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Grab bag

As we get back to serious work here - GM Jim Bowden was out of the office (but always working) for 10 days or so around the holidays, and the Nationals offices were shut for a week - there are a number of issues about which folks have asked me. Unfortunately, I might not have the answers you're looking for, but here goes:

· FanFest or Caravan: With Nook Logan jettisoned and Mike O'Connor signed to a minor league deal, can the Nationals actually have a caravan this year? I put in a call about what's going on with this today, and will get you word as soon as I have it. But for now - with six weeks to go before spring training - there's nothing to announce.
· Spring training schedule: The club isn't set to release its Grapefruit League schedule yet, as there are still some kinks to be worked out. But a good guess - culled from the already released schedules of other teams - appears here. I don't know if I'd book any flights based on this, but if you feel adventurous, go ahead.
· Charlie Slowes: From what I understand, the Nationals still intend to bring back the only radio play-by-play man they have ever had, and his partner Dave Jageler is already under contract. Details of Slowes's deal are still being hashed out. Slowes is keeping mum on all this, as is the club, but no snags are expected.
· Nick Johnson: For some reason, people are wondering if he is "done" as a player. (Perhaps it has something to do with not playing since, oh, September 2006.) I have been in touch with Johnson during the offseason, and he reports that workouts are going well and that he intends to be ready for 2008. I hope to bring you more on this topic in coming weeks.
· Pitching help: With an already thin free agent pitching market thinning out even further (adios, Mark Prior), the Nationals are still maintaining contact with agents for some starting pitchers. It appears they're willing to take a chance on a guy coming back from an injury. They watched a workout with Kris Benson, as reported by, and have interest in former Houston and Colorado starter Jason Jennings, among others. The all-knowing has a free agent tracker here, and you can sort it by position. Check out the starting pitchers. There is the old (Roger Clemens, Jon Lieber, Steve Trachsel, David Wells), the injured (Benson, Jennings, Bartolo Colon) and the awful (Tony Armas, Russ Ortiz, Josh Towers). Don't get excited by the possible return of Darrell Rasner, either (is that even possible?). Just like Mike O'Connor - who's on this list as available but re-signed a minor league deal with the Nationals after being "non-tendered" - Rasner, the former National, signed a minor league deal with the Yankees.

That's it for now. When I get real news, you'll be the first to know.

By Barry Svrluga  |  January 3, 2008; 12:08 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: New Year's Resolutions Edition
Next: No FanFest, but player appearances


Thanks for the updates! Happy New Year to one and all.

Posted by: samantha7 | January 3, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Lovin' the grab bags!

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 3, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update. Now give me two laps and hit the showers. You have a long season ahead of you and we do not want to burn you out too early. You are our opening day reporter and Feb. 14 is just around the corner.

Posted by: ChrisC | January 3, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Spring Training schedule from the Nats web-site:
February 29 MARLINS 1:05 pm
March 1 ORIOLES 1:05 pm
March 3 CARDINALS 1:05 pm
March 4 DODGERS 1:05 pm
March 6 METS 7:05 pm
March 9 INDIANS (ss) 1:05 pm
March 10 TIGERS 1:05 pm
March 13 MARLINS 7:05 pm
March 14 INDIANS (ss) 1:05 pm
March 15 DODGERS 1:05 pm
March 17 METS 1:05 pm
March 20 ASTROS 7:05 pm
March 22 BRAVES 1:05 pm
March 24 TIGERS 1:05 pm
March 27 ORIOLES 1:05 pm

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | January 3, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Tickets on sale 1/26.

Posted by: PB69 | January 3, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Barry - You have no idea what a wonderful and invaluable service you provide to the fans with your Journal. I have been scouring the web for info on Charlie Slowes' status with the Nats and, naturally, my end solution and best information comes from your Journal. You are THE man. Now go collect your raise. (I'm sure it must be in the works if it's not already in your paycheck)

Posted by: Barb | January 3, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I just saw that Robert Fick signed with San Diego. Is that new news or has it been out a while? In any case, we can all rest easy that our long national nightmare is over.

Posted by: Ray | January 3, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey Barry, one last item, brought up inadvertently by a poster. Who's starting on Opening Day for the Washington Post?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | January 3, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I believe that's been out for a while.


I just saw that Robert Fick signed with San Diego. Is that new news or has it been out a while?

