ABs, who lovea bad NL hitting!

Here comes our new starting CF Justin Maxwell, fear the turtle!

Posted by: estuartj | September 11, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

GRAND SLAM JUSTIN MAXWELL!! awesome! =)

Welcome to the bigs.

Posted by: I hate walks | September 11, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

OK, now we know who's playing CF...

Posted by: Wigi | September 11, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, HELLO, Justin Maxwell. Welcome to the Bigs! My hear just swelled with pride.

Posted by: Atlanta | September 11, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

How about that J-MAX SLAM!!!!!!

Posted by: Union Station | September 11, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Wotta hit!!

Posted by: Juan-John | September 11, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

The new outfield kid better get some serious fanlove when he comes home. WTG J-MAX!

Posted by: Hendo | September 11, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Maxwell (nice goin' kid) aside, maybe Delmon Young might be available? If anybody can keep this k'head in line, it's his big brother, right?c

Posted by: cevans | September 11, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Saul leaves the bases loaded. You were worried?

Posted by: Hendo | September 11, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Jones one-year deal, to give JMax a year in the minors. Bring the kid up in September and then watch him knock 'em out.

Posted by: shepdave | September 11, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

NattDelite, I don't think we have the prospects to get a decent 2B, even a logjammed guy like Kelly Johnson, but do you think the Braves would take Chuch (they'll need another OFer with Jones gone) and a reliever, say Colome.

We have the parts to work with if Trader Jim can make his majic happen.

I'd love to have a 25 year old 2Ber with an .861 OPS.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I was driving home listening to Charlie and Dave and I was so angry. I planned to come on here and have a tirade because I am so [RF] sick of this [RF] excuse for pitching going on tonight, but then Ramirez hit his home run and I just snapped completely.

I don't want to say anything now, except for: Felipe on the bench. NOW. I don't care what his problem is. I don't care if it's mental. I don't care if it's mechanical. I don't care if it's personal. He needs to be off this field right now and stay off this field.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 11, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Haven't seen Nats pitching that bad in awhile, that was pretty rough. FLop didn't help much either, as usual...

Posted by: G-town | September 11, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Barry,

Just a quick note to say that the Talented Ms. Shipley is just that. Her gamers are really good. Not saying that you aren't the man, but she should sub for you whenever you're out. All the others are pretenders.

Posted by: Sec 128 | September 12, 2007 12:04 AM | Report abuse

actually, i think i'd prefer to see a less expensive, shorter-term signing of someone like cameron. he's not going to command the same money that the big 3 are, you could probably get him on a 2-3 yr deal, he's a perennial 20/20 or 25/25 kind of guy who plays really solid defense and plays hard every day, even if his OBP/BA aren't anything special.

that would give us a little time to see if maxwell develops or if other options present themselves.

Posted by: sec506 | September 12, 2007 12:08 AM | Report abuse

btw, the above isn't the same 506 that's "after moving" 506. a whole different 506 person.

Posted by: sec506 | September 12, 2007 12:10 AM | Report abuse

This makes me very, very happy. One of the best pieces of news coming from this organization yet.
_______
"The Nationals will collect gently used or new equipment, including but not limited to gloves, tees, baseballs, softballs and bats, before and during Saturday's and Sunday's games at RFK Stadium. All equipment will be donated to the National Black Church Initiative Youth Baseball League along with a $5,000 grant from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund to purchase new equipment, the team announced."

Posted by: NatsNut | September 12, 2007 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Where art thou Christian Guzman, we need FLop off the field. Whatever else is going on he must be snake bit, cursed or just lost his marbles.

As for the pitching last night, I've never seem such a run of bad luck hits given up. They had at least 3-5 straight bloops and broken bat singles.

I will say this though, if Redding can't make his next start they should put Detwiler in and give him once through the rotation (hopefully 3 innings) and then have Bacsik come in. Having Bacsik start out of the bullpen on 4 days was a terrible idea. And I think Schneider gave the whole pitching staff his flu.

Get some Airborne guys, we need to take this series. It might be our last chance...

Posted by: estuartj | September 12, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Evidently Justin Maxwell wanted to contribute a "post" to our discussion of future centerfielders.

I know nothing of Fukodome but am willing to listen and still like Jones for his power, glove, and arm (he has been hurt for much of the year Jayson Stark!) and age. But I agree that the acquisition of of WMP ameliorates some of our need for power numbers from CF. So perhaps instead we should be looking for a CF who is a solid, everyday lead-off hitter and an outstanding defender that will strengthen the defense up the middle (a topic that urgently needs addressing).
Remember too, that in Atlanta, the Kasten-Scheurholz-Cox team went and got Otis Nixon especially for defense to help their young pitching staff. I think with WMP - this is probably the move we should look for.
WHich leads me to wonder about the "secondary" free agent market (i.e. who will become available because of FA signing) I look for the Cardinals, White SOx, Cubs, Dodgers, Rangers, and the perrenial Yankees to be aggressively in the mix for this class of FA CFs. There are not enought to go around but again - I expect there to be A LOT of player movement in the off-season. Most of your "big market" clubs are having seasons that are "below expectations."
Three CF names come to mind that I think might be readily available: Juan Pierre (the DOdgers need power production), Johnny Damon, and Coco Crisp (Boston has the prospect whose name I cannot remember). I suspect that there are a few others that many of you who are more informed than I know about as well.
I think this is a likely route for the Nats to take and one I could easily endorse.

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | September 12, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

There's a lot to like about Nook Logan but the way he plays centerfield isn't part of it. Maybe a guy can learn to get a better read on the ball but I doubt it. Barry didn't mention his arm but it appears to be weak AND inaccurate. He did throw someone out at second the other day, but Belliard grew old waiting for the four-hopper to get there.
Frankly, I think signing a top-tier free agent (ie Jones, Hunter, Rowland) would be absurd. There may have been a successful team with one guy making $75 million for five years while everybody else was playing for baseballl chump change, but I can't think of one.
If he's cheap enough, Cameron might be a good fit. (I once heard Marty Brennaman say that of all the Reds players in the nearly 40 years he's been there, Mike Cameron was one of the two or three finest human beings.)

Posted by: Salty Dog | September 12, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

coco crisp could be enticing. jacob ellsbury is the young boston stud outfielder.

what about renteria for our shorstop? i think atlanta is super happy with yunel escobar.

this is the offseason where it's good to have bowden as gm. we actually have so much middle tier talent it almost feels like we're stuck and better off waiting to me. whatever bowden decides is fine with me this year, but it definitely sets the tone for the next couple years...

no way does andruw sign a one year deal. he's a future hall of famer and has more post season experience than anybody. if we do sign him it won't be for gold glove defense. wily mo and andruw could be very nice as two corner outfielders for the next 6 years (80 homers minimum). that's a pipe dream of course but the power is real.

Posted by: longterm | September 12, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

The Nats goal this offseason is to make a splash FA signing. There's only one name out there that will turn the klieg lights on - Alex Rodriguez. Imagine next year - Arod hitting behind Zim and in front of Wily M (note to Nats - if not Church, who's the lefty for that lineup?). He's going to cost a lot for three years... so what? There's plenty of salary to be saved by not signing any of the CFers mentioned. Stick with Nook for now, or make a trade for a young (2nd or 3rd year) CFer who can lead off.

