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And now, back to your regularly scheduled NJ

Wow. Sorry about that interlude. Still here at the Rayburn House Office Building, finishing up after a somewhat dizzying day. Difficult to sift through everything.

Presumably, Felipe Lopez had his arbitration hearing today in Tampa. We should hear about the result on Thursday.

And, also on Thursday, I am scheduled to have a chat on -- gulp -- your very own Washington Nationals. We'll get going at 2 p.m., and get after it for an hour.

Yes, I know it says in the description here (and this is where you log your questions, too) that I'll answer questions about the Clemens hearings. Sure, I'd be happy to do that. I'd also be happy to answer questions about Nick Johnson and Dmitri Young, about Lopez and Guzman and Belliard, about the starting rotation, and about whether 15,000 bobbleheads is an appropriate amount to distribute to a home crowd. Or at least most of those questions.

Enjoy your evening. Talk to you Thursday afternoon -- a day before pitchers and catchers report!

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 13, 2008; 7:35 PM ET
 
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Next: Lopez, pitchers and catchers -- and 2 p.m. chat

Comments

Barry-

We look forward to it. It may be hard to ask questions that won't require some Spring Training competition to answer: Will Mock or Balester crack the rotation? Do Willie Harris or Rob Mackowiak really constitute realistic backups at 2nd base?

I might be happy just to know if you can hear how contentious the Felipe Lopez hearings were. Or maybe some report of who arrived early to Spring Training.

+.5St

Posted by: Positively Half St. (2 more days) | February 13, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Look forward to our first chat of 2008, Barry.

natscan: scroll back to November 1 on the Clarke construction camera you were looking at.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 13, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

"about whether 15,000 bobbleheads is an appropriate amount to distribute to a home crowd. Or at least most of those questions."

still have a sense of humor after all that today? Barry for president... race that is

Posted by: boomer | February 13, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

"Presumably, Felipe Lopez had his arbitration hearing today in Tampa. We should hear about the result on Thursday."

Presumably Barry, if you were covering the Nats beat instead of up on the Hill covering a different beat, you would know the answer to this and you wouldn't need to presume. Maybe you can give Bill Ladson a call and ask him, since he is already down in Viera talking to players.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 13, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

... baseball talk YEAH!!. Please Barry: no more Clemens..

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 13, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

... thanx Natsnut. Green is such a lively colour.

... maybe you'll allow me a supplementary. Anyone know when the tarps will be removed? I don't suppose that will happen much before Opening Day, ... or the exhibition game.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 13, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Coverage is Lacking, your point has been made, and acknowledged. Time for a new tune, don't you think? If you had a high quality jukebox, would you only put one song in it? C'mon already. Stop hijacking this great forum for your narrow purposes. I think you must have more than one idea.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 13, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Bob L., I hope you'll pardon me if I don't kowtow to the NJ thought police. Perhaps if I composed my posts in verse or complimented Barry on his "snark" you wouldn't object to my posts as repetetive? I have posted on other issues when I'm so inclined, and I appreciate your invitation to do so in the future.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 13, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for getting back to chats. I miss them greatly!

I think Clemens talk should be banned from thisd one!

my $0.02

Posted by: John Sect 129 | February 13, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey Coverage is Lacking,

I think it's unfair for people to tell you not to voice your opinion. That's what this forum is about, and you're certainly not the first person to post a repeat of things that other people have already said when you think they're particularly important.

That said, your comment sounded (to me) like a smack at Barry (since it was directed at him), and I do find that unfair. He didn't assign himself to the Hill today, so he shouldn't be criticized for that decision. Can't you tell that he's just as excited to get back to real baseball as the rest of us? (See last sentence of post for evidence.)

And really, can you honestly say you prefer reading Ladson over NJ? You'd be the only person I know.

Clemens is news, whether you like it or not. Don't blame Barry for that. Now let's talk some baseball.

Posted by: one more fan | February 13, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Oh, also, I resent your criticism of snark/poetry. Those are the things that make NJ unique and fun, and I hate to see you discouraging them. I don't have the talent to create that stuff, but I love to see it when the rest of you guys do. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: one more fan | February 13, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Tarps will be removed in early March. For now, they are protecting the grass from ice and such. Can't wait for the blog tomorrow, oops, nevermind, I'll be on the golf course at that time, but, I will be sure to read the transcript.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | February 13, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Of course anyone can say anything they want here. The complaint is when you say the same thing over and over and over. You think coverage is lacking, we get it. I think most of us actually agree but Barry can't fix it.

Now, let's talk about the team!

Posted by: Avar | February 13, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, that hearing was a disaster. Hard to believe Clemens didn't do it. Glad it's over, on to baseball!!

Posted by: Avar | February 13, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Well, before we close the door on the comments made by Coverage is Lacking...let me just report this, I just left the Nationals.com site and.....Ladson says they won't even announce the ruling until tomorrow, because thats when the decision will be made, so CIL...you can't report what can't be reported. Keep up the good work Barry, 99.9% of us really appreciate your work and will miss you tremendously when you depart to cover the team that uses that funny looking ball.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | February 13, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree that HGH needs to be banned from the Chat....I know we all have enough Nats questions and I trust Barry has enough opinions. ST starts in this week. Enough Clements already! (I struck out against him twice and I still have not interest in him)

Posted by: JayB | February 13, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Listen guys and gals, lots of things get posted here over and over and over. And lots of those things have little to do with the Nats (much less in fact than my coverage posts do). The fact that many of you say you agree with my and others' view just makes it worse--people shouldn't take the Post's disdain for the Nats lying down, or nothing will ever change (and don't think this is the only manner in which I have aired my disappointment). It's as if some of you like saying "thank you Mr. Garcia-Ruiz, may I have another?" whenever the Post gives us a morsel of decent Nats coverage. Oh boy, Boz devoted a whole column to the Nats?!? Happy day!!! That's not the way it should be.

And no, I don't prefer reading Bill Ladson to Barry. That's why it disappoints me that Ladson is given more resources to cover the Nats, and is in fact in Viera already, while Barry is up on the Hill. I fully recognize that the steroids story is a big story...and that's what the Post has a baseball writer for named Dave Sheinin (and othersportswriters if he is unavailable) and a columnist named Boswell. Where are they? Barry is the Nats beat writer and should be covering the Nats, or someone else should be in his stead.

Believe me, I don't enjoy posting about this stuff. I would much rather focus on baseball and the Nats. But I also know that we deserve a lot more from the Post by way of coverage. (Barry has in fact admitted that we do.) Better coverage would actually heighten all of our knowledge and ability to discuss the team. So I'm not going to stop raising the issue unless and until things improve. Those of you who agree with me but ignore the issue are cheating yourselves and by extension all of us, which is too bad.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 13, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Point taken, CIL. Just please try not to hate on Barry, okay?

