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Clippard announcement delayed till Wednesday

Quickly before I get to hacking for the $.35 edition:

Tyler Clippard passed his physical today, so half of the equation is done. But reliever Jonathan Albaladejo -- who the Nationals sent to the Yankees in exchange for the young right-hander -- won't have his examination until tomorrow. Thus, we wait for the official announcement. More important, we wait for the GM's thoughts on the matter, which will be interesting to hear. I expect Bowden to say he immediately becomes a candidate for the rotation.

If I hear anything late tonight I'll chime in. And Boz will weigh in on the Nats' moves in the $.35 edition tomorrow.

I'll leave you with this, too. Given the trade of Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers, consider Detroit's lineup next year: Pudge Rodriguez at catcher, Carlos Guillen at first, Placido Polanco at second, Edgar Renteria at short, Cabrera at third, platoon of Jacques Jones and Thames in left, Curtis Granderson in center and Magglio Ordonez in right. Oh, and Gary Sheffield as the DH. And I haven't even gotten to their rotation.

Wow.

By Barry Svrluga  |  December 4, 2007; 7:09 PM ET
 
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Next: Lo Duca to the forefront?

Comments

First, the Tigers and SICK. That is way too good of a line-up. Boston might actually have a run for the pennant. Secondly, I really like how the Nats are stacking up. It'd be awesome if we got a better mid fielder, but I believe in Bowden. And Chief trade rumors? Finally, First!!! Hopefully.

Posted by: Tim | December 4, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

The Nats team ERA just dropped by thiry points with Cabrerra leaving.

Posted by: lowcountry | December 4, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Barry

Posted by: jax | December 4, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, I take a look at that lineup and the first thought I had was, wow that's old.

Posted by: SF Fan | December 4, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I always thought that it would be great to have Willis on our team. Sigh.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 4, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Barry, if your still around, what needs did the team address at the meeting? Did the hint at anything?

Posted by: Andrew S. | December 4, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

The Nats probably also dropped some ERA with Willis leaving the NL. Gooood hittin' pitcher.

Posted by: Hendo | December 4, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Consider how nice it will be for the Nats to play Florida without MC and DW. Could add up to a few more wins.

Barry, any chance we'll get a podcast out of you this week? My daily workout at the gym is jones-ing for a podcast from that voice made for print....

Posted by: phillip | December 4, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

See there is more than one way to build a team. You can do it with money even in a market like Detroit. I would pay the Nats ticket prices to see that lineup play. Not sure how our star on the cheap version will draw.

Posted by: JayB | December 4, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Barry,
It's cruel to rundown the Tigers lineup to an audience of Nats fans. :)

Posted by: swanni | December 4, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Yeah the Cabrera deal has a very positive impact on the Nats. it seems like the Nats play the Fish 50 times. It'll be nice to be able to breeze through that lineup (relatively speaking, of course)

Posted by: ZRunner | December 4, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Well, looks like the Tigers now have the same problem we do: too many right-handed bats (Cabrera, Renteria, Polanco, Sheffield, Ordonez, Pudge). For some reason, I don't think it'll be much of a problem for them. That lineup is nasty.

Posted by: Salty | December 4, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

JayB: What are you talking about? Cabrera and Willis aren't free agents. The Tigers got them because they have a deep farm system because they pay to sign their draftees. They wouldn't have been able to make this trade if they hadn't paid heaven and earth to Porcello after the draft. That made Miller expendable. Just like signing McGeary made Gibson expendable and got us Dukes. In this case, it is The Plan at work, not money.

Posted by: Why Ira? | December 4, 2007 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes these quick posts come too fast and furious to keep up with and make logical responses to.

Quick note, re: Milledge and Dukes. Please remember that C/W says that it takes about 1,500 PA for a hitter to reach his realistic Major league level. Zimm is still about 1/2 season short. Both Milledge and Dukes figure to struggle most of this year and, maybe, a good part of '09. If they can be kept on track, the development should be interesting to watch.

First Base, however remains most interesting. If we are to assume that Marrero is going to be in AA all of '08, playing first, what does that say about the future for Johnson/Young? If Marrero is brought up in '09, he will need some time to develop as a middle of the lineup player, as would normally be expected of a corner infielder. Do you give him 500 - 600 P/A in '09? If so, where? He apparently doesn't have the speed to be a true outfield prospect (Did he inherit his speed from his namesake, Connie Marrero, who was the only Senator that I ever saw thrown out at first...on a clean single to left?). Buckle up, folks, someone with serious potential will be traded before the end of '08. Question is who and for what.

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 4, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

"See there is more than one way to build a team. You can do it with money even in a market like Detroit. I would pay the Nats ticket prices to see that lineup play. Not sure how our star on the cheap version will draw."

JayB, surely even you must realize that that Tigers lineup was not built in one offseason. Or even two. Or even three. Patience, dude. The Nats' time will come.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | December 4, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Talking about the paying to talent not trading it away because it is no longer young and cheap. Nats could have traded for Renteria and signed Pudge like FA.....just too cheap to do it. This are just a few examples where the Tigers and their small market fan base are winning and building monster teams by spending not saving cash.