A-Rod. The cure for what ails you (as long as the ailment isn't pitching).

Posted by: natsagain | September 12, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I like the idea of Cameron. My worries, relatively minor ones:

- Who else will be competing for him?
- Any residual effects from the '05 collision? (That's spelled D-U-E D-I-L-I-G-E-N-C-E, folks.)

Given acceptable answers to those questions, he seems to have the experience and makeup to be a real good fit.

Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I have voiced support in the past for at least pursuing A-Rod if he's available and I really like the idea of signing Renteria. Escobar is going to be playing everyday. I have wondered if Guzman can play 2B.

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | September 12, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

"There may have been a successful team with one guy making $75 million for five years while everybody else was playing for baseballl chump change, but I can't think of one."

Oh really:
2003 Florida Marlins Salaries
Ivan Rodriguez $9,318,298.00
Luis Castillo $4,850,000.00
Derrek Lee $4,520,000.00
Ugueth Urbina $4,500,000.00
Jeff Conine $4,250,000.00
Mike Lowell $3,700,000.00
Juan Encarnacion $3,450,000.00
A.J. Burnett $2,500,000.00
Mark Redman $2,150,000.00
Brad Penny $1,875,000.00
Josh Beckett $1,725,000.00
Alex Gonzalez $1,700,000.00
Braden Looper $1,600,000.00
Todd Hollandsworth $1,500,000.00
Carl Pavano $1,500,000.00
Vladimir Nunez $1,400,000.00
Mike Redmond $1,050,000.00
Rick Helling $1,000,000.00
Juan Pierre $1,000,000.00
Andy Fox $800,000.00
Lenny Harris $800,000.00
Armando Almanza $775,000.00
Mike Mordecai $500,000.00
Gerald Williams $325,000.00
Brian Banks $300,000.00
Blaine Neal $300,000.00
Tommy Phelps $300,000.00
Tim Spooneybarger $300,000.00
Michael Tejera $300,000.00
Justin Wayne $300,000.00

Who is actually crazy enough to suggest Juan Pierre as a defensive minded CF? Or Johnny Damon? If you want to talk about overpaid and underperforming players, those are your poster boys.

I know its difficult to change perceptions, but everyone has to think differently. Washington IS NOT GOING TO BE A SMALL MARKET TEAM. A $100 million payroll is going to be the norm here, just like it is in many other markets. The key is not make huge mistakes and that mostly happens with old pitchers.

Jones has a great profile for a big FA signing. First, he's 30. I know it seems like he should be about 50 but that's just because he was hitting homers in the series before he could legally drink. So in 5 years he's still just 35.

Aside from his defense, he other major skills (patience and power) are old player skills. Skills that players tend to keep rather than lose as they age.

As for defense, the Stark piece is based mostly on his drop in putouts over the past few years. Go check the numbers for this year. He's likely to go over 400 again.

Which reminds me, players who debut young generally keep performing for longer than those who debuted later. Not a lot of players debuted younger on a bigger stage than Andruw.

Also, check his games played. Funny, but that number doesn't drop below 150 year in and year out. So not a lot of nagging injuries and when he is hurt (like say THIS YEAR) he still guts it out. Not a bad quality.

Andruw's downside risk is far lower than any of the other big CF FA's on the market. Torii's 32 and coming off a career season. Check Rowand's 2006 for a preview of his first $10m season.

Posted by: Scott Boras | September 12, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

This is what Manny was afraid of, games like this. A 48+ Rec league team would be embarrassed to play like that.
geez, somebody gets one timely hit, and they're the next coming of Willie Mays, or at least the next year's starting center fielder. It was against the MARLINS. Nice start, good for him; proves nothing. Maybe he'll play his way on in March 08. Good luck.
NEXT UP: should the Post dip into the Free Agent beat writers market, or bring up someone internally? This Shipley kid is ok, but it's only been 2 games.

Posted by: Cevans | September 12, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Not to go too far off-topic in the outfield discussion, but I'd avoid Renteria. He's having a 2007 season that I would not expect to repeat in 2008. In particular, his relatively low walk rate endangers that deceptively good-looking .388 OBP.

I like A-Rod a lot, but does a team at this stage of development need to burn up cycles pursuing a Boras client?

Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Nice. You had me going there, right up to the signature line.

Although, I will remind us, this is a game of fear and arrogance -- basing a buy on the downside risk is fear-based, which is not Bowden's style, whatever else you might think of the guy.

------
Andruw's downside risk is far lower than any of the other big CF FA's on the market. Torii's 32 and coming off a career season. Check Rowand's 2006 for a preview of his first $10m season.
Posted by: Scott Boras | September 12, 2007 09:44 AM

Posted by: Cevans | September 12, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Pretty, pretty please can we stop mentioning A-Rod. That would be nothing more than a Soriano repeat at double the price. It would be catastrophic. For one A-Rod, you could get a good (not great) OF, SS, and maybe a #4 starter. I'll go with the latter.

No matter what we do (and I have pretty low expectations), I'd just like to see Maxwell and Flores get more time in the minors before rushing them up. Neither has played above single A ball in the minors. Both look to have some fantastic upside and I'd hate to see us squander it by starting them before they're ready.

Posted by: Dupont | September 12, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Come to think of it, *are there* any women MLB beat writers on major papers?

--------
NEXT UP: should the Post dip into the Free Agent beat writers market, or bring up someone internally? This Shipley kid is ok, but it's only been 2 games.
Posted by: Cevans | September 12, 2007 09:47 AM

Posted by: Cevans | September 12, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Somebody warm up Cevans' coffee, or something, please:

1. No, J-Max isn't going to start at CF in '08. But he's a guy to bank on if he stays healthy. And a hometown kid to boot. What's not to like about that?

2. Ms. Shipley has covered many Nats games this year. Also, lately, the World Track & Field Championships, a bit of the BALCO scandal, and a smidgen of the Dolphins. So yeah, we better test the FA writers' market, 'cause Shipley's liable not to be available.

Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I'll second that, AGAIN, but it's really not fair to the Soriano deal, which pretty much worked out (unless you meant the Cubs).
__________
Pretty, pretty please can we stop mentioning A-Rod. That would be nothing more than a Soriano repeat at double the price. It would be catastrophic. For one A-Rod, you could get a good (not great) OF, SS, and maybe a #4 starter. I'll go with the latter.

Posted by: Dupont | September 12, 2007 09:54 AM

Posted by: CevansJr | September 12, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Well, I didn't mean to insinuate that the Soriano deal was that bad for the Nats; I was just pointing out that one 40-40 guy does not keep a team out of the cellar.

Posted by: Dupont | September 12, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm a fan of the Shipley kid too. Bring her up.

Dupont, I couldn't have said it better. Someone said A-Rod awhile back, but I thought it was just being facetious. But lowcountry, you're saying A-Rod with a straight face? I can't think of a worse fit, for the field, for the plan, for the clubhouse, all of it. It just doesn't fit.

