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More grass, different angle

Hate to flog Secretariat here, but the very helpful Rick "Buck" Buckovich of Clark/Hunt/Smoot, who is overseeing the construction of Nationals Park, sent me a link to a new camera angle at the ballpark. You might have to choose it from the tab at the top of the screen, but there's a view from center field. It's much lower.

Tomorrow's $.35 edition: Some actual baseball news. Pertaining to actual baseball players. Not much, but a good start to stoke the Hot Stove.

Monday's $.35 edition: A preveiw of the GM meetings, which start in Orlando that day.

Next week: Arizona Fall League updates, etc., in the paper and on the Journal.

Right now: A new picture on the Nationals page at washingtonpost.com.

For now: Best wishes for an excellent weekend.

By Barry Svrluga  |  November 2, 2007; 5:32 PM ET
 
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Next: How do you boost payroll? The Kicking Tires Edition

Comments

Thank goodness for the new picture! I hope everyone gets to see the new ballpark as the opening game of the 2008 season!

Barry - very much looking forward to the upcoming columns!

Posted by: roman1735 | November 2, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

"Next week: Arizona Fall League updates, etc., in the paper . . ."

How timely: AFL will have been playing long enough that there should be a good read on many of the prospects there.

". . . and on the Journal."

How thoughtful: I'll be in L.A. and Phoenix, where a $.35 Post might or might not be easy to come by.

Will the Post actually have anyone out there? (Barry, I'd offer to meet you at Panera; alas, there are none in Arizona yet.)

Posted by: Hendo | November 2, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Barry -- will look forward to drinking in all of the above with my morning java.

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 2, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I miss my good lookin' son...

Posted by: Dmitri's mom | November 2, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Couple things;

First regarding JP's interview with Ladsen, forget pitching - he's marrying Mrs. DC 2005? WTG JP! Also, B.L.is the worst most fluff interviewer ever.

Second, everyone lay off J-Max in ARI Fall Ball, the guy has probably played more games in '07 than in the previous 23 years of his life, which considering his injury history is the most important thing. The guys is tired (hell he's been playing non-stop since April-and in A ball that is hard, hard living), but most importantly he's shown he can stay healthy, AND play through pain.

ARI fall ball should only help a player, if he plays great his team can think about being more aggressive with his development (ala Kory Casto in '07) but if he struggles you shouldn't suddenly throw in the towel on him.

The good news for the Nats in 'Zona is that Mock is healthy and finally showing the talent we traded Livo for, and Carr is developing fast and should be given a chance to earn his way into the Nats '08 bullpen.

Posted by: estuartj | November 2, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

It's cool to have, really for the first time, a real hot stove in Washington. Having said that, I think patience is going to be a much needed virtue for us Nationals fans. Without spending like crazy, it's tough to improve quickly, so becoming a winner will probably take a few years. That's ok by me, as long as we see improvement and reasons to hope. A reason would be, maybe, seeing a young player struggle, but show potential, in his rookie season and an effort to at least sign some 2nd tier free agents if not guys like Hunter or Rowland.

But man it's nice to see that grass and the whole new park taking shape - gives me goosebumps!!

Posted by: Natswriter | November 2, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Barry. Have you and Kasten made nice then?

Posted by: NatsNut | November 2, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse

"ARI fall ball should only help a player, if he plays great his team can think about being more aggressive with his development (ala Kory Casto in '07) but if he struggles you shouldn't suddenly throw in the towel on him."

Right on, estuartj. The teams that send players to the AFL aren't worried about this season's pennant, or about whom they might have to bring up to the big club next month. AFL is an opportunity for evaluation and extra work.

Our young Nats' experience with the Javelinas can offer guidance as to what needs to be worked on in Viera. No matter what happens in Peoria, the Nats' field staff and FO will be in a little better position to make judgments come March.

(That said, I hope Maxwell's bat, or at least OBP, comes alive by the end of next week...)

Posted by: Hendo | November 3, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Even with J-Max' ari performance out of the equation it still remains to be seen if and when he will be the answer in CF.

Personally I think we have to see if Ryan Church is the offensive weapon in the new ballpark we hoped he was at the beginning of this year.

If there was a long term solution available via FA for a reasonable length of contract (reasonable cost is out of the question) I'd be for it, but that seems unlikely.