Posted by: one more fan | February 13, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

SC, what do you mean by "you can't report what can't be reported"? Barry's job should not be limited to rehashing Nats news releases. Reporting entails a lot more than that. Sometimes, it entails doing a little digging, talking to people and finding out what's going on. You think if Barry had called Lopez tonight, he might have gotten some information from him, or perhaps a good quote? Or how about Bowden or a "team source"? Who knows? If you really think that "reporting" is limited to just telling us about what "happened," then we really shouldn't need Barry, the AP wire should suffice. I happen to think Barry can give us a lot more than that, and I hope his replacement does as well.

Posted by: Coverag is lacking | February 13, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

"Believe me, I don't enjoy posting about this stuff."

Then why do you?

I would think there are more effective and less abrasive ways to communicate your point.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | February 13, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

He's still trying to teach the pig to sing...

Posted by: NatsNut | February 13, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

... baseball: does anyone expect the FO to acquire - by hook or by crook - another (experienced) starter, and/or another (utility) middle infielder during ST?

... how many of the kid-pitchers now residing in the minors will step up onto the Nats Park mound this season? Prognostications now being received.

... who will be the 'regular' catcher this year, and how many games will he start?

... will Tim Tolman learn a new Stop sign?

... will Dukes, Pena, Kearns and Millidge end the season in DC?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 13, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Fair enough OMF. As I've said before, on the whole I have very much enjoyed Barry's coverage of the Nats. I think it's too bad that he hasn't gotten the editorial support and resources that he and his beat deserve, which would serve to avoid things like Barry having to guess about Lopez's hearing because he is tied up covering proceedings on the Hill.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 13, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

CIL - we all have our fixations. I sense you bring up every perceived failure of the WaPo to cover legit stories because you believe better coverage would make the Nats more prominent and enjoyable in town. Just go light on new posters a bit. I think the rest have fielded mock posts and sniping before. Jsut remember your support here is from a guy whose hat is a Trot Nixon faded blue.

As for the previous discussion of middle infielders that could be trade targets, I'd think that there actually may be a match for Erick Aybar. the Angels bullpen is a bit thinner than it used to be. Shields blew up at the end of the year. Yes, they should have Speier as a set up guy, but normally Soscia (sp) likes to have a few arms to get to their closer. They are a lot thinner than the best Agnels clubs.

Aybar has a lot of competition for the starting slot and Sean Rodriguez behind him in the system. To me, the Angels look very thick at SS. Of course, the next time we figure out a deal before JimBo pulls it off might be the first time. I'll take a guess that Aybar would not cost us more than Ayala.

Posted by: jon | February 13, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

another MI who is kind of in limbo is Josh Barfield. Admittedly, I'm more interested in a SS, but Barfield is stuck behind Asdrubal, was highly regarded, and had a decent rookie season with the Padres. Alternatively, and it might cost us a lot, would Peralta interest anyone (they could move Asdrubal to SS, his natural position). Start with Kearns to get that done.

Posted by: jon | February 13, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

to be fair, CiL, you don't know that he didn't try to do just those things. but if he didn't get any info, it's not necessarily worth a post to say, "they said no comment" or "nobody answered the phone."

i don't disagree that the coverage could be better. the reason the subject is tiresome is because it's a broken record. taking every opportunity to nitpick any little thing eventually turns your commentary on the subject into something that annoys the people that should be on your side. and honestly, the chances that complaining about it constantly on this blog will actually accomplish anything other than alienating fellow posters are close to nil.

basically, constantly harping on the same thing over and over and over and over rarely accomplishes what you want it to. and it tends to turn people against you.

maybe that doesn't matter to you, i don't know you so i can't say. but you do come across as mostly a one-trick pony. and the trick lost it's luster a long time ago from constant repetition.

Posted by: 231 | February 13, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Aybar would be a solid add for the Nats. His defense/speed combo is pretty well regarded from what I have read. His bat, unfortunately, is not proven at the major league level.

The Angels still have lots of depth behind Shields, too and I doubt they would trade Aybar for a bullpen arm or OF at this point.

Even with Frankie Rodriguez a free agent after the season, the Angels will have Shields, Speier, Oliver (2008 option), Moseley, Bulger, Bootcheck and minor leaguer Rich Thompson next season. Shields, after a two week period of rest/reexamination during the season, seemed to recover from his inconsistencies earlier in the year and is projected as the closer next season.

As for this season, one of Saunders/Santana could be moved to the pen if/when Escobar comes back, in addition to whats already on the 40 man roster.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | February 13, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

that last post looks a lot more confrontational than i was trying to be. others may have said it better in the interim while i was typing.

Posted by: 231 | February 13, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

"i don't disagree that the coverage could be better. the reason the subject is tiresome is because it's a broken record. taking every opportunity to nitpick any little thing eventually turns your commentary on the subject into something that annoys the people that should be on your side. and honestly, the chances that complaining about it constantly on this blog will actually accomplish anything other than alienating fellow posters are close to nil."

If an instance occurs where the Post misses something in its coverage that it should have gotten, and no one mentions it, it's easy for the Post powers that be or the Post's readers to grow complacent and think that the particular instance of coverage never needed to be covered in the first place. So when CIL or anyone else points out yet another instance where something happened and the Post failed to cover it, it's not a broken record or the same old thing. Sometimes you need to pile things up in order to see the extent of a problem. If you drink a bottle of whiskey every day and toss it in the trash when you're done, it's easy to delude yourself that nothing's wrong. Throw those daily bottles in your back yard, and after a while the pile will get so big that you may finally realize you have a drinking problem.

And as for the frequent comments by CIL and others about the lack of Nationals coverage in the Post not accomplishing anything, today in one of the Clemens hearing threads the editor guy who was there with Barry (sorry, I forget his name) mentioned that he has seen many of these comments and plans to address the issue soon. That's something that's been accomplished. One or two random comments might have been lost in the shuffle, but apparently the volume of comments on the issue from a variety of posters was enough for him to realize that there is an issue here.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 13, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who finds my (or others') coverage-related posts tiresome should go back and look at the course of the comments in this thread. I wrote a 2 sentence post responding to something that Barry wrote. That's it.

Everything else I've posted here in this thread has been in response to numerous other posts responding to me, and in defense of my right to air my opinion or explain why I believe my opinion is important and worth asserting (and Jon you are correct about my motives). If any of you find a post unhelpful or tiresome, just ignore it. Then we can avoid having the discussion devolve into a debate about whether posts commenting on the paper's coverage are productive or appropriate or repetetive or "over" or what have you--a debate I did not start and don't have much desire to continue.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 13, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

WP's Poor Nationals Coverage = Alcoholism

Good one. That analogy almost made me knock over my bottle of beer.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | February 13, 2008 11:35 PM | Report abuse

CIL: I appreciate your vigor and I hope that your voice gets heard and that the Post devotes more resources to the Nats coverage so you can talk about something else. I can't recall you ever talking about anything other than "coverage is lacking" so I skip or skim most of your comments. Anyway, keep up the chant because the goal you seek would benefit us all. I mean, it worked for swanni, hopefully it will work for you.

Posted by: i hate walks | February 14, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

You guys are just picking on CIL because he is a nudist, and that ain't nice.

Oh, wait- did I just misunderstand another NJ nickname again?

A response from the Post on coverage would actually be welcome.