I agree with those who don't think we necessarily need to make a huge splash in CF yet. We have enough pieces to get off to a great start in the spring. It will give us enough time to evaluate the minors where it's entirely possible we get a sparkly callup of our own, or to evaluate the trade market and make a big trade before the deadline. There's time folks.

That said, I want them to get Torii. ;)

Posted by: NatsNut | September 12, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I maintain Lopez is cursed. But the lost his marbles theory might be true too. Either way, we need to get him off the field. If I've become superstitious about him, then I can only begin to imagine what a team full of baseball players thinks.

Yes, I know you wouldn't have any other sorts of players on a baseball team.

Yes, I know that last night we were looking for just nine baseball players on the team and couldn't find them.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Hendo: I'll take it black with cream and sugar, please (only because they give you a latte if you ask for a cappucchino here).

OK, I was windging a little about what struck me as the posters' (VivaLivan, estuartj, Wigi) naive enthusiasm. Party-pooping--I apologize. "They know, and they do not know."

-------
Somebody warm up Cevans' coffee, or something, please...
Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 09:57 AM

Posted by: CevansJr | September 12, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The Talented Ms. Shipley is our Olympics writer and has been since Sydney in 2000, I believe. She lives in Miami, and therefore occasionally fills in on other sports when there are stories down there. She covered baseball before -- perhaps in 1995 or '96, for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (the Ft. Lauderdale paper), I believe.

Not an up-and-comer. Rather, an established veteran whose skills have not diminished.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | September 12, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

And there's always the possibility that it may not be up to the Nationals. The White Sox are said to be going seriously after Hunter, for instance. If they're holding out for "Not Insane" they may not get a FA.
-------
That said, I want them to get Torii.
Posted by: NatsNut | September 12, 2007 10:15 AM

Posted by: Cevans | September 12, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Barry, and apologies to Ms. Shipley.
---------
Not an up-and-comer. Rather, an established veteran whose skills have not diminished.
Posted by: Barry Svrluga | September 12, 2007 10:21 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Imagine not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from after the season. That's what the Lerners and Stan are doing to Charlie Slowes, Dave Jaegler, and Bob Carpenter right now. Keep this up and you will lose us as fans, Nats hierarchy.

Posted by: flynnie | September 12, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

"Imagine not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from after the season"

Charlie and Dave and Bob are going to get plenty of empathy from all us employees of elected officials.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

The "talented Ms. Shipley" covered John Patterson's first game in 2005 when he nearly matched Beckett pitch for pitch for 7 innings. Very interesting article.

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | September 12, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Is Belliard that bad of a SS that we can't just have him switch places with Flippie?

Posted by: Juan-John | September 12, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Moving forward a reply to a posting from several days ago, as, oddly enough, (see my comment on work-aholism below) I've been away on vacation for several days and am still getting caught up from my vacation days of the week before that.

natswriter, that's a gross generalization, IMO. I live in NoVA and go to 10-14 games per year. Many fans in the NoVA area are season ticket holders. The majority of those fans with whom I'm acquainted purchase tickets on their own, as I do, rather than acquiring them through their job, neighborhood association, or country club (I don't even belong to a country club). Also, the work-aholic culture pervades the entire D.C. metro area, IMO, and is not restricted to Northern Virginia or any other subregion (I'm far from being one myself, just for the record).

---

There's another issue - most of the team's marketing and presence is in NoVA and people there just aren't going to go to games except for tickets thru their job, neighborhood assoc, or country club. It's a work-aholic culture.

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 12, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Fret not about the middle infield. From all accounts, Guzie will be back soon.

Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Looking at the crop of FA out there and the level of competion there will be for them I think it's far more likely that JimBow & Kasten will try to re-strike the oil well Soriano style.

We have room in the payroll to add some serious money, but we don't want to commit to long term contracts, the solution then is to trade for guys that are going into the "money" year of their contract.

Does anyone know or have a list of outfielders and middle infielders who will be FAs AFTER the '08 season?

The downside risk is minimal if you don't give up too much to get the player (say no prospects, but whatever position players on our '08 roster who's name doesn't start with Z or relievers over the age of 25). If the guy works out you can try to extend him, trade him for prospects and either way you can let him go via FA after '08 and take the draft picks.

Posted by: estuartj | September 12, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Agree with Hendo, I'm not taking a doomsday look at middle infield either. Guzman will be back next year, moving FLop to 2B. Moving FLop to 2B will cut down his errors, moving him out of the leadoff spot will help correct his BA. You gotta admit that having him at leadoff for such a long time really hurt his season.

Posted by: G-town | September 12, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

If we're suggesting that the Nats are gonna go after middle infielders in the FA market, then you'd have to say that they'd go after a dominant closer in the FA market as well. Both areas are currently mediocre on the Nats, but I don't think either will be addressed in the FA market anyway.

Posted by: G-town | September 12, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

G-town are you seriously comparing Cordero's performances to Lopez?! They're both working on eye-popping numbers this year. Cordero's is for saves (40 saves is far more eye-catching than 8 blown saves, no matter how we feel about it).

Lopez has 19 errors, which makes him number 11 in all of baseball, 7th of all shortstops.

Above him, of note:
4th Zimm
7th H. Ramirez
8th M. Cabrera

I hope you can all identify what the difference is among those four...

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I don't have any idea who JimBow or Stan plan to try and sign this off season, but I do think this, it will be about putting fannies in the seats. So, whoever it may be, he'll be a recognizable name with fan drawing power. period

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | September 12, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I gotta agree that FLop needs some time off. Maybe not the rest of the season, but his head is not in the game right now.

Maybe he doesn't like being a part of this team, this clubhouse, this city or maybe it's personal issues (which happens) -- dunno what it is, but let's get someone in there that wants to be there.

I'd prefer we had a Sept call-up to give a chance but (gulp) even if it's DJ, Jimenez can show what (little?) he can do with consistent ABs for a week. What do we have to lose?

-------
I maintain Lopez is cursed. But the lost his marbles theory might be true too. Either way, we need to get him off the field. If I've become superstitious about him, then I can only begin to imagine what a team full of baseball players thinks.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

When do we need to decide if we'll non-tender Lopez?

Posted by: estuartj | September 12, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut - I do indeed have my straight face on. I'm not advocating an all-out effort to get A-Rod but I wouldn't mind us trolling in the waters if he is out there. In short, I don't really think that he is going to move from NY and if he does I don't think it will be to DC. But I would love to see our name on the list of potential teams that will be discussed before the Winter meetings. And in the end, if the Yankeess want to pick-up part of his salary (which they may have to do to move in anywhere) I would be more than happy to see a future Hall of Famer playing on opening day in our new stadium. That said, I don't believe that acquiring A-Rod should be the centerpiece of "the Plan." But it cost us nothing to sit down and talk - even with Scott Boras.

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | September 12, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm having a little trouble understanding how Ivan Rodriguez making $10-million on a ONE YEAR contract with the Marlins relates to my saying that I can't think of a successful team with one guy making $75 million over five years while everyone else played for much, much less. I may be wrong, but this is not the proof.

Posted by: Salty Dog | September 12, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

506AM,

I'm just saying, they're both mediocre. People are demanding that we address middle infield now, if thats the case, then the closer spot could warrant as much attention.