I don't think the Lerners are opposed spending exorbinate amounts of cash for a winner, but I'm certain they don't want to spend a dime on crap.

Posted by: estuartj | November 3, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Zim made #11 of top young talent (and a coverage dig for Hendo):

11. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington third baseman (22).
A Ken Boyer, Scott Rolen-type third baseman. You'll know if the Washington press corps ever starts going to baseball games, because if they do, Zimmerman will be more famous than Britney Spears.

Posted by: Bill James | November 3, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the notice, Mr. James. While I'm not exactly the scourge of the Washington press corps (at least if Kornheiser and Wilbon are left out of the equation), I'll still be scooping up a copy of your 2008 "Handbook."

Posted by: Hendo | November 3, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I noticed that Joel Zumaya is toast for '08 according to ESPN. After trading for Renteria, the Tigers must have thought they were gearing up for the Red Sox, but now they need bullpen help. Cameron Maybin would look awfully good at the new stadium.

Posted by: Julia's Dad | November 3, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Since the Nat's first round pick is there no difference between type A and type B Free Agents as far as picks lost?

Posted by: estuartj | November 3, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised no one is talking about the Nats FO contacting the agents for Hunter and Rowand. I'd love to see Rowand get picked up by the Nats, although I think either are a longshot.

Posted by: G-town | November 3, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if we have contacted Boras about Jones or Lohse.

Posted by: estuartj | November 3, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

"First regarding JP's interview with Ladsen, forget pitching - he's marrying Mrs. DC 2005? WTG JP!"

You can go to this web site shannon-john.com and see some photos of them together and read a little about them and their families. Shannon seems to be a lovely young lady. She ran in the Marine Marathon this past Sunday, less than 2 weeks before the wedding. JP met her at mile 22 and ran the last four miles with her. She still looked beautiful at the finish!

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | November 3, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Since we benefitted from the work of the talented Ms. Shipley when Barry was away at times during the Nats' season, I wanted to say what a terrific job she did (IMHO) on the Olympic marathon trials yesterday (in today's 1.50 edition). She packed tons of gripping and moving detail into a story full of personal tragedy and great athletic accomplishment.

Posted by: Old section 406 | November 4, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Oh, does anyone else find it ... um ... interesting that Bill James is a Senior Baseball Operations Advisor to the Red Sox, and yet continues to issue his annual Handbooks and other works?

And has published two very insightful articles on young talent in SI.com this week? Including one in which he quantitatively rates the Sox' young talent BELOW the Nats'? (He does point out that the Sox' ranking leaves off Ellsbury and Buchholz because they spent most of 2007 in the minors.)

I guess this doesn't constitute a conflict of interest, nor does it suggest Sox-centric hubris on James' part. (Possible hubris on Theo Epstein's part is another matter, which the conspiracy theorists on the New Evil Empire can feel -- and no doubt have felt -- free to take up.)

Posted by: Hendo | November 4, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

i think the title "advisor" infers more "consultant" than "employee." he probably gives them specific statistical analysis that they ask for, along with his interpretation.

Posted by: other 506 | November 4, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Eh, I find Mitchell's Red Sox connection more "interesting."

---

Oh, does anyone else find it ... um ... interesting that Bill James is a Senior Baseball Operations Advisor to the Red Sox, and yet continues to issue his annual Handbooks and other works?

Posted by: Paul Byrd | November 4, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

was reading about the pads going into the winter meetings trying to trade for a CF and there were some interesting potential trade candidates mentioned. here's a segment from the article...

======================

When trade-averse GM Bill Stoneman left the Angels last month, it increased the chances Towers will barter with the Angels for outfielders such as Reggie Willits and Nathan Haynes. Willits has almost no power, but he had a .391 on-base percentage last year. The strong relationship between Padres manager Bud Black and Angels manager Mike Scioscia increases the chances the two franchises could strike a deal.

The Padres were rebuffed when they asked about Cubs center fielder Felix Pie in May - talks that, had they progressed, likely would have included shortstop Khalil Greene. The Padres also inquired about Brewers reserve Tony Gwynn Jr., who may or may not be part of Milwaukee's plans for 2008. Royals center fielder David DeJesus is under contract, but Kansas City has told other clubs it has younger talent at the position.