Also, bizarrely, Adrian Fenty is for public funding of the soccer stadium. I wonder what the Post's editorial position on that will be?

Posted by: Positively Half St. (1 more day) | February 14, 2008 5:08 AM | Report abuse

Here is a story on Brian Schneider arriving at Mets' camp to read while waiting for stories on the Nats:

http://www.nj.com/mets/ledger/index.ssf?/base/sports-1/1202967337314580.xml&coll=1

Posted by: Positively Half St (1 more day!) | February 14, 2008 6:33 AM | Report abuse

The Fenty story includes this:

"In a private meeting with the D.C. Council yesterday, Fenty (D) said the District has been collecting $20 million a year in excess revenue from city taxes related to the financing of the baseball stadium, according to government sources with knowledge of the meeting."

Ah, so the baseball stadium plan is WORKING so far. Of course, I agree more with the following:

"Such a plan could prove controversial in the business community, which has been paying additional taxes since 2004 toward the baseball project. The District instead could choose to use the excess tax money to retire the 30-year baseball stadium bonds early, city officials said."

DC United fans seemed to have been united mostly against the baseball stadium. I am certainly going to read their blog to listen to them change their tune about public funding now.

Posted by: Positively Half St (1 more day!) | February 14, 2008 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Coverage is lacking is right to keep harping on the fact that, well, "coverage is lacking." It's the only way to push the Post to change.

That said, I agree with those who say it's not Barry's fault. The problem is at the top. The Sports section needs a new editor -- and an entire new collection of columnists who will devote most of their time to local teams.

Enough with the boys of Bristol.

Posted by: swanni | February 14, 2008 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Erick Aybar-This is why second guessing the GM's decisions is fun. When the Nats were trying to trade Soriano and get good value, I kept posting blogs on this forum that the Nats could have had Aybar and that, in itself, would have been a good trade as far as I was concerned.
Now we have Smoker and Zimmermann instead. I like that better, but I'd still like Aybar. Maybe, what goes around comes around.

Posted by: Jeeves | February 14, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

So here is another top prospect list. I think this link is available to the general public:

http://www.rotoworld.com/content/features/column.aspx?sport=MLB&columnid=2&article=29933&pg=5

If not, here is the text:

Washington Nationals

1. Chris Marrero - 1B/OF - DOB: 07/02/88 - ETA: 2010
.293/.337/.545, 14 HR, 53 RBI, 39/14 K/BB, 0 SB in 222 AB (A- Hagerstown)
.259/.338/.431, 9 HR, 35 RBI, 63/32 K/BB, 0 SB in 255 AB (A Potomac)

Marrero showed exciting power in what was technically his age-18 season, delivering 23 homers, and it didn't take a ton of strikeouts for him to get there. The 15th overall pick in the 2006 draft was selected as a third baseman, but it was a given he wouldn't stay there. The Nationals used him in left field last year, but since he lacks range, they're probably going to move him to first this year. Marrero has star potential as a hitter, so the Nationals will find a spot for him when he's ready. He doesn't get himself out on bad breaking balls, and he dramatically improved his walk rate after moving up last year. He does need to learn which balls to pull and which to try to send back up the middle, but that could come with time.

2. Ross Detwiler - LHP - DOB: 03/06/86 - ETA: Aug. 2008
0-0, 2.25 ERA, 11 H, 15/3 K/BB in 12 IP (R GCL Nationals)
2-2, 4.22 ERA, 27 H, 13/9 K/BB in 21 1/3 IP (A Potomac)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 H, 1/0 K/BB in 1 IP (Washington)

Detwiler was the sixth overall selection in the 2007 draft and the first member of the class to reach the majors after being called up in September. It wasn't a particularly legitimate promotion, but Detwiler isn't that far away from contributing. A polished left-hander out of Missouri State, Detwiler throws in the low-90s and has two potential above average pitches in his slider and changeup. It's not a package that figures to lead to a ton of strikeouts, but he could blossom into a No. 2 starter. With good health, he'll probably have a permanent rotation spot by the middle of 2009, if not much sooner.

3. Collin Balester - RHP - DOB: 06/06/86 - ETA: July 2008
2-7, 3.74 ERA, 103 H, 77/25 K/BB in 98 2/3 IP (AA Harrisburg)
2-3, 4.18 ERA, 49 H, 40/23 K/BB in 51 2/3 IP (AAA Columbus)

The Nationals ran through a bunch of pitchers in 2007, but they never gave their supposed top prospect a look. Even in September, they called up Detwiler and chose to send Balester home. Balester's performance still hasn't matched the hype he's received, though he was mostly effective last season. The improvement in his walk rate in Double-A was the most encouraging development, though he did regress after moving up. Hopefully, that was just temporary. Possessing a low-90s fastball and a quality curve, he has middle-of-the-rotation potential. Considering that he's never been a big strikeout guy and he's flyball pitcher, it'd be tough to ask for much more than that. He'll probably get his first look at major league hitters before the All-Star break.

4. Justin Maxwell - OF - DOB: 11/06/83 - ETA: June 2009
.301/.389/.579, 14 HR, 40 RBI, 57/26 K/BB, 14 SB in 209 AB (A- Hagerstown)
.263/.338/.491, 13 HR, 43 RBI, 65/22 K/BB, 21 SB in 228 AB (A+ Potomac)
.269/.296/.500, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 8/1 K/BB, 0 SB in 26 AB (Washington)
.207/.305/.324, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 33/16 K/BB, 15 SB in 111 AB (AFL Peoria)

Mostly healthy for the first time, Maxwell jumped from low-A to the majors in 2007, though he's surely on his way back to the minors to begin 2008. Maxwell combined for 29 homers and 35 steals last season, and he's a legitimate defensive center fielder. That he doesn't rank higher here has a lot to do with his long history of injuries. His strikeout totals also play a role. Because of his long swing and lack of patience, Maxwell doesn't figure to ever be much of an OBP guy in the majors. He could still prove to be a more-than-adequate regular if he can stay off the disabled list, but that may be a long shot. As a 20-20 threat, he does have to be taken pretty seriously as a fantasy prospect. The Nationals will stick him in Double-A for now and could keep him there all season.

5. Michael Burgess - OF - DOB: 10/20/88 - ETA:
.336/.442/.617, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 37/25 K/BB, 1 SB in 128 AB (R GCL Nationals)
.286/.383/.457, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 23/10 K/BB, 1 SB in 70 AB (SS-A Vermont)

With his build apparently being held against him, Burgess was a great value after slipping to the Nationals at pick No. 49 in the 2007 draft. Burgess offers a great deal of power potential despite standing 5-foot-11. There's concern that he could put on weight and become a liability in the field, but he has the talent to be a fine right fielder. His arm is especially impressive. With a polished approach for a high school hitter, he figures to move rather quickly. It's possible that people will be talking about him a year from now like they do Travis Snider now.