Cordero doesn't have 40 saves, and may not, but he does indeed already have a league leading 8 blown saves. Convert his uncountable RFK warning track outs to HR's in the new stadium, and the numbers change again.

I think we can all agree that Chad is a good dude, but is certainly not a dominant closer. The rest of the league would agree, given that Bowden couldn't get closer value for him at the last trade deadline, because the other teams felt he was a set-up man.

FLop is mediocre, but will do better next year at 2B.

Posted by: G-town | September 12, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Boras would waste his time talking to Bowden about A-Rod, now about Jones is a different story.

Is A. Jones a true FA after this season or is he arb. Eligible/club option/etc.

What would we have to give up to Atlanta to get him? Our top pick is protected...

Posted by: estuartj | September 12, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Go for Torii Hunter. I know he is having a career year, but all of his years are fabulous. Also, he is a stand up citizen in his own right who is trying to bring baseball back to the urban inner-city neighborhoods. Sounds just like something that both the Nationals team and fan base need to support. He'd be a great ambassador for baseball for the team, a great teammate by all reports I have read and a great CFer with some power and great defense.

Go with Torii. The price will be far less than with Andrew and you may get him for a higher $ value 4 year deal.

Posted by: roman1735 | September 12, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

You know, I think we'd be dumb to sign for A-Rod's trillions, but it might be a fairly brilliant idea to have our name out there and being talked about as big spenders. He'll make gobbles more than we can offer because some team looking for the piece will out bid us, but by making an offer we can prove that we're serious.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

PSA:

1 - Jiminez (6)
2 - Belliard (4)
3 - Zimmerman (5)
4 - Church (8)
5 - Peña (7)
6 - Fick (3)
7 - Schneider (2)
8 - Langerhans (9)
9 - Hanrahan (1)

Egad!

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Boy, talk about throwing in the towel the day after you score eight runs and still don't come close to winning. Fick instead of Young? Langerhans instead of Kearns? WTF?!?!? Jiminez instead of FLop? Okay, I can live with that one anyway...

Posted by: Section 419 | September 12, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering about that too. Or is Manny giving all these guys a break? Young and Kearns have certainly produced and deserve a bit of a break. A day game after a 3 hour + night game is the perfect chance for that.

I dunno.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"I'm having a little trouble understanding how Ivan Rodriguez making $10-million on a ONE YEAR contract with the Marlins relates to my saying that I can't think of a successful team with one guy making $75 million over five years while everyone else played for much, much less. I may be wrong, but this is not the proof."

Your premise was that a team with one player making a much higher salary than anyone else on the team could not be successful. I-Rod was just a bit under twice as well compensated as the next player on the WORLD SERIES CHAMPION 2003 Marlins. QED

I would want to know what does the length of contract have to do with your basic premise?

On the question of downside risk, why isn't that a suitable factor to weigh? Don't people pay more for quality, isn't that the same thing as lessening downside risk? Let's put it this way: of all the FA CFs out there, Andruw is most likely to retain a high resale value. And that has some value in and of itself.

Posted by: Scott Boras | September 12, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Boras, respectfully, an Andruw Jones bought at 120% of his value and sold at 85% of his value is not as good as 120% of the current Andruw Jones' value invested in other players that will yield dividends now.

Who buys high and sells slightly less high and calls it a victory?

In other words:

Who cares what his resale value is if he's not going to give us something? Quod erat domonstratum to you too.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else having difficulty submitting comments to Barry's chat?

Oh, forgot to turn on the GameDay while stuck to my desk! I'm used to the day games being on Thursday!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | September 12, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Hahaha!
I just turned on my GameDay from Nationals.com which shows the angles of the pitches and each location.

Watching the arcs of pitches from sidewinder Byung-Hyun Kim toward right handed batters looks like the trajectory of a pissing contest, right onto the plate!

Dunno why I got a kick out of it, but I really like this feature which gives a sense of each pitch.

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | September 12, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

My chat comment just went through OK.

I'm Charlie-and-Daving at my desk this afternoon. (Cool neologism, and props to whoever in the last few days thought it up.)

Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

You said it yourself, downside risk is a reasonable factor to consider, and contract length is precisely that. I don't think it's dispositive for JimBow, but that's different.
.......
I would want to know what does the length of contract have to do with your basic premise?

On the question of downside risk, why isn't that a suitable factor to weigh? Don't people pay more for quality, isn't that the same thing as lessening downside risk?
Posted by: Scott Boras | September 12, 2007 01:13 PM

Posted by: Cevans | September 12, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I've said before, I don't think there's much value in the free agent market, compared to the trade market... and I am simply talking economics here (and not purely dollars anc cents). Kasten had it right when he said that the free agent market is for when you're looking for the LAST piece - a situation that the Nats are not in... the reason is that when you're looking for the last piece, the cost in dollars is more or less besides the point. You sign the guy you need at the market price to get that piece that wins you the World Series.

The trade market, on the other hand, is more economical, because the participants have complementary goals... and there is no inflation. Of course, the capital you're trading is talent, and for the most part, this is not an area that the Nats are particularly flush... except perhaps in terms of pitching prospects.

Anyway, the point is, none of the CF free agents are must-haves, and even if there was one, there are still plenty of other holes to fill first. There are probably better CF candidates that could be had in trade... Plus, the addition of WMP changes the outfield equation, because his long fly balls have more chance of breaking a windshield than being the third out. [Not that he's perfect - far from it - but, assuming he plays every day, what you want from your CF is now different than it was before you got him.]

All I was saying is that there are multiple solutions, and that signing a free agent CF might cause a logjam at, preventing JMax from advancing in the system.

Posted by: Wigi | September 12, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

From today's chat:
Navy Yard: Hey Uncle Barry - Tell us a good Robert Fick story!

Barry Svrluga: You mean one that doesn't involve him walking into Acta's office completely naked saying he should be in the lineup?

---------
Did Fick think that blinding Manny with his paleness would prompt him to put him in the line-up?

And, did that happen last night, because he's playing today. I almost snuck out of work to watch, but with Langerhans, Fick and DJ (well, DJ is ok) playing, what's the point?

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | September 12, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I guess Olivo answered that question.

From a post I was typing:

"How often can you put men on with two outs and get away with it?"

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Brown, 506? Brilliant. Still laughing.
______
"Avoiding talking about the pitching and Felipe "Charlie Brown" Lopez..."

Posted by: NatsNut | September 12, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

A 3-bagger by Willy Mo! We're not likely to see that outide of Dolphins stadium (even if it was officially a double and an error)

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | September 12, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Whew, thank God BK WP'd WMP home (how's that for acronyms?)

Dunno how he would've scored with Fick coming up. OH! Schneid MAY have done it with that single!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | September 12, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else think Hanrahan should be called upon as a PH after Batista and Maxwell but before Fick, DJ?

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | September 12, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

personally, I love it when our pitcher has a higher patting average than anyone else in the starting lineup. if Hanrahan can't start next season, maybe he can play second base.