Posted by: other 506 | November 4, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

oh, and a couple of SP thoughts they had were interesting for the Nats, too. and a couple of them fit into the bowden "reclamation" category...

==========

Free-agent Matt Clement wants to return to the Padres and would take a low base salary as part of a one-year deal laced with incentives. Clement had surgery to repair his labrum and rotator cuff in September 2006. Another right-hander on the comeback trail from shoulder surgery, Cubs pitcher Mark Prior, has the Padres on his radar and would become a free agent if Chicago doesn't reach terms with the USDHS alum. Red Sox free agent Curt Schilling listed the Padres among his 13 possible clubs. Towers tried to trade for Blue Jays right-hander Josh Towers, who could be a free agent if Toronto deems him too expensive.

Posted by: other 506 | November 4, 2007 10:27 PM | Report abuse

I've got a question for you all.

As I was watching the torn up front line of the Washington football team finally come together yesterday, I was thinking that it is a shame they had no farm team to give those guys playing time so it wouldn't take 4 weeks to put on a reasonable show.

Would every sport benefit from a farm system? Or are the demands of baseball so unique that it's the only one that really needs to put its players through such a grind before they make it to the show?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 5, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Barry, are you in Orlando for the meetings?

Posted by: NatsNut | November 5, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

506:

Hockey also has a farm system, but it isn't as intricate as the baseball system is. I think there are some practical limitations with doing it in football... not to mention that the teams and rosters are structured differently.

There is one other similarity that baseball and hockey have that other sports do not... and this similarity leads to the farm system... and that is that historically, the path to a pro career in both hockey and baseball was not through college sports, but through high school in baseball, and junior hockey. Thus, you had players under contract that were several years away from being ready to play at the professional level... so you need someplace for them to play. With the strong college football and basketball leagues, players come out of college more or less ready to play professional sports.

Of course, the paths to the pros in all sports is changing...

Posted by: Wigi | November 5, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

So why is college baseball so inferior to college basketball and football? I mean, obviously because people can go pro at 19, but that turns into a chicken and the egg argument fast. Which WAS first?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 5, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

ugh, why does Bill Ladson have a job? I keep tricking myself into believing that one Monday he might answer a question that has actual meaning. Or at least give some insight into the club that he is supposed to be covering.

Instead, it's just things that any fan already knows.

Stan, if you ever, EVER read this blog. Please, PLEASE get a real beat writer for mlb.com. It hurts.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | November 5, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Off topic. No new grass since Friday. What gives?

Posted by: 6th and D | November 5, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Back on Topic: whatever it was that made Jim feel that Zimm was ready for the majors, has to hold true for J-Max. To me, he fields CF rather well. His hitting is good and can only get better with more experience. Stick to the plan. If you have to buy something, buy pitching.

Posted by: 6th and D | November 5, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

My suspicion is that Stan is just fine with Bob Ladsen [sic] reporting the way he does -- it helps him manage information. I'm guessing that the author in question also isn't a major journalist (judging by his employment - mlb.com) and is an enthusiastic fan, loving life. I envy him, even though I refuse to read his tripe.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 5, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking about this topic today, too...

I think that the MLB website is geared to a less sophisticated audience, and as such, the writing is more simplistic. I don't read much from MLB.com, but I bet if you wade through it, most of the writing is pretty basic.

That being said, the basic errors are pretty egregious...

Posted by: Wigi | November 5, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Kasten and the team have nothing to do with the web writers. They are all hired and employed by MLB.

Posted by: NatsNut | November 5, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

P.S. I found this out when I sent a rant email to Kasten about Ladson calling Ryan Zimmerman, ADAM Zimmerman. TWICE!

Posted by: NatsNut | November 5, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

6th and D, maybe they're getting ready for the next truckload of turf? Looks like they've been working away in other areas today, though, with more seats being installed and work taking place on the dugout behind home plate. Kinda fun to look at the pix for the day and try to figure out what's changed.

---

Off topic. No new grass since Friday. What gives?

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 5, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

So I've officially given in to Hot Stove madness.

I read every single team's mailbag. And I found an interesting item. The Pirates are thinking of moving Jason Bay.

As in, power hitting, former All-Star, and still young Jason Bay.

Also as in, used-to-be-in-the-organization-before-its-pillaging Jason Bay.