Posted by: JayB | December 4, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

or the nats are just smart enough to know that trading for renteria and signing pudge this year might help them be a little more competitive in 08, but probably hurt them as far as being competitive in 2010, which is probably the likely target for contending for playoffs/WS.

if you look at the tiger's roster, the vast majority of it was either developed from the draft or trading for prospects, or reclamation projects with risks (such as ordonez). and only in the past 3 years have they started building via free agency, after they had a core of in-house developed players.

this is the plan the nats are following, similar to the way the yankees and braves built their long-term contenders. the difference btwn the yanks and braves is that the yanks spent more money on FAs along the way, but neither traded their young prospects for established expensive stars when they were rebuilding. the yanks switched to that mode later on (when steinbrenner came back after his short-term banishment from running the team).

so if the nats are following the tigers' methodology of winning in a smaller market (which also mirrors the braves, twins, and As methodology loosely), they're right on track. they're developing a deep farm system, trading mid-level players (and spare parts at the in-season trade deadline) for prospects, and when those prospects start reaching the majors, then you start dipping into the FA market to fill holes and complete a championship quality roster.

the fastest way to derail that methodology is to trade prospects for older and more expensive (and sometimes fading) stars and spending your FA money on expensive FAs when they don't fill long-term holes.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 4, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Dontrell Willis would have been a spectacular edition to the Washington Nationals. We got Dukes. Pity.

Posted by: 6th and D | December 4, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Remember, the Tigers had 119 losses just a few years ago. They built what they have now by building their farm system over a number of years and then adding serious free agents. Now, where have I heard that before...oh, yeah, The Plan!

All of you who keep calling the Lerners/Kasten cheap, are not listening. The Plan, is to build the farm and THEN add FA talent to get the final pieces. That is why they have continually said that they won't add FA pieces until the time is right.

If they continue to build the farm and the young talent as they have been and then DON'T add the necessary FAs, I'll join you in your bashing of ownership. However, right now, they are following their Plan to the letter. Does it frustrate me sometimes, absolutely. I wanted Torii hunter in a Nats uniform. But I am excited by the moves they have made, although, I think they need a team psychiatrist SOON!

Posted by: roman1735 | December 4, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm with 6th and D. I always thought Dontrelle Willis would have been a great star to use to market the Nats. But he's a total class act -- and could have been a killer number one guy if St. Claire straightened his delivery out.

But he never had a brush with the law or recorded a song degrading women. Silly me.

Posted by: Ray | December 4, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

The Tigers did not get this deal done because they had deep pockets. They got it done because they have a well-stocked farm system. It's going to be a few years before the Nationals are in a position to give up six prospects who are close to the majors. All the money in the world would not have gotten Cabrera and Willis to the Tigers without those assets to offer in return.

I believe that when the day comes that Kasten and Bowden believe they are close to contending, and they have the opportunity to sign a 26-year-old all star starting pitcher and a 24-year-old potential hall of fame slugger, they will pony up the cash, whether it's to resign players they developed themselves, or to acquire the proverbial "last piece of the puzzle." In the meantime, I'm thrilled they aren't out there signing barely-above-average free agents for $10 to $15 million/year.

Posted by: LetTeddyWin.com | December 4, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

"But he never had a brush with the law or recorded a song degrading women."

Posted by: So tired of this already | December 4, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

to add to the "not acquiring willis/cabrera has nothing to do with being cheap" argument, both of those guys still have 1-2 years left of arbitration eligibility.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 4, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

If I remember correctly Dontrelle was picked up last year after taking a leak in the middle of a street...

So he really wouldn't have been so out of place in the Nats' dugout.

Posted by: Cabra | December 4, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I am not anti-Plan by any means, but I think it's naive to think that all the money the Nationals are currently not spending on MLB players is being plowed back into the farm system.

A lot of it (probably most of it) is just being plowed into the Lerner's pockets. I'd like to see them invest the extra few bucks it would take to get some non-wife-beating players.

Posted by: joebleux | December 4, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

A few other nuggets gleaned from the late afternoon meeting with Jim Bowden:


-- Austin Kearns is NOT on the trade block. The Nats fully intend to go to spring training with four outfielders (Kearns, Pena, Milledge, Dukes) and let it sort itself out from there.


-- Bowden is listening to plenty of offers for Chad Cordero (and to a lesser extent, Jon Rauch) but didn't exactly sound eager to strike a deal: "We like our bullpen very much. Everybody keeps saying: 'Trade this, trade that.' I'll tell you what, I'd feel very happy to have Chad Cordero, Jon Rauch, [Luis] Ayala, [Saul] Rivera all in the bullpen for Manny. ... We like our bullpen. That doesn't mean if we're overwhelmed or get a long-term piece, we won't move one of them. You have to listen."


-- Finding another catcher to work with Jesus Flores is a top priority, but there's some question as to what type of guy to go after. If the Nats can find a young, potential long-term answer, they might go that direction. If not, they'll go with a short-term veteran.


-- The Nats are in discussions with "a couple" of Japanese pitchers, though not the top-tier, big-money guys. More likely relievers who may not sign until later in the offseason.


