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OK, Let's See How This Goes...

As Mr. Svrluga noted in the previous post, we considered all your thoughtful responses to the question of whether I should post non-Nats-related baseball stuff on this blog, and decided to take the middle ground of only posting when it is relevant to the Nationals -- such as other NL East teams, or ex-Nats I stumble upon in other camps. Today brought me a little of both.

I'm currently at Port St. Lucie, where the Mets are getting ready to play an exhibition against the University of MIchigan. Chatted for awhile with both Ryan Church and Brian Schneider, and both of them are thrilled to be here. You'll be able to read more about them in the print edition in the next day or two, but suffice it to say neither of them (particularly Church) was very torn up about being dealt to the Mets this winter.

The big news here: Duaner Sanchez's impressive showing during Monday's intrasquad game -- his first competitive action in 19 months -- and Pedro Martinez's comments this morning about a contract extension.

Sanchez's return to his 2006 form -- before he suffered two different shoulder injuries, one of which occurred in a taxi cab accident -- is critical to the Mets, because before being injured he was one of the most dominant set-up men in the game. I was chatting up Paul Lo Duca before I left Viera, and he thinks Sanchez's return could be the key to the Mets' season.

Pedro, whose four-year $53 million deal expires after this season, discussed his contract situation this morning at his locker, and here is part of what he had to say, with typical Pedro candor:

"They have my respect regardless of whether they offer me [an extension] or not," he said, "or if I have to go somewhere else. I would not go and approach them and ask about extending me. They will know when to do it [and] they will know if they want to do it. So I'll just wait. And I'm going to go fishing after the season, and I'm not going to be picking up the phone. They'd better leave me some messages.

"I have to prove I'm healthy, and I'm going to have to prove I'm worth another contract. That's being realistic."

Now, let's steer this towards the Nationals... What if the Nationals won 81-85 games this year, and all of a sudden ownership viewed the team as being ready to go for it in 2009 -- with a veteran No. 1 or No. 2 starter being the one thing they need to put themselves over the top? What if the Mets let him walk away, since they already have their No. 1 starter, Johan Santana, locked up? What if Pedro decided he might enjoy playing for a manager who is a fellow Dominican, in the nation's capital? Discuss among yourselves...

And finally, let me say thanks to all of you for your hospitality during my fill-in stint the past couple of weeks. It was a genuine pleasure.

By Dave Sheinin  |  February 26, 2008; 10:56 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Rotations, rosters -- in Viera, even better
Next: Guess where I went to lunch? (And actual baseball stuff)


Church never did seem quite at home in DC. It is not surprising he didn't mind the trade.

Posted by: Jeff R | February 26, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

random thing. Richard Cohen just compared Obama to Roy Hobbs, saying when things get tough he will really step up when things get tough. The problem, he compared him to the one from the book, not the movie. The one who threw his last game. Do most people not know that the ending in the movie is completely different from the ending in the book. Its a big mistake that I am surprised a major newspaper let slide.

Posted by: Jon | February 26, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

The feeling's mutual, Churchie.

Posted by: Matt | February 26, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Pedro's comments were actually pretty refreshing. I never thought he could be so level headed, considering how he WWF'd the Zim a couple of years back.

Posted by: Diz | February 26, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I agree with yall on Church. Apparently, the Mets fans have bought into the tease that is Ryan Church (according to their messageboards) - who knows, he may "become the next Paul O'Neil" but I highly doubt it. This guy is a perpetual pouter who needs constant enforcement. If he couldn't cut it with Manny on his butt and Barry Svrluga (no offense, but you're a nice guy) then how the heck is he going to do when all of New York has him under the 'scope. I never wish ill-fortune upon anybody, so here's all the best to Ryan and his family but as you've said before, "the feeling is mutual". Schneider on the other hand, business is business and I understand but darn it - congrats to the Mets getting Santana only because it's going to benefit Brian.

