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Nats officials on Dukes

I'm going to have to get to hacking for the $.35 edition here pretty quick, but I'll offer you some of what was said in the media's meeting with Manny Acta, Stan Kasten and Jim Bowden.

Jim Bowden:
"We feel that Elijah has the potential and the physical ability to become an impact player at the major league level, to be a middle of the order bat that has a chance to hit 25-40 home runs - somewhere in there, drive in 80-100 runs, steal 20 bases, and play any of the three outfield positions all above average. Tremendous potential."

"This is a deal that we've worked on for quite some time, over six months. It's a deal that has been negotiated - a lot of time and effort that we took with all of the issues surrounding Elijah on and off the field.

"We wanted to make sure that we did our homework. That we were thorough. We wanted to make sure that we did our research, that we knew of all the factors there and what - if we did acquire the player - what we could do to help him get a second chance and help him overcome the mistakes he's made in his life and become a better person. And we're committed as an organization to do everything we can to help him become a better person on and off the field and help him become an all-star caliber player which he has the capabilities of doing."

"We're well aware of all the issues. We have a plan in place on and off the field for him. It's very clear. Elijah's on board 100 percent. He's a very honest person who wants to turn his life around. Dmitri Young, obviously, is living proof of someone that can do that. Dmitri's going to do everything in his power to help us with this. A lot of our players are on board with this. Manny Acta, our coaching staff. This was a decision we took a lot of time on. We feel we made the right decision. We feel that it is better than an educated gamble."

"His book hasn't been written yet. Just the first two chapters. The rest of his book is all in front of him. We're going to do everything in our power to make the rest of his book special."

Manny Acta:
"I think he has a very good chance to be an impact bat and to be a very good addition to our ballclub. That being said, I think it's never oo late to become a better person. This kid is not 91 years old. This kid is 23. And I feel better going to bed knowing that we can give this guy another chance in life than if we just not do it."

Stan Kasten:
"We were rewarded beyond our wildest dreams with giving that chance to Dmitri. So we caught lightning in a bottle. Can lightning strike twice? That's the question."

"If we're a franchise that can do those things and provide an opportunity for someone with skills that can be maximized, I'd be proud to become a franchise that gives guys a second chance and thrives because of it. But we're very aware of the past, but the past, as far as I'm concerned, is not what concerns me. Our expectations for this player, our standards for this player are the same and will remain the same as we have with all our other players. Nothing less will be acceptable. We've explained that to Elijah."

"We want this to succeed. ... I will tell you this, it became an easier decision once we got the outfield stabilized with the Milledge deal. ... It became easier once we had that in terms of risk-reward. We feel that the risk is now reasonably small, particularly when balanced against the potential."

There's much more, but I've got to write. I will say I'm told this doesn't mean that Kearns or another outfielder will be traded. One official suggested to me an outfield of Milledge in left, Dukes in center and Kearns in right with Pena off the bench. Bowden said all that will be sorted out in spring training depending on performance.

And Kasten ended our meeting by saying we should expect more this week. Catching is something the team will meet about tonight.

By Barry Svrluga  |  December 3, 2007; 6:57 PM ET
 
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Comments

Pena cannot end up on the bench. He's a bad bench player, as shown in Boston. He needs to play every single day.

I don't know if that means Kearns getting traded or either Milledge or Dukes playing in Columbus, but if they aren't planning on starting Pena, they need to trade him.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 3, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't have a problem with Kearns coming off the bench. He was not very impressive last season, and I think both Dukes and Milledge need to play every day to advance.

Posted by: astruck89 | December 3, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

we have exactly 1 outfielder who has shown the ability to be a productive starter in MLB. Where's the logjam?

Dukes better be on a VERY short leash.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | December 3, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking the same thing about WMP... but you gotta admit, it sure is refreshing to have too many than too few.

In the previous thread, someone commented about JMax, and these moves being bad for him... That may be true, but as Nats fans, we sometimes miss the big picture... and these trades are pointing that out... and that is... there's no reason that someone like JMax should be the heir-apparent in center field after his minor league career (not saying it has been poor, but rather, incomplete). The only reason we saw him at all is that the system has been for the most part, bereft of talent.

We might not like the character of our new acquisitions, but they have plenty of talent. As for character, it is something that is much more easily nurtured than hitting a curveball.