-- John Patterson is throwing once again and reports no pain in his surgically repaired right arm. Bowden all but confirmed the Nats will bring him back, go to arbitration for the second straight year with him, and give him a chance to make the rotation out of spring training.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Miguel Cabrera, 24
Pudge Rodriguez, 36
Carlos Guillen, 32
Placido Polanco, 32
Edgar Rentaria, 32
Jacques Jones, 32
Marcus Thames, 30
Magglio Ordonez, 34 next month
Curtis Granderson will be 27
Gary Sheffield, 39
(Dontrelle Willis, 25)

Not the Giants, but seasoned veterans all.

Posted by: cevans | December 4, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

You're right. Some of it probably went to the $80 M in stadium improvements, and the $600 M in team acquisition costs. Cheap Basset Hounds.

----

I am not anti-Plan by any means, but I think it's naive to think that all the money the Nationals are currently not spending on MLB players is being plowed back into the farm system.

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 4, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Would have loved to have gotten Willis. We didn't have anything to offer! The Plan has to work for another year or two and then we could have enough depth to do a deal like that. Wishin' and hopin' doesn't get the trades made!

Posted by: Dick | December 4, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey guys, I'm a longtime lurker (first time poster). I'm a self-admitted Nats blogs/messageboards reader (as well as a STH, anybody in sect. 105 on S. Cap. give me a shout), I lurk around 5 or 6 daily. God help me if my office actually pulls up my internet history over the past 3 days because I've refreshed this site and others constantly, haha no really. Anyways onto the fun stuff. The way I see it is that Jimbo has filled some pretty serious needs. Character aside, way aside, this is shaping up to be the squad that could hit the ball all the way to Tenleytown, o.k. at least Foggy Bottom. The way I see it is we need at least 1 young M.I., a backup catcher (preferably LH), and a pitcher (vet or youngster, both would be awesome). Check out this "If I were in Jim's shoes" scenario: John Danks (CWS) a YOUNG stud southpaw who is Major League ready; Chin-Lung Hu (LAD) who is a young SS and a serious glove wizard to boot, also gets us that Asian presence; Miller (MIL) good vet to give Jesus the support he needs; and for good measure throw a little $$ at Livan for a 3 year incentive-laden deal. I mean with all the trades we have some cash to spare....also give Zims the extension he is due before somebody scoops him up. I think all these pieces can be had and give us a helluva legit card for Manny to fill out on March 30th. The Southside Sox are looking for a CF, Jimmy can sell Kearns as one of those. Who knows what the Dodgers want but it can't be too much with all the cash they have to buy FA's. Alright fellas (and ladies), let the debate and criticisms begin.

P.S.: If I had my way and this (by the grace of God, or Stan, haha like he needs the ego boost) works out here is how I see it.
C- Flores
1b- Young
2b- Lopez (o.k. moved back to 2nd his E's will go down and with some bashers 'round him perhaps give him some offensive confidence)
3b- Zims
ss- Hu
lf- Pena
cf- Milledge
rf- Dukes (if his parole officer let's him leave the State of Florida)

SP: Livo, Hill, Berg, Danks, Chico

Posted by: CBM in Vienna | December 4, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Will someone please explain what spending money to spend money does for the Nats? Maybe we can get Stan and the Lerner's to open the new stadium by building a bonfire with 10,000,000 dollar bills. Would you imbeciles pay to see that?

Posted by: Why Ira? | December 4, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

not sure i see livo as being worthwhile at 3 yrs. not sure i really want to resign him anyway, but definitely not for 3 yrs. if i remember correctly, he was also part of the disgruntled contingent that was moved out in/after 06 that considerably improved the clubhouse attitudes/mood. he's still a horse, will eat innings, but he's not the pitcher he was even in 06 and is pretty old. if he's not capable of being the "mentor" type of veteran, i'm not sure he's worth it (my two cents).

and kearns is in no way a CF, he's definitely a corner guy. above avg corner guy, but doesn't cover enough ground for CF.

i like danks, tho.

btw, nobody can "scoop up" zimmerman for a while. i think he's still got 3-4 years of arbitration before he could get free.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 4, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Who told Jimbo he could take the day off?

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 4, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey I just posted under "CBM in Vienna"....decided to just go with my name - this seems to be a fairly inclusive club, no need for an alias. I wasn't advocating frivilous spending if that was your implication Ira. I've actually been quite a fan of Stan's plan....yes, the kool-aid is good. I just figure that Livan is a FA so we can't trade and we need that vet hurler while some of the draft picks and hopefully Clippard have the time develop into a force. Also I think I have a consensus agreement on the Zims long-term contract.

Posted by: Corey | December 4, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

NatBisquit, I haven't heard any claims from the Nat's front office that they're keeping the payroll spartan to recoup the cost of acquiring the team. And for good reason: that would be completely indefensible -- did it come as a surprise to them that they'd have to both buy the franchise AND pay player's salaries on a yearly basis?

The party line is that there's a choice between investing in payroll now or developing the farm system for later. Which conveniently leaves out door number #3: stash the money in our pockets.

And the benefit of the doubt which I am willing to extend to them, probably for longer than the deserve, shortens considerably when their cost cutting measures wind up with us signing slime like Dukes.

Posted by: joebleux | December 4, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

"Will someone please explain what spending money to spend money does for the Nats?"

I'll explain it as soon as you show me someone who's actually advocating it.

Nice rhetorical strategy by the way -- set up a straw man pushing an argument that no one is making, and then call people "imbeciles" when they don't agree with you.

