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Estrada deal done; Flores likely to Class AA

The Nats just announced the deal with free agent catcher Johnny Estrada. One year, $1.25 million -- and that, according to GM Jim Bowden, is a big reason why they did this. Remember: Estrada was an arbitration-eligible guy when he was non-tendered by the Mets (following his trade from the Brewers). He made $3.4 million last season and would have made more had the Mets offered him a contract.

But when he was non-tendered and became a free agent, he also became a bargain. And something I haven't talked about (but many of you have touched on): He's a switch-hitter, offering the chance for some balance in what could be, on a daily basis, a very right-handed heavy lineup.

"Certainly, Paul's operation was a success, and the doctors feel he'll be back in four- to six weeks," Bowden said by phone. "This had nothing to do with that. It does have to do with the fact that Johnny is a hitter. He's hit .280 against right-handed pitching over the last three years [actually .282]. He gives us better balance, strengthens our bench, and allows us to let Jesus Flores go to Double A and catch every day."

This is the crux, isn't it? I don't know many Rule 5 catchers who hit .244 who have had as much ink spilled on them as Jesus Flores. But Bowden said, and we've talked about it a lot, that there was much discussion internally about this topic over the winter, and ultimately -- if there was a deal like this one out there -- the Nats preferred to send Flores to the minors.

"Baseball's always about competition," Bowden said. "We always want the best player to play. You could sign these two catchers and all of a sudden Jesus shows he's improved even more. But I do know it's tough to go from being Rule 5d and go from Single A to the big leagues and not get many at-bats and then all of a sudden be ready to start. He needs some more development."

Bowden, though, said he would talk to Flores about it all. "He knows how we feel about him," Bowden said. "We think he's our long-term solution."

Why Class AA Harrisburg, more than likely, over Class AAA Columbus? "We think the pitching prospects are better there," Bowden said. "He'll see better stuff there." More over, they could also send a Chad Moeller or someone to Columbus.

Let's look, for a minute, at a Nats lineup and the flexibility the team has now in a right-handed/left-handed situation.

2B -- Lopez (S)
C-- Lo Duca (R)
3B -- Zimmerman (R)
1B -- Young (S) or Johnson (L)
RF -- Kearns (R)
LF -- Pena (R)
CF -- Milledge (R)
SS -- Guzman (S)
Pitcher

But perhaps, against a Tim Hudson or a John Smoltz or another tough right-hander, you could go with something like this:

2B -- Lopez (S)
SS -- Guzman (S)
3B -- Zimmerman (R)
1B -- Young (S) or Johnson (L)
RF -- Kearns (R)
LF -- Pena (R)
C -- Estrada (S)
CF -- Milledge (R)
Pitcher

This, of course, doesn't take into account the fact the Nats are pushing the idea of Ronnie Belliard as the starting second baseman. But on a given day, if Lopez and Estrada and Guzman play, the Nats could at least have four left-handed hitters in the lineup.

Also -- and I've way way way way underplayed this -- you have to go to the Clark Construction Cam at about 4:48 p.m. on Thursday, because not only is the giant HDTV on, it's showing some sort of sitcom. I mean, let's all get our X-Boxes and go down there and hook them up. That thing is going to be tremendous.

By Barry Svrluga  |  January 31, 2008; 3:26 PM ET
 
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Comments

Whaa? The Nats signed Estrada?

Posted by: John in Mpls | January 31, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey, i have an idea...lets discuss the merits of having signed LoDuca and Estrada versus Schneider. We haven't discussed that yet, have we?

Still liking this signing, still expect to see Flores get plenty of time in the Show this year. My dad's knees (one replaced, one to be replaced) are about the same as Estrada and LoDuca's, so I expect at least 2 DL stays from each of them this year.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | January 31, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Those top two "hitters" tell us all we need to know about why Vegas says the Nats are 200-1 to win the Series in '08.

