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Pre-meeting thoughts

Back from a final turn in the lobby before heading to meet with Jim Bowden and Stan Kasten.

Catching: Some of you picked this up, but one trade candidate -- a young, left-handed hitting catcher -- would be Miguel Montero of Arizona. I've bounced this off a few people and they think it makes a ton of sense. Arizona is apparently asking around about backup catchers, which would indicate they're willing to move the one they have.

And here are some thoughts from the past two days on something I haven't been able to get to yet -- Japan.

Kasten has expressed a desire, almost from the first day he arrived, to expand the Nationals' reach to Asia by signing a player or two from Japan. With all the new outfielders, the Nationals don't appear to be in the running for Kosuke Fukudome, the outfielder who appears to be the cream of the Japanese crop. A pitcher, Hiroki Kuroda, is likely to get something around four years, $44 million or so from someone, particularly because of the paucity of pitching talent in the regular free agent market.

There are indications, though, that the Nationals could still find room for a Japanese pitcher this offseason. There is apparently interest from between 8-10 teams in Kazuo Fukumori, a right-handed reliever, and the Nationals are among them. He was the closer for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He had some surgery in August on his right elbow - bone chips, I believe - but is supposed to be healthy. I'll try to chart how that goes.

Another one that might be a good fit is lefty Katsuhiko Maekawa. Not much is known about him because he didn't pitch last year in Japan. He was involved in a hit-and-run accident there, but all his legal matters are taken care of, and he's pitching in the Dominican Republic in winter ball and pitching quite well. This process is likely to go slowly as teams are just learning about Maekawa, but the Nationals are certainly listening.

Off to talk with the folks in charge. Hopefully we'll have this Clippard deal done so they'll be able to answer freely.

By Barry Svrluga  |  December 4, 2007; 4:51 PM ET
 
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Next: Clippard announcement delayed till Wednesday

Comments

A guy with legal matters to have been taken care of -- Sounds like our kinda guy.

On another note, I wonder what the Mets would take for Anderson Hernandez, switch-hitting 2b, currently 4th on the depth chart, only 25, and can get on base, apparently.
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Another one that might be a good fit is lefty Katsuhiko Maekawa. Not much is known about him because he didn't pitch last year in Japan. He was involved in a hit-and-run accident there, but all his legal matters are taken care of, and he's pitching in the Dominican Republic in winter ball and pitching quite well.

Posted by: CE | December 4, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"Back from a final turn in the lobby before heading to meet with Jim Bowden and Stan Kasten."

And all I see when you say this is a cadre of general managers swishing around the lobby, as beat writers a-plenty stare darkly in a Darcy-esque manner from their chairs, brandy in hand.

Says Jim Bodwen: Mr. Theo Epstein, let me persuade you to follow my example and take a turn about the room. It's so refreshing. - Will you not join us, Mr. Svrluga?
Mr. Svrluga: That would defeat the object.
Mr. Bowden: What do you mean, sir? What on earth can he mean?
Mr. Epstein: I think we would do better not to inquire.
Mr. Bowden: Nay, we insist on knowing your meaning, sir.
Mr. Svrluga: Well, that your portfolios and trage goals appear to best advantage when walking and that I might best admire them from my present position.
Mr. Bowden: Shocking, abominable reply! How shall we punish him, Mr. Epstein?
Mr. Epstein: Nothing so easy. Tease him, laugh at him.
Mr. Bowden: Laugh at Mr. Svrluga? Impossible, he is a man without fault.
Stan Kasten appears: Actually, I have here with me a whole list of his faults. . .


Or is that I've been reading too much Pride and Prejudice. Anyway, well done, Mr. Svrluga.

Posted by: Atlanta | December 4, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute, that was his OPS, no OBP. Nevermind.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Montero looks pretty weak, but Mike Rizzo would know better than I do.

Posted by: Three more months | December 4, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

re-posting from earlier thread:

how about Rauch and Lopez to the Pirates for Catcher Ryan Doumit, SS Jack Wilson and SP Ian Snell?

Posted by: e | December 4, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Brilliant, Atlanta.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 4, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Atlanta: L. O. L. !! :)

Posted by: JennX | December 4, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I love it Atlanta.

I like the principal e, but I don't know enough about Doumit, or that the Pirates would be willing to pay such a steep price.

I would happily take Freddy Sanchez off there hands, with Doumit. If they could agree to that (methinks no).

Question:
What do we need most right now?
Starting Pitching or Middle Infield?

This assumes that Lastings or Dukes or someone can be an adequate leadoff guy.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | December 4, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

love the trade "e"...get it done!

Posted by: love | December 4, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Pirates have been trying to unload Jack Wilson for awhile now. He's expensive, but a better defensive SS than Lopez or Guzman.

Doumit is a switch-hitting 26-year old catcher that basically platoons with Ronny Paulino. He's a better batter from the left side than the right, so he could easily platoon with Flores.

Snell wants out of Pittsburgh. The Nats need SP. He's young, talented and in the grand scheme of things, not that expensive.

The Pirates have decent starting pitching and could use some bullpen help. If Rauch and Lopez aren't enough, maybe we could throw in another reliever.

Posted by: e | December 4, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Darcy and Yossarian on the same day! All we need now is an appearance by Holden Cauldfield (who I understand has developed into a nice, left-handed hitting . . .)