On a different topic, check out the stadiumcam... they have the lights on this evening...

http://clarkconstruction.oxblue.com/clarkhuntsmoot/

Posted by: Wigi | December 3, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

jmax isn't ready, wouldn't be ready for 2008. this isn't necessarily bad news for him. it's good in that he won't be rushed. and we don't know how dukes/milledge/wmp will work out over 2008, by 2009 we may be happy to be able to bring him up.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

So Bowden says that Dukes is a "very honest person", so if you receive an e-mail picture of a gun from Elijah, you've got good reason to be worried.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 3, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey, frequent RI poster here, I posted this in the last section. But wanted to give a quick thought on these new players. If there is one thing we all learned from the Sean Taylor situation last week its that young guys can make stupid mistakes and have a checkered past, but they can also grow up and become mature men. I am 24 and can say honestly that two or three years ago I did a lot of dumb things, at times I still do.

That comes with youth. Any of you who would deny it, well I kind of pity you, because part of the fun of life is learning from our mistakes. These two outfielders are 22 and 23 respectively. One was a showboat in NYC. I find it hard to believe that any player that young would not get the "zap" from playing baseball in that city. I don't think you can say that as much about Tampa Bay, though that city has its dark corners too.

My point is that these two guys have a long long career ahead of them, and we should not draw immediate conclusions about a long future from such a short past.

Posted by: Alex35332 | December 3, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

What's Kastin trying to do? Start an all thug team?

Posted by: aheflin | December 3, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't the whole idea to give Wily Mo a chance to play every day? 'Tis true though...between now and Opening Day someone will suck, get hurt, or violate a code of conduct and we'll have our 3.

Posted by: GoNats | December 3, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I was really psyched about the Milledge deal, less so with this one. Dukes is just too much of a head case.

Of course, if he can turn it around and stay out of trouble off the field, he has unlimited baseball potential. So it's another potential steal if he pans out. After all, all we gave up for him is a pitcher whose fastball tops out in the 80s. Not exactly anything special.

Posted by: LA Nats | December 3, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

if milledge and dukes can start in the outfield this year i will be very impressed. this is much better than langerhans, and chris snelling, nook logan, church, jmax, etc. this is a real upgrade at minimal cost. that said, zimmerman is going to have show his stripes as a leader also. i'm thinking belliard and dmitri will have to be great examples as well about how to go about your business as a professional even if your name isn't on the lineup card. teams that can make these kind of moves work are way ahead of the others. a stable environment can do a lot for young players.

also, i want to comment on nats being cheap. this really bothers me. nats purposely overpaid guzman. 16 million wouldn't break the bank but it was certainly more than fair value for him. he was a starting shortstop for a playoff team three consecutive years. nice guy to have on your team. other players would take notice of the money and the experience.

also, nats overpaid for esmailiyn gonzalez last year. not because he was worth the 2 mm. but to announce their presence in that market and set up a school there with jose rijo. players notice that also.

they signed a kid for 2 mm and let him go to school for at least 3 years. how many organizations would do that?

i see a precedent. the nats are expanding in prospects and draftees minds also. if you sign with us you'll get a chance to play on the major league roster soon. this spreads good vibes again throughout the farm system. all players and employees see this.

i believe they are building an impressive reputation and a strong foundation. this is a youthful organization. from bowden, to the acta, to the young guys getting opportunities on the field, i think we can all see the youthful exuberance and joy they play with. this is not just some random result...

Posted by: longterm | December 3, 2007 8:04 PM | Report abuse

looks like the cubs are interested in an outfielder. sean marshall is a local boy. maybe he can start for us. wily mo or kearns could play well there...

Posted by: longterm | December 3, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I think these are good trades for where the Nats are now. The prospects are still a couple of years away (Marrero and Maxwell, in particular, in this case). So you bring in some guys who are question marks and hope you get lucky. If they don't, they're gone by the time the studs are ready. As much as I liked Schneider and Church, you can give them up with minimal damage. I think these trades are worth it.

Posted by: GEVA | December 3, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Jimbo = good cop

Manny = good cop

Stan = bad cop

Posted by: phillip | December 3, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

longterm:

I definitely agree with you. The Nats will soon be an organization where people want to come to play... they're developing their own style and reputation... and of course, the critics will say, the reputation is that we're a thug team... but that is just a very short-sighted interpretation.

The other piece is, what do they do on the field... but I think they are headed in the right direction organizationally, and this will manifest itself on the field rather quickly.

Posted by: Wigi | December 3, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

hard to argue with this...