Posted by: Out Machines | January 31, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Kinda looks like we traded the mets:

Mets get:
Schneider
Church

Nats get:
Milledge
Estrada
LoDuca

Looks like a pretty sweet deal to me, plus we got discounts on LoDuca and Estrada from last years salary so they can also throw in some cash considerations... definately a solid deal.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | January 31, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Holy crap, I agree with a Hokie. I'll take Milledge with tons of upside (2 cheap catchers with the chance to be decent hitters, and a full season in the minors for Jesus) for a catcher who can't hit - other than the Schneiderman weeks in 06 - and a habitual underperformer (really, that doubles total will come down outside of RFK) in Church who won't play everyday.

Also, kudos to the FO for sending Flores to AA instead of AAA. Let him begin building that relationship with those arms, and hopefully a few of those Lake Monsters from last year will find there way to Harrisburg later on this summer.

Posted by: Corey | January 31, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

This is good,eh! This is better for "da Jesus". I know don't mess with da Jesus...
I'm not, he'll have time to play with his 2010 buddies...

Posted by: NiceNat | January 31, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

... I guess I realize, the necessity of, and grudgingly agree with,, launching the season with Flippie at 2B. We have to find out if he's crawled out of last year's cave and into the bright sunshine again.

... but I wouldn't be prepared to go very far before making a hard assessment, pulling the plug, and putting Ronnie B. back where he belongs.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | January 31, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I think the proper form of the verb is "Rule 5'd." You have to use an apostrophe with a single letter (or number), similar to the difference between "A's" and "As."

Posted by: Cosmo | January 31, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree that AA is the right answer for Flores, for two reasons (in addition to the one Jimbo cited): First, he'll be with the pitchers he needs to handle when they all get to the show; and second, if you send him to AAA and he struggles, then you have to consider demoting him further, which could detract from his confidence. Even if he hits .244 at AA, you can leave him there all year and tell him it's OK, focus on your defense, learn the pitchers. Plus, if he hits .284 at AA instead, great; and if he hits .324 well then let's call him up!

Posted by: Bob L. Head | January 31, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Also, Barry, what happened to Belliard in your lineups? It seems he should replace Lopez in the first one at least.

And "Out Machines" is right, not exactly a fearsome 1-2 punch at the top of the order, no matter how you slice it.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | January 31, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I posted that last one before I read the last paragraph.

(Nooooooooooooooooo!)

Posted by: Bob L. Head | January 31, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

If I was 22, I would find it difficult to understand how spending a year in AA would actually be better for me than being in the bigs... but I really think that the Nats came out about as good as they ever could have hoped in this situation... which is way ahead.

Show me a couple of heir-apparents in the middle infield, and I will be a happy fan.

Posted by: Wigi | January 31, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Good acquisition; now we have two good hitting catchers, we have cover for any additional injury time for Lo Duca, and we can get Flores a starting full time job at AA. Plus we don't depend on .224 hitting Moeller or Cota.

If Estrada really lights it up we could move him to someone who needs a C/DH type flexibility in the AL.

Here's a good question: by my count Estrada makes 41 on the 40-man roster. Who drops? Maybe we drop Casto, who now isn't even listed among the top 20 prospects in the Nats organization.

We'll also need to clear a spot for whoever wins the situational lefty spot between Bascik and King (I'm hoping its Bascik, since he proved he could do spot starts last year. That'd be a huge plus).

AND that doesn't count either of the two rule-5 guys, neither of whom i can really see making the 25 man roster at this point (not with the signings of 2 new outfielders plus Harris and Mackowiak). I can see Bowden trying to trade prospects for them ala Levale Speigner.

Posted by: Sec131 | January 31, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Yabbut I (or one of my relatives) am on at 3:47. Doesn't get much cuter than that, does it? :)

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Also -- and I've way way way way underplayed this -- you have to go to the Clark Construction Cam at about 4:48 p.m. on Thursday, because not only is the giant HDTV on, it's showing some sort of sitcom. I

Posted by: Tai Shan | January 31, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Alternatively, one could use "fived" as in "high-fived" ... um, when do pitchers and catchers report again?