Posted by: Atlanta | September 12, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"personally, I love it when our pitcher has a higher patting average than anyone else in the starting lineup"

I would truly love it if he hadn't thrown 93 pitches and counting for 3 and a third innings.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Seriously. He's got 104 pitches, bottom of the 4th, one out. Here comes the hook.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 12, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I like the patting average.

Posted by: Traveler ;-) | September 12, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

104 pitches for 3.1IP and out with two men on (both walks) AFTER already giving up 2ERs.

Not a good outing for Josh...almost Bacsikesque

Posted by: estuartj | September 12, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Did you mean Joel? Are you really Bill Ladson?
____
Not a good outing for Josh...almost Bacsikesque


Posted by: estuartj | September 12, 2007 02:33 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | September 12, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Josh did just fine.

Joel could use some work.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Joel got his work this afternoon. What he needs to do is spread it over more than four innings.

Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I think I did just Channel Will Labson.

Good job by Wilson Abaeu to only allow one inherited runner to score. Now is Bryan Zimerman can homer he'll be off the hook and maybe Russ Detwhiler can get a win and Chab Cordro can get another save.

Posted by: estuartj | September 12, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I spoke too soon, Bryan Chapel got the homer to get Josh off the hook...

Posted by: estuartj | September 12, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Man. That embarassing for me. Huh.

In other news, Ryan Church says, "I TOLD you I was good a baseball!"

Posted by: Atlanta` | September 12, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Church looks (or "sounds" from my perspective) like a much better hitter when he is batting in front of Willy Mo.

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | September 12, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

When was the last time Nationals had back to back dingers?

I think Church is making his play for CF next year, until Maxwell is ready anyway...

Posted by: estuartj | September 12, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Did someone win the SuperWindows.com prize?

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I posted a few weeks back that I thought the Nats might decide who between Church and Logan they wanted to keep and then would bench him and play the guy they intended to deal.

I bet they intend to keep Chuch now and send Logan packing...

Posted by: estuartj | September 12, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm actually hereby resigning from trying to guess what Jim Bowden is going to do. I'm something like 0 for 438 in predictions.

But I'm also giving up on worrying about it. If all his Reds end up like Resurgent Nook, WMP, Wagner, and Kearns and only every fifth is like Lopez 2007 (I liked 2006), then he can keep hiring them!

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

hmm, Ryan Wagner. I miss him. Well. I miss him when he's not broken.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

WMP having another good day, though if you look at the spray chart for Florida 6 of the 9 hits were to WMP. Is that pitching or defense - anyone able to watch the game on TV today?

Posted by: estuartj | September 12, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

WMP's projected numbers if you take his performance with Washington and the same number of ABs as Ryan Zimmerman (ie playing every day).

.288/.337/.613/.950 58HRs, 167SOs & 36BB

58 freakin' dingers, amazing pace he's on...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"Washington IS NOT GOING TO BE A SMALL MARKET TEAM. A $100 million payroll is going to be the norm here."

Whoever wrote that (Scott Boras) doesn't know the Lerners. Cheap doesn't begin to describe them.

Posted by: JohnR (VA) | September 12, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Wigi, great post. You're right, there are several ways to skin that cat!

Posted by: G-town | September 12, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

OK, so acting on Barry's comments in today's chat to the effect that Bowden might engage in a "predator" strategy and acquire one or more short-term hefty contracts in trades, as opposed to signing 2008 free agents to long-term hefty contracts, I did a bit of research.

(Here is a link to a useful site, for those interested:

http://www.rotoworld.com/content/features/column.aspx?sport=MLB&columnid=2&articleid=28804)

I'm not sure there is a whole lot out there, frankly. At second, Marcus Giles' 2008 option reportedly may not be picked up by the Dodgers, and even if it were, he might be available. Once a promising Brave, he's had a down year (at age 29) and I'm not sure how much of an upgrade he would be over FLop at this point.

At short, Miguel Tejada is signed through 2009 at $13m per year (he's 31). Somehow I don't think Angelos would send a star player to Washington and risk losing even more of his fan base. Rafael Furcal, another Dodger, is signed through 2008 at $13m per year; his projections are .281/.347/.420, with 13 HRs, 56 RBIs, 105 runs and 33 SBs.

In the outfield, we're all aware of Adam Dunn (age 27) of the Commies, who hold a $13m option for 2008. The only other one of particular interest, in my opinion, is Carl Crawford of the Devil Rays, who is still just 26 and reportedly could be available given Tampa's glut of outfielders and need for young pitching. Crawford's projections are .310/.352/.492, with 17 HRs, 74 RBIs, 109 runs and 54 SBs. (Why am I using projections? Because the above-referenced website uses them and does not have 3-year averages or anything like that.)

Maybe Jimbo will prove to be a better predator than I am.

Among the less-discussed free agents, there is Kosuke Fukodome, who hit .294/.443/.520 with 13 dingers in 269 ABs in Japan this year and reportedly projects as an above-average MLB regular with 25-HR power. Supposedly he might be better as a corner OF but can play center well enough.

I find myself intrigued by Fukodome. A high-OBP CF with decent power might go well between WMP and Kearns. Plus, he gives us [RF] insurance if Fick leaves. For example, wouldn't it be great if he hit a walkoff homer, and then in the postgame interview, the opposing pitcher said "Well, Fukodome just beat the Fukodome today."

Posted by: Bob L. Head | September 12, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Off topic: I'm soon to have rotator cuff surgery performed by Dr. Tim Codd in Baltimore. I mentioned I had a sore forearm, and he said probably related to rotator cuff goings on. If not, he said, you don't want to know because it could be some nasty neck-related stuff.

So I'm wondering re J. Patterson. I think Patterson should visit Dr. Codd and ask him where his forearm pain is coming from. The neck thing is a real possibility and I have not read where any doctor has addressed that in "treating" John. It's a wonder, with Johns Hopkins only a skip and a jump away, that none of our sore-armed Nats bother to visit the No. 3 orthopedic center in the U.S. I guess ball players are creatures of habit.

Posted by: JohnR (VA) | September 12, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

You guys are so lucky. I move down here to FT. Lauderdale after a lifetime in DC and it's hotter then hell. I watching the game now with about 10 people in the stands.The fun I had at RFK as a kid watching those miserable Senators.
Next year you will have a shiny new ballpark and ,I believe, a very competive team.
Count your blessings!

GO NATS!

Posted by: Mike Morgan | September 12, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"Cheap doesn't begin to describe [the Lerners]."

Absolutely. (Here we go again.) That must be why they blew slot out of the water to get the top draft picks signed. And ponied up to extend Young and Belliard. Etc.

I know it's fashionable to sneer in this town, especially at baseball (or at anyone who puzzles at the perpetual credulity of The Danny's victims), but from where I sit all the sneering is getting a bit tiresome.

Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

That catch that Church made showed me something... It was the first lay-out I've seen from him in a while... Logan makes a lot more of them, but on the other hand, Logan often takes the scenic route to his fly balls.

Posted by: Wigi | September 12, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Logan can take whatever route he likes to the ball as long as he gets there. And he gets there more than Church does.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

right on hendo. a lot of complaining going on for having:

a team! (which i still can't believe we got)
a new baseball stadium!
a better record than ever thought possible!
a plan of action!
actual implementation of that plan!
the best uniforms in the game!