On to Pedro. Ehh, depends on how his numbers this year go. I mean he certainly is no spring chicken, thus lost a bit of zip - yet still is a quality guy every 5 days. I'm not willing to throw Ace/#1 type money at him. Here's hoping J-Pat, Hill, and Bergmann prove to be strong anchors with Chico, Redding, Perez, Clippard, and some of the young guys filling in the holes.

Posted by: Corey | February 26, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the comments Dave! I dont know about the rest of you but man i love all the posts i can get.

I dont know how i feel about us getting Pedro. I think no matter how we do in 2008 we really need to keep building from within instead of going big on a bunch of free agents. I don't mind picking up a few guys here and there but I'd rather not spend a ton on a type A guy and have to give up a draft pick to boot. Even IF we can win 80 games and even IF the mets dont offer him arbitration, I still dont think we need another injury question mark in the rotation.

I'd rather see us go about things the way we've been doing it for at least one more year. Even if the team overachieves I would look to trade any vets we can get something for. I love everyone on the team but if we can get promising minor leaguers for anyone, especially NJ, DY, Boone A or B, Ronnie B, Perez, or any of the bullpen guys I think we need to. Now that the team is rated in the top 10 in farm system I never want to see it drop below again.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 26, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The pleasure was all ours, Dave.

I don't like the prospect of a healthy Sanchez in the Shea pen. Maybe we should have told you that when we said "Nats-related news," we meant "good news."

Make something up if you have to.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 26, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

... when Pedro was a pseudo-Nat a few years back, he was a guy requiring special treatment (read: kid gloves); he was a pistol - a .38 Sat. night special. Today he is a vintage Civil War Colt, who still is a special needs kind of guy.

... now the organization, taking a page from the Dennis Martinez-to-El Perfecto success story, continues to be both surrogate parents and social services agency to a whole passel of guys - and rightly so - but I'd be awfully reticent to extending that 'beyond the call of duty' scenario to include Pedro ... again.

... and anyway, he never was a Cin. Red, so that's clearly a mark against making such a move.

Go Austin Kearns! Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 26, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Right now you'd have to say it would be great to have Pedro here. The problem with that fantasy is it involves the Lerners opening up the checkbook and writing market rate checks for a future Hall-of-Famer. Ain't gonna happen. They don't think ballplayers are worth what other teams are paying them.

Of course, they're right, but that's an irrelevant point. If you want to get free agents (or hold on to your best players), it's become a very expensive game to play. If the Lerners figure that out, they will have to decide to join the marketplace, or get out completely. If they try to do this on the cheap, they will fail, and so will the franchise.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | February 26, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Ditto. Lerners would never pay what Pedro would demand.

Posted by: swanni | February 26, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

i'll still hold off on the "cheap" comments until we find an actual instance where they didn't go after a FA who was reasonable (in the market, at least) that would actually help within "the plan."

since that situation hasn't seemed to actually come up, it's hard to claim yet.

as far as pedro, eh. a fragile guy you can only hope will go 6 innings, not 7-9, probably isn't the right guy to put you over the hump. especially when he's pitching more on guts and wiles than the "stuff" he used to have. of course, it all depends on what he'd be asking and what else was available. hard to say what the right call would be in a vacuum.

Posted by: 231 | February 26, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Why on earth would a young Nats team contending for its first pennant want to bring in an old pitcher like Pedro? Unless he's got some secret HGH stash, don't go near 'em.

Posted by: Larry from Laurel | February 26, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

To the Lerners, all ball players are unreasonable.

Posted by: swanni | February 26, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I read this as referring to our 3B guy until I realized it was about the gerbil.


considering how he WWF'd the Zim a couple of years back.

Posted by: natsfan1a (channeling Bill Lee) | February 26, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Or, I should say, all ball player salaries.

The Lerners are used to paying $15 an hour to construction workers to build shopping malls and office buildings. They'll never accept what big-time Major League baseball players expect to receive.

Posted by: swanni | February 26, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I mean he certainly is no spring chicken, thus lost a bit of zip - yet still is a quality guy every 5 days.

