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A week later, what do you think?

You remember, perhaps, that before we got here I went over the 40-man roster (at the bottom of this post). Here, then, is the 40-man roster now.

Pitchers (19):
Luis Ayala
Jason Bergmann
Matt Chico
Tyler Clippard
Jesus Colome
Chad Cordero
Ross Detwiler
Enrique Gonzalez
Joel Hanrahan
Shawn Hill
John Lannan
Garrett Mock
Mike O'Connor
John Patterson
Jon Rauch
Tim Redding
Saul Rivera
Chris Schroder
Ryan Wagner

Catchers (1):
Jesus Flores

Infielders (10):
Ronnie Belliard
Aaron Boone
Kory Casto
Cristian Guzman
Nick Johnson
Felipe Lopez
Josh Whitesell
Matt Whitney
Dmitri Young
Ryan Zimmerman

Outfielders (9):
Roger Bernadina
Elijah Dukes
Austin Kearns
Garrett Guzman
Ryan Langerhans
Nook Logan
Justin Maxwell
Lastings Milledge
Wily Mo Pena

Here's an off-the-top-of-the-head lineup:

Lopez - 2B
Milledge - LF/CF
Zimmerman - 3B
Young/Johnson - 1B
Kearns - RF
Dukes - CF or Pena - LF
Flores - C
Guzman - SS
Pitcher

Guzman and Lopez could be flip-flopped, I suppose, and there's always the Belliard factor. I have heard stuff about Lopez perhaps being traded, and I believe that remains a possibility.

Rotation candidates:
Patterson
Hill
Bergmann
Redding
Chico
Clippard
Lannan
Hanrahan
Detwiler

Bullpen:
Cordero
Rauch
Ayala
Rivera
King (signing not yet finalized)
Colome
Schroder
Wagner (when he gets healthy)

My end-of-meeting question, then, is a simple one:

Do you feel better about this team this Thursday than you did last Thursday - before the Milledge-for-Schneider/Church trade was made?

By Barry Svrluga  |  December 6, 2007; 3:38 PM ET
 
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Next: Zimmerman's health

Comments

Yes! And when are you and Dave doing your Winter Meetings wrap chat?

Posted by: Sam | December 6, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Uh...what happened to Wily Mo Pena both on your roster and in your lineup?

Posted by: GoNats | December 6, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

WMP gets bounced, with the addition of Dukes. Although personally, I would rather put Dukes in the minors for another year to let him develop. WMP has played fantastic since coming to DC.

Posted by: 1938FratStreet | December 6, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

yea, wily mo makes it tougher to write up that lineup.

Posted by: longterm | December 6, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

2B Lopez
RF Kearns
1B Young
LF Pena
3B Zimmerman
CF Milledge
SS Guzman
C Flores
P

Posted by: InSite | December 6, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Did Wily Mo get traded in the last 5 minutes?

Posted by: 9cherries.com | December 6, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

at least we'll be much better suited for interleague play this year...

Posted by: longterm | December 6, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Looks like WMP got accidentally "cut" -- in an editorial sense. He'd be the 9th OF in the list.

Posted by: Cosmo | December 6, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Doubt they'd pay him 2 million to sit on the bench. Something's got to give.

Posted by: GoNats | December 6, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Clippard, ABoone, Whitney, GGuzman, Milledge, & Dukes

Posted by: Comings | December 6, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

SS: C. Guzman
CF: Milledge
3B: Zim
1B: Da Meat
LF: WMP
RF: Kearns
2B: Lopez
C: Flores
Pen (federal, not bull): Dukes

Posted by: Section 307 (former 418) | December 6, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Albaladejo, Traber, JJones, Gibson (minors), Schneider & Church

Posted by: Goings | December 6, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Flip Guzzy and Lopez. WMP has to be in there! He changes the tone of the lineup by himself! This lineup is much better than last week. Younger, faster, and with more upside.

Posted by: Ken E. | December 6, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

There are enough games in the season that four OFs can each play roughly 120 games each.

Posted by: Brian | December 6, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

About the only way I could feel worse about the turn the roster has taken is if the Nats went ahead and picked up Brett Meyers to complete the wife-beater quinella.

Posted by: joebleux | December 6, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I am tired of rotating outfielders. I hope they choose 3 starters and stick with it.

Posted by: GoNats | December 6, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Definite upgrade. Faster, younger, and deeper. If either Milledge or Dukes can reach their potential our lineup is suddenly pretty formidable. Of course the (1) next to catchers is still a little troubling. Hopefully that'll change in the next week or two.

Posted by: Salty | December 6, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Hoping they plan to keep Elijah Dukes in some sort Hannibal like contraption for when he is not on the field.

Posted by: Women of DC | December 6, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

How about this little nugget from Buster Olney

"Nomar Garciaparra will probably go into next year with a chance to reclaim an everyday job at third base for the Dodgers, but executives with rival teams believe that he will essentially be playing for a spot on the roster early in the year, and that if he doesn't cut it, well, he's in jeopardy of being cut."

Gee, at a reduced rate he would look good at his old SS position for the Nats. Don't forget Mia played for the Washington team in the defunct women's pro soccer league.

Posted by: Sec. 214 | December 6, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

that lineup is nice, very effective, good versatility, now can we do something about these uniforms? we do we wear blue at away and red at home, get a consistent colour and stick with it. Also can we get more afternoon games next season, and serve soul food in the clubhouse to make the borthas happy.

Posted by: ry | December 6, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I like them much better. I have to say that though, because I'm afraid of what maybe happens if I criticize them.

"You dead, dawg," isn't something I want to read in response to a critical blog entry.

Posted by: 408 / 204 | December 6, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

god barry, i cant believe you left off wily mo, i know you have been working non stop for a week for us, but show a little professionalism, please

Posted by: love | December 6, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

y'all leave dukes alone, it was just his baby mama trying to hype up a minor issue, she was ugly anyways and dukes has moved on, don't let some fat baby mama try to fool you, that chick is straight ghetto, i heard her go on some tampa radio station trying to talk all white & proper, and make dukes look bad, dukes is far away from her, and become 30/30 guy in d.c., dukes just needs a good personal trainer to get more muscled up, and he will be fine

Posted by: ty | December 6, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I've loved my time in Washington, guys, but I'm afraid i'm done. Cooked. Kaput. The Nats have a starter at 1B in Dmitri, and just signed TWO 1B/3B men, on a team where the starting 3B played 161 games. Ya think I'm coming back? Think again.

Posted by: Nick Johnson | December 6, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

yo nick, you were good dawg, just too many injuries, if we were an american league team, you would be a legit DH, but you gotta go to the american league, try a team there, best wishes, dawg.

Posted by: ty | December 6, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Nicky J, it's been real! Of course, what do you think Trader Jim can get for you right now besides a bucket of balls? What gaurantees are there that you will ever play again?

Posted by: Section 320, mjwies11 | December 6, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

That Jim Bowden is shopping Nick Johnson for Rae Carruth. Apparently Bowden has big plans for Carruth and it may get a little bumpy along the way but Rae has some real potential at catcher. I guess he did play wide out in the NFL.

Posted by: I hear... | December 6, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I felt so much better before BDS was traded. Now the nationals don't have a catcher, wich is very bad!! Jesus F. is not a great cather. And with all do respect to the nationals Will Mo is not going to play for the Nationals.

Posted by: seat 4 sec 110 | December 6, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I feel like some good friends have gone and I have to get to know the newbies. But in terms of performance, I feel like, while we may not be immediately better, there's more potential for the future.

As I understand "The Plan", management is taking it for granted that they can draw fans in '08 with the new stadium, and they're focused on '09 as the breakout year. But if '08 ends up being a "getting to know you" year and the team doesn't develop much of a character that they and the fans can rally around, I fear that it puts too much pressure on '09 to be a winning, if not contending, season.

Posted by: Section 319 (late of 426) | December 6, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

sorry type-o Lo Duca

Posted by: seat 4 sec 110 | December 6, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Unless FLippie goes back to batting school during the offseason, I'm not sure I want a rotation with him leading off.

Thing is, I'm not sure who would take his place, either...

Posted by: Juan-John | December 6, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Ry, are you crazy? Our uniforms are sweet. Whadaya mean consistent colors? Our colors are RED, white AND BLUE. I think its cool that we wear predominantly red at home and blue on the road. its distinct, more so than than St. Louis. If anything we should add a pinstriped road altenate that pays homage to the Sens, with Washington in script lettering across the chest. Love the uni's keep'em. Oh yeah love the moves.
Millidges will be a stud, Jury still out on Dukes, but happy with everyhing else. Still need a catcher, kid from 'Zona sounds good.

Posted by: BigRoy | December 6, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Young would have more value in trade right now because of uncertainty about Nick Johnson's health. I don't see a trade of either until Spring when we know what we've got and others can evaluate Johnson's health.

With respect to the OF shuffle, does it remind anyone of Cinci's 4 outfielder shuffle when Pena was there? He actually put up pretty good numbers in '04 - '05 over 660 or so at bats. Let's force Dukes or Milledge to have the type of Spring that can't keep them off the 25 man. Best case, we listen to trade offers to break a logjam. Worst case, we are carrying some O'fers until someone breaks out. offensively.

Posted by: jon | December 6, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Still need a good Ob Base % guy and a decent pitcher to take the pressure off Hill and Patterson

Posted by: Anonymous | December 6, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Uncertain is how I feel. Specifically, my worries are Dukes, OBP, catching, and pitching, in that order.

Posted by: Hendo | December 6, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Lot's of teams have different road and home caps. Mariners used to use blue rims at home and green on the road. Indians have the "I" in italics and the cartoon logo caps. It is for marketing. Kind of liek the alternative red tops, the O's black tops, etc . . . MLB would not mind you buying one of each (but I'll never wear a red curly W - at least not unitl '09).

Posted by: jon | December 6, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

oh BigRoy, you slay me... "the jury is still out on Dukes"...

Hilarious!

Posted by: natsinthevalley | December 6, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

oh natsinthevalley you text message me with a picture of a knife you will stab me with..."oh BigRoy, you slay me... "the jury is still out on Dukes"..."