Posted by: longterm | September 12, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"Logan can take whatever route he likes to the ball as long as he gets there. And he gets there more than Church does."

Clarification on my reply to Wigi: that second statement was a further conditional, not a conclusion.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

". . . the best uniforms in the game!"

Well, let's not get all excited, but they're not half bad. For some reason I like the Sunday unis especially.

Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Me too Hendo. I love the red day game uniforms. Unfortunately I never get to see them in person.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 12, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I feel a little guilty for asking, but i've never listened to Charlie and Dave on internet radio, and when I go to WashPost radio, they don't give me a live stream but some blurb from this morning.

Can anyone provide me a link to the live stream so i can hear the last inning(s) today?

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | September 12, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

JohnR(VA) sez "Whoever wrote that (Scott Boras) doesn't know the Lerners. Cheap doesn't begin to describe them."

No, it doesn't. Because they aren't cheap. Thrifty, maybe. Unwilling to waste money for the sake of wasting money, yes. But cheap? No, that only describes your shot at them. They have shown that they are willing to spend money to make the team better. Maybe not as much money as you'd like them to, or maybe not on the things you'd want them to spend it on. But that's your problem, not theirs. They are spending money on the team. They are not cheap.

"It's a wonder, with Johns Hopkins only a skip and a jump away, that none of our sore-armed Nats bother to visit the No. 3 orthopedic center in the U.S. I guess ball players are creatures of habit."

Or maybe they're visiting number one and number two first?

Posted by: Section 419 | September 12, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

ShawNatsFan: You have to purchase the MLB stream if you want to hear them on the Internet...

Posted by: Wigi | September 12, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

thanks Wigi,
that's what i was afraid of. I had tried several times before in the season but never confirmed that it's not possible to listen online -- i usually was able to find a radio somewhere.

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | September 12, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or do there appear to be more people on the playing field than in the stands?

Posted by: Juan-John | September 12, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

"Can anyone provide me a link to the live stream so i can hear the last inning(s) today?"

Try this link:

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/subscriptions/gameday_audio.jsp?c_id=was

Or one of the "Audio" links on nationals.com. You do have to pay, but $14.95 a season seems reasonable to me.

Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to hit one out here.

Posted by: WMP | September 12, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

... and after the game, I am going to go get the ball among all the empty seats.

Posted by: WMP | September 12, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

WMP: is that so?

Posted by: NatsNut | September 12, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Hendo. Yeah, i'm not paying for the last few weeks. Normally i'm near a radio but i'm on contract this week off-site and in cube-land...

I'm heading out for "coffee" to see the bottom of the 9th, and hopefully the tenth innings at the bar around the corner.

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | September 12, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Juan-John
There are about 16 on the field including the umps, ball boys. There are about 14 in the stands including the vendors. Just a typical Marlins game.

GO NATS!

Posted by: Mike Morgan | September 12, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"There are about 16 on the field including the umps, ball boys. There are about 14 in the stands including the vendors. Just a typical Marlins game."

Crowd percentage-wise, we finally know what it feels like to take over someone else's stadium!

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

No, I think it has to be in the 2nd inning?

---

Sect. 506 wondered: Did someone win the SuperWindows.com prize?

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 12, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

i wasn't at all serious about the uniforms but the red tops are definitely workable.

maybe the cherry trees will be a nice draw for Fukodome?

these cherry trees better be up to snuff. i think i'm more excited about that than everything else. food, maybe...

Posted by: longterm | September 12, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Put me down as a Sunday red uni fan, too.

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 12, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Re. the fan stands count, we also now know the sound of one fan clapping...

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 12, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

RIBS IN MIAMI!!! HEAR ME LANGERHANS!!!

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

The mlb.com $14.95 also includes the play-offs - so if you find yourself in the office during the afternoon division series games it might still be worth while. Even if you only listened to today's game it would come to about a dollar per inning!

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | September 12, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

belli belli belliard

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 12, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Come on, Zimmy!!!!

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 12, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Uhmm, Mr. Clutch. Please? Haven't we been good?

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

IBB = booooooo

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 12, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh Nook. Don't let them dis you like that. Time for "Logan homers (1)"?

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Hmh

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

i want a cursive nationals or washington instead of that eastern bloc-esque lettering. its hideous. and it doesn't match the cap.

think pittsburgh during early nineties. same style lettering, upwards slope. go ahead, try it out. test out your penmanship on a piece of paper, and tell me it doesn't look good.


Posted by: theraph | September 12, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

It looks terrible. But that's probably my penmanship. An former girlfriend once told me when I wrote her a love letter "your handwriting is so adorably juvenile"

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"adorably juvenile"? ha. probably beats bubbly and loopy, though.


how long is this game going go? im listening to it and i dont want to leave until its over. i should have brought another sandwhich....

Posted by: theraph | September 12, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

What is it about multi-inning day games that the Nats seem so fond of? Weren't we doing this just last week or something?!?

Posted by: Juan-John | September 12, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

[RF]-ing extra innings!

I can only go away for an hour, max, for "coffee". Can't believe we're in inning 12 (hopefully 13 soon). ugh.

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | September 12, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

[RF]! I'm tired of these drag-em-out day games. At least it's not past midnight (that would be the Phils)

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | September 12, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Rivera is dooooooooooone. Too many innings overpitching his ability.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

time to go home!

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | September 12, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

"Adorably juvenile"?

Someone once told me that the secret of a successful relationship is about three things a day left unsaid. Sounds like that should've been one of them.

Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

With starting pitching like this, how does Stan Kasten think the Nats are closer to being a contender?

That was my first thought after the end of this game. Then reason set in, reminding me that that same "starting pitching like this" has allowed the Nats to somehow get more wins than just about every knowledgeable baseball savant expected. So yeah, the lowly Marlins did manage to win today, but it's just one game.

As the upper-deck RFK usher once reminded me, "Keep remembering, this is a TRYOUT YEAR."

Posted by: Juan-John | September 12, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and as for the lettering, I tried it using Word 2K3, WordArt and Script MT font.

It looks pretty fair, and the W doesn't look too different from our curly one.

Something for the uni-gnomes to mull for '09.

Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a wise usher, Juan-John.

---

As the upper-deck RFK usher once reminded me, "Keep remembering, this is a TRYOUT YEAR."

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 12, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"With starting pitching like this, how does Stan Kasten think the Nats are closer to being a contender?"

A rhetorical beginning to a well-considered argument.

From my perspective (and those of Barry and other posters who have discussed them well here all season), a few mysteries have been solved that looked quite insoluble at the beginning of the season.

The Nats can't stop here, to be sure, but the glass is filling up and not leaking (much).

Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Other thing to remember is we've concluded the year with a winning record against the Marlins.

As to staying out of last place: they have an even harder schedule. Colorado, Atlanta, Mets (7 left), and the Cubs.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps she meant "adorably juvenile" in an incredibly endearing way (Of course, this posting comes from someone who received low scores on penmanship throughout elementary school, and it's only gotten worse with time. I blame it on being a lefty...)