Posted by: SQUAAAWWWK!! (the roosters) | February 26, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

C.C. Sabathia anyone? Come on Lerners!

(ps. I know this would never happen, but it would be an awesome move and would shake the baseball world because everyone else seem to write the Nats off all the time)

Posted by: BigNatsFan | February 26, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the alumni news, Dave. Please tell the Schneiderman that we miss him. Will look forward to reading more about ex-Nats in the (for me) 35-center.

Since we're dreaming about pitcher acquisitions, I think that I'd rather have Santana than Martinez.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 26, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Thank God Church is no longer a Nat!

What the Nats really need is a true leadoff hitter. They need someone who can work the counts, get on base and put some pressure on the opposing pitcher and steal some bases. It think this is what they really should concentrate on. They will have an open place next year at either second or short or both depending on what happens.

It might be nice to have Pedro, but I see him on the way down. Let's see how healthy and what he does this year, but with all the young pitchers coming up. I think we need a true leadoff hitter.

Posted by: Section 312 | February 26, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

No surprise on Church although, don't understand the hostility towards him. He didn't quite live up to his potential but he played hard and did everything right on the field. Seemed like he always through to the right base, never made out on the bases and played very solid defense. I was and still am a fan of his. I hope he does great up there.

Very surprised the Schneider wasn't disappointed after how much he embraced being a leader here. But, I don't blame him for wanting to catch Johan and Pedro and contend for the division.

I'll take all the posts I can get too.

231 is right, way too early to call the Lerners cheap. They have spent big money on the farm system and extras for the stadium.

Why chase old, past-their-prime, injury-prone, expensive free agents? No one ever called Dan Snyder cheap and where has his big spending gotten him?

I don't care how MUCH they spend, I care how SMART they spend and so far have done a great job in my mind by investing in scouts and the farm system.

If they get to where a certain F/A will put them over the top, I predict they pony up and do it.

Posted by: Avar | February 26, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I would not be upset if Pedro was available and the Nats didn't take him. Our pitching staff now is going to bloom brighter than the cherry blossoms. In 2009 they'll be ready to storm the beach! GO NATIONALS!!

Posted by: Pete, Gaithersburg | February 26, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The Expos, I mean Nats are about as exciting as a colonoscopy.

Posted by: Rambo | February 26, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

You're wrong Rambo. Being a Nats fan isn't as invasive and doesn't hurt as much at the beginning or the end of the procedure.

Posted by: natsscribe | February 26, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the additional item. It is interesting to get perspectives from other teams, especially with some Nats slant. It is also interesting that this will bring in fans from other teams, like Rambo, above.

All are welcome. Let's do our best to have some substance to comments. I don't know how exciting a colonoscopy is (I'm guessing not very), but we are pretty excited about the Nats this season.

I was on the Church bandwagon, but am more excited about Milledge.

I am all for bringing on a star pitcher when it is time, but hope that our current crop of youngsters improve with enough health that we would have to agonize whether to bring on someone older and now injury prone like Pedro.

Posted by: Positively Half St | February 26, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

If you look at the free agent market it appears the only true leadoff man who would at all fit the Plan would be Furcal. We'll see what the dodgers decide to do with him although at a couple of levels this could make a lot of sense. It would be a free agent move that could show people that we're not kidding around anymore (a la pudge to the tigers or maddux to the braves) and he's got history being a former braves guy with Kasten.

Furcal could be the mainstay there for a few years at least until we get some youngsters who can play the position (we have pretty much none right now) and he'd give us a solid leadoff bat, a decent (albeit declining) glove, and a foot in the proverbial free agent door.

Besides that, the list doesnt look too good, Orlando Hudson, Orlando Cabrerra, and Mark Ellis are the only other FA middle infielders who are better then F Lopez and you've gotta figure that several of these guys are getting resigned while several more go to NY or Boston.

There are a few FA pitchers who look good but again, you've gotta figure on most of them heading to NY, Boston, or Chi town so maybe we could squeak out a Sheets, Sabathia, or Penny or Lackey (even though both of them have options that should be picked up).