Posted by: love | December 6, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I just don't understand why Ronnie Belliard is never considered as the team's starting 2nd baseman. Felipe Lopez played poorly last year and all Belliard did was have a career year. I'm going to be doing a lot of scratching (on my head that is) is Belliard is on the bench to start the season. And what's wrong with Belliard leading off? His numbers were far superior to Felipe Lopez. So he's not fast, so what? Let him get on base and let the new big boys drive him in.

Posted by: The Beltway Boy | December 6, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Word. Thanks ty, and y'all. Believe me, I want to come back. I've got a good contract, and love it here. Plus, with Schneid gone, me and Zimmy would run this joint. But I'm cooked. Jim can't trade me, 'cause I'm broken. That's what I mean, dawgz - I ain't comin' back, 'cause I CAN'T come back. You think the Nats would have FIVE 1B men on the 40 man if I was OK? Nope. Done. Don't believe me? Go to Nationals.com, bring up the roster, find my name and click on me. I'M GONE, DUDES.

C'ya.....

Posted by: Nick Johnson | December 6, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Heck yes jon! No red curly W til '09!

Posted by: natsinthevalley | December 6, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

tbb: I'm with you 100% on Belliard. He obviously hits a heck of lot better than Lopez, and in my opinion, he even runs the bases better (1st to 3rd, 2nd to home) because he runs with full speed and effort all the way. And he's miles better than Lopez at turning the DP, and close enough in terms of fielding range.

The only thing I can think of that Lopez does better is steal bases. And arm strength, but that doesn't matter that much for 2nd base.

It really looks like the Nats have decided that they got Lopez to be a starter, and Belliard to be a utility guy, and by gosh that's the way it's going to stay.

Posted by: joebleux | December 6, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Its gonna be quite interesting in Viera this spring. Loading up at the corner infield spots is a bit puzzling, even if NJ can't play anymore (I dont believe that). Must be something else coming down the road, or it's JimBows way simulating the pitching numbers last spring to the infield this spring. All these moves are cheap (baseball terms) so it won't make much difference anyway. Yes, in the end the team will be better, how much better, who knows. Plus, it's going to be interesting how the new park effects the pitching staff. Hitters should like it just because the dimensions are smaller, not to mention the much larger clubhouse.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | December 6, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

It's a cap, not a political expression. Please don't use my team as a means for partisan sniping.

Posted by: puleeze | December 6, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I don't see much besides "maybe" in this lineup that wasn't in the other one. The blog lineup, otoh, seems to have gone into a serious slump.

Posted by: CE | December 6, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

This comes from the plane, where I can't correct the post, but yes, I accidentally left off WMP. I think the other two will start, but they'll get WMP 400 at-bats. That's just a guess.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | December 6, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Pardon us, Mr. Lerner.


It's a cap, not a political expression. Please don't use my team as a means for partisan sniping.
Posted by: puleeze | December 6, 2007 05:30 PM

Posted by: cevans (after checking) | December 6, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, you're dedicated, Barry. Now get offline and have some dinner!!

---

This comes from the plane, where I can't correct the post, but yes, I accidentally left off WMP. I think the other two will start, but they'll get WMP 400 at-bats. That's just a guess.

Posted by: Barry's mom | December 6, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Bowden could be loading up on 1b/3b guys because maybe he's worried about Zimmerman's wrist surgery earlier this offseason. Hopefully the ex-UVA player is going to be back and healthy for all of next year but it never hurts to have a plan B for someone who has offseason surgery, no matter how minor it might sound.

Posted by: LC Nats fan | December 6, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I feel much better, enough so to pretend that spring training is only 2 months away now.

I had the feeling that Enrique Gonzalez might also be a possibility for the rotation. We got him for nothing at the end of the season, but he still has some major league experience. He would be a long shot, but we do have him.

Now that the meetings are over, I am getting excited again that we landed Lastings Milledge! He has at least as much potential as Chris Marrero, but he is major-league ready. Dukes has amazing potential, too, but in his case I just silently nod my head and breath deep.

Tyler Clippard? We would have begged for him not long ago. If he was good enough to be rushed by the Yankees, then he should have easily enough potential to perhaps crack our rotation. Aaron Boone? It's hard to imagine him being a lesser player than Fick or Batista, althogh Tony surprised us.

Let's think of improvement over last December's roster: Garrett Mock was on the roster last year, but not a factor. I doubt Lannan was on the roster, but we have him now as a possible member of the rotation. Albaladejo was a later pickup, so in this comparison, Clippard was essentially free. Fruto for Wily Mo? Yeah, man!!!

I will miss Schneider, and our catching is currently weaker. I will miss Church, and if we didn't get players i think will be better, I would mope about what might have been.

Let's celebrate the very likely improvement in offense. Let's celebrate the youth without calling the Lerners cheap. Let's raise our opinion of Jim Bowden. Let's hope for more pitching, whether from Japan or elsewhere.

Let's keep the enthusiasm all the way to a sellout on Opening Day. Read some Nats320- he'll get you positive on the team.

Posted by: Two more months | December 6, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Pena just got an extension no way I don't see him starting LF come openning day

Posted by: Anonymous | December 6, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I think they were good moves, but I think it is a one-step back two steps forward kind of thing. As of right now I feel very vulnerable at catcher (one step back), but I like the OF additions and the Clippard trade.

On the subject of rule 5: Many are reading more into the Matt Whitney selection than I think may be there. I think they like the player and brought him in for a look. It is not unusual to complete a deal with the team that you selected him from so you can send him to the minors. You have leverage once he is in your organization. My fearless predictin is that he will stay with the Nats, then we will send the Indians a minor prospect for the rights to keep him.

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 6, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

This from Christina Karhl of Baseball America:

I love that the Nats have added Milledge and Dukes, and in the same way that I respect that the Mets are doing a great job of marketing themselves to the Latino market, I like the possibility here that the Nats could employ a couple of extremely talented African-American prospects in a city that is overwhelmingly African-American. I still expect that the bulk of their season ticket sales will still come from Northern Virginia, but making this team resemble its city seems like a good idea. Add in that Milledge and Dukes, whatever their off-field issues, are immensely talented, and I like the challenge, the vision, and the upside.

What I wouldn't do is rank Clippard with those two on your scorecard. He's an overrated ex-Yankee prospect, and maybe, just maybe, he sticks as a fourth or fifth starter. A good pickup, yes, but not somebody with the same upside as Dukes and Milledge.

Posted by: Two more months | December 6, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow- this two. She is great:

Nick Johnson's 30s = Edgar Martinez's 30s. Thoughts?

Christina Kahrl: An interesting comparison, but Nick the Stick seems significantly more fragile and ill-starred. Yes, he should be somebody's DH, but the Nats won't be giving him away, and not a lot of people will be offering that much for damaged goods. If Nick Johnson was a loaf of bread, he'd be the one somebody stepped on and put back on the shelf. It might be nutritive, even tasty, but after some amount of folding, spindling, and mutilating, you have to ask yourself if talking the shopkeeper into getting it for less is worth your time.

Posted by: Two more months | December 6, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Barry suggests Milledge in the #2 spot, but both Dukes and Milledge had .350+ OBP in the high minors. Depending on how that translates (I'll leave that to better stat mavens), I could see WMP in the slot Barry has Dukes when he's in and Dukes #2. Even last year, Dukes had a good walk rate. When both newbies are in, I'd like Dukes before Kearns. I also prefer Belliard to Lopez, but think Lopez plays if he is ont he roster. If Nick Johnson is healthy and playing, he should hit #3 due to his OBP. Finally, I think Zimmerman may drop down to #5 or #6 because, despite assurances given Barry, everything I've seen about hamate recovery times says that power does not come back for a year or more, and Zimmerman without power is not a #3 hitter.

To many permutations depending on which OF is benched and who's on first.

Posted by: jon | December 6, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

As I go further in that chat, I see see took one of my questions, too:

Acquiring Lastings Milledge was the biggest move the Nats made, although not the most controversial. Since they built themselves up some while the rest of the East did nothing or went backwards, do you think the Nats have a chance to improve on last year's record?

Christina Kahrl: Could it be, Kevin, my old colleague from the publishing racket? Regardless, thanks for the question--yes, they will. In part because the rotation won't be anywhere nearly as fluid, and while I expect Nats fans will be disappointed by what they get out of first, second, and short, I'm almost as entranced by the talent in that outfield as Jim Bowden no doubt is.

Posted by: Two more months | December 6, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Having relayed all that, I recommend a subscription to BA, to make up for the sneak peek. It is great around the drafts, especially.

Posted by: Two more months | December 6, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

And to think I was so complimentary about the blogs on this site just two days ago.
There was so little actual baseball discussed and so much oneupmanship on who could make the cleverest comment. Gosh, Ty, you're a clever guy. See it even rhymes.
Barry, I like what has happened to the nats in the last week. A heck of a lot potencial, that might come to fruition sooner than later. The bench looks very strong and the bullpen is solid. Even the potencial starting rotation looks promising, if healthy. And there lies the rub. I have major doubts about our two top pitchers, Patterson and Hill. But if....
And Flores can do the job. Catching is not the issue. What difference does one think a good defensive but no-hit catcher would make? And Flores is good defensively, although I realize it's not reasonable to expect him to handle pitchers as well as Schneider...not yet.

Posted by: natspo | December 6, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Barry, do you have WMP coming off the bench in the eight inning for defensive purposes??

Posted by: Tom | December 6, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Pitching...Pitching....Anybody.....

Until Jimbo understands how to trade for and sign pitching this team is not going anywhere. So no I do not feel any better.

Hey Barry....I watched about 150 nats games last year almost half that in person. I think you beat me by a few but honestly.....Lopez sucks, he has no heart and the Acta "magic" did nothing for him......WHY ARE YOU STARTING HIM OVER BELLIARD? WHY ARE YOU EVEN PAYING HIM $5 Million if you are the Nats?