Bowden said. "You'll always trade a rookie ball 19-year-old when you have a chance to get a bat that's knocking on the door of the majors."

Posted by: longterm | December 3, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

OK, now that's just unfair.

But you can get an idea of folks' investment in this by the number of ad hominem attacks in here today.
--------
What's Kastin trying to do? Start an all thug team?
Posted by: aheflin | December 3, 2007 07:51 PM

Posted by: CEvans | December 3, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Longterm:

You are right on the money (pun intended). They're not cheap and they've showed it with the investments you've outlined. Thanks for doing it.

Hendo:

I like your positive attitude about Dukes. Let's root for the guy to turn himself around

Posted by: #4 | December 3, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Longterm: Face it, Lerner is cheaper than even Pollin and Leonis. You cite Guzman as a big free agent signing, but he was brought in when the team was owned by MLB. The $2 million bonus for Gonzales was a nice start, but hardly a drop in the bucket for an MLB team.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 3, 2007 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I am so confused. Didn't the Nats tell Dmitri to lose 100 lbs so that he could play left field next year? Now we have 18 outfielders. Does this mean that the Nats have given up on Nick Johnson recovering and are basically resigned to the fact the Dmitri will play first base? does this upset Lastings right away, knowing that he has to compete for a spot? What do you guys think?

Posted by: jonhab33 | December 3, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Longterm, your facts are incorrect. The Lerner's didn't overpay for GUZ, he was acquired before their time. And if they did that deal now, they'd be called idiots.

Posted by: JSmac | December 3, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Anything is better than trotting out Church, Schneider and Logan again. We know what they can do and it is .230 baseball and terrible RISP play. At least these dudes will be young and full of energy. Worst case we let go two decite players. Best case we have two studs for the next 10 years. Sounds like a no brainer to me. GO NATS.

Posted by: Jermaine | December 3, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I liked the Milledge deal more than the Dukes deal. That being said, a very short leash needs to be placed on him. There was not a whole lot that we traded for him. I have said this many times before, but it bears repeating: This is a long haul of reloading a farm system that was decimated by MLB (Thanks a lot Bud!!!). The Nats are basically an expansion team entering their 4th season. As long as they show incremental improvement over the next few years and the pitchers/hitters in the farm systems pan out AND they keep developing a farm system that will allow the ability to make a few trades (prospects for established playes) prior to a trade deadline (once a playoff push becomes a reality), this team could be a contending team each year. Kasten deserves the benefit of the doubt. Patience Folks

Posted by: TimDz | December 3, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

those who pointed out that MLB overpaid guzman are correct.

still, nobody has pointed to any actual evidence that the lerners are going "cheap" on us in player acquisition. if you have something beyond bluster, let's hear it. if your evidence is trading church/schneider for milledge, you're wrong.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Manny said in no uncertain terms back in Sept. that Dmitri Young was NOT going to the outfield under Acta's management.
A lot of people have their doubts about Nick coming back 100%, and rightly so.
I think it's just as likely Milledge would be stoked by this, and the chance to compete for a starting job, which he wasn't going to get in NY.

***********
I am so confused. Didn't the Nats tell Dmitri to lose 100 lbs so that he could play left field next year? Now we have 18 outfielders. Does this mean that the Nats have given up on Nick Johnson recovering and are basically resigned to the fact the Dmitri will play first base? does this upset Lastings right away, knowing that he has to compete for a spot? What do you guys think?

Posted by: jonhab33 | December 3, 2007 08:27 PM

Posted by: CEvans | December 3, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

"The Lerner's didn't overpay for GUZ, he was acquired before their time. And if they did that deal now, they'd be called idiots."

As they might be now, if they overpaid for a FA at any position. (At least they'd have some company, if my read of the winter meetings is right. And, BTW, I'm betting Guz will give us something to see this season, notwithstanding the lack of return that we've seen in the previous three seasons. Not that that justifies the original deal; just saying.)

BTW, where have the ad hominem attacks been? We've been arguing assumptions, not saying that each other's mother wears army boots, or whatever. May NJ roar on!

Posted by: Hendo | December 3, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Payroll at the level of a bad hockey team, a (very good) manager who was the lowest paid in the league at the time he was signed, squeezing every spare dollar out of the city while hardly chipping in for the costs of their free stadium.