My guess and my hope is that we get someone like furcal who can show we're not joking around while giving our youngsters some time to grow. By the end of this year I would expect Ballester and Detwiler to be in the bigs with guys like Mock on the way. If one or two of them can have an impact in '09 as well as one or both of Hill and Patterson coming around then we could be 1 genuine starter away from a true contender. I just wouldn't bet on that contender doing much until 2010.

Until then... GO NATS

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 26, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Please consider doing other baseball news on this blog or another one, similar to what is done for the NBA and NFL. Whether some people like it or not, we have TWO teams in this region and there are 29 teams other than the Nationals. There is no such thing as good coverage without devoting an appropriate amount of coverage to those other teams, especially the one that is 40 miles up the road. Additionally, many Nationals fans are still loyal to the Orioles simply as a matter of that being the "home" team for years. Washington is a town filled with transplanted residents from all over the country who retain ties to their other home teams, even while rooting for the Nationals.

Some people really need to face the facts here and realize there is more to Major League Baseball than the Nationals.

Posted by: OTP | February 26, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Who wouldn't want a very good pitcher?

Posted by: .390 | February 26, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"I don't care how MUCH they spend, I care how SMART they spend"

yup, that's my feeling too. people are too hung up on the actual dollars instead of the return.

now furcal, that i could get behind. there's nobody in the minors. he'd be a better SS than we've had here and would be the only real leadoff hitter we've had (as much as i loved having sori, he's really not a leadoff hitter, it's just what he wants to be). i think they might have to overpay (a la the tigers), but as long as they overpay the *right* players/positions, it makes sense when done properly.

Posted by: 231 | February 26, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Why not trade for me?

Posted by: Brian Roberts | February 26, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Avar on Churchie. It did seem like he just couldn't catch a break here, but I always thought he worked hard. I also wish him the best.

Schneider, though. Man, I'm still heart-broken over that loss. LoDuca and Estrada might be good enough fillers, but they don't give the consolation prize of hope like our young outfielders do, which makes losing him that much harder.

My only consolation to losing Schneider might be if Flores can change their minds about sending him down.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 26, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"... the only true leadoff man who would at all fit the Plan would be Furcal."

Hey VT Nats Fan,

... I usually avoid commenting on 'what if's' and fantasy trades, but I gotta say that if this one ever could be made, I'd get behind it like a seagull behind a trawler. Dollars are far too important to ignore, and in considering this kind of move, does anyone know what kind of money it would take?

Go Felipe Lopez! Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 26, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Brian,

You would be the Anti-Plan right now. Not only would we have to give up a bunch of young guys to get you, we have up to 3 serviceable 2nd basemen. The reason we're talking about furcal is that we have between 0 and 2 serviceable shortstops and the 2 that are both question marks are free agents after this year.

Yet another part of the spending SMART.

I like the idea of a great pitcher but im not convinced that pedro's been great since he left boston.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 26, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Also, i really think we need another year or two to sort out what we've got in this pitching staff.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 26, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

1. Lerners are cheap: rock bottom payroll in 07.
2. Lerners aren't cheap: Contracts to Dmitri and Belliard.
3. Lerners aren't cheap: Bonuses to drafted players way above slot.

I think that on balance, they won't be cheap. It's in their self interest to invest in winning to generate more income. Yeah, they wrote off last year in RFK which makes it harder for them to get off the ground now, but I guess they felt like last year wasn't going to be successful no matter what - did Soriano make them a winner in 06? But I don't think they're going to run a Pittsburgh East franchise, they know a great ballpark isn't enough.

Posted by: Geezer | February 26, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"The Lerners are used to paying $15 an hour to construction workers to build shopping malls and office buildings. They'll never accept what big-time Major League baseball players expect to receive."

If this is so, swanni, then how do you explain them offering Dmitri Young $10M for two years at a point in the season last year when they certainly didn't have to? You really think he would have commanded much if any more of a contract if some other team had gone after him as a free agent? Many observers at the time were wondering why the Nationals were paying him so much.