---

Sect. 506 shared: It looks terrible. But that's probably my penmanship. An former girlfriend once told me when I wrote her a love letter "your handwriting is so adorably juvenile"

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 12, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Also from the GHF department: Although we are now card-holding members of the "E Club," five other teams were eliminated before we were (more than was the case last year, as I recall).

Now our guys are heading back to the area for some home cooking and a warm welcome from their loving fans in the friendly confines of RFK, where they have a winning record. Hope to see y'all there.

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 12, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, one of those teams is, um, well, they play a bit north of here, if you know what I mean...

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 12, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I should have specified the regular standings, of course, since the Nats haven't been eliminated from the Wild Card standings.

---

Also from the GHF department: Although we are now card-holding members of the "E Club," five other teams were eliminated before we were (more than was the case last year, as I recall).

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 12, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I can't see paying huge money for Jones, Dunn, Hunter or Rowand. Doesn't fit The Plan. Nook is fast, Churchie laid out for one today and hit a clutchy homer (and was then pinch-hit for- was he hurt?). Is Maxwell too green? Man, he's got some pop! Is it insane to think of Chad as a starter? Smoltz says it's easier on the arm than closing, because you're getting ready all the time. Is it insane, after Atlanta and Florida, to remember The Colorado Collapse and try Chris Schroder as a closer? He throws hard.

Posted by: flynnie | September 12, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

In the "position by position" are we going to do GM? Because John Schuerholz may be sick of Time-Warner's corporate ownership (they said that the Braves are not part of their "core business" and have been imposing corporate budget restrictions). He sure still has the fire - did you see his reaction to the ball-boy catching the foul ball? And maybe he would enjoy coming back to the area. And maybe Stan would enjoy working with him and his son. Architect of two world champions- '85 Royals and '95 Braves. I could stand the Nats winning the division 13 years in a row. He could turn his son into another Theo Epstein here.

Posted by: flynnie | September 12, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, flynnie, you're just chock-full of good ideas this evening.

Schuerholz is an interesting guy. (Besides his name being hard to spell.) Have you read his book?

Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 8:33 PM | Report abuse

And I'm not sure it's insane to think of Chad as a starter.

But perhaps imprudent. He doesn't have a wide repertoire of pitches.

What we know is that he has speed and location. What we don't know is whether he has the endurance to go six innings or so.

Without the endurance or repertoire, Chad's not a candidate for the rotation or for long relief.

Posted by: Hendo | September 12, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Barry, please don't forget that you said in the chat this afternoon that you would find out what time tomorrow John Patterson is having surgery. Thanks.

I read some time ago that Chad was switched to a relief pitcher in college because he has asthma and presumably that affected his endurance so that he could not go 6 or so innings. The Nats have at least one other pitcher who has asthma and he is a starter, but possibly Chad's is worse.

Posted by: seekinginfo | September 12, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

To reference the Big Lebowski, "Dude, nothing is [RF]ed here"

We must win 7 more games to be equitable to last year's Nats. There are 5 more series. That means for two of those series we must go 2 and 3 or (2 and 4 against Philly at RFK). The other three we can lose 1 and 3, which would be a real slide from the way we've played since mid-May.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 12, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I love the range of opinions here, half want Cordero sold for scrap and now we want to try him as a starter?

Upgrading closer is not a team priority, but with an overabundance of quality relievers he might be shipped out to fill bigger priorities. Rauch proved himself capable to fill that role and is far cheaper (for now).

If Cordero could be given up as part of a package to get a Carl Crawford type OFer or a similair quality 2Ber I think that would be a good move for the organization. You have to get a lead before you can get a save, right?


Posted by: estuartj | September 12, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

RE: converting Chad to a starter -- I heard him in a Q+A saying that he prefers being in the bullpen, since it wasn't as predictable. (Rauch also said the same in the same Q+A).

Obviously, this is ground that's been covered, but my sense is we could do a lot worse at closer. Since he's had perfect appearances about third of the time, competition for the most blown saves in the 2007 season (8 is still high, but there's a 7 and 5 guys with 6), and ERA and HR totals that are comparable on the road, maybe he'll be effective in the new park.

Posted by: Sect 422 | September 12, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

My proposal for CF: platoon Logan and Church, and keep Brandon Watson, Alex Escobar and Justin Maxwell in reserve if that doesn't work out.

Logan is doing great against lefties, and Church is adequate against righties.

The organization's unwillingness to give Watson a chance, in my view, is ridiculous. Especially now that we've got WMP's pop, what's wrong with a guy who hits a lot of singles, is speedy on the basepaths, and is a good fielder? Watson hit over .300 last spring, clearly won the starting CF job, then was yanked after NINE games. Then he does very well in a handful of games this year, and gets yanked again.

I know Escobar has continually been injured, but can we really be sure it's not just a string of bad luck? Everybody likes to blame the victim of injuries, but usually it's really not your fault. Anyway, he's an excellent hitter if he can stay healthy, and I see no point in giving up on him.

And then there's Maxwell, who has real potential down the line.

Given all this, and the need to continue thinking long-term, I wouldn't overpay for a 30+ FA.

Posted by: Sec. 444 | September 13, 2007 4:31 AM | Report abuse

Somehow, someway the Nats need to upgrade at CF next year - if it's through free agency, a platoon or muddling through until Maxwell's ready (risk there is you muddle through all season), whatever, the club has to improve CF to improve its record.

Last note from me - here's a quote from Dick Bosman on attendance at major league cities - he played all over - coached for lots of teams, including Baltimore, so he has credibility - last game of the 1969 season, a good crowd there, Ted Williams gets a standing ovation -

Bosman said he thought to himself, "Boy, oh, boy, this city is no different that any other city , if we win, they come see us, man."

That's one of my best RFK memories...enjoyed talking to all of you...over and out!

Posted by: natswriter | September 13, 2007 6:22 AM | Report abuse

Based on the picture in the Post today, it seems that building a new stadium in Miami would be a complete waste of time. This team won 2 championships, and can't even put 500 people in the seats!

As long as there is a team in Florida (either team), we never have to worry about losing the Nats. Hopefully we will start filling the seats better so such a thing could never be contemplated.

Posted by: Scrub Fan | September 13, 2007 6:30 AM | Report abuse

Sec. 419:

Cheap or smart? (Meaning the Lerners and their pocketbooks.) We'll know more in a couple of years. I'll talk to you then.

But based on year one (2007) of the Lerner era, cheap as a descriptor beats smart--only in my estimation, of course.

Another thing: I doubt much if Stan Kasten wants John Schuerholz within a mile of him in his new capacity as a Nats shareholder and President. If the Nats succeed, Kasten gets the credit; if they fail, it's Bowden's fault and out he goes. Why would he want a proven winner to share in the glory (and the lucre)?

Posted by: JohnR(VA) | September 13, 2007 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Ray Knight and Don Baylor both need to go.

Posted by: Changes at MASN | September 13, 2007 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Kory Casto is playing in the ARI Fall League as an infielder. Any chance if he does well they can non-tender FLop and have Kory as the backup SS/2B and maybe replace Guzman if he reverts to '05 or is traded at the deadline?