Posted by: JayB | December 6, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

As a former Yankees fan Aaron "Bleepin'" Boone holds a special place in my heart. He's a definitive athletic upgrade over Batista, ("Jimmy Key, what is he like, 45?"). Its exciting to see the excelerated portion of "the plan" taking place. I was at the game that Clippard pitch against the Mets and came away very impressed, He's nails. Millidge, a full Year of Pena, who i think is going to shock the world. Man i'm jacked for opening night. Just 115 days left.

Posted by: BigRoy | December 6, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

my suspicion? just to personally tick you off! :P

=====

WHY ARE YOU STARTING HIM OVER BELLIARD? WHY ARE YOU EVEN PAYING HIM $5 Million if you are the Nats?

Posted by: JayB | December 6, 2007 06:05 PM

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 6, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

i think bowden did a great job drafting pitching....

Posted by: longterm | December 6, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I forget to mention that I really like the Boone deal. Heck, as if anyone cares.

Posted by: natspo | December 6, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

The final touches were being put on the Blue Jays' one-year, $3 million contract with Paul Lo Duca to be Gregg Zaun's backup.

Posted by: Joel Sherman (NY Post) | December 6, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Lo Duca news is a relief. Thanks Blue Jays.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | December 6, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

The lineup is much better, although I'm not sure at this point whether it'll be a starting a lineup or a police lineup. Either way, it looks to bash things quite a bit. If Guzman can ever stay healthy...

Rotation is almost as scary as last year's but at least they won't have to face Miguel Cabrera or a healthy Andruw Jones as much and hopefully the Mets will still be shell-shocked from last year. It would be nice to have an innings eater and maybe an ace, but I might just be dreaming. I seriously hope they learn how to throw grounders because otherwise next season is going to be incredibly painful with the closer fences and all. But hey, at least we might be able to hit back a little more now.

Posted by: Michael | December 6, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

The goal is to win championships. We are closer. We need some stars to do it. Our lineup full of guys who should hit no higher than 6th on a good team didn't have potential for major improvement. We gave up an aging but still defensively effective catcher, a middle of the road outfielder, and a middle reliever. We got 2 new guys who may develop into middle of the order hitters on a good team - last year we had only Zim in that category, and he's a stretch. I don't put WMP in that group, but maybe he belongs.

Posted by: Geezer | December 6, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I love this lineup! Look at how much money I've saved! I haven't been this happy since I nixed Belliard's request for more bats. Since I told that secretary not to send that letter by Federal Express. Since I stiffed the DC Sports Commission for stadium funds....Oh, happy day! Now, if we could only trade Kearns, Nick Johnson and Cordero!

Posted by: tedlerner | December 6, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

i think the success of the rotation depends greatly on health. the rotation wasn't anywhere near as bad as we expected last year, but it would have been a whole lot better if we weren't constantly trying to flesh it out when someone else went down.

it's probably too much to expect JP to be healthy for a full season, but we can hope for the others. 180+ innings from hill would be huge. if we can get some quality starts from some part of Bergmann, Redding, Chico, Clippard, Lannan, Hanrahan, et. al., and not have to use 10 starters, it should be at least competitive most of the time.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 6, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Someone just told me that Bowden signed Dimitri Young last year to a $5 million contract. Jimbo! Get in here now!

Posted by: tedlerner | December 6, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm cosidering throwing out first pitch this season, but with the new additions to team, I have security concerns.

Posted by: G. Bush | December 6, 2007 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Concerns alleviated, Cheyney will be stationed on rooftop with eneough firepower to take em all down., especially Ty.

Posted by: G. Bush | December 6, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Jimbo did draft and sign pitchers well this year. I am sure that was Stan

....but I am talking about major league Pitching.....it costs money in FA and talent in trades.....Jimbo has not learned how to deal with these realities. Unless we want to wait for 5 years for the 2007 draft to produce a staff then we need to pay the going price for pitching.

Posted by: JayB | December 6, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Well. I'm not dancing in my living room like I was with the McGeary signing. But when I think about Fick, Batista (before the last month anyway), Jimenez, and Langerhans now being replaced by any combination of Dukes, Milledge, Boone, Whitney and the other Guzman kid, I do think it's an improvement.

But seriously, come 08 I expect more reasons for the living room dancing. Trade deadline surprises, hot draft, big players off the DL, and Cordero gone are some examples.

Two more months: did you mean Esmaylan (sp) Gonzalez?

Posted by: NatsNut | December 6, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Pay for pitching? Why listen, JayB, you whippersnapper. Let Jimbo or Stan pitch! I'm paying them enough! No more spending, please! My heart can't stand it!

Posted by: tedlerner | December 6, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey, what the heck is the story with Alex Escobar?

Posted by: NatsNut | December 6, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

escobar is so often injured he's just not anyone you can rely on.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 6, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

No, I feel much worse about the team.

I don't want Dukes on a team I support. This could damage the team as much if not worse than Guillen.

They traded 25 percent of the starting lineup for an untested rookie that has chacater issues.

They didn't address the pitching at all -- in fact, they made it worse by trading the catcher that handled all those ragtags from '07.

The only move I liked was the minor one -- acquiring Aaron Boone. And I liked that Ladson's Kearns rumor was wrong.

Posted by: Ray | December 6, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut- No, really. We picked up a pitcher named Enrique Gonzalez. He started 18 games for Arizona in 06, not so bad. He had only one game in the majors in 07.

Posted by: Two more months | December 6, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

The catcher position bothers me. I don't like the idea of making a trade that forces you to fill another roster spot.

Posted by: Paul | December 6, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Right now, the "Plan" is filled with holes. Catcher. Pitching. Experience. Leadoff hitter. Proven power hitter. etc. etc.

And these are holes that won't be filled adequately until young players move up the system to the Majors. The Nats simply won't spend real money to plug them in the near future. It can't be more obvious.

I'm sure we'll see more Elijah Dukes types in the next two years. The Nats will try anything so long as it doesn't cost real money.

Posted by: swanni | December 6, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

God Bless the Toronto Blue Jays. Now let's go get Miguel Montero.

So far, I've loved the moves the Nats have made this offseason. Okay, Dukes worries me a little bit, but they didn't give up anything for him and they can kick him to the curb if he can't get his act together, so there's not much risk there.

The Nats got two excellent 5-tool prospects with loads of potential, a solid starting pitcher, a decent left-handed hitter in the Rule 5 and a veteran utility guy in Aaron Boone. There's a lot of potential here, and they should be exciting to watch.

Still could use a front-line SP, although that might not come until next winter. a second catcher and a true leadoff hitter. But this team has a bright future, and they're a couple pieces closer to getting there.

Posted by: LA Nats | December 6, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Two more: oh, okay.

I agree about the catcher, even my love for Schneider aside. I thought, surely if Jim's going to make such a bold move with Schneider, he must have something in his back pocket. But now it looks like he may have overestimated his ability to get a replacement at the meetings.

There's still time so fingers crossed, but I sure hope they're working hard on it as we speak.

Question: What else do the GMs do at these meetings? Is it ONLY about trades and deals? Or do they have other business to take care of too?

Posted by: NatsNut | December 6, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Once more unreality sets in.

Let's realize that there were no serious, worth the money, big time free agent pitchers available. As far as trades were concerned, there were 20 clubs looking to trade for pitchers. The 10 who weren't basically overvalued what they have, or were realistic enough not to part with it unless they got equal value. The dreamers and screamers who yell that JimBow didn't go out and get pitching seem to forget that all of the other GMs have the same thing in mind.

What we have seen, since the end of September is a serious upgrade in CF and the utility positions (Robert Fick / Tony Batista or Aaron Boone...let's see). The team got younger (by a lot). Insurance was provided for first. The young position players Milledge / Dukes will get the MLB P/As that they absolutely need before the team can seriously compete. The young stud pitchers are developing in the minors, where they belong.

In addition to the above, it's a new ballyard. No one! No one! No one in the Nats F/O or any other clubs F/O has any real knowledge as to how the field will play.

I would also request that the young lady from B/A (a publication that I normally respect) do some homework about DC and the Nats. Northern VA is far from the home of a majority of the fans. Maybe she doesn't realize that PG and MoCo are in Maryland. Or, maybe she's listening to Pete A. Also, she should check the demographics. The African-American percentage of the DC proper population is dropping very rapidly. Predictions are that, within just a very few years (possibly by the 2010 census) the city won't be a majority African-American. Both the Hispanic (oh now, there is a community you can probably market baseball to) and white populations of the District are growing very rapidly. If she is going to write articles, like that, the basic research is not hard to do.

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 6, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

WARNING, OFF TOPIC RANTS.

why cant they change the lettering to look like this? (with nationals/washington, obviously)

http://mlb.imageg.net/graphics/product_images/pMLB2-1739976dt.jpg

also, anyone have any ideas on how to clean a hat without putting it in the washer? ive had the same hat since opening day '05 (the blue one) and it is a mess. never washed it. used it in my summer mens league. everytime i wear it, i get a saturn ring around my forehead. shrinkage is a problem. already down a size. had to cut the inside sweat band out to make room. refuse to get a new hat (for reasons unknown). as stated in august, i look like a clown in red hats.

i even have one of those protective cages the hat goes into so you can wash it. im worried about the drying method. its going to shrink. i know it.

instead of commenting on some of the "hot topics" of the past few days, i decided to try and lighten up the mood. any takers?

Posted by: theraph | December 6, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

If Zimmerman's hamate robs him of power for a year, we actually may have a problem right in the 3 & 4 part of the order. I think we probably can find one or two good OBP guys at the top among Dukes, Milledge, and Belliard, but, if Zimmerman hits .265 with no pop, we have the 1st baseman and an outfielder for the 3/4 slots. Dukes's problem is when he overswings and presses so is a bad fit. Pena / Kearns aren't really 3/4 hitters, and Milledge did not show he's ready yet. I'd be tempted to bat Dukes leadoff when he is in to force him to use his batting eye, which is good, figuring the HRs will come if he maintains discipline.

Posted by: jon | December 6, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

"And these are holes that won't be filled adequately until young players move up the system to the Majors. The Nats simply won't spend real money to plug them in the near future."

Could be. And there does seem to be a model, if not precedent.

The Tigers didn't start moving up the standings until they started spending big bucks in '04. And they kept on spending them in '05, '06, and '07. Including on starting pitching (although the only FA unknown they signed was Kenny Rogers).