Please provide an example of big spending by Lerner.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 3, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Would it be so terrible anyway if Dmitri ended up being the elder statesman, LH pinch hitter off the bench, and 1B v. LHP. That would mean Nick Johnson's healthy, and taking a day or two off a week would probably be good for Nick. It would save us from having Fick, Jiminez and, Batista as our hopes for a late inning rally. Imagine a bench of Young and Dukes,Kearns,Pena, or Milledge. That sounds pretty good to me.

It's too early to play guess the line up until we see all the moves, but it's shaping up to be a more explosive and athletic look. Manny might even let some guys run finally.

Posted by: #4 | December 3, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

powerboater, first, a lack of big spending doesn't mean they're cheap. not spending money on something not needed at the moment is just smart.

second, look at the signing bonuses mentioned earlier for the draft picks and the dominican SS. those are evidence of spending money wisely.

and "hardly chipping in on the costs" of the stadium? if the numbers i've seen are right, they've added at least $30m of their own money.

manny signed the contract they offered. if it was really subpar, then he shouldn't have signed it. when it's time to renew, if he deserves more and they don't offer it, *THEN* it's legit to dis them for being cheap.

as far as payroll, kasten et al said last year that the 07 payroll wouldn't be high and that they'd put money into player development (they did).

unless of course you're arguing 08 payroll, in which case you have no idea what you're talking about yet because we don't know what the 08 roster will be. if you're presuming the current payroll level is the final level, you must not have followed baseball for very long.

besides, if you improve the team without adding payroll, or even by reducing it, why is that seen as a "bad thing" by fans? i really can't understand that mentality. spending money just to spend money is idiotic.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

The Natties are addressing their most glaring weakness, an absence of real offense. These two deals show potential. But, how about something more tangible. You want more outfielders, Jason Bay is rumored to be available (29yrs old). Middle infielders that play everday, make a deal for Miguel Tejada. We need a 1st baseman badly, Adam Dunn, strike outs and all. Still only 28 and 4 straight 40+ HR.

Posted by: JSmac | December 3, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

If the lack of spending doesn't indicate to you that they are cheap, then how else would you define the word?

I'd be interested to see a link to where they have spent $30 million on the stadium. The Times has covered the issue a good bit more than the Post and the last I read was that Lerner promised $20 million and the city is pulling teeth trying to get the money from him.

The 2007 payroll was a joke for a major market team. There is absolutely no reason why the Nats can't concurrently build at the minor and major league levels. And Kasten has made statements that the Nats are not going to greatly increase payroll next year.

I have no problem with the team bargain hunting, but I want to see more financial commitment from ownership.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 3, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I think we have our outfield solved. We're looking at catching and starting pitching now.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 3, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

You don't have to pay for advertising if your team poster is already hanging on the wall at the post office.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 3, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHH!!!

What are you talking about?????

(BANGING.HEAD.ON.WALL)
_____________

have no problem with the team bargain hunting, but I want to see more financial commitment from ownership.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 3, 2007 08:56 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | December 3, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, I don't want big spending. I want big winning. The one thing the Lerners have shown in their management of the team is that unlike most MLB (and other professional sport teams) owners, the Nats are a business, and not a hobby. They are acquiring players whose level of skills and talents are better than what they're giving up. They are requiring everyone in the organization (and those outside, like the DC government) to be accountable for their actions. Swanni and others would argue that as evidence that they're cheap. They're not cheap. They're just not stupid. EVERYTHING they've done is completely in line with "The Plan".

So... Yes, I guess you're right. They're not big spenders. When you consider that by following the team and going to the games and purchasing licensed merchandise, I am financing them, I am kinda glad of that. I am totally willing to pay more if paying more means winning. But it doesn't.

Ignore the character issues for a moment... in less than a week, the Nats have taken two players who were probably at the very top of their games and declining, and a pitching prospect that was a redundant piece, and turned them into two top-ten MLB-ready outfielders. In the process, they've reduced their personnel costs by $6 million a year, and while Stan hasn't stated a target payroll for the year, the Nats are $15 to $20 million BELOW where Conventional Wisdom says it will be... so, Conventional Wisdom probably suggests that we're not done with the personnel changes, and that most likely, they will be more expensive than what we've seen so far.

I really don't care what it costs (at the low end) as long as they get results.

Posted by: Wigi | December 3, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

the lerners are so cheap, gil meche was right there for the taking last year, and they would not pay 7.4 mil it took. thats just sad. come on ownership stop being cheap and shell out multi year deals for Kyle Lohse and Carlos Silva, they are worth a 4 year 36 million dollar deal.