Posted by: joebleux | December 4, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

The Rangers need Dukes, Milledge and what the hay, throw in a bail bondsman! And they need pitching! The need El Jugador, Felipe Lopez! Get [Jarrod] Saltalamacchia and some JimBow lagniappe. Or "The Rangers have little to offer in trade beyond catcher Gerald Laird." Get him. The odds are so much better on Salty and Laird than on Dukes and Miledge succeeding.

"A major league scout shook his head Monday when I showed him the Rangers' projected lineup for 2008.

"They've got some work to do," he said.

You could argue, in fact, that the Rangers have no more than three or four position players who could start for most other clubs in the big leagues, and beyond Hank Blalock, who has hit only 26 home runs combined in his last two injury-plagued seasons, have virtually no power.

"[Blalock] has gone south," said a National League executive familiar with the Rangers' personnel. "[Jarrod] Saltalamacchia is more of a question mark than you think. I'm not sure he can catch.

"I like [Ian] Kinsler and [Michael] Young on that team and that's about it."

Ouch. The truth doesn't just hurt, it can be agony.

Other baseball people look at the Rangers and see a potential starting outfield full of fourth and fifth outfielders. They see no replacement for first baseman Mark Teixeira. They see no power at all.

http://www.star-telegram.com/284/story/339787.html

Posted by: flynnie | December 4, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Back in Why Ira?'s day the Senators spent no money and were horrible, but dag gum it, that's how they liked it and that's how it should always be.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 4, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Well I guess we can just disagree on the assertion that the Nats are being cheap. I don't think they are. I realize you can spend money on free agents without losing draft picks, but you can't play young guys and give them experience if you are playing Carlos Silva instead of Tyler Clippard or John Lannan. It it not a good investment to commit $140M for Soriano or Andrew Jones when you can develop 20 somethings for minimum salary. Not spending money on free agency does not make you cheap. They have chosen a plan and they are sticking to the plan, that does not make them cheap it makes them consistent. The most important part of a plan is execution.

They did not trade Scheider and Church to save money. They traded them to get a 22 year old prospect who has a chance to be special.

I've seen it done the other way and they call it the Orioles.

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 4, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

"when their cost cutting measures wind up with us signing slime like Dukes."

please explain how signing dukes is a "cost cutting measure?"

and for those advocating that the learners are "going cheap" on us, which FAs have been signed elsewhere should we have signed for the same money ourselves (if they would have signed here for the same $$) this year? which trades could we reasonably have made/make that make sense both now and in the future that would raise payroll?

i'm not opposed to a higher payroll at all. i just want the team to get better for the long run. but i haven't seen any truly legitimate options posed here by anyone that might make the team better in the long run that happen to raise payroll. and by "legitimate" i mean ones that are/were reasonably likely to happen (i.e., the other team would accept the trade terms or the FA would actually sign here for the $$).

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 4, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree 231. Some of yall just dont seem to grasp it - and I'm not claiming to be the guru of wisdom nor am I calling anybody out (this is a blog to express opinions, everyone has one). Really though, it seems some just want Teddy to sign big checks just for the heck of it. If you were in Macy's and saw a sweater for a certain price but then at JC Pennys had the same sweater for 20% less, would you go buy the one at Macys just so you can say I spent this much money. Granted, a little bit of an apples/oranges comparison, but you can kinda see what I'm getting at. The Nats job (and what we should expect as a fanbase) is not to make ESPN headlines in the offseason, rather do everything possible to make them in Sept. and Oct. Sustained development is the key here, central word being sustained. Andruw, Rowand, or whomever else wouldn't give us anything but a potential flash at a certain position for a few years while having the curly W flash on Sportscenter. I'm all for a big opening of the season in March/April at the new park; however, I'd much rather see bigger closings of it in late October.

Also, I may be the most clean-cut "square" there is. I swear my girlfriend and me are accused of being 40 in a young 20's body (seriously, who goes grocery shopping on Friday nights....but all of our extra $ is going to Ted and Stan instead of the Adams Morgan Chamber of Commerce)....all that being what it may, yall give Elijah a chance. I'm by no means excusing anything he has done, infact he should be in jail but this is our world now with prominent rich young adults. Give him a chance when he gets here to win us over. If he screws up fine, yell and scream; however, I know if I was moving into a new job I would want to perform my best if those around me were supportive and positive rather than hammering me for what I did at my previous job. So Elijah, there's my neck out there....don't let these guys chop at it: come play ball, keep your mouth shut, and we'll love you.

Posted by: Corey | December 4, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

LOL!! Flynnie: I like how you made sure we knew you meant *Jarrod*. Wouldn't want to mix him up with that other Saltalamacchia guy.
;)

Posted by: NatsNut | December 4, 2007 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Just a name to float out there as catcher: Brandon Inge. He's displaced as Tigers 3B with the Cabrera trade, and broke in as a catcher. He's got 3 years, $19 mil on his contract, and the team would never pay that, but ESPN says that the Tigers may be willing to eat some of that money.

In theory, Inge could share catching duties w/ Flores, play some 1B one would assume, and be a good bat off the bench. Third base is taken (at least for now, unless Jim Bowden trades Ryan Zimmerman to the Buffalo Bills for the rights to OJ Simpson.)