Posted by: estuartj | September 13, 2007 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Another argument for thrift in the FA bazaar:

Would you be unhappy if your top five sluggers' SLGs read like this?

.558; .503; .468; .467; .439

Those are the numbers for Pena, Young, Guzman, Zimmerman, and Church. Yes, WMP's sample size is small; yes, Guzie's hurt. Even so, those numbers, while not exactly Murderers' Row, don't distress me.

Here are the numbers that give me heartburn:

.385; .382

Those are the on-base percentages of Young and Guzman (still, yes, hors de combat) respectively. From there, it's all downhill, folks, and that's where your problem lies. While those are good numbers, they need some company.

The strongest WS winner of the last few seasons was the '04 Red Sox. While that team boasted Ramirez and Ortiz, their everyday lineup also only had two players whose OBPs were less than .360. At this moment in 2007, the Nats' lineup only contains one player -- da Meat -- whose OBP is *greater* than .360. That's where the attention and concern should be focused.

What this team needs urgently is not necessarily a whole bunch more slugging. What this team needs is plate discipline, guys who are willing to work pitchers and take walks. Absent better at-bats, you're gonna be taking a lot more low-scoring losses -- and a lot more losing seasons into the record books.

Posted by: Hendo | September 13, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

nothing makes me as happy as a Big Lebowski reference.

do these Nats remind anyone of the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers?

"and proud we are of all of them."

no go out and achieve!

Posted by: longterm | September 13, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

the offense is plain horrible. the pitching is the reason we have overachieved (!) this year. unfortunately pitching tends to fluctuate a great deal more than hitting from year to year.

i'm afraid if i keep thinking about this i'm gonna want to overpay for some offense. as of now i'll be happy if we just improve the runs scored/runs against next year...

Posted by: longterm | September 13, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps one of the biggest offensive improvements next year will be something we haven't addressed yet, and thats getting a permanent hitting coach. I like Lenny Harris, and I think he's done a great job, but he's not typically a professional hitting coach, is he?

Posted by: G-town | September 13, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Harris was plunged into the job with zero experience at any level, according to Barry on the chat yesterday.

He has earned a medal, a testimonial dinner, and a change of job title.

Posted by: Hendo | September 13, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Whoever is the hitting coach for next year they should travel with WMP to Venezuela this winter and work with him every day on identifing sliders down and away and how to lay off them.

If WMP could make them throw that pitch for strikes to get him out they would probably miss more than half and he would get more balls to hit (especially inside fastballs) and bring his SOs down by 50%, his walks up 50% and give him a chance to put up A-Rodesque HR numbers.

Posted by: estuartj | September 13, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Hendo -

Thanks for the shout out last night. I was "alone and palely loitering" at work and "the sedge has withered from the lake, and no birds sing" after that loss, which, considering the upcoming schedule, may be the beginning of The Collapse. If Stan Kasten goes to the Lerners and says, "We can get Schuerholz" they are not going to stand in his way. They didn't blink at sacking Tom Paciorek, who brought humor to the broadcast, and is remembered fondly by fans wherever he has been e.g. Chicago White sox. Stan worked with Paciorek when he first came to the Braves, and says that he likes him, but Don sutton is more his style. Well, John Schuerholz is definitely more Kasten's style than JimBow.

Posted by: flynnie | September 13, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Kasten will bring Schuerholz here. Those two have already had their day and I really think the Bowden/Kasten combo is hitting its stride. It's giving Kasten a chance to reinvent--take away the best of his time in Atlanta and do-over some of the misses (only ONE World Series in all those division leading years??)

I read the Schuerholz book and (I've said this here before) he was just a little too self-congratulatory. And when he wasn't self-congratulating he was writing about OTHERS congratulating him. Blech. Keep Bowden.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 13, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Tell me again why all the other Post blogs get pictures of the author and Barry gets the Nationals' logo. Is Barry really that hideous?

Posted by: NatBisquit | September 13, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Except for that hairy wart on his forehead, he's a pretty good-looking guy.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 13, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Per flynnie: "Well, John Schuerholz is definitely more Kasten's style than JimBow."

The following thoughts immediately issued through my mind:

1. Well, duh. And why haven't I or anyone else noticed this?

2. If we accept that assertion, what's keeping JimBow on board now, except that it's classier to let someone go at the end of the season instead of before?

3. And what kept JimBow on board between last season and this season? July 13, 2006, was not exactly a resume-enhancing date for a GM who'd picked up a reputation as something of a gunslinger.

4. Schuerholz has the chops, but some of his beliefs and business practices make me scratch my head. (Which is probably why I don't work in a baseball FO.) As I say, read his book.

Anyway, good point. Anticipating the possibility of acquiring Schuerholz will make the offseason a little more exciting.

Posted by: Hendo | September 13, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

To employ a bit of work-speak, by my calculations, we'd need 6 more wins to meet last year's record and 7 more to exceed it, eh?

---

We must win 7 more games to be equitable to last year's Nats. There are 5 more series. That means for two of those series we must go 2 and 3 or (2 and 4 against Philly at RFK). The other three we can lose 1 and 3, which would be a real slide from the way we've played since mid-May.

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 13, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Barry wants you to buy his book if you want to see his photo.

He's not bad-looking at all, so I share the perplexity about the lack of a picture. Unfortunately, I have seen one Barry photo bouncing around from time to time that has been hideously scaled and cropped until it looks like "Tank McNamara Enlists in the French Foreign Legion."

Not everyone who owns a copy of Photoshop should be given the keys.

Posted by: Hendo | September 13, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I met Liz Clarke, WaPo sprostwriter who was on sabbatical writing a book about the moronic sport of NASCAR. She, like most of the Sports section staff, is very nice as well as being good-looking. Considering the bloggers here, Barry's no-picture policy is to foil potential stalkers.

Posted by: flynnie | September 13, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

And to make you buy his book to see a picture of him.

Posted by: flynnie | September 13, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I hear Phil Wood this morning on WTEM say that he had spoken to 2 N.L. GM's and 1 AL GM about Shawn Hill. All said that he would be a 3 or 4 starter on any team in baseball. e.g. Yanks, Sawx. Phil says that Hill's stuff is "electric." As far as other starters, the silence was deafening.

Posted by: flynnie | September 13, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Now would be the absolute worst time ever to bring in a new GM. Bowden has never had a stable franchise or any financial leverage to work with. Marge Schott!?! Come on. Bowden has always been able to make lost causes respectable. He deserves an opportunity to see if he can make respectable expectable. Let him work with a clear conscience. He's already proven he doesn't make trades just to make trades. He wins trades. If this franchise is ahead of schedule it is because of him more than anyone else. I say let it ride...

Posted by: longterm | September 13, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

New post is up in time for lunch, with plenty o' minor league info.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | September 13, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Also, I heare Phil Wood this morning on WTEM say that he had spoken to 2 N.L. GM's and 1 AL GM about Shawn Hill. All said that he would be a 3 or 4 starter on any team in baseball. e.g. Yanks, Sawx. Phil says that Hill's stuff is "electric." As far as other starters, the silence was deafening.

Posted by: flynnie | September 13, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

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