Tell me, swanni, do you have one of the keys on your computer pre-programmed to spit out "The Lerners are cheap" every time you hit it? (My guess is that you're using SHIFT-s for this purpose. Just a hunch on my part.) Because really, you have yet to come up with one example of a case where the Lerners could have spent money, should have spent money, but didn't. (And don't go bringing up Belliard's 12 bats again, either. That was a non-story the day it first got printed. If that's all you have, then just be a man and admit that you have nothing.)

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 26, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

It is also interesting that this will bring in fans from other teams, like Rambo, above.

Posted by: one word: caphcky | February 26, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Swanni's actually hitting SHIFT+B.S. on his computer.

"'re using SHIFT-s for this purpose. Just a hunch on my part.) "
Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 26, 2008 12:52 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | February 26, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

So have we written off Nick Johnson completely already? Doesn't he have most of the below (other than the base stealing)?


"What the Nats really need is a true leadoff hitter. They need someone who can work the counts, get on base and put some pressure on the opposing pitcher and steal some bases."

Posted by: Juan-John | February 26, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm just a fan of baseball in general.

Posted by: Rambo | February 26, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the post Dave! To Church... we hardly knew thee....

Interesting speculation about Pedro. I seriously would love to see the guy in a Nats uni, but only if he arrived healthy. There is no reason to throw out major bucks for damaged goods. Would the Mets let him walk?

Posted by: Keenan | February 26, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

nick only has the first two of those. he pust no pressure on the opposing pitcher once on and can't steal. he's a much better 2-3 hitter, but not leadoff.

Posted by: 231 | February 26, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals make me shart in my pants.

Posted by: Maynard James Keenan | February 26, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I am a huge NJ fan. However, he isn't a leadoff hitter. He is great at working a count and getting on base, but he isn't a guy you want leading off because he has some great power. He also is not really a base stealing threat. He is a smart runner and hopefully with the leg that is still true, but he isn't a threat on the bases.

Also, I think that NJ's days are numbered. In reality he will probably be traded before they come up north. I am going to hate to see him go, as he is one my favorite players, but that is the reality. He will look good again in his Yankee pinstripes.

Posted by: Section 312 | February 26, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Bowden and his toy:

I'm loving Jonathan Forsythe. Can we get a Kearnsy profile next??

Posted by: Jonathan Forsythe's Mom | February 26, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"The Expos, I mean Nats are about as exciting as a colonoscopy."

Well, Katie Couric's colonoscopy was pretty exciting. After all, they covered it live on the top-rated morning network TV show. So yes, I guess I have to agree with you that the Nats are as exciting as a colonoscopy and ought to be covered live on the top-rated morning network TV show.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 26, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

LOL!!! Look at :50 to :52 on the segway video. Hilarious shot.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 26, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the out-of-town post, Dave, I think the middle ground approach is the right one here.

OTP, this is a Nats blog, I'm sure you can find an O's blog, or a blog for any other team. I suppose you could argue that the Post should have an O's blog (which would no doubt lead to vociferous objections here), but I don't think you can credibly argue that a Nats blog has to cover the O's, or any other team.

Pedro -- not in favor. If we sign a big ticket guy it should be someone that is in his prime and can contribute for a number of years (as the Mets found in Santana, and the Braves found in Teixeira).

Furcal -- perhaps, but it depends on the money. He's overpaid in his current deal ($13m in 2008). But he might be available, the Dodgers have a solid prospect behind him in Chin-lung Hu. Overall I'd rather see the Nats draft and/or trade for middle infield prospects (a la Brent Lillibridge).

Jason Bergmann -- great to have you on board Planet NJ. My question would be this: I was at the new park on Sunday, and it certainly looks like it will play a lot smaller than RFK. Any discussion in Spring Training about pitching differently in the new digs?