By that time, they had a minor league system they could count on to fill needs, even if they never called on it all that much.

Is Ted (or Mark) Lerner the next Mike Ilitch? I wonder.

Posted by: Hendo | December 6, 2007 8:02 PM | Report abuse

For: Two More Months...

Thanks for the reminder, my subscription to B/A runs out the end of this month, and I keep forgetting to renew.

Posted by: Catche50 | December 6, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Re cap cleaning, this advice comes from the New Era UK website. (I can't find the link to the original post from the US website.)

"CLEANING A 59FIFTY...NEVER WASH THE CAP!
The cap is made of wool and you will ruin its shape. To clean the headband, take a wet washcloth and put a little detergent and a little Spray and Wash and gently rub down the headband with the wet wash cloth. After you have sufficiently cleaned the headband of sweat stains and soil, rinse the wash cloth out with clear water and once again wash down the headband, cleaning up any left soap. Let dry and your cap will be ready to go again. Some sweat stains stay in but at least the cap will be clean."

That's worked for me.

Posted by: Hendo | December 6, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

hendo has the right model. the key is not spending precipitously on big money FAs until you're starting to bring those kids up to the majors. you use FAs to fill the last few holes on the team after drafting/trading for the right prospects who've matured and become part of the big club, not to fill every hole on the team.

so far we've brought 2-3 of those kids up (zimmerman, rauch, cordero). it's possible that trades just brought us 1-2 more, and that maybe we have another at catcher (next year will let us know). the rotation, long-term, is still a giant question mark.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 6, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

"i even have one of those protective cages the hat goes into so you can wash it. im worried about the drying method. its going to shrink. i know it."

Wash the hat, then put it on your head to air dry. It will shrink to fit. It may take a few days to dry completely, and of course you won't be able to go to bed while it's drying (lest you get bed hat), so you may look like a fool for a few days while you're doing this. But if you're really too cheap to spring for $25 to buy a new hat, then this will be a small price for you to pay. (And tell me, which member of the Lerner family are you, anyway?)

Posted by: Section 419+1 | December 6, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Let the market work, pitching cost what it costs....Jimbo can not stamp his feet and take his ball home because he does not like how the market works. He must engage and address our biggest weakness....starting pitching.

Posted by: JayB | December 6, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Okay, swanni and JayB. You guys seem to think that the Lerners, Kasten and Bowden are too cheap to put together the best team possible this off-season. Time for you guys to put up or shut up. Name the specific players that the Nats either could or should be obtaining this off-season, along with the specific price (in free agent contract $ or players to be traded for them), to make up a team that would better than what they have done and are continuing to do. Do it. You can work independently or combine your efforts, I don't care. But come up with an Opening Day 25-man roster with names and the cost to obtain them. Then on Opening Day we can look at what those players actually went for to other teams, and we will know whether or not they could have come to the Nats. Either you guys or the rest of us will then be forced to eat crow. But if you don't put up now with that 25-man roster, then you need to shut up because otherwise all you are are trolls on this and whatever other boards you post on. Put up or shut up, guys.

Posted by: Section 419 | December 6, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse

i've suggested before that the lerner haters put those suggestions forth, but most of them haven't really been great suggestions. people like hunter or mr andruw "18million/yr" jones.

still haven't seen a reasonable pitch (pun intended) for a FA or trade target pitcher yet.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 6, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

LOL!!!
We've heard of bed head. We've heard of hat head. Bed hat's a first.
_______________________

...lest you get bed hat...

Posted by: Section 419+1 | December 6, 2007 08:14 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | December 6, 2007 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea of Dukes leading off, because i couldn't stand all of felipe's k's last year. Also love the milledge trade, but jesus won't be ready this year, and maybe not next year. We need a vet catcher, but I don't think damian miller is the guy.

I think Zim will be fine, he got his soph slump out of the way, and he still had 90+ rbi's even in a down year.

I also think that that clippard could be this year's bergmann.

NJ is definetely done and da meat hook is getting old and fat, so we're gonna have to find a 1b sometime in the near future.

Also why is detwiler in the majors this year?

Gives WMP some love, he did everything we needed from them last year.

Kearns should be play everyday in RF, he plays hard enough to be an example for dukes and milledge, who should split time at CF and LF

Posted by: ab93 | December 6, 2007 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I remain underwhelmed by the Nats trades and signings from the Winter meetings--though am pleased to know that there are nearly 4 months for more moves by Bowden & Co.

While Milledge and Dukes represent potential future standouts, they are fundamentally untested at the major league level--not a recipe for making an immediate move on the middle of the NL East (which may collapse of its own accord given other teams' line-ups). I'm marginally more encouraged about acquiring a potential major league starter, but pitching remains our number one need (for which there is the greatest league-wide competition). A. Boone strikes me as a high-quality pick-up for the bench which represents an improvement for the team (notwithstanding my Bosox anxiety about his one-time extra-inning homerun, but we're over that now with 2 rings in hand!).

Beyond our core need for quality starters, I still don't see anyone ready to be a prototypical lead-off batter, and we clearly still are missing one or two big bats that hit for decent average to protect and enhance Zimmerman and Johnson/Young. And as many others have noted, we're pretty thin at catcher.

The bigger rub for me--while excited about being in the new ballpark, and understanding that being truly competitive typically takes years (unless you sneak up on the competition like the Rockies did this year!), I don't see "The Plan" here. And I don't see a deployment of any of the Lerner's famous money. It's not sufficient in my mind to aspire merely to be better than 2007; we need to be striving to be in the thick of things during the season--to put a scare in the hearts of the Phillies and the Mets, and to make the rest of league pay attention to us.

Thankfully, it's not March 28th with the Nats headed north yet.

Posted by: Carl in 306 | December 6, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

...I'm sure we'll see more Elijah Dukes types in the next two years. The Nats will try anything so long as it doesn't cost real money...
-------------------------------------------

I think Colorado, and some of the other playoff teams, proved that "real money" doesn't necessarily get you anything.

Posted by: Ed | December 6, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Last time you demanded I play this game with you I gave you DeRosa in about 5 mins as someone we could have gotten instead of Fick or Batista forget which....That sure was tough to find.

The should sign Livo this year and should have signed Gil M last year....They should of traded for Pelfrey instead of Milledge from the Mets. They should have signed Jones for two years and keep Gibson instead of getting Dukes.

Cost more sure.....but having a small pay roll does not get you bonus wins at the end of the season.

Oh, I do like the Boone signing if that helps?

Posted by: JayB | December 6, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Back to the hats. Your old hat may simply be done. As many of us grew up, the "true hat" was always wool. It wicked moisture, etc. Starting in '07, MLB official hats went to a blend. I would assume that blends are better able to be washed, although the bill is probably never, ever going to be the same.

I generally have no problem. When I had one of those little pre-cancerous thingies taken off my scalp, some years ago, I asked my Dr. what I should do to prevent future occurrences. Her reply: "Wear a hat, dummy." I have, ever since. I'm now up to about 30 ballcaps (most Nats, although a few Sens and some others). I simply rotate them and none gets worn more than about once a week.

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 6, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

So... what about adding a catcher via a trade with the Mets for... Brian Schneider? I just listened to an audio clip of a discussion with Ron Darling (mets broadcaster these days) posted on WFAN's web site. Apparently, the Mets are talking with Detroit about a trade for Dontrelle Willis, and Detroit has reportedly told the Mets that they would have to take Ivan Rodriguez in any trade for Dontrelle. As Ron Darling says in the clip, Schneider is good but if you have Pudge, he has to be your number one catcher. Back to my question - if the Mets get Rodriguez, should the Nats try to reaquire Schneider?

Posted by: natsagain | December 6, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I am thrilled with the progress... It isn't necessarily what I would have imagined, but is 1) completely consistent with "The Plan" and 2) making strides in the right direction. As I've mentioned in previous threads, and others have aluded to the one other thing that I think is the most encouraging, and that is that the organization has defined itself in the MLB community, and in a very positive way.

Not that I think the pundits are the be-all and end-all, but you don't hear any of them totally ridiculing the Nats for what they've done. The critics here and in other places that think that the Nats have character issues are missing one important point: Unlike some professional sports teams (Oakland Raiders, to name the obvious example) who try to come across as bad-asses as a part of their marketing plan, the Nats are all about second chances and rehabilitation of lives and careers. It has, so far, been a successful strategy for the Nats, and it makes sense in a lot of ways... some altruistic, and others pragmatic. If this experiment is successful this year, perhaps future players who are looking to rehab their careers, whether it be after injury or personal issues, may want to play here... Moreover, the team is young, and working hard to foster the right attitudes... and build on the great clubhouse chemistry.

This isn't a World Series team... or even a contending team... but that isn't the expectation here. I think for most people, 82 wins defines success this year (I am actually a lot more optimistic personally, but hope and expectation are different things).

For our personally-troubled new players, this is the year you learn how to live up to your potential, and realize that you're a role model for the community, and that community includes children... and if they don't, the door is a short and inexpensive trip from the clubhouse.

Yes, there are still holes, but Jimbo is very skilled at making something from nothing, and there's still too many months before pitchers and catchers report.

If you're still unswayed... look at it this way... The Nats' shopping list is both shorter and a lot more specific than it was a year ago, or even a month ago.

A lot can still happen.

Posted by: Wigi | December 6, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

"I gave you DeRosa in about 5 mins as someone we could have gotten instead of Fick or Batista forget which....That sure was tough to find."

what about derosa? how were we supposed to acquire him? sign him a year ago? you mean pay him more than the 3yr, $13m he got from the cubs so he could have played utility man over fick/batista instead of being the starter in chicago?

"The should sign Livo this year and should have signed Gil M last year..."

were you saying they should have signed meche for more than $11m per season *last* year? before he panned out? considering most of baseball said his contract was foolish then? if you were, you were one of the few, and hindsight is 20/20.

they still could sign livo. of course, he has to want to come back. dunno if there have been any conversations. personally, i think "meh" on livo. he's gone downhill a lot the last two years. but i wouldn't hate resigning him.