Posted by: Ray | December 4, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

"I've seen it done the other way and they call it the Orioles."
-------------------------------------------
AMEN!

Also, for those who mentioned the Yankees development. If you remember, they won 3 world series with players who they developed (posada, jeter, rivera, etc.) and some vet pickups late in the game (ventura, clemens, etc.) Once they started spending on every high priced vet on the market (mussina, giambi, matsui, etc.) they stopped winning world series titles and started just plain paying for high priced vets.

Not only do i advocate sticking with the plan now, but I also think that the minor league system should be a priority always. Nothing is more depressing then seeing a bunch of overpaid under performing has beens running around a ballpark. I'd rather see a team with some vet presence and some youth to keep a good thing going. That doesn't mean never spending, but if the prices are like what we're seeing now, we can do better on our own over time. I'm happy as long as we never become angelos's o's or schnieder's skins (as much as i love them)

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | December 4, 2007 11:12 PM | Report abuse

231, why else would you sign Dukes? Because you can get damaged goods cheaper than established, proven players. Same thing with Milledge, same thing with WMP (to lesser, and less objectionable, extents).

I don't mind an occasional flyer on someone like WMP, but that seems (to date) to be the entire strategy of the front office (other than "acquire ex-Reds at all cost").

Posted by: joebleux | December 4, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

"that seems (to date) to be the entire strategy of the front office (other than "acquire ex-Reds at all cost")."
---------------------------------------------
The strategy is to raise the level of talent on the playing field as easily as possible. In dukes and milliage we did that. Period.

And "acquiring ex-Reds at all cost" if i recall all of the ex-Reds were had at very reasonable costs.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | December 4, 2007 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Ray, I thought about B-Inge too. I've got to admit though that I have a little bias on this issue, I also went to Brookville High in Lynchburg, VA just as Inge did. While he was a pitcher and infielder in H.S. and at VCU, when coming up in Toledo and his first few years in Detroit he was a catcher until Pudge came along and got pushed to the corner. He certainly isn't a key bat, but he does have a little pop and an absolute CANNON for an arm. I would love to see him come "home" (as close as possible) and play backstop with Flores; however, Detroit gave him a pretty good raise in this past contract. Not sure if you want to sink that much money into a part-time catcher (o.k. just left myself open to all the "we need to put 100 million bucks on the field" followers).

Posted by: Corey | December 4, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Re: big contracts, I agree that I don't want to become wanna be Yankees like the Orioles or spend good money after bad like Snyder's Skins (see Lloyd, Brandon)...BUT I also don't want to become Ted Leonsis' Capitals, fielding a team with a couple of good players and a bevy of barely-major-leaguers.

Seems to me that there can be some moderation by using all the tools available -- it isn't an all or nothing proposition on free agency. You don't have to buy ARod or destroy building the farm system to sign some available major league talent. I'd still rather be paying Torii Hunter's contract than be concerned about the Elijah Dukes' headaches (did the Jose Guillen experience not teach anyone anything?)

Posted by: Ray | December 4, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Re: Inge, was he not the starting catcher w/ Detroit prior to Pudge signing there? Did they move him to 3B to only make way for Pudge, or was/is he considered a defensive liability behind the plate?

Posted by: Ray | December 4, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

More good stuff from Ladson on the Nats site. Not ground breaking, but a couple of nuggets.

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 4, 2007 11:27 PM | Report abuse

"231, why else would you sign Dukes? Because you can get damaged goods cheaper than established, proven players."

"signing" (or "trading for") dukes doesn't preclude signing (or trading for) established, proven players. and they still may this offseason (it is still a couple of months until pitchers/catchers report). and i still haven't seen anyone answer my challenge before of posting who they could have signed/traded for that would build the team for the future and raise payroll. hunter is a "now" guy. by 2010 he will be making more than his numbers justify, and we won't be challenging for the playoffs before that.

right now, this team needs a large talent influx. as far as everyday players, the roster as of 10/01/07 included maybe 2-4 players worth considering for the 09/10 roster. the only obvious quality player in that gropu is zimmerman. beyond that, there was kearns... lopez if he isn't last year's lopez... WMP if he pans out as he hasn't elsewhere... that's pretty much it.

so by 09/10 we need to add to the 10/01 roster 6-7 starters. they can't all be expensive. some have to be inexpensive. milledge and dukes both fit that profile, if they work out. even if they both work out, that still leaves us with 4-5 spots to fill in the next 2 years.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 4, 2007 11:34 PM | Report abuse

ray, he wasn't a defensive liability. but it's also been, what, 4 years since he's played catcher?

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 4, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Natbisquit wrote:

"More good stuff from Ladson on the Nats site. Not ground breaking, but a couple of nuggets."

What does that mean, exactly? That he got all the names right in his piece?

Posted by: Wigi | December 4, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

enter Snark, stage left.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 4, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info on Patterson, Barry. That's great news! I knew that he was throwing, but is he throwing off a mound yet and is it likely that he will play winter ball as Bowden first said?

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | December 5, 2007 12:15 AM | Report abuse

I thought "Wow" when Detroit clobbered us last year. Told everyone I knew that there was no way this team wasn't going to go on a tear and run through baseball in the second half and playoffs. The proof is always in the pudding.