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I think the proper form of the verb is "Rule 5'd." You have to use an apostrophe with a single letter (or number), similar to the difference between "A's" and "As."

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 31, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I have to admit that I've come 180 degrees on the Estrada signing. That's because I didn't factor in two things - our young starters get to work with a pair of veteran catchers and Flores can mature faster by playing everyday in the minors. Also, not having a pair of righthanded hitting catchers on the roster gives Manny more manuverability. PLD can hit higher in the lineup and Estrada can hit lower when they play.

Posted by: leetee1955 | January 31, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

If we take into account an improved sound system we could get just about the sickest game of Rockband ever!

-------------------------------------
I mean, let's all get our X-Boxes and go down there and hook them up. That thing is going to be tremendous.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | January 31, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

[RF] the X-Boxes, I'd love to try a Wii out on that screen!

Posted by: Juan-John | January 31, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, since we probably only have 24-48 hours to guess who gets dropped from the 40-man, I'm going to go with Hanrahan over Casto, Whitesell, or Bernadina. I think he is the least likely to be claimed (based on lack of control/success last year). He was a 6 year ML free agent when the Nats signed him. And he is also the oldest.

Posted by: NatBisquit | January 31, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Barry why the love for PLOP yet again?

Granted I did not travel with the team or have clubhouse access but I did see a lot of baseball and Ronnie is Soooooooo much better than Lopez in every way possible. Ronnie is a baseball player and PLOP has talent. Give me the ball player every time.

Time and time again you put in into your plans while the Nats have made it clear they do not. I still think he will be gone as soon as he has one good spring training game, traded for a bag of balls if they can still get that for him. What do you see in him that would ever override all the negatives?

Posted by: JayB | January 31, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

still gotta vote for langerhans to be left off the roster. nobody will pick him up, and even if they do, his upside is 5th OF anyway.

Posted by: 231 | January 31, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Like you said JayB, he's got talent. Even if we can't get a bag of balls that we like for him, there's a chance he can play his way into a type B free agent and pick up a draft pick for him. If all goes well he could even end up playing close to his potential and be a decent player for us.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | January 31, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm also in the Langerhasn't camp by the way, I like his defense and intensity, but we've got plenty of guys who can run around the outfield. Him or Harris should be the one booted off the roster, least chance they get picked up.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | January 31, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

hey, at least harris might have a chance to play infield as a backup, since he started as a 2B. langerhans can't do that.

Posted by: 231 | January 31, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Man, to hook up some Halo 3 on that thing...

Actually, I think I'd play BioShock (which I just got). I think I would jump half way to the moon playing it on that screen at night and probably end up crying like a little baby.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | January 31, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Now, if Flores finds out you're hooking up XBoxes and Wiis to the big screen, the 22YO will be really pissed he's going to Harrisburg.

Posted by: Priority check | January 31, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

What a great in-game promotion... wii and the Nats... between innings, some kid from the stands gets a chance to hit off on one of the Virtual Nats on a wii... and they show it on the screen...

Posted by: Wigi | January 31, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Could be called "wii love the Nats"!

---

What a great in-game promotion... wii and the Nats... between innings, some kid from the stands gets a chance to hit off on one of the Virtual Nats on a wii... and they show it on the screen...

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 31, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

MASN continues its silence on HD. The O's and Nats are the last teams in MLB that don't have HD. This makes MASN the biggest rip-off in sports programming in the country.

http://www.tvpredictions.com/masn013108.htm

(note the byline - is that our Swanni?)

Posted by: NatBisquit | January 31, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Just another outsider's perspective/rankings, but Keith Law of ESPN.com has ranked his top 100 prospects in the game.

The Nats score 4, with Ross Detwiler (51), Chris Marrero (64), Jordan Zimmerman(n) [Law omits the second "n"] (83), and Josh Smoker (90).