"They should of traded for Pelfrey instead of Milledge from the Mets. "

You have any indication we *could* have? You think they would have given him to us for schneider/church? What should we have given up for him? Personally, i think they're holding onto him to trade him as part of a package for more ML ready pitching. it's nice to say "we should trade for 'xxxx'," but the other team has to want to as well.

"They should have signed Jones for two years and keep Gibson instead of getting Dukes."

can agree to disagree on that one. a) $18m/yr is too much for him and b) dunno if he'd have even signed with us for that. would you still want him at $20m/yr? cuz we'd have to do better than the dodgers, who can offer him a chance at the playoffs.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 6, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

i'd rather have a young hi-ceiling prospect that might be terrible the first year than sign a high risk $55 mil pitcher like gil meche was last year who could be terrible for the next 4 years of his contract. that's when you'd hear the front office say we are stuck with who we have with no trade options.

i won't demand ownership eat large contracts like the yankees. not sure where you draw the line at cheap but you can't have it both ways. i think this team is built on flexibility until some cornerstones announce themselves.

i kinda would be interested in what matt clement is going for. livan is a terrible option. i think jorge cantu was just cut. i don't care that he's right handed. he might be a good spring training invitee.

i think chase utley broke his hamate last year and he recovered quickly. not sure how similar his and zimmerman's problems were...

schneider or no schneider, i really expect our defense to be much much better this year once the team is set.

Posted by: longterm | December 6, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

It's called building a franchise folks. I guess we should maybe package 4 or 5 of our best prospects from our "overflowing" farm system and trade for Johan Santana. Maybe sign top notch sp's like Kris Benson or Jon Lieber to get us over the hump. How bout Carl Pavano or Jaret Wright. You know because we're just a couple players away from winning the world series. We should throw good dollar after bad like Mr. Snyder because that has worked out to be a tremendous success and led to many superbowls. Even better we should call every team with the best propects and tell them that they should they should send us their best players for the bottom tier of our farm system. Because we all know number 1 starters grow on trees and teams can't wait to give them away. Rome and all dynasties were in fact built in just one day. Listen the current regime, mostly talkin' about kasten are in their second off season together. I have full confidence that they'll get the job done. they'll get a catcher, the leadoff situation will work it self out. They've made some good moves in about a 7 day span. i'm sure they're not done, opening day isn't for about 4 months. Oh and if we trot out hill, bergmann, lannan , clippard i'm sure it'll be fine. Last time i checked we couldn't score runs to save our lives last year. We went 73 and 89 last year and it was cool to watch the team rebound after the 9-25 start. I'm glad we have a regime that is trying to build a young and exciting team, like the indians in the mid 90's and currently, like Colorado and Arizona. You mention the tigers they had their growing pais too. They're preaching building up through the farm and when a player or two away then you spend the big bucks on FA's and to retain your homegrown talent. Sounds pretty smart to me.

Posted by: BigRoy | December 6, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Jones reportedly turned down more money from the Giants to sign with the Dodgers. Rumor was we offered to offer a one year deal for Jones. He's a risk. .222 hitter last year. declining numbers for 3 years.

DeRosa? Please. That would have been foolish. DeRosa would not have been in place of Fick. He would have been in place of Beliard. I'll take Beliard. Batista was a minor leaguer for two motnhs last year and was brought up after Casto et al failed. He was a smart sign as insurance... and the insurance paid off.

Bowden was quoted today as saying he will not sign veteran free agent pitcher because he wants his young players to develop. (Good).

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 6, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

good info. the hat isnt worthy of the wall of hats yet, so i cant get a new one. i have a history of reparing hats with tape, staples, sewing machines, glue, and patches. the hat needs to have a long and productive career to make it to the wall.

maybe opening day would be a good time to get a new one. its like trading a reliable model for a new flashy one. kinda like the trade last week.

Posted by: theraph | December 6, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Te amo Felipe!

Posted by: frog7694 | December 6, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

"Last time you demanded I play this game with you I gave you DeRosa in about 5 mins as someone we could have gotten instead of Fick or Batista forget which....That sure was tough to find.

The should sign Livo this year and should have signed Gil M last year....They should of traded for Pelfrey instead of Milledge from the Mets. They should have signed Jones for two years and keep Gibson instead of getting Dukes."

Not good enough, JayB. Last year is water under the bridge, don't keep rehashing it. Not to mention that the team picked up one bonus win over 2006 as it was last year, despite losing Livo, Soriano, etc. You name guys they should have picked up last year or should be picking up now. Okay, who goes to get those guys, or how much should they pay to pick up free agents? Don't just assume that guys like Andruw would take the same deal from the Nats as they would from other teams like the Dodgers, when the reality is that they'd demand more to come to a team that is not as highly regarded throughout MLB at this point. Come up with a realistic 25-man roster for Opening Day, with names and costs to acquire players we don't have now. Until you do that, your "should have signed Gil Meche" shots across the bow are nothing but trolling on your part. Gil Meche sure took KC to the top, didn't he? Talk is cheap, JayB. Don't be stingy and only give us the little cheap shots. Spell it out in detail, and if it's a reasonable approach you might find people will actually start agreeing with you. On the other hand, if it's not reasonable you'll lie exposed as the blowhard you seem to be right now. You want the team to take some risks and be bold. Do the same with what you say, instead of lurking around and throwing your "Lerners are cheap" potshots all the time.

Posted by: Section 419 | December 6, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

My dream lineup for April 1 if everybody's healthy and shows up to play in the spring:

Guzman
Johnson
Zimmerman
Pena
Kearns
Milledge
Lopez
Flores
...with Young, Belliard, Boone, and Dukes leading a much-improved bench.

Or in a world without Nick Johnson:

Guzman
Young
Zimmerman
Pena
Kearns
Milledge
Lopez
Flores

Dukes is an interesting story, to say the least. I can't imagine him being ready to start, unless he bats .350 and Milledge or Pena completely fall apart in spring training. Kearns and Milledge are both favorites of Acta, and it's been established that Pena needs to get a lot of starts to be productive. I also can't imagine Dukes being sent to the minors, because this whole gamble was based on the tutelage of Acta and Young.

Somebody asked about Escobar. He was actually cut a couple of months back. Shows how far his stock had dropped. Not even trade bait. Quite a shame.

Overall, Nats fans have to like the progress made this week. There are still holes, to be sure, but it feels like the team has a lot more youth and potential at most positions than there was a week ago.

If only there was a quality catcher with a big left-handed bat out there. Wouldn't that be nice... !

Posted by: LetTeddyWin.com | December 6, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Everybody's entitled to an opinion. The fact that they express an opinion but do not choose to play armchair GM and pontificate at length about what the team should or should not as far as player transactions does not make them trolls.

Posted by: excuuuuuse meeee | December 7, 2007 12:01 AM | Report abuse

"troll" is a bit harsh.

but it does get tiring to hear how the FO hasn't done anything and how the ownership is cheap. especially when the evidence provided to back it up is specious.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 7, 2007 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Lets not forget that when the Lerners took over this franchise, they poured a ton of money into scouting & development. That is exactly what they should have done. Those investments will take time to see results. Most of the talent is in the lower minors. What they did this week by obtaining young talent through trades that don't bankrupt the system was brilliant. They're in no means done yet. A rush to judgment is not warranted yet. Give the 'plan' more time. I think it will bear fruit in the end.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | December 7, 2007 12:31 AM | Report abuse

If only there was a quality catcher with a big left-handed bat out there. Wouldn't that be nice... !
Posted by: LetTeddyWin.com | December 6, 2007 11:17 PM

Miguel Montero...

Posted by: LA Nats | December 7, 2007 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure we'll see more Elijah Dukes types in the next two years. The Nats will try anything so long as it doesn't cost real money.
----
OK, Swanni, pretend you got your wish and fired Bowden, the WaPo editing staff, and just for fun, Angelos. Where are you going to spend the money that you so love to gripe about? $5M for LoDuca?

look at this bunch of stiffs:
http://www.mlb4u.com/freeagency.php?order=position

and tell me if any of them are worth real money. The only one that was worth it was Andruw Jones.

I'd love to hear you come up with an answer that's better than what Bowden did.

Posted by: Section 406 | December 7, 2007 1:07 AM | Report abuse

I feel better about the team with the trades which were made. I'm pulling for Milledge and Pena but wouldn't mind any combination. GO NATIONALS!!!

Posted by: Pete | December 7, 2007 5:09 AM | Report abuse

No need to go to the trouble....

Go back and look at your posts all season from a range of blogs. You defended signings of Fick et al as the best they could have done even though I gave you many examples of others who cost more and play much better. You defend Lopez playing everyday as a building block for the future. You Defend Nook in CF everyday as someone who will develop and Jimbo knows what he is doing there.

Now it seems you do not like Fick, Lopez or Logan.....interesting changes indeed.

While we both can agree hind sight is 20/20 at least I have been consistently pointing the problems and some possible solutions to these issues from Spring Training of last year.

You can say Livo is a mistake, you can say Pelfrey could have been gotten for say Church, Lopez, and Chad and you would be right.....we were not there.....but.....

What we can say is we have not addressed our Pitching Needs yet and our pay roll is going down.

Posted by: JayB | December 7, 2007 6:02 AM | Report abuse

I would have spent every dime that Ted Lerner has ever made to get Tori Hunter. He's exactly the player this team needs. The remaining money would have gone to Livo.

Posted by: swanni | December 7, 2007 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Think about it, guys. In a weakened NL East, Hunter and Livo would have made us a playoff contender.

Posted by: swanni | December 7, 2007 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Barry's article today:

"The club also took Garrett Guzman from Minnesota in the Rule 5 draft. The left-handed hitting outfielder, who hit .312 with 14 homers and 88 RBI in 125 games at Class AA last season, will compete with Ryan Langerhans for the fifth outfielder spot in spring training."

Nook Logan, you're dead. Go get yourself buried.

Posted by: swanni | December 7, 2007 7:00 AM | Report abuse

I guess Kasten & Bowden hope/expect the Nats' "Plan" eventually will produce a Brandon Webb to guarantee a run into the playoffs, a la Arizona. Until the magical moment arrives when a bona fide ace actually is on the roster, however, mediocrity reigns--and not just for '08 and '09.