I agree with the sentiment here that it will be nice to face the Fish without Cabrera in their lineup, but I seem to remember Uggla hitting one almost as far as Cabrera, and Ramirez seemed to reach base every time, too.

Curious about Catcher50's comment -- is there some talk about switching Marrero from the outfield to first base? Or is that speculation, given the recent additions? I wouldn't expect that move, although I wasn't too impressed with his outfield work. In any case, I think he's at least a couple of years away, if not more, from playing every day in the majors. So, a position switch isn't necesary, If he's proven himself as an outfielder, there will be a place for him in 2010. Marrero, Dukes, and Milledge. If that works out, the Nats would be pretty pleased -- though I still wish they had Alfonso....

Posted by: Fisch Fry | December 5, 2007 1:08 AM | Report abuse

i think most people project marrero as 1B (at best). he's not very good defensively, and doesn't have a lot of range in the OF. i've even seen some projecting him more as a DH. ;)

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 5, 2007 2:04 AM | Report abuse

this blog entry of rob neyer's about the royals signing of guillen is probably a good commentary on the discussions here about spending money on FAs. thought some of you might find it interesting.

as an aside, if you don't know, he's an acknowledged royals fan.

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3141725&name=Neyer_Rob

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 5, 2007 2:22 AM | Report abuse

There really aren't many options for spending money this year, so I am confused by the discussion. Andruw Jones or Aaron Rowland are about it, and I would only be interested in Andruw, of the two. However, I have hoped to land Milledge for a couple of years now, and no longer want Andruw.

The pitchers don't seem worth much, but c'mon folks, the Nats are talking to some of the free agent pitchers. Chill. My only concern was Barry saying in the 0.35 that the team might not want to pay $5M for LoDuca. Since that is essentially what they would have paid Schneider, that simply seems silly to me. I would be more worried that, as a class B free agent, LoDuca would cost us a high draft pick. Considering how the scouting department has done, I wouldn't want to hamstring them in any way.

Posted by: Three more months | December 5, 2007 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Was the post at 09:24 PM from Barry Svrluga?

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 5, 2007 7:05 AM | Report abuse

One more thing: Thanks for weighing in on the Dukes trade, Tom Boswell. It was a good read that did not make me any more comfortable about the trade. I was surprised, though, that Stan Kasten, and not Jim Bowden, appears to be the person most responsible for this move.

Posted by: Three more months | December 5, 2007 7:37 AM | Report abuse

I think Boswell's column covered the field on the Duke's trade. There is a high risk involving the team's public relations. I imagine that Kasten has hired a full time public relations person who has but one file on their desk at the moment: Dukes.

Personally, I am in favor or seeing this play out. It is a risk that is worth the gamble. Everyone knows what the stakes are for Dukes and the Nats.

Posted by: Dale | December 5, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Is the 'good stuff' on Ladson's site actually factual or just more of his opinion stated as fact?

Posted by: Ray | December 5, 2007 8:12 AM | Report abuse

You mean the Mr. Ladson who got the Dukes trade right a month before it happened? Perhaps you mean the Mr. Ladson who reported accurately that Stan Kasten visited Andruw Jones at his home. Maybe you are thinking of a different Mr. Ladson. The one who reported that the Nats were shopping Brian Schneider to the Mets.

Not really sure why he draws fire. Seems like he has a basis for all his reports. His mailbag mondays is opinion, but then he does not pretend that it is not.

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 5, 2007 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I assumed that it was, powerboater.

-----

Was the post at 09:24 PM from Barry Svrluga?

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 5, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

That surprised me as well, three more. I'd also be interested to know more about the team's contact with women's groups. Hope that it didn't just consist of a women's group calling up to voice an opinion and the team rep saying, "thanks for sharing, good-bye." It would be a positive step if some light was shed on or progress made towards prevention of domestic violence, IMO. (and if we're going to sling "-ist" labels around again today, I suppose that ya'll can make mine "feminist")

---

I was surprised, though, that Stan Kasten, and not Jim Bowden, appears to be the person most responsible for this move.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 5, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

i don't think anybody here wants the nats to spend the bare minimum. But i remember a lot of discussion in june or july about how there were no real free agents this year that would fit our team. especially after buerhle and carlos zambrano resigned. centerfield had possibilities but even they didn't seem to fit because they appeared to already all be in decline and would want 5-6 year contracts.

i just think a lot of people here were prepared for what this offseason might bring. players are traded now before they become free agents so the team can get more value than one top compensation draft pick (a la soriano). that's why santana, bedard, haren, cabrera, etc are getting the attention this year. free agent class is poor. i believe the situation dictates our choices this year. but i also believe that when the team is ready and the situations makes sense it will be able to afford $120 mm contracts for beltran types.

Posted by: longterm | December 5, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I know I may be a little late with this comment, but I am very disappointed with the Nationals trading anything for Dukes. This guy has never gotten it and reminds me of the Sean Taylor killers, albeit with more athletic talent. I know things worked out with Young, but how many times does that happen? Also, with Millege coming in as well, how much time I am worried they will spend too much time babysitting and not enough time working.