Posted by: lowcountry | December 4, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

could this be a potential 5th OF/utility guy and LH bat off of the bench? for cheap? 350 OBP, some speed, has played some 2B and even a little 3B.

===
To make room on its 40-man roster, Atlanta designated speedy outfielder Willie Harris for assignment. Harris batted .270 with two homers, 32 RBIs and a .349 on-base percentage this season. He stole 17 bases in 28 attempts and scored 56 runs. He also had 20 doubles and eight triples.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 4, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, the word on Caulfield at C is that, while his defense is excellent, his offense is lacking...

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Darcy and Yossarian on the same day! All we need now is an appearance by Holden Cauldfield (who I understand has developed into a nice, left-handed hitting . . .)

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 4, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

There's also Alexander Portnoy, but I don't think that you want to go there...

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 4, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

e,

both doumit and snell could be good fits for this team. as you point out, wilson is better than guzman defensively, but that's the most that can be said for him. he's owed over $13M for the next two seasons, and i don't see the nats spending that kind of money, especially on a guy who really isn't a significant upgrade, unless it's part of a package that they absolutely feel they must have (and must having something isn't their style), they might as well stick with guzman (at $2M less than wilson) for one more year and be done with him.

Posted by: blueson | December 4, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I might teach history, but I'll play the English game too...

I heard Winston Smith was looking promising, a nice left(ist) hander out of England. But he's since regressed in the minors, apparently he thought that he was always being watched...

Posted by: NattyDelite! | December 4, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

231:

The stats you quoted for Willie Harris look good on paper, but this worries me from the press release:

"Harris became a fan favorite after being promoted to Atlanta from Triple-A Richmond on April 30. In his first 45 games with the Braves, the 28-year-old veteran hit .383 with a .440 on-base percentage. But in his final 71 games, he hit .204 with a .297 on-base percentage."

Did the league catch up with him? He really hasn't done much in 7 big league seasons - .247/.318/.321 career hitter.

Posted by: #4 | December 4, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

There's also Alexander Portnoy, but I don't think that you want to go there...
________________________________

We'll if we are hiring psychologists anyway . . . Just as long as we stay away from Raskilnokov or anymore of his ilk.

Posted by: lowcountry | December 4, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Stop, stop, I'm having an ecstatic fit of literary dorkedness. Yes, I added a syllable.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 4, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

He has an older brother, I think.

---


I heard Winston Smith was looking promising, a nice left(ist) hander out of England. But he's since regressed in the minors, apparently he thought that he was always being watched...

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 4, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

The more the merrier Natty D - but you should know that I'm one of those too.

Posted by: lowcountry | December 4, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I will point out that Michael Henchard is a proven veteran with women troubles, which seems to fit perfectly.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | December 4, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Stan mentioned going after a free agents. Any chance the Nats are looking to go after David Eckstein? He can play both SS and 2nd base and can be a leadoff hitter. They can then dump FLOP.

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

How about me as an SP?

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

Gosh, what an intellectual group! I say Franny and Zooey at short and second, Phoebe at first and maybe, Shoeless joe in center field.

Posted by: natspo | December 4, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

We're on our way to Motown

Posted by: Miguel Cabrera & Dontrelle Willis | December 4, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Walt and Waker are both lefties.

Posted by: #1 Lurker | December 4, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Let's trade all of our convicts and a relieve or two to the Rangers for Jarrod Scott Saltalamacchia , 22 years old,Catcher, BA.266 OBP.310 SLG.422. When the Nats played the Braves, I coveted him.

Posted by: flynnie | December 4, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Atlanta, I'm sure my cubemates to port and starboard thought I'd gone loony(ier) when they heard me chortle at your P&P riff. Gotta be the post of the offseason so far.

Everyone here knows how I feel about Snell. If he can pass a physical, I'd be inclined to find out what it takes and try to make it happen.

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

There is a Charlie Dickens from an overseas league who I hear ia a most prolific lead off man. I have an expectation of great things from him.

Posted by: Dale | December 4, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Peter Gammons just broke a story about the Tigers winning the cabrera sweepstakes. The Tigers get Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis for Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin, and 4 other prospects.

Posted by: Federico | December 4, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Dorian, but you peaked a while ago, and your '07 performances showed a bit of Wildeness.

Posted by: Hendo | December 4, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Damn, if only Willis and Cabrera had criminal records, they would have been ours!

Posted by: swanni | December 4, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Continuing Atlanta's literary snark and summing up the theme of the past 24 hours. There is a veteran Russian lead-off hitter with an amazing on-base percentage who may be able to assist Dmitri in his mentoring responsibilities who goes by the name of Razkolnikov.

Posted by: Section 311 | December 4, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

OK, so the good news Cabrera is gone to the fake baseball league. The bad news is the Marlins are playing this building for the future game pretty well. But back on the good news side, by the time Maybin matures, the Marlins will be trading away Hanley Ramirez. I guess this makes since for the Tigers since they are legitimate contenders in the AL Central, but I'm thinking D-Train Willis might be hurt. He sure has grown ineffective.

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 4, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

"Damn, if only Willis and Cabrera had criminal records, they would have been ours!"

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?

Posted by: Hendo | December 4, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Did Stan waylay Barry, or did Dukes send him a threatening text message of some kind?

Posted by: Svrlugamania | December 4, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Barry has a new post up, about a delay in announcements.

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 4, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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