The second approach the Nats are utilizing, bottom fishing, makes for interesting hot stove league discussions but doesn't yield any significant on-field results.

But the new ball park will be fine.

Posted by: JohnR (VA) | December 7, 2007 7:25 AM | Report abuse

I very much doubt the health of our starting pitching. (read Patterson, Hill).
However, on the optimistic side, I truly believe that a rotation of JP, Hill, Bergmann, Chico, and possibly Clippard, Lannan, Redding, Hanrahan, Mock, Ballister, or Deitweiler, would be as good as any rotation in the NL this side of LA.
I just have so little faith in Patterson's full recovery.

Posted by: natspo | December 7, 2007 7:49 AM | Report abuse

"Think about it, guys. In a weakened NL East, Hunter and Livo would have made us a playoff contender.

Posted by: swanni | December 7, 2007 06:53 AM"

*snicker*

jayb, you really think there were more than a handful of people all last year defending fick and lopez? nook? you won't find those posts from me.

i thought lopez was a decent pickup when the trade was made, but he hasn't played well in washington. the 2005 season was a mirage. i hope he bounces back to prove me wrong, but i won't count on it.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 7, 2007 8:03 AM | Report abuse

"The second approach the Nats are utilizing, bottom fishing, makes for interesting hot stove league discussions but doesn't yield any significant on-field results."

You might have been able to accuse the Nats of "bottom fishing" last year, JohnR, but that accusation just doesn't hold water this year. The players they have acquired over the past week (Milledge, Dukes, Clippard, Boone) do not come off the bottom of anything. They are all players who have produced at the major league level (albeit for short periods, with the exception of Boone) and who were considered top prospects at one time by the teams that originally brought them into the big leagues. Admittedly, due to off-the-field issues a couple of them were obtained for less than what they would have commanded a year or two ago, but even with that none of them were acquired for next to nothing. The cost for Milledge was two bona-fide major league starters. Acquiring good players at a bargain price does not constitute "bottom fishing", JohnR. "Bottom fishing" would be putting the likes of Logan, Langerhans and Fick out there for another year, and the team is not doing that. But by the way, if the Nats did "bottom fish" last year, they still managed to put up a better record than they did the year before, and finished higher in the standings to boot. Chew on that for a while.

Agreed that it would be great to have a bona fide ace on the staff, but even with an ace you still need a good team behind him if you plan to win enough games to compete. There aren't many bona fide aces available out there at the moment at any price, so I would say it seems entirely prudent to be developing a good team to put behind that ace once you are able to acquire or develop him. And that's what the Nats are doing right now. They're not "bottom fishing".

And yes, the new ballpark will be more than fine. Sorry that folks with lousy attitudes like yourself won't be able to enjoy it.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | December 7, 2007 8:04 AM | Report abuse

"the Nats are all about second chances and rehabilitation of lives and careers..."

I'm not disagreeing with the factual truth of this statement --but why is this? We're not the small market Kansas City Royals that we need to bottom feed, a $600 mil new stadium is opening up in March. And, as far as I know, we aren't a non-profit looking to do good works just to help others.

This is why there is a feeling among many in the fan base that this team is cheap.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 7, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

The team is cheap. Even the O.J. jury would vote guilty on that one

Here's my prediction:

The Nats are the next version of the A's or Twins. Groom young players, overachieve but never quite make it to the big time, and watch your players leave when they become eligible for free agency or simply ask for more money than the Lerners can stomach to give.

Posted by: swanni | December 7, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

And just because they have a new stadium doesn't mean they are getting a big increase in ticket sales.

Why?

This is NOT a baseball town -- thanks largely to 34 years of no baseball. It's a Redskin (and front runner) town. People, particularly Nats' execs, need to accept that and act accordingly.

People won't spend thousands of dollars on season tickets if the perception is that the team will be an also-ran.

Build it -- but they may not come.

Posted by: swanni | December 7, 2007 8:20 AM | Report abuse

In the spirit of the season and NJ community relations, I bring you this classic (IMO) posting by a beloved former forum member:

... I agree with ShawNatsFan that on this blog, we have analysts, commentators, and general community builders. Actually each of us adds our voice in all three ways ... at various times, but each one of us has our specialties.

... so I want to add my welcome to all the new bloggers/posters whose names I've recently recognized - #4, estuartj, Matt and others. We all have an voice to be heard around here. As far as the hits for the blog, I have a hard time getting excited about that; I'm happy with the way it goes now. But I realize that the number of hits the blog gets is directly proportional to its viability. So welcome and let's keep blogging.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 27, 2007 08:48 PM

May each of our voices be heard...

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 7, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I almost always disagree with Swanni and JayB but they have my support to continue being wrong. They are one of the the literary devices we need to help this space thrive.

My wife and I have the cheap/not cheap argument all the time. If I replace a door with the top of the line product from Home Depot am I cheap? My wife says yes because I did not pay someone else to come in and hang a solid gold, jewel encrusted entry way. You can't win the cheap/not cheap argument. The Lerners are being practical.

To me $55M for Meche is frivolous. He did have his best year last year, but its a 5 year deal. The Royals will not compete within their division as a result of signing him. $38M for Jones and $90M for Hunter are not good values either. Both have already had their best years. Frankly, if you were ever going to spend that kind of money, Soriano was the guy at $140M. It would not have put us in the race last year though.

The argument that if we spend more we can compete in the weak NL is dicey at best. We cannot out spend the NY Mets. Our best bet is to out develop them. Quiz: What team made 14 consecutive playoff appearnances without ever being in the top 10 for annual spending? And what was their strategy?

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 7, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I like that Jimbo traded two pieces that weren't going to be around for more than another year or two while they still had enough value to get a potential cornerstone back. I don't understand though why we're looking at Lo Duca or Estrada at catcher though. Shouldn't we focus on a catcher that's good at calling games/handling a staff to continue mentoring Flores? If he's a platoon partner then why do we have to reach for the best hitting catcher?

Lopez will be much better as the regular 2B, give him time. Belliard is always available. Nick Johnson will be fine and should be starting at 1B and batting third. WMP should start in LF. This is shaping up to be a talented and deep roster even if there are few elite players. Unfortunately all of these moves are not for 2008 but for 2009 and beyond. I see the team losing a bit of groud next year from how 2007 ended but "the plan" for 2008 is to establish the young outfield and solidify the starting rotation.

Here's my view of the lineup:

SS Guzman
CF Milledge
1B Johnson
3B Zimmerman
LF Pena
RF Kearns
C Flores
2B Lopez

P Hill
P Patterson
P Bergmann
P Chico
P Redding/Lannan/Clippard

PH/1B Young
PH/OF Dukes
IF/PH Belliard
IF/PH Boone
OF Langerhans/Guzman
C TBD

RP Schroder
RP Ayala
RP Rivera
RP Colome
RP Rauch
RP Cordero

Posted by: Gibby | December 7, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

for those wondering what it might have taken to sign andruw jones...

===

Krasovic also has a note on Andruw Jones. Apparently the only other concrete offer outside of the Dodgers was a two-year, $22MM one from the Royals.

===
i was estimating it would have taken $20m/yr, but it might have been higher.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 7, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Catcher: Sign Damian Miller now. Good defensively & would be OK with part time role. Lo Duca would be poison in clubhouse & can't throw. Estrada is a butcher.

What if: Let's say, as Natsagain does, the Tigers are trying to unload I-Rod on the Mets for Willis. Why can't the Nats get him? One thing the last week produced was a lower payroll that presumably would be available for a future HOFer. Could the Nats persuade the Mets to give him away for prospects in a salary dump?

I'm wondering though, why the Tigers would unload him, since they're obviously gearing up for a run at the title.

Posted by: Section 307 (former 418) | December 7, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

"I almost always disagree with Swanni and JayB but they have my support to continue being wrong. They are one of the the literary devices we need to help this space thrive."

swanni and JayB are nothing but Johnny One-Notes whose one note happens to be a sour one. In their best posts they are boring and repetitive, in their worst posts they are barely above being trolls. Whether they are even right or wrong, it's impossible to tell, because there is no substance to anything they say. It's the same sour note, repeated over and over again. If asked to elaborate, to provide examples to back up their assertions, nothing ever emerges from them but the same one note, repeated yet again. If boring, repetitive one-notedness is a literaray device, then it's not the kind of literature I care to read. But perhaps that's just me.

Now, some may accuse me of being a Johnny One-Note myself with my frequent postings about the shortcomings of the Washington Post when it comes to covering the Nationals. You may have a point there, but in my defense I would point out that each time I have posted something like that, there has been a new example of how the Post has yet again come up short. In other words, I'd like to think that there can be infinite variations on a single note to keep it interesting. But swanni and JayB know nothing of that. They each only know and repeat their single, solitary and sour notes, without cease. Literary? I think not.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | December 7, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

i still think we have no reason to believe that once a homegrown prospect becomes a stud here he's a goner. i guess it is possible and even likely that we'd have to start choosing if three of these guys are up for big contracts at the same time. i'd hope that we could be in a position to let some walk and get compensation while filling their position with the next young stud. i like the idea of always having one or two young guys working their way into the team each year. but i can't say i've seen a pure salary cutting move yet.

it is kind of bad timing that every team decided to start prospecting big time just as Nats came into existence. And that free agent classes are kinda weak also. anyway, i'm still pretty optimistic.

if detwiler and balester work their way into the rotation by the end of this year and marrero can the next year, there will be a leagewide reckoning. the pitching pipeline is about to officially open...

Posted by: longterm | December 7, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The long term rebuilding Plan is all about saving money for the team owners. There is no more guarantee of success than there is for a quick over-haul.

Ask any Caps fan.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 7, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

you know, leonsis made one big foray into the FA market. do you rememeber what happened?