At least by this measure as well, our farm system is improving, considering that the three pitchers were just picked up in last year's draft. Further, this list includes "prospects" such as Joba Chamberlain, Clay Buchholz, and Cameron Maybin, all players that have obviously seen far more extended time at the major league level than any of the guys from our team (only Detwiler appeared and that was for 1 inning). Thus, our players are being ranked with some others who may under the prospect definition only in a very loose sense.

The Tin Yurl is: http://tinyurl.com/37wabc

Posted by: faNATic | January 31, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

A "Noooooooooo" moment correction from my post immediately above:

--------------------------

Thus, our players are being ranked with some others who may *FALL* under the prospect definition only in a very loose sense.

Posted by: faNATic | January 31, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Baseball Prospectus has Burgess at #81...no Smoker or Zimmerman. Marrero and Detwiler are both top 35.

Can't wait to see who plays in Potomac this year. If you have never been, its worth the trip. Cheap tickets, good atmosphere. The stadium is antiquated by todays standards and they sure could use a better scoreboard, but the promotions are pretty solid and everybody who works there is helpful.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | February 1, 2008 1:18 AM | Report abuse

From today's Rocky Mountain News:

Right-hander Livan Hernandez, who had been on hold with the Mets in case they didn't land Johan Santana, now is telling interested teams that he has an offer to return to Washington.

Posted by: swanni | February 1, 2008 4:34 AM | Report abuse

Two things. First, I'm in the Langerhans camp for most likely to be voted off the island of 40. I like him, but the OF is so much more talented and younger today than it was a year ago.

Second, Swanni, please tell me this isn't a joke. Livo back with us!! I'd love that, in case y'all hadn't heard.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | February 1, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

The Livan report is from Tracy Ringolsby, one of the game's better reporters.

Posted by: swann | February 1, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Barry,

Please, please, please, ask the appropriate reporter at the Post to look into the MASN HD situation. They have had almost zero public pressure about this in the maintstream press. Washington DC ranks as the eighth largest media market inthe country. Baltimore is 24th. This puts both ahead of such MLB cities as KC, SD, Milwaukie, and Cinncinati. And only 7 MLB cities rank higher than DC. MASN seems to be investing all their capital into litigation instead of technology. Presumably they made some promises to the Nationals and MLB about investment and quality of programming.

(Also, for those of us on Verizon FIOS I am converned that those MASN 2 broadcasts will be delivered in the same poor picture quality that the Comcast II Wizards games are delivered. It seems that the DPI - or whatever the correct measure is - is much less on those broadcasts leading to fuzzy pictures. Am I going to have to watch 1/3 of the Nats broadcasts on fuzzy vision?)

And I don't mean to be an adjitator (or, do i?), but if any of the rest of you are interested in this topic, let it be known.

Posted by: NatBisquit | February 1, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Swanni, you're a curmudgeon, but you write a good article, kudos!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 1, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Okay, so the Livan thing isn't anywhere near official, but, since we have some time to kill, let's assume for the moment that it is.

Where do you see him in the lineup?

If Patterson and Hill are both healthy, do you see him as a number 3 pitcher? What does this mean for someone like Chico?

And finally, consider this. Much was made about the improved clubhouse atmosphere in 2007 after the departure of certain players. Is bringing Livan back to that clubhouse - as well as adding Milledge, Lo Duca, and Dukes, all of whom have clubhouse question marks - putting that chemistry in jeopardy? Can Manny reign it in?

Man, I can't wait until April, when we can replace hypothetical questions with questions like, "Isn't it nice to not have Nook Logan?"

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 1, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I would welcome Livo with open arms. They would have to be wide open, as Livo is wide.

Someone wise said a few days ago that we need to get ready for the prognosticators to make dire predictions about the team, and this is starting to play out. Fox Sports went through the different teams in the NL East, for instance, and had a section for each about "Why they'll win" adn "Why they won't win". That is, for all the teams except the Nats. For the Nats they only had a section "Why they won't win". As if Florida will be better.