Barry, are we gunning for him? I know we're "solid" in the corners, but...c'mon. This could be a steal!

Posted by: NattyDelite! | November 5, 2007 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Amazing to watch the paint dry...literally. while no grass went down, today, you can watch as each section of the wall and top of the dugouts get painted. Actually, this is so cool, its frightening. It's like being a kid, looking through a crack in the fence and watching a building under construction. The whole process is truly fascinating.

As to MLB and College ball. As is everything in baseball, things are a lot more complicated than they would seem, on the surface.

Remember that, even in the most intense D1 programs, a college baseball player will only get into 100 - 120 games a year (and that counts summer leagues. Counting spring training, a major leaguer can expect to play in 160 - 175 games a year. College players play three on weekends and maybe two during the week.

Bats are different. It often takes a player a couple of years to get used to hitting with a wooden bat. That is one of the reasons that scouts put so much emphasis on how a kid does in one of the wooden bat college leagues.

A kid drafted out of high school is only 17 or 18. As such, he still has quite a bit of learning and growing to do. The game, pressure abilities are much more different at the MLB level v. H.S. than they are at college v. Pro Football.

Pitchers are truly frightening, in this day and age. Sometimes (more than you'd expect) a pitcher is drafted out of H.S. with the likelihood that he will blow his arm out and have to undergo T.J. surgery. The club is hoping that (and it is often the case) he will undergo surgery at 19 or 20, take the year to recover/rehabilitate and be back on the path to the majors to arrive at 24 or 25.

I could go into further nonsense, but my fingers are tired and I have to do some actual work.

Posted by: Catcher50 | November 5, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Amazing to watch the paint dry...literally. while no grass went down, today, you can watch as each section of the wall and top of the dugouts get painted. Actually, this is so cool, its frightening. It's like being a kid, looking through a crack in the fence and watching a building under construction. The whole process is truly fascinating.

As to MLB and College ball. As is everything in baseball, things are a lot more complicated than they would seem, on the surface.

Remember that, even in the most intense D1 programs, a college baseball player will only get into 100 - 120 games a year (and that counts summer leagues. Counting spring training, a major leaguer can expect to play in 160 - 175 games a year. College players play three on weekends and maybe two during the week.

Bats are different. It often takes a player a couple of years to get used to hitting with a wooden bat. That is one of the reasons that scouts put so much emphasis on how a kid does in one of the wooden bat college leagues.

A kid drafted out of high school is only 17 or 18. As such, he still has quite a bit of learning and growing to do. The game, pressure abilities are much more different at the MLB level v. H.S. than they are at college v. Pro Football.

Pitchers are truly frightening, in this day and age. Sometimes (more than you'd expect) a pitcher is drafted out of H.S. with the likelihood that he will blow his arm out and have to undergo T.J. surgery. The club is hoping that (and it is often the case) he will undergo surgery at 19 or 20, take the year to recover/rehabilitate and be back on the path to the majors to arrive at 24 or 25.

I could go into further nonsense, but my fingers are tired and I have to do some actual work.

Posted by: Catcher50 | November 5, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Amazing to watch the paint dry...literally. while no grass went down, today, you can watch as each section of the wall and top of the dugouts get painted. Actually, this is so cool, its frightening. It's like being a kid, looking through a crack in the fence and watching a building under construction. The whole process is truly fascinating.

As to MLB and College ball. As is everything in baseball, things are a lot more complicated than they would seem, on the surface.

Remember that, even in the most intense D1 programs, a college baseball player will only get into 100 - 120 games a year (and that counts summer leagues. Counting spring training, a major leaguer can expect to play in 160 - 175 games a year. College players play three on weekends and maybe two during the week.

Bats are different. It often takes a player a couple of years to get used to hitting with a wooden bat. That is one of the reasons that scouts put so much emphasis on how a kid does in one of the wooden bat college leagues.

A kid drafted out of high school is only 17 or 18. As such, he still has quite a bit of learning and growing to do. The game, pressure abilities are much more different at the MLB level v. H.S. than they are at college v. Pro Football.

Pitchers are truly frightening, in this day and age. Sometimes (more than you'd expect) a pitcher is drafted out of H.S. with the likelihood that he will blow his arm out and have to undergo T.J. surgery. The club is hoping that (and it is often the case) he will undergo surgery at 19 or 20, take the year to recover/rehabilitate and be back on the path to the majors to arrive at 24 or 25.