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 3, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

You're the best Barry... Do you think that because there is no news on the Fanfest that there will not be one this year? I was going to come down from NYC with my Dad for it.

Did anyone go last year? What should I expect?

Posted by: Joe Hardy | January 3, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

With all of the excitement and logistics that need to be finalized surrounding the opening of the new park, I'll give Stan Da Plan a pass on not having a Fan Fest this winter. But, just because Nats Park is on the horizon, don't neglect the news-starved fan base that want all of the minutae we can get with it being less and five weeks before P's and C's.

Posted by: leetee1955 | January 3, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Happy New Year,

I would love to hear any updates about the new stadium, I am pretty excited about the new space. I am sure that the analog Post will cover it as we get closer, but anything you hear would be much appreciated. What's the word on concessions?


Posted by: SacredCod | January 3, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Barry, thanks for the update on Nick.

I didn't think there was anything to the vague mutterings about Nick being behind schedule, but it's good to have a confirmation.

Posted by: joebleux | January 3, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

the only thing i am concerned with is whether or not i will be able to drink MGD inside of the stadium for under $7

Posted by: theraph | January 3, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Great to have the posts back, Barry. Do you have any plans to visit Nick Johnson personally to watch him workout? Would he allow you to do that?

Happy New Year to all.

Posted by: Vandy | January 3, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Barry references a link on ("The all-knowing has a free agent tracker here"), but I cannot find it. Can anyone help? Thanks.

Posted by: joemktg | January 3, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

St. Bar,
Any word on a meet your seat event for STH? Or is that the event scheduled for March 29th? By the way, will my tickets come in a box? With a pin?

Posted by: Mark inAlexVA | January 3, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Barry references a link on ("The all-knowing has a free agent tracker here"), but I cannot find it. Can anyone help? Thanks.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Sorry -- fixed link to the free agent tracker.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | January 3, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

looking at that tracker... does anyone *REALLY* believe that livo is 32 years old? sure seems closer to 40 to me. those [RF] cuban birth certificates...

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | January 3, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Look, Livo is whatever age he says he is, and anyone who disagrees can meet him behind McDonalds at midnight.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

See, the problem is that your french fries have been...intercepted by Livan Hernandez

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"Tickets on sale 1/26"

Does that mean tickets for spring training games, or for the regular season? Thanks for the information.

Posted by: Baldino | January 3, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I know the P stands for Panera, but what's the C stand for?


But, just because Nats Park is on the horizon, don't neglect the news-starved fan base that want all of the minutae we can get with it being less and five weeks before P's and C's.

Posted by: John in Mpls | January 3, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Where's Josh Karp when you need him?

Posted by: Josh Karp's Dad | January 3, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Adding my thanks for Barry's bits--it's tough early in January to find much baseball news to quench one's thirst.

Nats spring training tickets go on sale individually on the 26th of this month--noted in the narrative text of the spring training ticket information on the Nats website.

Looking seriously at trying to catch a couple of Nats grapefruit league games this spring with family--any advice on what the "routine" is at the spring training site in late March (I've only ever seen the cactus league with the White Sox and D-backs in late February in Tucson)?

Posted by: Carl in 306 | January 3, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Surprised to see Matt DeSalvo as a pitcher free agent who has not yet been picked-up. He did well at AAA last year, although I thought the Yankees threw him into the starting rotation a little too soon. Hoping the Nats take a look at him.

Posted by: joemktg | January 3, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

clement signed with the cards, one less "reclamation" pitcher out there.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | January 3, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

No Fan Fest? The Fan Fest is going to be in Bethesda. (And the fundraiser gala at Gaylord National hotel, also in Maryland). Don't you remember the city council's hissy fit?

What IS the update on the hissy fit, Barry?

Posted by: NatsNut | January 3, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

John in Mpls - I think the "weeks before P's and C's" meant Pitchers and Catchers. :)

I know the P stands for Panera, but what's the C stand for?

Posted by: John in Mpls | January 3, 2008 04:01 PM

Posted by: Manassas, VA | January 3, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

1/26 date is for spring training tickets, I meant to include it with the schedule in the previous post.

Posted by: PB69 | January 3, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Uhh...anybody see a legitimate lead-off hitter on the roster?