6. Josh Smoker - LHP - DOB: 11/26/88 - ETA: 2012
0-0, 4.50 ERA, 2 H, 5/3 K/BB in 4 IP (SS-A Vermont)

If Heyward hadn't dropped, Smoker, a Georgia high school product, very well could have gone to the Braves with the 14th selection in last year's draft. He fell to the Nationals at No. 31 and immediately became one of the team's top prospects. Smoker throws in the low-90s and has a plus slider. An improved changeup will be necessary as he climbs the ladder, but he could develop into a second or third starter.

7. Esmailyn Gonzalez - SS - DOB: 09/21/89 - ETA: 2013
.245/.382/.311, 0 HR, 11 RBI, 18/19 K/BB, 4 SB in 106 AB (R GCL Nationals)

Gonzalez had little chance of living up to the hype right away, but he did manage a .382 OBP as a 17-year-old in 33 games in the GCL. GM Jim Bowden said the Dominican shortstop possessed the best qualities of Ozzie Smith and Miguel Tejada after giving him a $1.4 million bonus in July 2006. The power will come, and he is a fine defender despite lack big-time speed. He should get his first taste of full-season ball as one of the youngest players in the Sally League this year.

8. Tyler Clippard - RHP - DOB: 02/14/85 - ETA: May 2008
2-1, 5.40 ERA, 22 H, 28/12 K/BB in 26 2/3 IP (AA Trenton)
4-4, 4.15 ERA, 82 H, 55/35 K/BB in 69 1/3 IP (AAA Scranton)
3-1, 6.33 ERA, 29 H, 18/17 K/BB in 27 IP (AL New York)

Thinking they had a greater need for bullpen depth than a bottom-of-the-rotation starter, the Yankees sent Clippard to Washington for Jonathan Albaladejo in December. Albaladejo also would have made the top 10, but the Nationals did well in the deal and Clippard could step right into their rotation this spring. Clippard has an average fastball that's aided a bit by his unusual delivery. His curveball and changeup can both get him strikeouts when he's on. He is quite homer-prone, so a better walk rate is a must. He definitely regressed in that area last season. In RFK Stadium, he would have been a nice sleeper for 2008. The new ballpark in Washington shouldn't play quite so favorably for pitchers, but he might be an adequate fourth or fifth starter anyway.

9. Adam Carr - RHP - DOB: 04/01/84 - ETA: May 2009
3-1, 10 Sv, 1.81 ERA, 30 H, 65/38 K/BB in 49 2/3 IP (A+ Potomac)
1-0, 2 Sv, 1.64 ERA, 7 H, 13/9 K/BB in 11 IP (AA Harrisburg)
0-0, 0 Sv, 3.18 ERA, 8 H, 10/4 K/BB in 11 1/3 IP (AFL Peoria)

Carr made his mark at Oklahoma State by hitting 34 homers in two seasons, but no team thought he had potential as a first baseman coming out of college. The Nationals grabbed him in the 18th round as a pitcher, even though he had thrown just 4 2/3 innings in college. He was a modest success initially in 2006, and last year, he struck out 78 while allowing just 37 in 60 2/3 innings. Command is a major problem, but if it comes, his mid-90s fastball and slider would make him a closer candidate. If he can duplicate his AFL walk rate in Double-A this year, he'll probably make his major league debut before the season ends.

10. Kory Casto - 3B-OF - DOB: 12/08/81
.246/.334/.384, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 106/54 K/BB, 4 SB in 411 AB (AAA Columbus)
.130/.158/.167, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 17/2 K/BB, 0 SB in 54 AB (Washington)
.281/.418/.453, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 13/12 K/BB, 1 SB in 64 AB (AFL Peoria)

That Casto gets one more year in the top 10 is thanks to my tendency to weigh proximity to the majors pretty heavily. Never viewed as a future star, his stock took a big hit last year when he followed up lines of .290/.394/.510 in 2005 and .272/.379/.468 in 2006 with a 718 OPS in his first season in Triple-A. He was also a bust in 54 major league at-bats before rebounding with a decent fall. Casto continued to play a lot of third base last season, even though he has no future there in Washington. Not the kind of tools outfielder GM Jim Bowden prefers, he probably won't fit with the Nats at all. Casto showed 20-homer power in the past and likes to take walks. If he convinces teams he can last at third base, he'll have a shot at a career. Still, this will be a make-or-break season for him.

Next five: RHP Jordan Zimmerman, LHP Jack McGeary, RHP Garrett Mock, LHP John Lannan, RHP Colton Willems

2007 draft picks Zimmerman and McGeary probably would have ranked sixth and eighth, respectively, on this list a year ago. McGeary, viewed by many as a first-round talent, will attend Stanford throughout the offseason under the terms of the deal he agreed to with the Nationals. ... Mock and Lannan are potential fourth or fifth starters. Lannan has the better chance of helping this year.

(subliminal note: moderation is key. Keep yamering about your unhappiness with the coverage and soon even those who wanted to agree with you will turn away.)

Posted by: NatBisquit | February 14, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

I think we are all in agreement that the Post's coverage of the Nats is horrible. Spring Training is starting, right? We've had one article and that's it. It's not Barry's fault. It's the Post's fault for not allocating resources. We've all said that, and it would be interesting as noted above to hear back from the Post editorial staff about it.

As for real bball, I wonder what the price for Aybar would be. I'd be fine with letting Kearns be a part of that, but can't imagine that the Angels wouldn't demand a lot more.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | February 14, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

A question for Barry during his Q&A:

What's his best guess as to how long Manny Acta will serve as manager?

My take is about three more years. After that, with the Nats showing little promise of being contenders in the NL East (against admiittedly strong competition), Kasten/Bowden will go to the Lerners and explain that Acta just can't deliver with the fine array of talent that Kasten/Bowden have carefully assembled, and he must go.

The fallback to that is that Kasten goes to the Lerners alone and says Bowden must go, but it appears Bowden has endeared himself to the owners in the same way Don Sutton has--by bowing and scraping. So I don't think that is a live possibility.

So my guess is that the sacrificial victim--i.e., scapegoat--will be Acta. Then we go into the revolving door syndrome so much loved by the Danny, owner of another losing Washington franchise. Then I expect Acta to be picked up by the Mets, who I believe already have their eyes on him.

Posted by: JohnR(VA) | February 14, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Please, please, please, do not have Dmitri take him under his guidance, especially to the buffet line (same for Belli; I'll withhold judgment on Nick b/c Barry says he is svelte).

Burgess - "There's concern that he could put on weight and become a liability in the field, but he has the talent to be a fine right fielder. "

Posted by: Dietician | February 14, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Coverage is lacking is an idiot. Ladson works for a niche publication. Svrluga works for a paper with a general sports section, and one might have noticed the hearings were a big deal. They led off the nightly news yesterday.

Posted by: Coverage isn't great, but it's ok | February 14, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Carrying forward a PHS post from yesterday to say that I think a number of NJ denizens attend P-Nats games over the course of the season, and I hope that we'll be able to get together with PHS and others on July 4 and/or another mutually agreeable date.

---

I would love to go to the Potomac game on July 4, although I am sure that we will be pulled into a big shindig with our friends. I do intend to see more P-Nats games, though, and hope to meet some of you there.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 14, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Carrying forward another part of a PHS post from yesterday to inquire whether any of you have other favorite annual baseball guides that you like to purchase. I tend buy the glossy MLB preview mags (such as Lindy's and Athlon) but am wondering if there are other annual publications that you all prefer and why.