I could go into further nonsense, but my fingers are tired and I have to do some actual work.

Posted by: Catcher50 | November 5, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Amazing to watch the paint dry...literally. while no grass went down, today, you can watch as each section of the wall and top of the dugouts get painted. Actually, this is so cool, its frightening. It's like being a kid, looking through a crack in the fence and watching a building under construction. The whole process is truly fascinating.

As to MLB and College ball. As is everything in baseball, things are a lot more complicated than they would seem, on the surface.

Remember that, even in the most intense D1 programs, a college baseball player will only get into 100 - 120 games a year (and that counts summer leagues. Counting spring training, a major leaguer can expect to play in 160 - 175 games a year. College players play three on weekends and maybe two during the week.

Bats are different. It often takes a player a couple of years to get used to hitting with a wooden bat. That is one of the reasons that scouts put so much emphasis on how a kid does in one of the wooden bat college leagues.

A kid drafted out of high school is only 17 or 18. As such, he still has quite a bit of learning and growing to do. The game, pressure abilities are much more different at the MLB level v. H.S. than they are at college v. Pro Football.

Pitchers are truly frightening, in this day and age. Sometimes (more than you'd expect) a pitcher is drafted out of H.S. with the likelihood that he will blow his arm out and have to undergo T.J. surgery. The club is hoping that (and it is often the case) he will undergo surgery at 19 or 20, take the year to recover/rehabilitate and be back on the path to the majors to arrive at 24 or 25.

I could go into further nonsense, but my fingers are tired and I have to do some actual work.

Posted by: Catcher50 | November 5, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

OK, as interested as I am in watching grass grow (and I have beat Barbaro to the website a few times), I thought some seamheads might be interested in this from a high quality Mariners blog (of which any of you that read CapitalPunishment are probably already aware):

http://ussmariner.com/2006/08/29/evaluating-pitcher-talent/

My overall take (without any real analysis) is that while the Nats starting pitching needs much improvement, that improvement is not available in the free agent market this year and we should stick to The Plan and rebuilding from within, as many of us have previously said here.

There is another interesting view which comes (from the Denver paper, I think) via MLBTraderumors.com, that says, essentially, that teams that overachieved this year are likely to stand pat, depend on the same overachievement next year, and thus underachieve in 2008.

The optimists view is that the Nats proved this year that the best of a bunch of castoff starters can be reasonably close to MLB average such that, when supported by an above average bullpen, you end up with a reasonably competitive MLB pitching staff.

The pessimists view might be that what the starting staff did this past year was overachieve, and that our SPs next year, in the new, smaller park, might be worse; and that if we trade any of our bullpen assets, that could further remove our security blanket.

I am not a pessimist by nature, but it strikes me as possible that we can't both abide by The Plan and also expect, automatically, an improvement on this year's record without any meaningful additions.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | November 5, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

OK, as interested as I am in watching grass grow (and I have beat Barbaro to the website a few times), I thought some seamheads might be interested in this from a high quality Mariners blog (of which any of you that read CapitalPunishment are probably already aware):

http://ussmariner.com/2006/08/29/evaluating-pitcher-talent/

My overall take (without any real analysis) is that while the Nats starting pitching needs much improvement, that improvement is not available in the free agent market this year and we should stick to The Plan and rebuilding from within, as many of us have previously said here.

There is another interesting view which comes (from the Denver paper, I think) via MLBTraderumors.com, that says, essentially, that teams that overachieved this year are likely to stand pat, depend on the same overachievement next year, and thus underachieve in 2008.

The optimists view is that the Nats proved this year that the best of a bunch of castoff starters can be reasonably close to MLB average such that, when supported by an above average bullpen, you end up with a reasonably competitive MLB pitching staff.

The pessimists view might be that what the starting staff did this past year was overachieve, and that our SPs next year, in the new, smaller park, might be worse; and that if we trade any of our bullpen assets, that could further remove our security blanket.