Posted by: BT | December 5, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

i'm hoping milledge and dukes can get along and understand each other. both similar age top talents who really just need a chance to play every day. they may be perfect for each other, who's to say. at the very least we are hedging our bets. i expect one of them to work out. if both work out and make good on their committments we'll all be happier. if they both are terrible embarassments we'll be spending big money on somebody sooner than they'd rather i'm sure.

Posted by: longterm | December 5, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Nice piece indeed by Boz this morning. Having been in Atlanta when Kasten was there, I was perhaps less surprised that he orchastrated the Dukes deal. He has demonstrated a penchant for the unorthodox; not as much with the Braves as with the Hawks.

Posted by: lowcountry | December 5, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Moves I'm hoping for before the season starts:

Through the trading of Lopez, Kearns, and Cordero and the signing of a FA or two, the Nats need the following pieces:

1. A LH hitting middle infielder who can lead off.

2. A LH hitting catcher.

3. An innings eating #3 starter.

4. A small ball bench guy who has defensive flexibility.

I still don't buy JimBo's line that he'd be happy with 4 OFs and all these relievers. This is a ploy so that he doesn't appear desperate. I'd be disappointed if all they do is sign Damian Miller.

Posted by: #4 | December 5, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Moves I'm hoping for before the season starts:

Through the trading of Lopez, Kearns, and Cordero and the signing of a FA or two, the Nats need the following pieces:

1. A LH hitting middle infielder who can lead off.

2. A LH hitting catcher.

3. An innings eating #3 starter.

4. A small ball bench guy who has defensive flexibility.

I still don't buy JimBo's line that he'd be happy with 4 OFs and all these relievers. This is a ploy so that he doesn't appear desperate. I'd be disappointed if all they do is sign Damian Miller.

Posted by: #4 | December 5, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

C'mon Barry, wake up down there and get to trolling brotha.....we're feening for something juicy. Don't know if you ever played James Bond (or whatever superhero/spy) as a kid, but perhaps a frosty beverage would be in store if you could crawl into one of the vent ducts at Opryland and pick up something good. Just take the map and a GPS, it's an intense complex.

Posted by: Corey | December 5, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Boswell's column was typically wussy.

'It's a gamble, but it might work out. But it might not, too. So if it doesn't, they can get rid of him. But if it does work out, he could be good. Although he didn't hit well last year...' And so on.

Come on Screech Boswell take a position for once in your journalistic life.

The Washington Post needs Thom Lovarro.

Posted by: swanni | December 5, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Moves I'm hoping for before the season starts:

Through the trading of Lopez, Kearns, and Cordero and the signing of a FA or two, the Nats need the following pieces:

1. A LH hitting middle infielder who can lead off.

2. A LH hitting catcher.

3. An innings eating #3 starter.

4. A small ball bench guy who has defensive flexibility.

I still don't buy JimBo's line that he'd be happy with 4 OFs and all these relievers. This is a ploy so that he doesn't appear desperate. I'd be disappointed if all they do is sign Damian Miller.

Posted by: #4 | December 5, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Boz wrote about the one thing that calms my angst over Dukes: He's most definitely on a short leash. "All they have to do to solve any problem with him is say 'Goodbye'".

The one thing that keeps the Nats with the upper hand with Dukes, is the 4th outfielder, so #4 I don't buy your not buying it.

For some reason, I'm not the least bit worried about Milledge any more.

I love that the person Boz chose to illustrate as a model for Dukes is Kearns. It's exactly why I did a complete 180 on the guy this season.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 5, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Swanni: It's called BALANCE. You should try it sometime.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 5, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Folks,

My apologies for the triple post. For some reason every time I refresh, it reposts.

Posted by: #4 | December 5, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Damien Miller would be a bad addition. Other than the fact that he isn't a left-handed hitter, I see very few downsides to having him on the roster.

Posted by: lowcountry | December 5, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Cribbing genreously from the link below: Tigers have lots of options with Cabrera -1st if they play Guillen at 3d (proably better defensively), LF if they move Jones again or use him as a 4th OF, or 3d if they trade Inge. Tigers may be looking for relief - Zumaya is hurt again. Link:
http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/articles/2007/12/05/tigers_load_up_with_cabrera_and_willis/

Inge actually has played catcher, 3d and CF, and maybe SS. Around '04 - '05, he started to hit a bit and played his way from Pudge's back-up up to super sub to 3d base. As Ray points out, he had a cannon when he caught. In '06, his average started to drop again but he hit 27 HRs, and in '07, his power dropped, too. With teams looking for 3d basemen, he may have more value to others there than to us as a platoon catcher / super sub. Maybe we can get into a 3 team deal by putting in a reliever and getting back a need.

Posted by: jon | December 5, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

My apologies for the triple post. For some reason every time I refresh, it reposts.
_____________________________

I'm just glad to see that I'm not the only one hitting refresh every five minutes!

Posted by: lowcountry | December 5, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I know. I was supposed to be getting some actual work done in the offseason. So far, time spent on baseball has not changed one bit.
________________

I'm just glad to see that I'm not the only one hitting refresh every five minutes!

Posted by: lowcountry | December 5, 2007 09:47 AM

Posted by: NatsNut | December 5, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut, I was also interested in the Kearns comparison.