Then you have Nats-hater Keith Law. His rankings had the Nats players lower than Baseball Prospectus, and in a chat he explained that Michael Burgess is not in the top 100 (unlike with BP) because he is "all projection".

Some have been more impressed, like Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus, and others who think the offense will be improved. I have also noted before that the team is showing up as a subject in a lot more chats. The team's profile is improving, but there are many naysayers who will look with scorn until the winning really does start.

Posted by: Two more weeks | February 1, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

get used to it. people around the country love to hate on the redskins, overlook the wizards, and ignore the nats. there will be a reckoning!

Posted by: longterm | February 1, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Here's an article in the Hardball Times that has at least a sympathetic view of the Nats' offseason:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-quest-for-respectability/

Posted by: Two more weeks | February 1, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

2mw, is there a link to that Nats-dissin' page on FOX Sports? Google isn't finding it.

Posted by: Hendo | February 1, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

i guess hardballtimes doesn't know who hill is... or they think he won't play at all this season...

"Going into spring, the rotation is set with Chico and Bergmann joined by John Patterson, John Lannan and Joel Hanrahan. With Patterson as the lone veteran, it's a rotation that's even younger than the one in Pittsburgh. Although Patterson claims to be healthy, the Nationals undoubtedly will proceed with caution considering he's been hampered by forearm problems since 2006 and has thrown more than 100 innings in a season only once."

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | February 1, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

ESPN Scouts Inc. Top 100 Prospects Ranking for 2008 link is below (Free even if you're not an insider) I take issue with the Marrero comments...

Nats of Note:
51 Ross Detwiler
Detwiler is a polished lefty from Missouri State who should move quickly through the Nats' system, although the Nationals' decision to recall him in September was a bit enthusiastic (and shortsighted, since it put him on the 40-man roster sooner than necessary). Detwiler is tall and thin, but has broad shoulders and should be durable despite concerns about his slight build at the moment. His fastball is already above average at 90-94 and flashes plus, and his slider projects as an out pitch if he can stay on top of it consistently, giving it a sharp, late bite. He has a solid-average changeup with good arm speed to fill out his repertoire, as well as a show-me curve. He's a strike thrower with good feel, so while his ceiling is limited to mid-rotation duty, he's a high-probability prospect who should be in Washington's rotation soon.

64 Chris Marrero
Marrero is a classic "stuck at first base" player -- can't play anywhere else and isn't a plus defender at first -- who will have to hit his way to the big leagues. His best tool is his power, both to pull and to the opposite field, but the rest of his game has holes. His bat is somewhat slow and his swing is long, making it questionable whether he'll be able to show power against better stuff in the high minors. His defense at first is adequate but won't be an asset. He's here because there's a good chance he hits 25-30 homers once he gets to the majors, but the rest of his skill set will keep him from being a star.

83 Jordan Zimmerman
Zimmerman has a chance for four solid-average pitches and excellent control, projecting as a No. 3 starter if his command improves. He's very athletic and has a loose, fluid arm action, and wasn't worked as hard as most college pitchers due to a broken jaw in his final spring in school.

90 Josh Smoker
Smoker is an aggressive lefty with solid-average velocity, projecting to plus, and outstanding sink. His curve has very tight rotation and a sharp two-plane break. He'll have to show he can command his stuff and hold his velocity deep into games.

http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/insider/columns/story?columnist=law_keith&id=3221365&action=upsell&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fmlb%2finsider%2fcolumns%2fstory%3fcolumnist%3dlaw_keith%26id%3d3221365

Posted by: P Nats Fan | February 1, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I for one will be perfectly content if everyone continues to underestimate the Nats for as long as possible. The more that teams show up and say, "oh, just the Nats, this shouldn't take long," the better for us.

Posted by: Under the Radar | February 1, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm assuming it's a "show-me curve" because he's from the Show Me State?

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 1, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

or is it that he shows the curve early? (Doesn't hide the ball well in his glove?)