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 7, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Thank you 231 for confirming my point, there is no more guarantee of success with a quick over-haul than there is for a long term rebuilding plan. The Plan is all about saving money for the team owners.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 7, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

PB, did the lerners lay you off at some point in your career? your hatred of them seems deep seated enough that it must encompass for than just the nats.

your comment really doesn't make any sense in context, unless your only goal is to bash ownership and not actually consider what makes the team better.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 7, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

fair enough. they should make money though. if they can't make money it will be even more disappointing because for the third time a team will leave. i just believe they'll be more successul and we'll be happier if they do it this way. it's more likely to lead to annual success.

even more so a free agent doesn't have to come here. that was the entire point of free agency is they get the choice. money isn't the only thing everyone cares about which makes it more complicated. anway, it's not like arod is solving everyone's problems everywhere he goes.

it is interesting though seeing how many entries here favor the players blindly over the owners blindly and vice versa. i do want to say that owners don't get an endless blank check from me. eventually i might wonder why it's taking so long. But i wouldn't put a date on a pull-out either. i mean, it's not like we've been doing this for over 5 years with no change in sight...

Posted by: longterm | December 7, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

now jose castillo is available. i'd still prefer felipe lopez over all the slop out there...

Posted by: longterm | December 7, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Enjoy the wide range of ideas, opinions and views you allow in your small world.........

Posted by: JayB | December 7, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"Quiz: What team made 14 consecutive playoff appearnances without ever being in the top 10 for annual spending? And what was their strategy?"

Bonus question: Who was the president of that team?

Posted by: Hendo | December 7, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

231: Hatred? Agitating for a baseball ownership group to commit more resources is hardly a display of hatred.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 7, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

longterm: I think Utley's injury was to his ring finger and not his hamate (see article below - http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2951496). I still stick with everything I've heard about hamate injuries from Papi, Pena, stories and stuff I googled using is that, while you can play after a few weeks, it takes a year plus to recover power. I ran this query on google, "broken hamate injury recovery baseball" if anyone wants to see for themselves. The baseball america article is pretty good, and there are some medical article links.

Barry - I don't recall your articles referencing non-team-affiliated sources on the issue of not simply when can Zimmerman take the field, but whether there would be lingering after effects when he does take the field. I'd especially like to see that now when you are also reporting there arerumors abouth is recovery and you see all this 3d base depth they are picking up.

Posted by: jon | December 7, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

This morning on XM Radio's baseball channel, they interviewed Brian Cashman, GM of the Yankees. He commentted that even though the Yankees did not make any significant moves, they were in much better shape to make moves, BECAUSE of their strong farm system. He talked about how when the Marlins traded Josh Beckett, they couldn't get a seat at the table, because they had nothing to offer.

The points are simple:
1) No one is "giving away" high end starting pitching.
2) You need a strong farm system to even be able to make trades that matter.
3) you have to be willing to give something up to get something good.

For those of you who said we should be trying to get Santana or Haren or Bedard, what would we give up for them? The Twins would not take Ellsbury/Lester plus Crisp, Lowrie and Masterson. We don't have that kind of talent in our system yet. Plus, the Red Sox would then have to pony up $25M / yr for Santana. The Orioles and A's wanted similar packages for Bedard and Haren because the salary problem does not exist.

Getting a true ace, at this point, could only be done via Free Agency and neither this year or last was there an Ace out there. Plus, an Ace is going to go where they can win a Ring. We are not that place just yet.

The Lerners are making solid business decisions and making sure that they have the available funds to build a winner at a reasonable payroll. If they had spent $55M on Gil Meche, chances are, that when the rest of the team was good enough to make the playoffs, Meche would be a boat anchor contract that prevents them from making another significant move that they need to fill the hole that makes them a true contender. I am one of the people who advocated Torii Hunter (too much money for too long) and would love to make a run at Erik Bedard (too many prospects/players out the door), but I am not sure those things are actually in the best interst of the Nats future. Even making a run at the playoffs is a far cry from being a legitimate playoff contender.

The Plan, as described by Kasten, lead to 14 Division pennants. I'd love a run like that and will glady watch them make that happen as long as they do go after the free agents once the rest of the basic squad has been solidified to make a true run at a championship. I think that we are still 2-3 years from that when some combination of Detwiler/Smoker/McGeary joins a combination of Shawn Hill/Bergmann/Clippard/Patterson/Chico/Mock.

I'd still like them to sign a Jason Jennings or Mark Prior and take a flyer on someone who may have upside.

Go Nats!

Posted by: roman1735 | December 7, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

*shrug*
maybe the internet doesn't allow for proper interpretation, but that's how it comes across, PB. personally i don't think there's been enough time for them to have made a mark as an ownership group. they haven't made any blatant cost-cutting moves (a la the fire sales of the post WS-marlins).

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 7, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I don't think JayB and swanni are at all the same. They both have their own unique ways of disparaging the pecuniary habits of the Lerners. I don't really have a problem with either (except the time JayB called me an idiot, grrr). I don't think I ever agree with them, but their opinion doesn't bother me. I try not to get personal against them and hope that they will act the same towards me (guys?).

Are the Lerners cheap? I don't know. I don't know the Lerners. I do know they did not get to be real estate moguls by being frivolous with their money. I also know they made some bad investments and got burned. Does this play into their baseball thinking? I don't know. I don't know the Lerners.

Nor do I care. They can be as cheap as they want as long as they build a good ballclub. And NONE of us will know if they can do that for another ten years or more.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 7, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Good Points and well said....oh and sorry for any comment that even approached that tone!

Posted by: JayB | December 7, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

JayB sez "Enjoy the wide range of ideas, opinions and views you allow in your small world........."

Hey, I've probably read and commented upon every one of the ideas, opinions and views you've added to the small world of the Nats blogosphere over the past year, JayB. (I operate under different aliases in different spaces, just so you'll know. Someone with an investigative bent should easily be able to tie together all the pieces of me, so I'll leave that as an exercise for the masses rather than revealing it here.) And I do have to say that you really haven't done much at all to widen my world with your constant repetition of the same old, same old. About the only insight I've gained from reading you is that Felipe Lopez is indeed phoning it in and needs to replaced. You do have that one right. But it would be easy to say the same about you if you don't bring up your game and start coming up with some realistic, relevant and non-repetitive substance to support your constant assertions that the Lerners could produce a team that's any better than what they have if only they weren't so cheap. There has to be more behind that than just your constant repetition of it. If not, why should anyone pay any attention to your argument?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | December 7, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

fair enough, i've probably pushed the tone too much the past few days as well, maybe taken out a bit of the work stress on here. everyone's definitely entitled to their opinions. as someone who generally tends to give people the benefit of the doubt (aka lerners, for now), i sometimes get irked by those who don't. we definitely have people on both sides of the "half full/half empty" mentality around here.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 7, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"I'd still like them to...take a flyer on someone who may have upside."

Isn't this pretty much what they've done by acquiring Dukes? Not to mention Milledge, although they actually parted with something of proven value to get Milledge so maybe that doesn't exactly qualify as "taking a flyer."

Posted by: Section 419+1 | December 7, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"I'd still like them to...take a flyer on someone who may have upside."
----------------

What about Freddie Garcia?

Posted by: lowcountry | December 7, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm gonna go with the Braves for $500?
---
"Quiz: What team made 14 consecutive playoff appearnances without ever being in the top 10 for annual spending? And what was their strategy?"

Bonus question: Who was the president of that team?

Posted by: natsfan1a (before Googling) | December 7, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and Kasten as pres?

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 7, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

garcia might be an interesting signing. anyone know if he is actually interested in us?

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 7, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Cheap or Not Cheap. Either way the argument itself is getting a little old. Ya'll keep going back and forth like you're gonna change each other's mind.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 7, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

So, Hendo, was it you who was asking a few days ago "What ad hominem attacks?"

Glad to see we all just get along.

Posted by: CE | December 7, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

The "taking a flyer" I threw out there was in regards to a starting pitcher. I'd like to see a Jason Jennings, or Mark Prior or Matt Clement. Someone who might come back from an injury to become a useful starter, but is certainly not a sure thing. The "flyer" might sign up to a 1 year deal and should be young enough to consider sticking around with an extension if they work out.

Posted by: roman1735 | December 7, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Barry has a new post. Just in time...

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 7, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

the worst thing that could have happened to this city was competing in '05 with a bunch of has-beens and never-will-bes. I think that season lead a lot of fans to expect the Nats competing year in and year out even though there was no talent in the system (young or old).

'06 brought some excitement with Soriano and an unrealistically good rookie season from Zim (really, how often does a 21-year old rookie with 67 total games in the minors put up numbers as Zim did in '06?). Still, the talent level on the Nats in their minors was thin at best. Better than in '05 due to drafting some potential players (Marrero, Willems, Englund, King, Pena, Zinicola, Carr).

'07 saw the beginning of new blood coming into the system (Dmitri and Belliard aren't new blood, but teams do need a veteran presence to compete). The pitching was still something to be desired, but again the farm system has the potential to prove fruitful (Detwiler, Smoker, Zimmermann, McGeary, Alaniz as well as hitters like Burgess, Smolinksi, Seuss, Rhinehart). But, at least there was some promise with the likes of Hill, Bergmann, Lannan and Redding, likes of which were not evident in '05 or '06.

Now, this offseason, they've added more depth and more potential. Sure most if it is not with starting pitching, but you can't improve every position overnight. I would LOVE to be at the ballpark rooting my team into the playoffs, but I realize that is not going to happen. It wasn't going to happen in '05. I knew it wasn't going to happen in '06, though at the time I thought Soriano could help. In '07, I was just hoping that they wouldn't lose 100 games just to shut all the so called "experts" up. Now, in '08, I'm expecting a little bit more. Not much, just some progress in player development in the minors, maybe seeing some of the pitchers stay healthy and pitch into the 7th and 8th innings for a change, and maybe see better seasons from some of the new major-league acquisitions.

Why the need for everyone to win now, no matter the costs, is beyond me. For me, at least, the joy of being a contender is seeing it progress from year to year and knowing that the team will be in contention from year to year due to dilligent drafting and trading and not from mortgaging the future on a win-now attitude.

Patience is indeed a virtue.

Posted by: e | December 7, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I like evidence-based discussion as much as the next person, but I don't find it so filling, without some side dishes. Speculate away!