Posted by: Al852 | January 3, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

sure we do. he's right next to the legitimate cleanup hitter on the roster.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | January 3, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

From (Guess Barry Larkin doesn't follow baseball too closely):

A few days before the Winter Meetings started in Nashville, Tenn., Nationals general manager Jim Bowden called Barry Larkin, his special assistant, to ask if Larkin had ever heard of Rays outfielder Elijah Dukes and was he aware of the slugger's troubled past.

Larkin told his boss that he never heard of Dukes.

Posted by: swanni | January 3, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or can anyone else smell that sweet Viera air? Breathing is good, in Viera, it's better.

Happy New Year folks!

Posted by: NattyDelite! | January 3, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I thought Barry was discontinuing as Nats beat writer in 2008? What's the latest on this? And if so, will Nats Journal still continue?

Posted by: Mike (VA) | January 3, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Natty Delite! Oh yea. I can smell it. Spring is good. In Viera, even better.

Posted by: NatsNut | January 3, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

It'll be okay, folks, Barry will be with us until May, when he departs for China. Then, however. . . chaos.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Soda fans rejoice, you won't have to drink that nasty pepsi at the new Nationals Park, as..ta da...the REAL THING will be the official softdrink at Nationals Park. So, everybody, have a coke and a smile. :>)

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | January 3, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes! The news about Coke - if it is true - is the best news I've heard in a while! To whoever posted that, thank you! And where did you hear that from? I've been trying to figure that out for a while...

Posted by: BSG | January 3, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Please add the following to the list of intrepid reporting questions:

1) Any further news on whether MASN is going to go HD this year? If not when?

2) When will regular season single game tickets go on sale?

3) Any further word on whether the Nats will sign a Japanese player? Kasten had indicated they were working on it and I don't believe the players he named have signed elsewhere.

4) Have individual arbitration hearings been set and if so what's the schedule?

5) How are the Nats planning to acquire another catcher? And when? (LoDuca could be suspended and/or the Nats may send Flores to minors).

Posted by: NatBisquit | January 3, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

As a retired coca-cola employee, contacts from the company informed me some months back that they had been awarded the contract. Also, Centerplate, the new food concessionaire at Nationals Park is also at AT&T Park in San Francisco, hence the big coke bottle in left field. Now, please pause and refresh.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | January 3, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

The mere mention of Panera at the Avenue in Viera is the first stirring that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Posted by: Svrlugamania | January 3, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

But is still #2 to the best stadium cola of all time: RC!

Posted by: Pepsi Is Better | January 3, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

yay to coke! god i hate pepsi. of course, most of the time i'm a beer guy at the stadium, but not always.

single game tix usually go on sale some time in february. or at least that's what i remember from the first few seasons and that's what i'd expect again this year.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | January 4, 2008 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Dukes and LoDuka would be 2 great representatives to send out on the Caravan. And maybe Pete Rose could join them.

Posted by: Kamau | January 4, 2008 2:41 AM | Report abuse

off-topic question:
i've never been a ticket plan holder, but rather just bought tickets on a game-by-game basis. but this year i'm worried about not getting into the march 30 game if i don't at least buy a partial plan where i can get offered the tickets before the general public. i'd rather not buy a plan, but would if i thought the march 30 game would be difficult to get tickets to any other way. what do you guys think? thank you!

Posted by: gretchen | January 4, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I think you can buy March 30 tickets on the open market via Craig's List if not directly through the Nationals. So I would not base your decision to buy a season ticket package solely on whether you can get into Opening Day.

Posted by: NatBisquit | January 4, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

i think you will be unable to buy an opening day ticket directly from the team if you aren't a season tix holder. if the team opens up single game tickets to STHs before the general public, i would be tremendously surprised if STHs don't buy them all up. I know I plan on buying 2-4 opening day tix when single game opens up, if possible. we have four people on a 2 seat plan and i know all of us want to go. plus i want to try to fly my dad up from hotlanta to attend. he's never been to a nats game but grew up a big senators fan as a kid in the 40s/50s.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | January 4, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Hendo - sorry for the delayed response, but, yes, if you could get both Velez and Sanchez for Chad, I'd do it. I don't follow the Giants close enough to know how Velez fits in to their plans, but his track record as a speedy, high OBP middle infielder fits the bill, and Sanchez is at least toguh on lefties and coudlbe more. Don't forget Rauch took time to find a role. I don't view that as giving away Chad - I view that as value in return (a former #2 prospect in the SF organization and a guy with a good minors track record).

Posted by: jon | January 4, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

New post, read all about it!

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 4, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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