Posted by: P Nats Fan | February 1, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I like the Show Me state theory, John in Mpls, but I think that a show-me pitch is kind of a baseline acceptable pitch that's okay to run out there once in a while to keep hitters off balance, but isn't a strength or an out pitch.

Posted by: faNATic | February 1, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

How about hooking up a PC to that screen and playing World of Warcraft? I'd love to see what a Tauren looks like on THAT! :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | February 1, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

reference: http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-quest-for-respectability/

One other thing to like about the Estrada signing: Before non-tendering the catcher, the Mets tried to include him in the Milledge deal. Had the Nationals accepted, he would have cost them at least $4 million. Instead, they get him at around a 70 percent discount. Smart move.

EXACTLY! this isn't cheap. this is money free to go somewhere else. prudent.

Posted by: longterm | February 1, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey Cosmo, in Barry's piece on the Estrada signing that appears in today's dead trees edition, he amended the Bowden quote to read "Rule 5'd" instead of "Rule 5d." The Planet NJ editors strike again!

P Nats, I agree that the comments about Marrero don't add up. How can they evaluate his defense at first when he just started learning the position in the instructional league last fall? The dude is only 19. If he was 24 and smacking 25 HRs while batting .244 in AA ball then OK, you can write something like that. But not now, not yet, give him 2-3 years and let's see if he's improved.

And I'd be fine with adding Livo for pitching depth. Patterson, Hill and Bergmann all ended the season on the DL, and "you can never have too much pitching." I am somewhat concerned about clubhouse chemistry, as I've said before, but I don't think Livo would cause any problems.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 1, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

OK, it's not even Groundhog Day, and we've got to discuss *something*, but let's keep in mind that what "prognosticators" -- national or local -- think will happen is completely irrelevant. They don't know any more than you do, and less than many here. The correspondence to reality is a mathematical zero. I wouldn't sweat what Keith Law thinks.
Now, HD, or the lack thereof, THAT's a problem. And I don't even have a TV. Where's Adam Smith when you need him?

Posted by: CE | February 1, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

What he said.

and ... LIVO! LIVO! LIVO!
I hope they give him his old number back -- I got a couple of his jerseys on sale for $16 last fall.

********
This isn't cheap: This is money free to go somewhere else. Prudent.
Posted by: longterm | February 1, 2008 12:16 PM

Posted by: CE | February 1, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

It would be great if the local media would do us all a favor and light a fire under MASN's ass, but it seems like nobody really cares. I guess newspaper reporters are too busy writing to have the time for watching a high definition TV.

Posted by: Ron | February 1, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Update on MASN:

MASN: Still Working On HDTV In 2008
The network is the last holdout in offering high-def broadcasts of Major League Baseball.
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (February 1, 2008) -- MASN, which has the broadcast rights to the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles, says it's still working to air "some" games in High-Definition during the 2008 season.

MASN's lack of HD coverage to date has become both a local and national issue for baseball fans. As of now, the Orioles and Nats are the only two Major League Baseball teams that will not be broadcast locally in High-Definition during the 2008 season.

Many Nats and O's fans have expressed their displeasure on baseball message boards -- and in e-mails sent to TVPredictions.com.

But Todd Webster, a MASN spokesman, told TVPredictions.com today that the regional sports network is still talking to cable and satellite operators about providing high-def coverage this season.

"We're still planning for some (Nats and O's) games (in HD) this season," he said. "We're working with the affiliates (cable and satellite operators) to expand their capability for (MASN in HD.)

But Webster acknowledged that "not much has changed in the last six months" in those discussions. "But we are still trying to work it out."

The regional sports network told the Baltimore Sun last year that it might offer high-def coverage of the Nats and Orioles this year. But today, less than two months before the 2008 season begins, the network has still not announced its high-def plans.

Every other MLB team has already announced that its regional sports network will provide some games in high-def this year, including the Kansas City Royals, which were not broadcast locally in high-def last year.

Webster said it's still possible that MASN could make a HD announcement by Opening Day.