My new favorite line, I heard the other day: "The plural of 'anecdote' is NOT 'data.'" Just sharing.

I think it really is too soon for "Thrifty Ownership" labels, because the FO does have the cover of short time and starting in a deep, deep hole. Throwing money at problems helps sometimes (e.g., the expansion Diamondbacks), but not enough, and not for long. The only thing proven to work over a long term is building a strong organization, and the only proof of that is in hindsight.

It's fun to predict next year, but no one knows. Every year, EVERY YEAR, somebody comes out of nowhere. Very few expected the 2007 Nats to get anywhere near .500, and but for a very rough start, they would have.
Yogi is right. "In baseball, you don't know nothing."
(Yeah, I know: "Speak for yourself.")

Posted by: CEvans | December 7, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

This batting order will be a breath of fresh air. How many times last season did we have to send up an embarrassing batter in a crucial at bat? Now we have Nook's speed without his cheesy "switch-hitting".

Giving people second chances is not only great strategy, its a way to create story, and stories help get people to ball barks. The only "National" story about the Nationals last year was Dmitri as comeback. Credit to Bowden for spotting a potential turnaround last year (i.e. Bowden as the angel in "It's a Wonderful Life").

Sorry to see Brian Schneider go. His impact is under-rated. But Milledge rocks. Not so sorry to see Church go. Hopefully he'll do better in NYC.

Bowden needs to do a deal for a veteran pitcher to lead the young-uns.

Looking forward to next year and 09.

Posted by: Kamau | December 7, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I'll be happy with a .500 season in '08. Not a .500 season after we go 9-25 in the first month, a .500 season THE WHOLE SEASON.

My partial plan's been bought, and I don't plan on scalping any of those tix.

Posted by: Juan-John | December 7, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Now THAT's what I call finding the Dark Cloud inside the silver lining. Yes, it DID get hopes up, esp. among the less baseball savvy, but I think that's OK. The fun part was watching a team we KNEW wasn't a 100-win team go 50-31.
"Peace, and let them be, in their exultation. They know, and they do not know..."

***********
The worst thing that could have happened to this city was competing in '05 with a bunch of has-beens and never-will-bes. I think that season lead a lot of fans to expect the Nats competing year in and year out even though there was no talent in the system (young or old).
Posted by: e | December 7, 2007 11:43 AM

Posted by: CE | December 7, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

which is not to say I disagree with e's premise.

Posted by: CE | December 7, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

"So, Hendo, was it you who was asking a few days ago 'What ad hominem attacks?'

"Glad to see we all just get along."

It was I. Some day I'll learn to shut my trap.

Posted by: Hendo | December 7, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Let me throw a question out there.....what's all this about Milledge at LF and Dukes potentially at CF? Isn't Milledge a natural CF and Dukes a corner OF? Who is the better CF option among those two?

Posted by: Who's in Center? | December 7, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

307-

I think Pudge Rodriguez is a prime candidate to be in the senator's upcoming steroid tell-all. I would be careful about trying to get him before the names are named.

Posted by: Two more months | December 7, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Here is the list of available free agents as of yesterday. There is a lot of talent there if we were willing to spend some money or lose some prospects.

But the new ownership has not demonstrated a willingness to spend money or to trade outside of the Cincinnati Reds organization (joke, but not really). Can Bowden judge talent outside of his back yard?

2008 MLB Free Agents
Presenting...your 2008 free agent class.

I've categorized them by position; the player's 2008 age is in parentheses. Also Type A or B status is included; otherwise there's no compensation. If I saw someone as a possibility at more than one position I put them at both. I'll keep this post updated throughout the offseason and make it a permanent sidebar link.

Updated 12-06-07

Catchers
Michael Barrett (31) - Type A
Paul Lo Duca (36) - Type B

First basemen
Sean Casey (34) - Type B
Tony Clark (36)
Darin Erstad (34)
Ryan Klesko (37)
Mike Lamb (33)
Doug Mientkiewicz (34)

Second basemen
Marcus Giles (30)
Tadahito Iguchi (33) - Type A
Mark Loretta (37) - Type B
Jose Valentin (38)

Shortstops
David Eckstein (33) - Type B
Alexei Ramirez (26)

Third basemen
Pedro Feliz (33) - Type B
Corey Koskie (35)
Mike Lamb (32)

Left fielders
Barry Bonds (43) - Type A
Milton Bradley (30) - Type A
Cliff Floyd (35)
Luis Gonzalez (40) - Type B
Geoff Jenkins (33)
Reggie Sanders (40)
Shannon Stewart (34) - Type B
Brad Wilkerson (31)

Center fielders
Milton Bradley (30) - Type A
Mike Cameron (35) - Type B
Kenny Lofton (41) - Type B
Corey Patterson (28)
Alexei Ramirez (26)
Aaron Rowand (30) - Type A

Right fielders
Milton Bradley (30) - Type A
Kosuke Fukudome (31)
Shawn Green (35) - Type B
Geoff Jenkins (33)
Trot Nixon (34)
Reggie Sanders (40)

DHs
Barry Bonds (43) - Type A
Mike Piazza (39) - Type B
Sammy Sosa (39)
Mike Sweeney (34)

Starting pitchers
Tony Armas Jr. (30)
Kris Benson (32)
Shawn Chacon (30)
Roger Clemens (45)
Matt Clement (32)
Bartolo Colon (35)
Josh Fogg (31)
Casey Fossum (30)
Freddy Garcia (32) - Type B
Livan Hernandez (33) - Type B
Jason Jennings (29)
Kenshin Kawakami (33)
Byung-Hyun Kim (29)
Hiroki Kuroda (33)
Brian Lawrence (32)
Jon Lieber (38)
Kyle Lohse (29)
Rodrigo Lopez (32)
Mike Maroth (30)
Eric Milton (32)
Tomo Ohka (32)
Russ Ortiz (34)
Odalis Perez (31)
Kazumi Saito (30)
Carlos Silva (29)
John Thomson (34)
Brett Tomko (35)
Steve Trachsel (37)
Jeff Weaver (31)
David Wells (45)
Kip Wells (31)
Randy Wolf (31)
Jamey Wright (34)
Jaret Wright (32)

Closers
Armando Benitez (35)
Octavio Dotel (32)
Keith Foulke (35)
Eric Gagne (32) - Type B
Bob Wickman (39)

Middle relievers
Jeremy Affeldt (29)
Antonio Alfonseca (36)
Kazuo Fukumori (31)
LaTroy Hawkins (35)
Jorge Julio (29) - Type B
Ron Mahay (37) - Type B
Trever Miller (35) - Type B
Luis Vizcaino (31) - Type B

Diz

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

Detroit better watch out!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 7, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Barry Bond's jury will make a decision on his case before the jury on these changes makes its final decision.

Posted by: Tom | December 7, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I thought Bonds was not offered a contract, and not going to cost a draft pick. CMIIW

Posted by: CE | December 7, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

The Blog people are becoming more real than the baseball. There's NatsBisquit, Wigi, Section 419, Section406, Roman 1735,Jon, my favorite, Longterm, and others, who, in my opinion, make quite intelligent observations. Then there's JayB, Swanni, Ty, Hendo,(who seems to be everybody's favorite) and others, who, in my opinion, don't. But that's cool. That's what makes it fun.
The Lerners are not cheap, they're smart. Any expensive moves would amount to little in the long run. Kasten and Bowden are on the right track. In my opinion!
Hey, good post,e.

Posted by: natspo | December 7, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Whoa. You did NOT just lump JayB, swanni, and Hendo in with Ty.

Posted by: Cevans | December 8, 2007 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Only lumped them regarding the term observation in the general sense, not in the sence that their observations are similar. Hendo's are not like swanni's or JayB's either. But I get your point. Ty is in a class of his own,

Posted by: Natspo | December 8, 2007 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Having the word "class" in the same sentence is an insult to that whole page of the dictionary.

**************
But I get your point. Ty is in a class of his own,
Posted by: Natspo | December 8, 2007 07:33 AM

Posted by: ce | December 8, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

My issue with "The Plan" is that it doesn't seem to be much of a plan. Last year they brought in a zillion arms and hoped to get a pitching staff. They were chucking darts at a board and hoping enough stuck to get something credible out on the field.

Now, they're doing it again -- with the lineup. And, it's being done without any logic. We are left with one plausible major-league catcher in the whole system, while we have a huge logjam in the outfield -- almost every one of them a young prospect. Even Pena is still a bit of a project. We invest in Marrero as the future of the franchise, and then we bring in a bunch of guys ahead of him? Why deal your starting catcher for Milledge, when you're about to sign Dukes?

If we were strong at other positions, it would make sense to try out the possibilities in the outfield. It's a repeat of what the Nats did with the pitching last year -- but, we need to move beyond that bush league stuff.

And then, there's the sudden glut at first-base. If Nicky can play, this was silly. If he can't, then I have to admit it was smart. Bringing in Boone's bat is a good thing, regardless, but I wonder if he'll get anything like the at-bats he deserves. This guy hit really well for the Fish, last year, when he was healthy.

The Boone signing is illustrative of the point that, individually, every one of these moves makes some sense. Collectively, however, it's illogical. It's great to have a long-range philosophy. Yet, you have to have a plan for this year, too. Fill the holes first, then play around.

I do like the moves, and, if we find some catching, and stay healthy up the middle, this is probably a better team than last year. I say probably, because we've just added two starting outfielders who haven't done particularly well in very limited stints in the majors -- and the catching is a huge "if". As is the health of the starting pitchers... This could be a winning team this year, but it still looks like it's being assembled far too randomly. A "Plan" has to be more than a slogan -- a one-word answer to all personnel questions. There has to be a plan, before you can say there is "The Plan." It could work out, but if it does, it wiil have more to do with luck than good strategic planning.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | December 8, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

I agree with cevans re. the lumping of posters in your evaluation, natspo. For that matter, what purpose is served by singling out individual posters and questioning their intelligence (bracing myself for incoming here)?

BTW, Hendo (since you brought him up) is our eye on the minors. If you were not reading this blog during the season, you may not have have had the opportunity to read his many (intelligent) contributions in that vein.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 9, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

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