I am not a pessimist by nature, but it strikes me as possible that we can't both abide by The Plan and also expect, automatically, an improvement on this year's record without any meaningful additions.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | November 5, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

OK, as interested as I am in watching grass grow (and I have beat Barbaro to the website a few times), I thought some seamheads might be interested in this from a high quality Mariners blog (of which any of you that read CapitalPunishment are probably already aware):

http://ussmariner.com/2006/08/29/evaluating-pitcher-talent/

My overall take (without any real analysis) is that while the Nats starting pitching needs much improvement, that improvement is not available in the free agent market this year and we should stick to The Plan and rebuilding from within, as many of us have previously said here.

There is another interesting view which comes (from the Denver paper, I think) via MLBTraderumors.com, that says, essentially, that teams that overachieved this year are likely to stand pat, depend on the same overachievement next year, and thus underachieve in 2008.

The optimists view is that the Nats proved this year that the best of a bunch of castoff starters can be reasonably close to MLB average such that, when supported by an above average bullpen, you end up with a reasonably competitive MLB pitching staff.

The pessimists view might be that what the starting staff did this past year was overachieve, and that our SPs next year, in the new, smaller park, might be worse; and that if we trade any of our bullpen assets, that could further remove our security blanket.

I am not a pessimist by nature, but it strikes me as possible that we can't both abide by The Plan and also expect, automatically, an improvement on this year's record without any meaningful additions.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | November 5, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

OK, as interested as I am in watching grass grow (and I have beat Barbaro to the website a few times), I thought some seamheads might be interested in this from a high quality Mariners blog (of which any of you that read CapitalPunishment are probably already aware):

http://ussmariner.com/2006/08/29/evaluating-pitcher-talent/

My overall take (without any real analysis) is that while the Nats starting pitching needs much improvement, that improvement is not available in the free agent market this year and we should stick to The Plan and rebuilding from within, as many of us have previously said here.

There is another interesting view which comes (from the Denver paper, I think) via MLBTraderumors.com, that says, essentially, that teams that overachieved this year are likely to stand pat, depend on the same overachievement next year, and thus underachieve in 2008.

The optimists view is that the Nats proved this year that the best of a bunch of castoff starters can be reasonably close to MLB average such that, when supported by an above average bullpen, you end up with a reasonably competitive MLB pitching staff.

The pessimists view might be that what the starting staff did this past year was overachieve, and that our SPs next year, in the new, smaller park, might be worse; and that if we trade any of our bullpen assets, that could further remove our security blanket.

I am not a pessimist by nature, but it strikes me as possible that we can't both abide by The Plan and also expect, automatically, an improvement on this year's record without any meaningful additions.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | November 5, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Test post.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | November 5, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the Ladsen criticism. My main problem with him is that he structures his columns to suit his agenda and reports opinion as fact. He clearly did not like Brad Wilkerson, and would constantly rip him for no reason -- months after he was traded. He referred to Dmitri Young as "the most important player on the team", which is, at best, an arguable point. He wants Torii Hunter here so he structures his columns to make it sound like Hunter has a pen in hand ready to sign, when in fact this is probably a longshot. I'd like to see a beat writer who provides some objectivity rather than using their position to rip or praise players based on personal preference.

On a much more important note, any comments on the gamer today? Lots of fascinating info -- Kasten visiting Jones, inquiries made about Colon, Livo and Jennings. Sounds like JimBo has his "open for business" sign at the ready. For purely sentimental reasons, I'm hoping Livo returns -- Colon could be a 2007 version of Loaiza.

Posted by: Ray | November 6, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

(Shot?) glass half full: Justin Maxwell's line over his latest two AFL games is .429 / .500 / .571, including a walk and a double plus four stolen bases.

J-Max is 11-for-11 in SB attempts in AFL. Only Brett Gardner and Eugenio Velez have stolen more (each with 14); Gardner and Velez have each been caught once.

While I'm agnostic on the value of stolen bases alone, I'm a big fan of good overall baserunning. (Good base stealers are also often good at going first-to-third on singles and prying an extra base out of a base hit.) So maybe there's a nugget of gold in those numbers.

Posted by: Hendo | November 6, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

(Shot?) glass half full: Justin Maxwell's line over his latest two AFL games is .429 / .500 / .571, including a walk and a double plus four stolen bases.

J-Max is 11-for-11 in SB attempts in AFL. Only Brett Gardner and Eugenio Velez have stolen more (each with 14); Gardner and Velez have each been caught once.