Posted by: love | December 3, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

"lack of spending" is not the definition of cheap. cheap is not being willing to pay market price.

show me a reasonable deal the nats could have made to improve the team now without mortgaging the future. i don't see it. espousing spending just to say they spent is stupid. this team just isn't going to be improved enough by $40-120m worth of spending on FAs this year to make it worth spending that. and you have no idea what the rest of the moves will be this offseason this year, anyway. none of us do. even bowden/kasten et al don't, altho they know the "plan" more than we do.

but feel free to bash them for not spending enough on 2008 before you know what they're going to spend.

as far as 2007, i had no problem with putting money last year into development instead of propping up a mediocre team to be a little less mediocre with a few more FA dollars.

now, if the payroll is still under $40-50m in 2009/2010, then i'll be right there complaining with you. but until we see them actually avoid transactions because they don't want to spend money or make trades that are obviously payroll dumps, i'm not calling them cheap, at least as far as paying for talent.

as far as the stadium, i'll make that judgment after i've been to at least part of the season's worth of games.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

gil meche wasn't 7.4m. that's just what this year's salary was.

"The Kansas City Royals agreed to terms with right-hander Gil Meche on a five-year deal worth about $55 million."

he was 11m/year. and most of baseball blasted the royals for that deal.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

In responding to a post that claimed that Lerner is not cheap based on the Guzman signing and a couple of minor league bonuses, I think my point has been made. I agree with Wigi, I don't care if the Nats are on the high end or low end of the league for payroll as long as we win.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 3, 2007 9:19 PM | Report abuse

One Example......Bascik, why sign him at all if you are not cheap......surely not for talent now or building for the future! Do you realize just what a joke were our starting pitching was last year. I do not want to ever see that again. If they got to the 4th inning we were calling it a quality start!

Spend the cash and get real pitchers not the trash run out every day last season. Which by the way burned up the bull pen and put the only arms that are any good for the next few years at risk?

Posted by: Oh they ARE cheap! | December 3, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Give me a break... Kyle Lohse... When he was traded to the Phillies, the Nats were about to play the Reds... and he was up... I remember thinking that the Nats were going to feast on him... and they would have, and they did later in the year against Philly... Yes, they need starters, but what they already have is better than Lohse.

Posted by: Wigi | December 3, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

i get the feeling that a lot of the "cheap" gallery will say that unless the nats spend 80m, regardless of record.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

To those people who think the Lerners are cheap:

What on earth would you have them spend on???

Find them some not-crappy free agents and they just might. Let's face it, they're not spending because they're not willing to buy trash, just like most other consumers wouldn't. You certainly don't spend your hard-earned money on stuff you either don't really need or on stuff that breaks, right? Same difference with baseball. They SERIOUSLY overpaid most of their draft picks. Just look at how far over their slot they were for the bonus on McGeary--almost every other MLB team didn't think they'd get it done. They have the balls to spend when they need to, but they're not Dan Snyder's drunk-sailor Redskins who throw cash at free-agent trash.

Posted by: Michael | December 3, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Shifting gears: Wigi said, "Ignore the character issues for a moment..." Dukes' history is awfully hard to overlook, his actions go way beyond youthful indescretions. How do you think Milledge feels about being lumped in the same head-case box as Elijah? Lastings got chased from NY because he high-fived some fans and made a rap album, the last thing this kid needs is a guy like Dukes around.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 3, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

then don't lump him in the same head-case box... ;)

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Most of baseball was wrong about the Gil M deal (just look at the numbers he put up with a bad team).

Nats should sign Livo this winter. Time to face the facts that pitching is what wins and pitchers are over paid. Get over it and get in the game.

Posted by: JayB | December 3, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

PowerBoater69, Do you usually post as Swanni? You are equally nutty. If you like a team that spends money, you should change allegiances to the Orioles. They spent more than twice as much on salaries last year as the Nats and won fewer games. You would have been ecstatic when they signed Aubrey Huff last year from the Rays as a FA. Fine chap, now the O's can't get rid of him fast enough. Odd that Dukes lasts longer in DC than Huff does in BAL?

What on earth does having Dukes in the locker room have to do with Milledge?

Will somebody please tell me where these pitchers are that Oh they are so cheap refers to? Maybe he means Johan Santana, who knows. JimBow could probably get the the Twins to take his call if he offered Zimmerman, Marrero and either Cordero or Rauch, Twins pick.