---

I am happily sitting with my Baseball America 2008 Prospect Handbook, which arrived today. I wish every one of our tope 30 to 40 guys a major league future, either with us, or the the teams we rob when trading them away.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 14, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

CIL maybe shouldn't hit Barry directly as he seems to me to be doing a pretty good job - but I just found this section a couple weeks ago (Whoever said that its impossible to find the NJ is correct). Anyways - C&P report tomorrow and there's NOTHING in today's paper? Coverage really is lacking.

Posted by: Bazz | February 14, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Kearns to the Halos isnt a fit. And outside of a package of players for Zimmerman, I can think of a trade that makes sense. Maybe minor league pitching.

The Angels have 6 established outfielders in Vlad, Hunter, Anderson, Matthews, Willits & Rivera (a Kearns clone). Morales & Figgins have played OF well. Terry Evans will start in AAA, but was in the big leagues a bit last year as well. Scioscia will have difficulty keeping everybody content while revolving players between position, DH & bench.

For those heading to Viera, keep an eye on Steve Shell and Tommy Murphy, both former Angels prospects. Ive never seen Shell (who was once well regarded), but Murphy is superfast and plays hard...fun to watch.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | February 14, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

For the record, I'm with those who say coverage is lacking (including CIL), I'm just tired of dealing with the negativity in every single thread. I'm not going to say anything more about it and encourage others to take that approach as well.

Barfield -- good thought. Cleveland does seem to have an extra MI. Make the call, Jimbo.

So the starting rotation is in Viera already. Who are they throwing to? I think we're going to miss Brian Schneider (who reported early to Mets camp).

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Los Doce Ocho - Good point, didn't take into consideration the logjam in the Angels outfield.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | February 14, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Hey guys, you know what I was wondering? Do you all think that maybe we could discuss the Post's coverage sometime? I mean, really, it's never been addressed.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 14, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

CiL,

"Lighten up Francis"

Posted by: Sgt. Hulka | February 14, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"Coverage is lacking is an idiot. Ladson works for a niche publication. Svrluga works for a paper with a general sports section, and one might have noticed the hearings were a big deal. They led off the nightly news yesterday."

Ladson works for mlb.com (not for the Nationals, as many seem to think). The MLB there stands for Major League Baseball. If that's a niche, it's a niche as wide as the Grand Canyon. MLB.com is to baseball as the NFL Network is to football. Ladson is just a grunt toiling away in the mlb.com saltmines, but at least the powers-that-be in the mlb.com "niche" thought the Nationals were a big enough part of the MLB story yesterday to assign him to report an original story about the team as it heads into spring training.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post has a niche that it devotes to Major League Baseball, and a stable of reporters/columnists who write about baseball either all of the time or some of the time. The Washington Post also has "Washington" in its name and seems to think that not one but two MLB teams fall under its purview as "home" teams, in that it has a designated beat reporter for each one. So how did the Post allocate its resources for its MLB niche the past couple of days? They stuck their Nats beat reporter on the Clemens story, which indeed was a big one. So big that they pulled in reporters from Style and KidsPost, editors and reporters from washingtonpost.com, a Miami-based Sports section reporter (Shipley) and a columnist who probably hasn't been to a baseball game in years (Wise) to also write on the Clemens story. Meanwhile, the Post's MLB beat writer (Sheinin) was reporting from Florida - at the DODGERS training camp. Lots of resources working in the WaPo MLB niche the last couple of days, yet the only words in the Post about EITHER of the so-called home teams this week have been Sheinin's summary of a Nationals press release about single game ticket sales. If this was ESPN or Sports Illustrated, we wouldn't be saying that coverage is lacking. But it's nor ESPN or SI. Coverage IS lacking, and anyone who argues against that statement is the real idiot.

And kudos to NatBisquit for on the one hand chiding CiL for harping too much on the lack of coverage above in this thread while at the same time demonstrating the lack of coverage by pulling in the entire text of another publication's story about the Nationals, full of info that has never appeared in the Post. NatBisquit is not part of the coverage-is-lacking problem, he/she is part of the solution!

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

... and so, as +.5St. alludes, "tomorrow will soon be today", and with baseball finally 'on-the-field' we can all focus our eyes until they become blessedly bleary and blurry. Oh what joys await us there.

... there are some (many? as many as there use to be?) Journalites who do not live in DC and who get all their Nats news from the web - almost exclusively from the Post and this blog. I'm one of them; in my life, I have never seen a paper edition of the Washington Post, and I'm unlikely ever to do so. But the Nats are my team as much as they are anyone else's team.

... when a dispute arises over whether or how well the Post is covering the Nats, I have some sympathy. When the team was in Montreal, a city shunned horribly by the various English-speaking media outside of Quebec, I had to search high and low for any news of my team. I had to listen to games - in French - on radio stations that would come in on clear nights only. So I know what it means to be a 'fan, once removed'. Even now, thanx to Bud and his minions, I have to follow Nats' games on GameDay - as unsatisfactory a vehicle if ever there was one.

... but it's still BASEBALL; and it's still the NATIONALS. Those of you who can read paper edition news about the Nats - as sporadically as you let on is the case - are still incredibly fortunate. Many get by with what Barry and the eds post on this blog, Bill Ladson notwithstanding, and we are extremely grateful for what we get.

... baseball is a strong link to our childhood; imagination is the fertile ground of childhood. A little news sparks the imagination to heights of glory and perfection; on the other hand much more news reduces imagination to mere conjecture and opinion. Forget the details and allow the imagination of your sporting hearts to make the game real for you; start tomorrow.

Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 14, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I am hopeful that Kearns has a big breakthrough year. I remember him as having power to left center and think he will be helped more than most by the new ballpark. Those straight line outfiled walls (vs. the arc at RFK) will make a big difference for him. Also, he is a superior defender.

Someone mentioned Rivera in Anaheim being similar to Kearns, but while their hitting potential is similar, Kearns has vastly better defensive capability. Rivera is a DH who played the OF out of necessity. His skills did not improve after breaking his leg last year.

There are ggod matchups for a trade with Anaheim though. They are not entirely confident in their firstbase situation and they have surplus in the middle infield, and outfield. Similarly Seattle still has some surplus and a potential need for a firstbaseman. (Sexson is fading fast).

If the other Nats outfielders have proven themselves by then, Kearns value will be much greater this time next year. If you have to trade him, sell high. Some of the kids (Milledge, Dukes, Pena, Burgess, Daniels, Maxwell, Guzman) need to prove themselves before we give up a player such as Kearns.

Posted by: NatBisquit | February 14, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

As much as I would like to agree to the ban after that mess yesterday, I just can't.

We haven't heard from Lo Duca yet, and you know he's going to have to say something when he arrives in Florida. What if he admits he used it? What if he said Radomski only sent him B12? What if he says it was for his underage girlfriend?

Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment. Maybe the Mitchell Report is my guilty pleasure (like Rock of Love for baseball fans). But I gotta talk about it.