While I'm agnostic on the value of stolen bases alone, I'm a big fan of good overall baserunning. (Good base stealers are also often good at going first-to-third on singles and prying an extra base out of a base hit.) So maybe there's a nugget of gold in those numbers.

And, if nothing else, WPNI is acting coy this morning, so maybe you'll get a chance to hoot at me if this posts twice. (Maybe you'll hoot anyway. It's a free country.)

Posted by: Hendo | November 6, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

(Shot?) glass half full: Justin Maxwell's line over his latest two AFL games is .429 / .500 / .571, including a walk and a double plus four stolen bases.

J-Max is 11-for-11 in SB attempts in AFL. Only Brett Gardner and Eugenio Velez have stolen more (each with 14); Gardner and Velez have each been caught once.

While I'm agnostic on the value of stolen bases alone, I'm a big fan of good overall baserunning. (Good base stealers are also often good at going first-to-third on singles and prying an extra base out of a base hit.) So maybe there's a nugget of gold in those numbers.

And, if nothing else, WPNI is acting coy this morning, so maybe you'll get a chance to hoot at me if this posts two or three times. (Maybe you'll hoot anyway. It's a free country.)

Posted by: Hendo | November 6, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Livan and Glavine interested in coming to DC, either would be a nice pick-up but I prefer Glavine.

Posted by: G-town | November 6, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

So, fanhouse has a report that Jose Guillen purchased steroids. After I stopped screaming in denial, I began searching for reasons why that can't be true. I mean, with his anger issues, I feel like if he'd been juiced, he would've killed someone by now.

Thoughts on this? I'll basically do anything to not believe this until they show me concousive evidence, but I'll admit that I might be slightly blinded by my love for Jose.

Posted by: Atlanta | November 6, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Ah, yes. Link:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/11/06/MNM2T2U24.DTL&type=news

Posted by: Atlanta | November 6, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Veteran major-league outfielder Jose Guillen, who played part of the 2003 season for the division-champion A's, bought thousands of dollars of steroids and human growth hormone from a troubled Florida anti-aging clinic and had some of the drugs shipped to the Oakland Coliseum, business records show.

Two other major-league players who have since retired also bought performance-enhancing drugs from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center, which was targeted this year in a law-enforcement investigation of suspected illegal drug sales.

Matt Williams, the Giants' star third baseman for 10 years, bought $11,600 worth of growth hormone, steroids and other drugs in 2002, when he was playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to the records. In a phone interview Monday, Williams said a doctor advised him to try growth hormone to heal a serious ankle injury he suffered during spring training in 2002.

Journeyman pitcher Ismael Valdez bought $11,300 worth of performance-enhancing drugs in 2002 after he was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Seattle Mariners, the records show.

Posted by: flynnie | November 6, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Veteran major-league outfielder Jose Guillen, who played part of the 2003 season for the division-champion A's, bought thousands of dollars of steroids and human growth hormone from a troubled Florida anti-aging clinic and had some of the drugs shipped to the Oakland Coliseum, business records show.

Two other major-league players who have since retired also bought performance-enhancing drugs from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center, which was targeted this year in a law-enforcement investigation of suspected illegal drug sales.

Matt Williams, the Giants' star third baseman for 10 years, bought $11,600 worth of growth hormone, steroids and other drugs in 2002, when he was playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to the records. In a phone interview Monday, Williams said a doctor advised him to try growth hormone to heal a serious ankle injury he suffered during spring training in 2002.

Journeyman pitcher Ismael Valdez bought $11,300 worth of performance-enhancing drugs in 2002 after he was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Seattle Mariners, the records show.

Posted by: flynnie | November 6, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: judiciales | November 6, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Veteran major-league outfielder Jose Guillen, who played part of the 2003 season for the division-champion A's, bought thousands of dollars of steroids and human growth hormone from a troubled Florida anti-aging clinic and had some of the drugs shipped to the Oakland Coliseum, business records show.

Two other major-league players who have since retired also bought performance-enhancing drugs from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center, which was targeted this year in a law-enforcement investigation of suspected illegal drug sales.

Matt Williams, the Giants' star third baseman for 10 years, bought $11,600 worth of growth hormone, steroids and other drugs in 2002, when he was playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to the records. In a phone interview Monday, Williams said a doctor advised him to try growth hormone to heal a serious ankle injury he suffered during spring training in 2002.