Guys, it is about winning, not about spending money!

Posted by: Why Ira? | December 3, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

yes, they were. but the rest of baseball wasn't wrong about most of the other overpriced deals last year. just cuz one worked out doesn't mean you ignore all of the others that didn't.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

ok, now THIS is a rumor the nats should be paying attn to, if true, and calling the bosox...

from ESPN

===

8:28 p.m., from Amy Nelson
• The Red Sox are interested in Rockies reliever Brian Fuentes, and Colorado could ask for Jed Lowrie in return, a baseball source says. Lowrie, a 23-year-old second baseman in Boston's system, was the 45th overall pick in the 2005 draft out of Stanford and has been rumored in other trade discussions.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Right, 231 etc. Also, you can't judge these $55 million deals on one season.

Mistyped above, should have been Odds on Dukes being in DC longer than Huff was in BAL.

Posted by: Why Ira? | December 3, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

wigi, thank you for your admonishment, buy the whole tone of my post was sarcastic...that is all

Posted by: love | December 3, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Why Ira? "What on earth does having Dukes in the locker room have to do with Milledge?"
Are you seriously asking what's the harm of putting a relatively good kid with the most minor of baggage next to a worthless thug? I'm sure you would think nothing of sending your kids off to the worst school in the city.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 3, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Fer pete's sakes, we keep getting people whom BowKasActa say are good "middle-of-the-order" hitters.

My Kingdom for Someone Who Can (MORE than just adequately) Sub For Nick Johnson as a Leadoff Hitter!!

Posted by: Juan-John | December 3, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

wait, nick johnson is a leadoff hitter? when did that happen!

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

LOL, Juan-John. Yea, I caught that too. We now have 7 middle-of-the-order bats.
_________

we keep getting people whom BowKasActa say are good "middle-of-the-order" hitters.

Posted by: Juan-John | December 3, 2007 09:57 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | December 3, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

PowerBoater69: Nuts I say! We aren't talking about school kids, buddy. These are grown men in a room full of grown men. What do you think we are talking about fielding a Little League team for Williamsport?

Get a grip!

Posted by: Why Ira? | December 3, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with everybody who has cautioned against lumping Milledge in with Dukes. There are youthful indiscretions, and then there's dangerous, criminal, psychopathic behavior.

Turning around Elijah's life has to be priority #1 for Manny, Dmitri, et. al. If they can pull that off, and the kid reaches his potential, then it will be the feel good story of the year. But if he hits .400 and threatens women with guns, well, that can drag an entire franchise down. Kudos to Jim and Stan for taking the risk. Now please keep the leash short and tight.

As for the spending, I have no complaints. I would hate to be rooting for a franchise that was carelessly signing average free agents to $50 million contracts. That would drive me crazy.

TimDz, you said to remember that the Nats are basically an expansion team entering their 4th season. CORRECTION: The Nats are basically an expansion team entering their second full season. The pre-Lerner days were still limbo time in which no investment in the future was permitted. I'd say that we've gotten our money's worth so far in just 1 1/2 seasons.

Posted by: blog.letteddywin.com | December 3, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

actually i didn't say "lerners" overpaid. i said "nats". i believe it was bowden who was representing ownership, though, and all his moves have been consistent with the point i was trying to make. which is some mystical arbitrary dollar amount some of you have in mind is less important than establishing credibility and trust in your own organization and in player's minds. and that i believe this team is well on it's way to actually doing just that in a very short amount of time. take care of that first and fans will eventually understand what just happened. well, they may not but they'll like the result and pat each other on the back and say they called it.

so, getting my facts straight has more to do with clarifying my point so you can read it smarter and not just write back what you are ready to. fair enough, i'll try harder if you do.

but you are right. i am tired of hearing Lerners are cheap because it means nothing to me relative to actual baseball. not to mention i don't even believe it's true in any sense.

anyway, kasten himself has always said he wouldn't pay for top line free agent until team was established and timing was right. you're more likely to get what you need out of them if you put them in a position where they can give you what you want. best way to do that is have everything else in place. on top of that i'm more likely to be a fan of an organizational player or prospect than a fan of the next big free agent who's passing through town. that's how you build a fan base.