-----

I agree that HGH needs to be banned from the Chat....I know we all have enough Nats questions and I trust Barry has enough opinions. ST starts in this week. Enough Clements already! (I struck out against him twice and I still have not interest in him)

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 14, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see the club hang on to both Dmitri and Nick, at least unless and until Jimbo gets blown away by a trade offer. First, as we all know, Nick is injury prone, so Meat is good insurance. Second, even if/when Nick is healthy and capable of starting, it wouldn't be such a bad thing to have Meat on the bench chatting up the problem child from Tampa, and coming in to pinch hit in the seventh or eighth, to a standing ovation. I can actually see Dmitri relishing that role for a number of years. Third, the pair actually work pretty well as a platoon:

NJ vs. LHP: .295/.426/.447
NJ vs. RHP: .264/.385/.461

DY vs. LHP: .277/.307/.434
DY vs. RHP: .291/.354/.481

So, assuming Nick is healthy, suppose we start the season by starting Meat against righties and Nick against lefties, and possibly coming in as a PH and/or late-inning defensive replacement from time to time?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 14, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you, John. As Selig and co. have proven, ignoring the issue won't make it go away.

---

I don't As much as I would like to agree to the ban after that mess yesterday, I just can't.

We haven't heard from Lo Duca yet, and you know he's going to have to say something when he arrives in Florida. What if he admits he used it? What if he said Radomski only sent him B12? What if he says it was for his underage girlfriend?

Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment. Maybe the Mitchell Report is my guilty pleasure (like Rock of Love for baseball fans). But I gotta talk about it.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 14, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

If you have broadband, Natscan, I'd look into MLB.TV. The quality is actually pretty good, and it's only about $15 a month, I think. I got it last year, and I loved it.

If you don't have broadband, I'd look into Gameday Audio. It's free with the MLB.TV subscription, but separately it costs about $5 a month. The way Charlie and Dave call the game, you won't be disappointed.

You also get a subscription to Gameday Audio with a Twins Territory Team membership, in case you need an AL team to root for...

-----

I have to follow Nats' games on GameDay - as unsatisfactory a vehicle if ever there was one

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 14, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

YOU PEOPLE ARE RUINING THE NATS JOURNAL. STOP COMPLAINING SO MUCH.
If you have a VALID (which most of you DON'T) complaint, find the proper avenue with the paper and let your voice be heard. Otherwise, take out all of that negative energy on your wife or your kids like a good American and allow the rest of us, who are happy and grateful that a reporter at The Washington Post VOLUNTARILY takes time out of their schedule to give us EVEN MORE coverage than a single person should be expected to provide, to enjoy our discussions.
The word I'm looking for is "appropriate". If you have a complaint, find the appropriate person and place to complain to...attacking Barry in the Nats Journal is completely inappropriate on both counts. If you feel like your half-a$$ed negativity needs a forum, go join one of the half-dozen Nats messageboards and flame away. Don't ruin the fun here for everyone else.

Posted by: AJ | February 14, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

CIL, the problem is not repetition of your (single) note, it's delivery. Do what I do: keep using different handles.

Posted by: Ego is an illusion anyway | February 14, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

... thanx John in Mpls. I have given some thought to MLB.TV but for me, $15/mo is a bit pricey. But if I could get GameDay Audio at a reasonable cost, I'd go for it. Not just for Charlie and Dave, but because baseball is the one sport that is tailor-made for radio.

... and I would have no trouble whatsoever pulling for Minnesota and the Twins. Not only do they have the requisite Canuck in Justin Morneau; not only do they boast the best columnist in America - Garrison Keillor, but the Minnesotan (political) head is in the right space.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 14, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I'm a wife, and I resent the implication that I'm not a good American.
I'm telling the Ombudsman!

Posted by: And I used to be a kid, too. So there. | February 14, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I hadn't read Sheinin's piece yet, hoping that it was about the last Spring Training for the Dodgers at the famed Vero Beach complex (if you are going to ST this year, and haven't been to Dodgertown, you MUST GO! It is wonderful (and I believe that the O's (?) will be taking it over next year, so enjoy it while you can before Angelos screws that up too).

Alas, it was just another piece on the Clemens/McNamee fiasco, only seen through the eyes of Joe Torre. I guess I deluded myself to think that the MLB reporter would write about something different than what 825 other "journalists/columnists" around the country were writing about.

One more day ...

One more day ...

----------------------
Meanwhile, the Post's MLB beat writer (Sheinin) was reporting from Florida - at the DODGERS training camp.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 09:57 AM

Posted by: e | February 14, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"Ladson works for mlb.com"

I take no position on whether anyone's an idiot here, but no matter who Ladson works for, he writes for Nationals.com, a website entirely devoted to Washington Nationals baseball coverage. That, my friends, is the very definition of a niche site. Everything Ladson writes, by necessity, is Nationals-focused. A niche, in other words.

Posted by: Niche Publication | February 14, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Nick, I don't think there is much chance that the Nats could trade him for anything of value, no matter how he looks early this year. He is just regarded throughout the league as too fragile--teams are not going to want to plan around him as their first baseman. 2007 was not the first time Nick missed an entire season due to injury: he also missed all of 2000 due to some sort of hand or thumb injury, which the Yankees regarded as somewhat mysterious and unusual. Then there was his never-healing heel injury in 2005, among a bunch of other fluky injuries. It's just too much of a risk for teams to bank on him.

Regarding coverage, AJ I'll just say that posts here in this forum have generated more responses from powers-that-be than have any efforts to raise concerns through channels that you might deem more "appropriate." So I disagree with your premise. Also, as I noted before, it seems to me that posts complaining about posts complaining about the paper's coverage heavily outweigh the initial complaints. So maybe it is you who should stop.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 14, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Are any of you NJ folks going down to Viera for at least part of Spring Training? That would be one way to increase coverage through this web site.

Posted by: Positively Half St (1 more day!) | February 14, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

NR, I get MLB radio, and am happy with $15 for the season, every game, both broadcasts plus Spanish where available (which doesn't help if you don't listen to games in Spanish, but if do, it's there).

**********
I have given some thought to MLB.TV but for me, $15/mo is a bit pricey. But if I could get GameDay Audio at a reasonable cost, I'd go for it. Not just for Charlie and Dave, but because baseball is the one sport that is tailor-made for radio.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 14, 2008 10:33 AM

Posted by: CEvansJr | February 14, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

The pictures and accounts of the game are the exclusive property of the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball, and may not be diseminated in any form without express written consent from Major League Baseball.

Posted by: And don't think I won't sue | February 14, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Plus you can choose which feed to listen to, unlike MLB TV, which only shows the home feed.

-----

NR, I get MLB radio, and am happy with $15 for the season, every game, both broadcasts plus Spanish where available (which doesn't help if you don't listen to games in Spanish, but if do, it's there).

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 14, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I posted this on the tail end of an earlier chat so I thought I'd post it again just for kicks.

Hey Barry, can you just start a post entitled "Lack of Coverage" and let people post their comments there? That will make it easier for you and your editors to go through them and those who want to avoid them can?