Also, for those who haven't seen it, the place looks fantastic. It's a multi-tiered plaza with lots of open, airy spaces. The concourses are nothing like the catacombs of RFK; they're open on both sides in many places, and you can see the field from almost everywhere (no hallways from the concourses to the field, they extend right up to the last row of seats, so you can keep an eye on the game even while milling around scarfing food and drink). Even the upper deck seats are good seats -- so much closer to the field than the comparable ones at RFK. I am tempted to say that there's not a bad seat in the house, and my only reservation might be the seats toward the back of the right field box sections (140-143), where the overhang might prevent you from seeing high flies. But it's the real deal, get psyched people!

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 26, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Bowden and his toy:

... best, and most insightful line of the day surely goes to Dmitri.

Go Ray King! Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscan redxuit | February 26, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I rock

Posted by: Ray King | February 26, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

i'm jealous bobL, how'd you get a tour?

i completely understand your point about a MI prospect (a la lillibridge), the reality is we probably won't fill all of our gaps with major league ready prospects. considering that furcal could fill two needs (leadoff and SS), and that (if for no other reason than for PR's sake) the team will likely make at least one significant acquisition next offseason, furcal would seem to be a decent fit. i'll agree that we shouldn't mortgage anything for him, but we'll probably have to overpay some. as long as it isn't crazy, maybe it's worth it. far better someone like him than, say, silva and his $40m deal with seattle (to be their #5 pitcher, or so it's rumored now).

Posted by: 231 | February 26, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Just say no to Pedro. Don't pay for past reputation that will be in rapid decline. I don't think that 'rocket fuel', if you get my drift, will be in use in order for him to extend his career...ala R.C. Keep em comin Dave, and Church, good'll need it in the rotton apple.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | February 26, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm fat

Posted by: Chad Cordero | February 26, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I just injured myself typing this post.

Posted by: Nick Johnson | February 26, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Stop it Rambo.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all of your MASN money.

If any of you guys need a good asbestos lawyer, just give me a ring.

Posted by: Peter Angelos | February 26, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Yo, Adrian.

Posted by: Rambo | February 26, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to push through the swooning over Jason, and move right on to the Sports Illustrated article:

I feel like it takes special skill to write two pages on the Nationals and not once mention either the above average bullpen or ESPECIALLY Ryan Zimmerman. Good job, SI. Good job.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

re: Furcal

his career averages (I picked the ones I think most relevant to lead off men);
BA - 284
OBP - 349
R - 110
2B - 31
3B - 7
SB - 37
CS - 10

He was below just about all of these in '07 but above in '06.

NL averages in '07 for these categories:
BA - 283
OBP - 353
R - 83
2B - 33
3B - 3
SB - 11
CS - 3.4

Average OBP guy which is most important for lead off
above average run scorer
well above average base stealer w/ solid success rate.

Not worth $13m. If he has the same year in '08 as he did in '07, I say pass. If he goes back to '06 form them yes but still not at $13m.

Posted by: Avar | February 26, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Generalized comments:

1. Pedro...Question: is he, even now, a true #1? What will he be in a year? My reading is that pitchers, more than position players fall off the end of the cliff (yeah, I know that there are exceptions) as opposed to going into gradual decline.

2. In looking at who we have drafted, the one screaming need seems to be middle infielders. The corner IF is probably secure for the foreseeable future (despite Swanni's unwarranted accusations). There seems to be a group of at least 4 young, true ML outfielders on the 40 man. We actually seem to have an abundance of strong, young arms that will mature in 9,10,11. Flores seems to be the catcher of the future (although I am still a little dubious). And then there is Guzzi, Belli, and FLOP (along with the ancient B.Boone). That may be the trade that we need to make.

3. The more I see of JimBow on his Segway, the more I think that Kamen got another one right. I just wonder when it will be available from the Nats' shopping site, and if it will include lessons.

Posted by: Catcher50 | February 26, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Nats fans, make sure to buy large amounts of Dip-n-Dots this year. Go Nats!

Posted by: Stan Kasten | February 26, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I am so good.

Posted by: Rafael Furcal | February 26, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

As the eternal optimist (until injuries start to happen) I'm not so sure we can totally discount(In 2009) Ian Desmond. A possible lead-off hitter?
Furcal, great but getting older, and very expensive. He's not a Ramirez or Reyes by any stretch.