Posted by: longterm snarky | December 3, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I must be a fan.
I like the Milledge trade.
I like the Dukes trade.
I like the plan.
I think the Lerners are heros.
I think Stan Kasten is an excellent team president.
I think Jim Bowden is one of the most creative GMs in the league.
I think Acta is an excellent manager.
I do not think the Nats are cheap.
I do think the Nats have are making progress.
I do not want them to waste money on poor investments.
I do want them to invest in the future.
I think you can get 4-5 outfielders enough at-bats out of 3 positions.
I want to keep Kearns.
I want to keep WMP.
Teach WMP to be the defensive replacement for Young (even Lopez can hit him).
Go Nats.

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 3, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

That's ok Love, *I* knew you were kidding.

Posted by: Cevans | December 3, 2007 11:00 PM | Report abuse

i don't know "love" well enough to recognize whether he/she is one of the "cheapo learner" bashers or not. and there are people posting here who would possibly say the nats are letting us down by not doing those things.

sorry if i misread ya. ;)

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Cordero to Texas for troubled but multi-talented star who spent this past season on the DL, but is apparently back.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex5WT-YGweU&feature=related

Posted by: Next week | December 3, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

To those who assume that this is the beginning of an all "Thug" team or some kind of goon squad:

You have to remember that youth and upbringing can be difficult when mixed with money, talent, and celebrity. Too often young stars are put in the spotlight and given financial and moral freedom before they are emotionally mature enough to handle it. Remember college? Now think what it would be like if you had a $2,000,000 signing bonus instead of a $30,000 tuition check. I know hard work and responsibility wouldn't have been my premier concerns, and I probably had a more stable upbringing then many of these stars.

Often these stories end in tragedy (Sean Taylor) or trouble (Mike Vick), but sometimes the star can turn themselves around before their past catches up to them. If DC can help build a foundation for a maturing adult (these guys couldn't even vote when our current president took office), then not only may we salvage the pieces to form a great product on the field, we can be responsible for helping a person off the field. Imagine what a role model these men could become in this community if they can turn things around. They could relate better to much of the DC population then a player like Zimmerman or Kearns. This could become a great move for both the team and the community.

The nats take fliers on these types of players because the cost is low (two young, inexpensive first round talents for a pair of under-performing vets and a low minors prospect) so the risk is minimize. Worst comes to worst, they dont pan out and we're forced to cut them or ship them off at pennies to the dollar (probably not much less then we paid in the first place). If they thrive however, we could have a heart of the order in a few years involving all stars dukes, zimmerman, milliage and merrero: The youngest and most talented 2-3-4-5 in baseball.

Sounds like an acceptable risk to me.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | December 3, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Nonononononononononono. I only just started getting attached to Kearns, pokey-outy ears and all. Please don't trade him too.

Oh man. All this is gonna kill me. I don't know how much ya'll are used to this part of baseball, but it's all new to me, this tossing off of players you've grown attached to.

I don't think I can watch this anymore. It's too much. I'm gonna cry.
______________

Bill Ladson:

"Washington is looking to trade Kearns and infielder Felipe Lopez for starting pitching."

Posted by: NatsNut | December 3, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Ladson has several interesting rumors on the Nat site. Someone in this space was ripping him last week for making up stuff, but he has been right on target several times lately. He says the Nats are offering Kearns and Lopez to teams for starting pitching. Pelfrey with the Mets, Slowey with the Twins. Also says that they have made offers to FA starters Jennings and Livan Hernandez.

(I would really hate to see Kearns go) I know some feel he is underproductive, but I sure liked watching him play. I hope we can keep him AND get some pitching.

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 3, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Nats Note: A source with knowledge of the situation said the Nationals traded reliever Jonathan Albaladejo to the New York Yankees in exchange for right-hander Tyler Clippard, pending physical examinations of both players. The 22-year-old, who went 3-1 with a 6.33 ERA filling in for the Yankees this year, has a 3.52 ERA over five minor league seasons. He should immediately be a contender for Washington's rotation. Bowden did not return messages seeking comment on the deal.

Posted by: from Barry's "gamer" on Dukes trade | December 3, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

So this is happens when I leave my computer for a few hours. Yuck.

I cannot imagine rooting for this wife beating piece of trash. I can only hope the Nats offload him before the season.

I think Jimbo and company have vastly overrated the DC market's tolerance for players with sketchy ability and zero character.

Honestly, if this piece of garbage winds up starting for the Nats, I think I'm done with the team until they get rid of him.

Posted by: joebleux | December 3, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Wilkerson gone, Kearns here and going, makes sense they'd get the 2002 ROY winner eventually.