Ref: People complaining of lack of coverage

There's about 20-25 sources out there for good information on the Nats. If Barry and/or the Post is giving you what you want, go to one of the two dozen blogs and you just might find what type of toothpaste Nick Johnson uses and if Zimmerman puts his pants on one leg at a time. There's tons of great sources out there including Capital Punishment, Nats320, National Farm Authority....the list goes on and on. In fact, a year or two ago, ESPN did a story that the Nationals were the most blogged team by far in MLB.

I would love more coverage in the Post (drop the O's and add coverage for the minors. Perhaps, hire an intern to assist the lead writer (i.e. Barry) to get his/her hand dirty and learn the craft, etc..

But seriously, you all have to quit your whining and take it for what it us. Like I said, there's a couple dozen sources out there to get your Nats fix. JDLand.com is also a great source....Rock on!

Posted by: 315 | February 14, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Actually, they have two. Jesse Crain is from Toronto.

Of course, the Nationals have a Canadian of their own in Shawn Hill.

Fortunately, they don't have Canadiens of their own. This team has enough problems without players stealing purses and resisting arrest at club after a rookie dinner in Tampa Bay...

I couldn't resist.

-----

Not only do they have the requisite Canuck in Justin Morneau

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 14, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I am far behind in posting here due to toilling at the precinct on Tuesday as a chief election judge and then trying to recover from same on Wednesday. Now, back to baseball!

I agree with CIL and others who have said the Post's coverage of the Nats is dismal. Also, I do not appreciate the amount of space given to the BALTIMORE Orioles. Baltimore papers are readilly available to those fans who want that coverage. Also, I'm not necessarily blaming Barry, but if he were in Viera, where he should be now, he could have told us that the entire projected starting rotation is in camp and working out already. I read it in Ladson's article.

My projections for Hill: 25 starts,150 innings, ERA 3.75, about 12 wins. For Patterson, I said 30 starts, 200 innings, mainly because I am sure that is his goal for himself, but I think both of these guys would benefit by being used cautiously, at least in 2008 until they can get their arms at full strength and develope some endurance. Hill has never pitched a full season - at least in the majors- and Patterson only one, so far. I think 25 games and 150 innings should be about right for them in 2008.

I believe someone said that they thought Hill was a better bet than Patterson to stay healthy since he had already had TJ surgery. Patterson had TJ surgery in 2000 when he was in the D-Backs organization and when he had surgery in 2006 it was said that the ligament was healthy and strong, so he should be fine.

If Patterson and Hill are both healthy, they should give the Nats a good "one, two punch". They are quite different with Hill having a good sinker which induces ground balls, and Patterson a fly ball, strike-out pitcher with a big 12-6 curveball which is almost unhittable - often batters don't even swing at it. As for who is the number 1 starter, it doesn't really matter after opening day, and If they both do well in Spring Training, I would give the assignment to Patterson because he had a better FULL season in 2005 - the last time his arm was healthy - than Hill's half season in 2007. But I also agree that if the weather is really cold, I wouldn't want either Patterson or Hill out there.

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | February 14, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

John in Mpls:

... since this is a baseball, a Nationals blog, I will resist. :) If I didn't, I'd have to say how sick that story made this Habs fan feel. :(

... and oh yeah. I looked at GameDay Audio - for $15 a year, there's really no reason at all I shouldn't take advantage of that offer.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 14, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

"Nationals.com, a website entirely devoted to Washington Nationals baseball coverage."

Nationals.com is wholly owned and operated by mlb.com. Any team-related content of an informational nature (e.g. ticket prices, seating diagram, stadium info, 40-man roster, schedule including game times, etc) is provided to mlb.com by the team, and then published by mlb.com in its proprietary web format. (Ever wonder why all of the MLB teams have websites that look and behave EXACTLY THE SAME? That's why.) Reportorial content like Ladson's articles, GameDay, etc are produced by employees of mlb.com or Major League Baseball itself. Nobody who actually does any work on Nationals.com is employed by the team itself. In reality, Nationals.com and its parent organization mlb.com are as independent of the team as is the Washington Post.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

As my persistent-optimist fan post of the day:

I have to say, I'm extraordinarily proud of jpsfan. That was a most well-reasoned post in support of his/her man, with room given to praise Shawn Hill too.

The bias is still present, but tempered by acknowledging that we're allowed to have more than one hopefully-great pitcher (which, understandably, jpsfan believes will be the unfairly oft-tarred Patterson).

Love it, jpsfan. I'm all for both of them having all-star years too. Positivity, how refreshing!

Posted by: faNATic | February 14, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"Hey, I'm a wife, and I resent the implication that I'm not a good American.
I'm telling the Ombudsman!"

LOL. Touche. My misogynistic advice has been rendered erroneous. As Ricky Bobby has taught us all, you're an American 'cause you're in America.

"Regarding coverage, AJ I'll just say that posts here in this forum have generated more responses from powers-that-be than have any efforts to raise concerns through channels that you might deem more 'appropriate.'"

Really? How so? Can you prove one thing that has changed The Post's coverage based on people whining in the NJ? I'd be very interested in such information. Aside from Barry taking cues on talking points from our responses here, I can't imagine what you'd be speaking of.

Posted by: AJ | February 14, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"anyone calls me Francis...and i'll kill 'em. anyone touches my stuff... and i'll kill 'em. I don't want anyone touchin my stuff!"

ah that's some good old school comedy there...

i don't think nick the stick could handle a platoon situation. he'd freak out i'm sure. but i bet we can trade him for something useful. this is really the year bowden is gonna cement his legacy as the nats gm. i think it's gonna be positive...

Posted by: longterm | February 14, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Re: lack of coverage, we're not the only fans upset about the proportionate allocation of resources in the Post sports section. Caps fans complain as well -- check out the comments to this post:

http://www.onfrozenblog.com/2008/02/12/the-branding-of-a-winner-in-washington-the-good-hockey-market/

It sucks living in a "football town."

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | February 14, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

And now for a downer after faNATic's positivity:

419, your distinction of MLB ownership of Nationals.com and its content is noted, but its pretty fallacious. MLB also has numerous contractual (and fiduciary, I would argue) obligations to pump up/promote as much as possible every single one of the thirty-two franchises from which MLB derives its sole income. In other words, no baseball teams = no MLB and no Nationals.com. The self-interest there is undeniable.

If MLB died tomorrow, there would still be a Washington Post, and I'm sure the editors and owners would find some way to carry on through their grief and continue to allocate their reporters and resources as they see fit. The somewhat token independence of Nationals.com from the team itself does not in any way alter the fact that it remains a niche publication with significantly narrower reporting, editorial, and content duties than that of the Washington Post.

Posted by: Nietzche (Niche-y) | February 14, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"Re: lack of coverage, we're not the only fans upset about the proportionate allocation of resources in the Post sports section. Caps fans complain as well"

But at least the Caps fans don't have to complain about sharing their miniscule sliver of the Post's coverage pie with another so-called local hockey team that doesn't even play in Washington, do they?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 14, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Honestly, I hadn't even thought of that.