Journeyman pitcher Ismael Valdez bought $11,300 worth of performance-enhancing drugs in 2002 after he was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Seattle Mariners, the records show.

Posted by: flynnie | November 6, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Veteran major-league outfielder Jose Guillen, who played part of the 2003 season for the division-champion A's, bought thousands of dollars of steroids and human growth hormone from a troubled Florida anti-aging clinic and had some of the drugs shipped to the Oakland Coliseum, business records show.

Two other major-league players who have since retired also bought performance-enhancing drugs from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center, which was targeted this year in a law-enforcement investigation of suspected illegal drug sales.

Matt Williams, the Giants' star third baseman for 10 years, bought $11,600 worth of growth hormone, steroids and other drugs in 2002, when he was playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to the records. In a phone interview Monday, Williams said a doctor advised him to try growth hormone to heal a serious ankle injury he suffered during spring training in 2002.

Journeyman pitcher Ismael Valdez bought $11,300 worth of performance-enhancing drugs in 2002 after he was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Seattle Mariners, the records show.

Posted by: flynnie | November 6, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The not-yet-moved Section 506 asked: "So why is college baseball so inferior to college basketball and football?"

And I'd argue that, to borrow a song lyric, "it ain't necessarily so". In some places, the College World Series is as big a deal as March Madness in basketball or the BCS in football.

But NCAA baseball is like NCAA hockey; a regionally-popular sport. Go watch the Wisconsin Badgers play the Minnesota Gophers in hockey -- or a baseball game between Miami and Rice or Southern Cal vs. Arizona State and you'll see huge, knowledgable and enthusiastic crowds.

I understand that scouts consider a season playing for the best college baseball programs comparable experience to being on a AA minor league team.

And, facility-wise, some of the best college programs have better operations than some AA pro teams. I've been to the U. of Miami baseball complex in Coral Gables, Florida and thought it was at least the equal of The Diamond, the AAA facility used by the Richmond Braves.

If you'll allow me an ancient anecdote, I can dredge up a similar reaction from somebody who I think we'd agree can be considered an authority.

As a college student back in the mid-1970s I did play-by-play on the campus radio station (and some on-air work for the seven-station radio network that carried postseason games) for the University of South Carolina (USC) Fighting Gamecocks baseball team. (I felt really old whenever I watched Preston Wilson as a Nat because I knew his dad when Mookie Wilson played for Carolina.)

One of those seasons the Gamecock coach at the time, former Yankee Bobby Richardson, used his contacts to arrange for a doubleheader: the first game was Yankees vs. Mets on their way north from Florida to start the MLB season, the second game was USC vs. Clemson -- arch rivals and at the time both in the top five of the college baseball polls.

Nice afternoon of baseball, eh?

Anyway, while the major leaguers were taking batting pracice I was on the field with a tape recorder and in the crowd around Yogi Berra when he was asked what he thought of the University of South Carolina's baseball complex.

I don't need to dig up the old tape to remember what Yogi said: "(strong Anglo-Saxon word for emphasis), they've got better facilities here than the Yankees have at spring training!"

It's worth noting that the place where I heard Yogi say that is no more. The Gamecocks are about to open a new baseball facility next year which will include a 17,000 seat baseball-only stadium. Their old 13,000 seat ballpark was selling out on a regular basis.

Posted by: Formerly Section 502 | November 6, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the wisdom on college ball, gang, and for the amusing anecdote 502. I can always count on this blog for some thoughtful insight, especially without caphcky.

To Guillen on your juicing: what the [RF], man? Given the amount of injured time you had with the Nats, how much do you need to heal faster?!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 6, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Re. Guillen, hmmm, he *did* have some rage issues.

Re. stadium developments, I love looking through the virtual knothole to see what's going on (nice imagery, catcher). natsfan1c made a point about the turf that hadn't occurred to me. Specifically, that they might not be putting it down in some areas because of plans/needs to move heavy equipment over those areas at some point.

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 6, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey, there's a new post up!

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 6, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

New post is (finally) up. And I'll check on why there's not more grass going in.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | November 6, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

New post up.

Posted by: NatsNut | November 6, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

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