Re. moves that we're hoping for, I suggested in an email to Kasten that the team consider taking some of the money that they are saving in acquiring a cheap but "troubled" player in Dukes and donating it to an organization that supports the prevention of domestic violence. FWIW, I also suggested that I and other like-minded fans consider taking money that they might otherwise spend on the Nats and doing the same.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 5, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Your understated style is pure class 1a.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 5, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"The Washington Post needs Thom Lovarro."

No they don't. They already have too many Oriole fans on their sports staff. No need for one more.

Of course, they could hire him, send him to the Health section, put him on a diet and exercise regimen and do a Biggest Loser series about it. That might be mildly entertaining. And if it succeeded, why then there might actually be two reasons to call him a big loser!

Posted by: Section 419+1 | December 5, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Could we please go get Chin-Lung Hu from L.A. - the kid is a living webgem and a steady hitter

Posted by: luv'n RFK | December 5, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

why does it not surprise me that mr "glass half empty" swanni really likes "grumpy glass half empty" lovero. has lovero ever written anything that wasn't a rant against someone or something? he's a horribly whiney little b****. leave him at the times, he fits in better there.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 5, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Don't have much to add, but wanted to issue a welcome to Corey. Interesting thoughts and I look forward to hearing them enter the fray.

Also, I'm delighted to have swanni back. He's a great Eeyore. Glummy and doom-saying, but never vicious or personal. Plus I admire his desire to stick it to the man.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 5, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

And before anyone says anything, yes I invented a word and it's the perfect one...

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 5, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

". . . I suggested in an email to Kasten that the team consider taking some of the money that they are saving in acquiring a cheap but 'troubled' player in Dukes and donating it to an organization that supports the prevention of domestic violence. FWIW, I also suggested that I and other like-minded fans consider taking money that they might otherwise spend on the Nats and doing the same."

Great suggestion, natsfan1a.

Posted by: Hendo | December 5, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I am not as concerned with Milledge either. Could be wrong about this, but he just seems like a young man who hasn't matured. Hopefully the clubhouse can provide some positive influence in that regard.

Biggest concern is Dukes F'n that up.

Posted by: BT | December 5, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"Could we please go get Chin-Lung Hu from L.A. - the kid is a living webgem and a steady hitter"

What are you offering?

Keep in mind, we see him as part of our future.

Posted by: Los Angeles Dodgers | December 5, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

i'll bet a few people on this board would be willing to offer flopez straight up!

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 5, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

LA Dodgers - How about Dukes? Great potential and a good guy...

Posted by: BT | December 5, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

LA Dodgers: We can even throw in Cordero for good measure.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 5, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Interesting take as I suggested Hu last night, it's up the page somewhere. I accept the fact you see him as part of your future; however, you future infield looks like our current outfield. Look a little at your MLB roster with Abreu and LaRoche already young pieces, I don't know what you have in the minors but I know your system is constantly ranked up there, and in the past week have been connected to rumors of Blalock (who is only 27), Iguchi (who is young), and Rolen. I mean it seems like Hu certainly is expendable. Now the question is, what do you need. You're set with position players it seems....need some guys in the 'pen?

Posted by: Corey | December 5, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Lopez? HAHAHAHAHAHA

Cordero or Rauch? I think we'll pass. We need starters more than a pen.

Dukes? Next question.

We'll do it straight up for Kearns.

Posted by: Los Angeles Dodgers | December 5, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

L.A. Dodgers, this is Jim Bowden calling....Kearns for Hu? DONE! Fax over the papers.

Posted by: Corey | December 5, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

So I was thinking about this past season and how strong the character of the team was. There's a reason why guys like Batista, Bacsik, and Fick hang on longer than some other players who might have more left in the tank. It's there personalities, their approach, their readiness to play. Fick was always enthusiastically leading the mob onto the field for postgame celebrations. He seemed to help keep up the morale. Batista was effective and supportive. Bacsik was less effective, but equally determined. He handled himself with dignity and class.

So while the Nats will try to upgrade at every position, I have faith that they will also try to balance character. No need for additional Dukes comments here. There are 24 other slots on the roster. A guy like Damien Miller would be a great. Estrada less so. LoDucca would fit if you have to sign a FA. I don't know enough behind the scenes stuff about the available cheaper free agents out there to know which ones have the right stuff. But, I'm sure the Nats do. I hope we get one or two of them for the supporting roles.

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 5, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

can't believe you're undervaluing flopez! LOOK AT HIS 2005 STATS!

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 5, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Hu's not on my list. I don't see the upside.

Trading with Ned Colletti would seem a possibility, though. I was hoping the Nats would go after Matt Kemp, but I guess he didn't fit into our plans.

Posted by: Hendo | December 5, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

new post up

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

You'll get nothing and like it.

Posted by: Kearns's Mom | December 5, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I would just like to associate myself with the sentiments of my esteemed colleague, NF1a.

**************
(and if we're going to sling "-ist" labels around again today, I suppose that ya'll can make mine "feminist")
Posted by: natsfan1a | December 5, 2007 08:38 AM

Posted by: cevans | December 5, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Sign Loduca, lose draft pick, I think. Type A?

Posted by: natspo | December 5, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Thank you to NatsNut, Hendo, and cevans. Welcome back to Swanni -- I'm glad also that you're back. Confidential to Sect. 506: I like "glummy."

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 5, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm also glad :)

---

I'm glad also that you're back.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 5, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

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