I was at the first RFK exhibition game against the Mets in 2005, and it was cold. Very cold. It was also, I believe, April 30th.

Should Acta consider this when he sets the rotation? The weather is one thing he can't control, after all. I agree with JPsFan, though - it could be an issue.

I also agree with faNATic - good post by JPsFan.

I've actually thought that Hill was a bigger question mark because he had surgery on each arm. A setback from either the elbow or the shoulder injury could delay his return. Bob L. Head disagrees with me, and he does tend to be right more often than I, so take it with a grain of salt.

-----

But I also agree that if the weather is really cold, I wouldn't want either Patterson or Hill out there.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 14, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

AJ, I already stated my view that we should end this debate, so my question to you is why do you want to keep debating the subject? Why are you complaining so much? Why don't you follow your own suggestion and take out all of your negative energy and frustration somewhere else? If you think that complaints aren't valid, just don't read them and don't respond. Again, the complaints themselves are very limited. But if you think the complaints have no validity or effect, you're also not paying attention. Barry has expressly stated in response to complaints on this blog that the Post's coverage is not where it should be and needs to improve (just one example of how comments here have resonated). And just yesterday a Post sports editor stated that he had noted the issue of complaints about coverage and wanted to address it soon (just another example).

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | February 14, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

The Post's coverage is ridiculously bad. Barry didn't even report that the Mystics set another attendance record!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 14, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"The somewhat token independence of Nationals.com from the team itself does not in any way alter the fact that it remains a niche publication with significantly narrower reporting, editorial, and content duties than that of the Washington Post."

No argument there. But you're missing my point. The Post has decided to have its own MLB niche, and from that perspective it is equivalent to mlb.com, your so-called niche. Furthermore, the Post's MLB niche has a sub-niche for the Nationals, as does mlb.com. What happened in those two niches this week? In mlb.com, Nationals coverage took place at the level it should. In the WaPo MLB niche, however, not only did they increase the size of their niche by pulling in reporters/columnists who don't normally write about MLB, they simultaneously squeezed the Nationals out of their niche by totally ignoring them. That is absolutely and totally wrong, for a publication that claims to serve the local Washington community as well as its wider national and international readership.

Do you get it now, or is your understanding still lacking?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Bob L - I am amazed by Nick's left right splits. However, he's a better OBP guy vs. righties than Dmitri is, and his slugging is close enough to make his OPS better. Nick is also vastly better with a glove. What I think that points to is playing Nick enough against anybody consistent with his health and giving him rest more often vs. righties than lefties (which would be counter-intuitive if you had not pulled the numbers). My guess is that Manny is going to want to play Nick 4 -5 times a week and Dmitri will PH and play 1st 2 - 3 times a week. Boone will get into the mix as a defensive replacement for Dmitri.

Posted by: jon | February 14, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

11:28 -- true

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | February 14, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Anybody who's going to Viera, be sure to validate Ray King's weight loss. THAT is something I'm gonna have to see to believe.

Also, for those of you who agree with CiL, one thought:

Y'all ain't got NUTTIN' against the Washington Bayhawks pro lacrosse team. :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | February 14, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

"I was at the first RFK exhibition game against the Mets in 2005, and it was cold. Very cold. It was also, I believe, April 30th.

Should Acta consider this when he sets the rotation? The weather is one thing he can't control, after all."

First off, you probably meant March 30th rather than April 30th. But no, the weather should play no part in setting the rotation. The day after the opener, the Nats head to Philly for their next several games. Whatever the weather is in DC on March 30th, it's likely to be pretty much the same in Philly the next day. If anything, if it's cold in DC it could be even colder in Philly.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

That wasn't your point in the post to which mine responded, smartypants (419+1). Let's just all be cute and say the cohesiveness (and accordingly, the persuasiveness) of your arguments is lacking. Nobody missed that point, promise.

----

"Nationals.com, a website entirely devoted to Washington Nationals baseball coverage."

Nationals.com is wholly owned and operated by mlb.com. Any team-related content of an informational nature (e.g. ticket prices, seating diagram, stadium info, 40-man roster, schedule including game times, etc) is provided to mlb.com by the team, and then published by mlb.com in its proprietary web format. (Ever wonder why all of the MLB teams have websites that look and behave EXACTLY THE SAME? That's why.) Reportorial content like Ladson's articles, GameDay, etc are produced by employees of mlb.com or Major League Baseball itself. Nobody who actually does any work on Nationals.com is employed by the team itself. In reality, Nationals.com and its parent organization mlb.com are as independent of the team as is the Washington Post.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 11:16 AM

Posted by: Nietzche | February 14, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I did.

New post up, by the way.

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First off, you probably meant March 30th rather than April 30th.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 14, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"The word I'm looking for is "appropriate". If you have a complaint, find the appropriate person and place to complain to...attacking Barry in the Nats Journal is completely inappropriate on both counts. If you feel like your half-a$$ed negativity needs a forum, go join one of the half-dozen Nats messageboards and flame away. Don't ruin the fun here for everyone else."

AJ, you talk like this is YOUR forum. But it's not. It belongs to the Washington Post, and right above where I'm typing these words it says this:

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

So, until washingtonpost.com tells me I can't, I have as much right to say whatever I want here as you do. Don't forget that. And by the way, you're spoiling MY fun.

Also, you need to learn the difference between pointing out the lack of coverage in the Post and "attacking Barry". Barry has rarely if ever been attacked in NJ, and definitely never attacked by me.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 14, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Although there's a new post up, I'd just like to state for the record that for months (before and during the 07 season) I said all the same things that CIL is saying now and was crushed by everyone (just as CIL is now). Thanks, CIL for re-charging my batteries, I'll get back in the fight now.

I'll preface the rest of this by stating the obvious: Barry likely doesn't entirely choose what he spends his time on, so this isn't a direct criticism of him.

The fact that the NATIONALS BEAT WRITER was covering the MLB news on CAPITOL HILL yesterday while the WAPO BASEBALL COLUMNIST was, apparently, covering the LA DODGERS spring training, and NO ONE was covering the NATIONALS at spring training is ridiculous. There's nothing you can say, no explanation, no justification for that. Ever.

Posted by: Matt | February 14, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Not even "Hey, gimme a break. This team sucks." ?

*******
There's nothing you can say, no explanation, no justification for that. Ever.
Posted by: Matt | February 14, 2008 12:15 PM

Posted by: Jorge | February 14, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

See, this whole thing is about ego, that's why the Barbaro still gets the whip even in Hades.

It's like the old joke about why drunks lean against lamp posts -- it's more for support than illumination.

Sure I have a right to windge. I have a right to windge about other people's windging. You have a right to windge about my doing so. And nobody has to read it.

But being socialized means you get some idea eventually, that when lots of people are telling you "ALLRIGHT Already!" that maybe you're appealing to the wrong venue, or as they say in baseball, "you've lost the clubhouse."


**********
I said all the same things that CIL is saying now and was crushed by everyone (just as CIL is now).
Posted by: Matt | February 14, 2008 12:15 PM

Posted by: CE | February 14, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

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