In the past, MASN has said it has not offered the two teams in high-def because it did not have a dedicated HD channel.

However, the sports network could broadcast some games in high-def and offer them to cable and satellite providers who in turn could show them on their HD channels. It could also launch a high-def simulcast channel and ask the cable and satellite operators to carry it.

http://www.tvpredictions.com/masn020108.htm

In addition, MASN could offer some HD games to Washington area station WDCA (channel 20), which can transmit in high-def. The sports network has shown standard-definition Nationals games on WDCA during the past three seasons.

Posted by: swanni | February 1, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

HD and MASN and Fuzzy MASN are a big deal to me too!

I watch them all......would love to get some return on my FIOS/HD TV investment this year Barry.....Barry.....Are you there?

Posted by: JayB | February 1, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Good to hear MASN say they are still working on HD, but this is very similar to what it said last year and in 2006.

See:
http://www.tvpredictions.com/natshd081706.htm
http://www.tvpredictions.com/oriolesnats011407.htm

Also discouraging that Webster said nothing has changed in the last six months.

Posted by: swanni | February 1, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I was only joking. I've always loved that Missouri is the Show Me State. (I can't say I've always loved Missouri, though.)

That being said, I still wasn't exactly certain about the meaning of the phrase. Your explanation sounds reasonable, though, given the context.

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I like the Show Me state theory, John in Mpls, but I think that a show-me pitch is kind of a baseline acceptable pitch that's okay to run out there once in a while to keep hitters off balance, but isn't a strength or an out pitch.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 1, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Geez, just let me catch a few more winks, will ya?

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OK, it's not even Groundhog Day,

Posted by: Punxsutawney Phil | February 1, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

So if Livo will take, say $4M/one year, and can still deliver 200+ innings at or under 5.00 ERA, and probably hit .250 just for gravy, he'll probably sell a few hundred extra tickets per start, too. Good enough for me.
So that means Patterson, Hill, Bergmann, Livo, and Chico, until about May 1, when Lannan or someone like him replaces Patterson. More fun than the Starter: Guess the March 30 Rotation might be Guess the June 30 Rotation, sponsored by 5 Guys Burgers: What Five Guys will they have called up/brought in by then?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong (do I even need to ask that? ;) ) but I think that a show-me pitch is one that is not a regular part of a pitcher's repertoire but rather is used to set up another pitch?

That said, I also think that it was used in the piece because of the Missouri connection.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 1, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Also Newpo stup

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 1, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"But Webster acknowledged that 'not much has changed in the last six months' in those discussions. 'But we are still trying to work it out.'"
*************************
NO! No 'TRY' - DO.
Or do not. There is no "try."

Posted by: Seriously. | February 1, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Do you mean there is no "trying" in baseball?

Posted by: swanni | February 1, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I think both people are right about the 'show-me' pitch. It's a pitch just meant to change the hitters timing and eye level. Usually this pitch is out of the strike zone to set up something harder next. But it is considered part of their arsenal, even though it's not in heavy rotation, adding to the number of pitches a pitcher is considered to have.

At least that's my understanding.

Posted by: 307 | February 1, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

It's a 'show me' curve because if it's in the strike zone, it's a 'crush me' curve. Just show it to them, don't let them hit it.

Posted by: CE | February 1, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Good one, Swanni!

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Do you mean there is no "trying" in baseball?

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 1, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

After reviewing the play, er, posting, I think that faNATic said what I was trying to say, only better (re. the show-me pitch).

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 1, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Watching Livo cough up a few runs in the top of the first can be pretty trying.

Posted by: Hendo | February 1, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The same can be said of Patterson.

(Sorry JP's mom.)

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Watching Livo cough up a few runs in the top of the first can be pretty trying.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 1, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Those are just "Show-me hairballs." He'll be fine.

********
Watching Livo cough up a few runs in the top of the first can be pretty trying.
Posted by: Hendo | February 1, 2008 01:24 PM

Posted by: No, really. | February 1, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

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