Posted by: Jeeves | February 26, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I love the Nats.

(I also love Lisa Turtle).

Posted by: Screech | February 26, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Screech, how many times do I have to tell you? I don't love you. I'm still in love with Zach Morris.

Posted by: Lisa Turtle | February 26, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Just listened to Mannys morning presser and you can hear Barry asking questions. On the WT Nats page.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | February 26, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

SegWays all around;
ST in Viera;
What could be better?

Go Lastings Milledge! Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 26, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

231, given that many of my brethren will be distributed at the park this summer, it was only fair for them to provide me with a sneak peak!

I'm not opposed to Furcal if he falls into our laps for, say, 2 years, $15-17M, with a club option for a third. He's just not worth another 3-year, $39M contract like he got in LA.

Re: Flores, worth noting that BA ranks C Derek Norris (2007 4th round pick) as our #22 prospect; let's see how he does with the Lake Monsters this year.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 26, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Actually SC Nats Fan, that is ME that you are hearing at the press conference.

Posted by: GOD | February 26, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"OTP, this is a Nats blog, I'm sure you can find an O's blog, or a blog for any other team. I suppose you could argue that the Post should have an O's blog (which would no doubt lead to vociferous objections here), but I don't think you can credibly argue that a Nats blog has to cover the O's, or any other team."

Actually, it's interesting to note that the emphasis on Orioles coverage in the Post seems to be entirely on the print side of the paper, not on As some people already knew, and more may have learned from the recent City Paper cover article, the Washington Post birdcage-liner and were until recently two separate entities from a publisher/editor viewpoint that just happened to share some content and content-providers. Now, though, they are combined under a single publisher, Katharine Weymouth of the Graham family line. Going forward, this will have to mean that they will become more and more alike in the content they provide, until inevitably the birdcage-liner edition of the Post disappears in favor of new technology for delivering information, just as black and white TV, vinyl LPs and Betamax did in generations before.

What does this mean for Nationals/Orioles coverage in the Post? Well, consider that in year one of the Nationals, the Post tried to cover the two teams equally, both in print and online. There was a Jorge Arangure Orioles chat and a Barry Svrluga Nationals chat. There were equivalent online "sections" for the Orioles and Nationals, just as there was equivalent play for both teams in the print edition. Now, however, we are into the fourth year of the Nationals being the home team for this city that has no real baseball fans, according to Peter Angelos anyway. In the print edition of the Post, the Orioles and Nationals still receive equal coverage at the beginning of every season, and will until the Post figures out that the Orioles will have yet another losing season and pulls their O's beat writer in favor of a generic AP story about their game. But online, it's a whole different world. There is still an Orioles link on the front page of, but all you get when you click it are the very same stories you get in the print edition. Nothing more. But click the Nationals link, and you get a page full of Nats web extras: blog, video, chats, the whole nine yards. has obviously figured it out. The Baltimore Orioles are just another one of the 29 major league baseball teams that don't play in Washington. How long will it take until Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, the sports editor of the print edition, figures out the same? Or will he have to be told by his new insect warlords from

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 26, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

reggie willits. available, relatively young, fast, great leadoff hitter.

Posted by: theraph | February 26, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: Brian Roberts | February 26, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to play for the Expos.

Posted by: Reggie Willits | February 26, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Nice analysis, 419. I give you trouble when I disagree, but I want to make sure I'm fair and equally tip my hat when I think you put up something real insightful.

What makes you optimistic about the print standards adapting to the online standards?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 26, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

puff puff give.

Posted by: Section 420 | February 26, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Pedro Martinez is a beanballer who likes to beat up 72-year old men. Keep him in Queens with the rest of the thugs.

Posted by: Mama Cass | February 26, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

72-year old MAN. It only happened once. And he had it coming.