*******
Also says that they have made offers to FA starters Jennings and Livan Hernandez.

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 3, 2007 11:26 PM

Posted by: ce | December 3, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

We all must have real short memories or want to look at revisionist history...

And we all fell in love with this guy in 2007.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/19/AR2007021900807.html

Posted by: Fair and Balanced | December 3, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh, it just keeps getting better:
www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2007/05/22/2007-05-22_champagne_big_macs_and_caviar_dreams_.html
*******
Nats Note: A source with knowledge of the situation said the Nationals traded reliever Jonathan Albaladejo to the New York Yankees in exchange for right-hander Tyler Clippard, pending physical examinations of both players.

Posted by: Syler might be an upgrade | December 3, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

What WOULD be fun is to go back to the spring postings on this blog and see what we, here, did in fact say then.

*********
We all must have real short memories or want to look at revisionist history...
And we all fell in love with this guy in 2007.
Posted by: Fair and Balanced | December 3, 2007 11:37 PM

Posted by: CE | December 3, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Clippard a 23 year old 6'4" RH starter. Not bad. Trade a reliever for a starter. Seems reasonable to me.

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 3, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

f/b: I must have missed it. When did DYoung threaten to kill his wife and kids?

Posted by: joebleux | December 3, 2007 11:52 PM | Report abuse

It's a good point, but truthfully Barry didn't start the blog until spring training and the fan comments didn't start flowing in earnest until the season started. By that time, Young had already come around. Maybe one of the other bloggers who got started earlier than Barry would have some old Young comments.
_____________

What WOULD be fun is to go back to the spring postings on this blog and see what we, here, did in fact say then.

Posted by: CE | December 3, 2007 11:49 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | December 3, 2007 11:52 PM | Report abuse

It was just last year when he was removed from the Tigers roster.

Love the moves so far, and I wont believe the Albaladejo trade until Barry tells me so.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | December 3, 2007 11:54 PM | Report abuse

jonathan remember the albaladejo

Posted by: love | December 4, 2007 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Clippard for Albalajedo? Goodness Gracious, who does Jimbo have pictures of??

Posted by: Section 406 | December 4, 2007 12:15 AM | Report abuse

The quote about the Albaladejo trade came from Barry. Bottom of the story, Nats Notes:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/03/AR2007120302283.html


____________
Love the moves so far, and I wont believe the Albaladejo trade until Barry tells me so.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | December 3, 2007 11:54 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | December 4, 2007 12:17 AM | Report abuse


********
Well, that's just about right. By the time he came up (remember Travis Lee?) from the minor league camp, he was already a reclamation in the works. And mostly people were going on (and on and ON AND ON) about not getting their season tickets. But I honestly don't recall this level of antipathy then. Maybe if Dukes can work on his Yule Log look ...

*****************
It's a good point, but truthfully Barry didn't start the blog until spring training and the fan comments didn't start flowing in earnest until the season started. By that time, Young had already come around. Maybe one of the other bloggers who got started earlier than Barry would have some old Young comments.
_____________
What WOULD be fun is to go back to the spring postings on this blog and see what we, here, did in fact say then.
Posted by: CE | December 3, 2007 11:49 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | December 3, 2007 11:52 PM

Posted by: Ce | December 4, 2007 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Geez, even I never threatened to kill MY OWN kids...

Posted by: Gates Brown | December 4, 2007 12:23 AM | Report abuse

So it is...

Thanks NatsNut!

Posted by: natsinthevalley | December 4, 2007 12:27 AM | Report abuse

We'll regret the Albaladejo deal. He should have been closing for us. Clippard? He was great in '06 at AA. Stunk last year, at every level. Sometimes a starter isn't worth as much as a reliever....Albaladejo had more upside, and certainly would have contributed much more this coming season.

Posted by: FischFry | December 4, 2007 2:45 AM | Report abuse

every prospect is a star when you trade them away... not very many turn out to be after a couple of years in the majors...

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

Yes, please, let's stir the pot up even more by throwing past comments in each other's faces.

---

What WOULD be fun is to go back to the spring postings on this blog and see what we, here, did in fact say then.

Posted by: everybody's ex-wife | December 4, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

BTW, was sarcasm

Posted by: everybody's ex-wife | December 4, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Hey, if I can defend my preseason picks (Braves, Phils, Marlins, Mets, Nats) (and I can't)(so nevermind...)

Posted by: CE | December 4, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

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