Posted by: Pedro Martinez | February 26, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

you are extremely

Posted by: annoying. | February 26, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Have to take issue with you, 419+1. You say that in the print edition of the Post, the Nats and the O's receive "equal coverage." If you to go back through the last week of papers and look at the word count and space allocation, you will see that your statement is incorrect. The Nats coverage has far exceeded that of the Orioles.

Posted by: Capitol Hill | February 26, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

New post (with a food report)!

Posted by: OldGuy | February 26, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

On next year's free agents - Don't expect Boston or NYY to compete for middle infielders. Cano, Pedroia, Jeter will not be displaced and Lugo is under contract and Lowrie (if he's not traded) behind him.

On Pedro - maybe my favorite player (no surprise), the righty Koufax who hung on after his arm went and still won. He had to face juiced line ups and still beat league average ERA's by 2+ runs. But that Pedro does not exist anymore. The one who exists will never have the big gap between his change and fastball and may have problems with his breaking stuff. Sure, if he can keep his ERA less than 4 and throw 160 innings he might be a nice veteran to work with the staff, but only if we finish this year around 83 - 87 wins and are making a push for next year. Even then, lead off and middle infield are likely to be higher priorities because of contracts and system depth.

Posted by: jon | February 26, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Right on, Pedro!


72-year old MAN. It only happened once. And he had it coming.

Posted by: Bill Lee | February 26, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Church and Schneider are enjoying playing for a winning team. I won't miss either, and will enjoy the greater offensive production out of both spots they've vacated.

Posted by: Takoma Park | February 26, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"(Church) didn't quite live up to his potential"

What potential was that, really? Church made the club in 2005 as a tenuous starter in front of Terrmel (piece of crap) Sledge. He was already 26 and while he had destroyed AAA and deserved a chance, he wasn't a hot prospect.
But he was a decent enough player who contributed at a low, low cost.

I have no ill will towards him if he's happy to have a chance on a good team. That's part of being an athlete.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | February 26, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I don't see Lerner & Co. ever "going for it." They're too tight and focused on short-term profitability. They can make a ton without producing a pennant winner.

It would take a different mindset on the part of the owners and people different from Kasten and Bowden in the front office to make the Nats a contender. The only way that'll happen is if miracles happen in the drafts and the minors. In which case, we'll be like the Twins, grooming future hall of famers for the contenders to bid on. But we won't retain any of them because that would bust the budget.

Posted by: JohnR(VA) | February 26, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Amen to the Austin Kearns post from way up the list. Kearns is a linchpin to this team if we believe the hype that Bowden posts.

I was reading on Nationals Pride about Kearns' splits between home and away, hopefully a new park makes him more comfortable

Posted by: Millhouse VanHouten | February 26, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Capitol Hill is right, there is more coverage of the Nats in the print edition than the Orioles. Are you reading the same newspaper the rest of us are reading?

Bob L. Head, There is a difference between giving the Nationals precedence in this space over a certain number of other baseball items pertaining to other teams, and being Nats only. Although it seems that many readers of this blog don't acknowledge this fact, there are 29 other teams, or that the blogs for 2 of the 3 other major sports leagues in this country that are on this website give attention to the other teams in those leagues (I can't speak for the Capitals blog, I never read it). You (and others) are so focused on your precious Nationals looking to cite everything that happens to them you don't approve of as an injustice, you fail to see the bigger picture.

Section 419+1, Emilio Garcia-Ruiz seems to have struck an appropriate balance in my opinion. The Orioles get some coverage, but less than that of the Nationals. Did it occur to you that perhaps the lack of Orioles content on is related to the fact the team had no beat writer since August? As it has been stated before, the Orioles used to be the "home" team for Washington, they still have a substantial fan base in the Washington media market and in the Washington Post circulation area, and to give them the amount of coverage a team playing in California gets simply makes no sense. A strong dislike of anything related to Peter Angelos is no reason to deny fans coverage; I can assure you many Orioles fans are loyal to their team but hate what Peter Angelos has done to the team over the past few years.

Posted by: OTP | February 27, 2008 5:36 AM | Report abuse

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