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Rauch avoids arbitration with two-year deal

Jon Rauch, who has become an essential part of the Nationals' bullpen, agreed to terms with Washington on a two-year, $3.2-million contract that avoids arbitration. The deal also includes a club option for a third season, 2010, at $2.9 million.

The breakdown: 2008: $1.2 million; 2009: 2.0 million; club option for 2010: $2.9 million.

Thus, it could end up being a three-year, $6.1-million deal. Should the club pick up the option, it will buy Rauch out of all three of his arbitration-eligible seasons, and he would be a free agent after 2010. Rauch had asked for $1.4 million in arbitration; the Nationals had counteredwith $1.1 million.

One interesting wrinkle: The club must pick up the option within five days of the end of the 2008 World Series. So, essentially, we'll know early in this upcoming offseason if Rauch will be signed through 2009 or '10.

"Obviously, the last two years, he's shown his durability," GM Jim Bowden just said by phone. "He's pitched in more games than anyone in baseball, and done a tremendous job of developing into one of the best relievers in the game."

Once considered a potential starter, Rauch is now a stalwart reliever. No pitcher in all of baseball has worked as often as Rauch the past two years. The list:

Jon Rauch, 173
Scott Proctor, 166
Bob Howry, 162
Matt Capps, 161
Chad Qualls, 160

Rauch had a major league high 88 appearances in 2007 (three more than the runner-up, teammate Saul Rivera) a year after tying with Pittsburgh's Capps for second in baseball with 85. Only four pitchers since 2000 have appeared in more games than Rauch's 88 last season.

He has also done so with more than reasonable quality - 4-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 2006, 8-4 with a 3.61 ERA in 2007.

That leaves only one potential arbitration case for Washington: Felipe Lopez. And Bowden feels like they're headed to arbitration on Feb. 13. Lopez, who made $3.9 million in 2006, is asking for $5.2 million. The Nationals countered with $4.9 million. Negotiations with Lopez's agent, Scott Boras, have not yielded a deal.

"I feel that this case is going to be arbitrated," Bowden said. "Obviously, we're disappointed we weren't able to do a deal, but certainly we stand by our submitted number. ... We think the raise we proposed for him is more than fair given the past two years of his performance. Certainly, we recognize his career accomplishments, but with what's happened the last two years we feel as if we made a more than fair offer."

This, of course, doesn't mean a deal couldn't be struck between now and the hearing date.

That's it for now. Have a great rest of your weekend.


By Barry Svrluga  |  February 2, 2008; 12:35 PM ET
 
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Comments

Wow. He needs to fire his agent.

Posted by: Chris | February 2, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

seriously, this guy is one of the best kept secrets in the league. he deserves to be paid big time. take away flops money and give it to big jon (its a soft J)

Posted by: love | February 2, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

That furrowed brow on Rauch? That's the look of someone who has just heard the following from their spouse.

"YOU could've been a closer, you know. But, oh, NO, you said, too much PRESSURE, we'll do just FINE if I'm a setup man..."

Posted by: Hendo | February 2, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

As my mom would say, I reccomend that instead of arbitrating/paying Lopez, we should trade him for a dog and shoot the dog.

Okay that's unfair. But really every time I see what he's getting paid it makes my stomach churn. I'm almost glad that his arbitration might interfere with spring training and give Belliard and Guzman a better shot at securing the starting spots at middle infield.

love is right about Rauch. What a Nat.

Posted by: nattaboy | February 2, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Closer? He could have been a starter, pulling in even more money.

Posted by: swanni | February 2, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Should FLOP win his case, there is no justice. He ought to back up to get his checks off last years performance.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | February 2, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

It seems clear to everyone from JimBo to Acta and the rest of the clubhouse that they do not want PLOP. Barry is the only one who still seems to think he is a starter. Anyway, what seems to be the approach is to get him signed one way or another as cheaply as possible and then trade him to the first person willing to take him off our hands. Clearly to go to arbitration over a few 100K tells you all you need to know about his long term prospects as a NAT....unless you are Barry who seems to have a weakness for lazy head cases that can run but have no idea where they are going.

Love the Rauch signing....he is the real deal.

Posted by: JayB | February 2, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, in the Caribbean Series, our man Ronnie Belliard -- a .212 hitter during the Dominican Winter League season just concluded -- is showing how to earn the designation "Mr. February."

Playing 2B this afternoon for Dominican Republic 2 (aka Tigres del Licey) vs. Venezuela, Bells is 2-for-3 with 4 RBI and a run scored.

DR2 is up 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth.

Posted by: Hendo | February 2, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

We love rauch should be closer trade coredero for starter!

Posted by: rauch lover | February 2, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

JIMBO IS THE BEST GM IN MAJORS

Posted by: jimbo lover | February 2, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

We miss you liveo come on home

Posted by: livo love | February 2, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Ken Rosenthal is reporting nats have offers to colon,garcia and livo maybe even trachel i guess it's who ever bites first.

Posted by: FOX Sports | February 2, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Go Johnny Estarda LoDuca Is going to get hurt.

Posted by: Johnny Estrada Lover | February 2, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

You Think fox sports actually knows what there talking about?

Posted by: DJ 26 | February 2, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

gooooooooooooo Belli!

gooooooooooooo Tigres!

Posted by: baseball lover | February 2, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

WTF? Did you ALL start the Bud Bowl a day early? Who are these drunks?

Posted by: make that 'illiterate drunks' | February 2, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

WT [RF]? Did you ALL start the Bud Bowl a day early? Who are these drunks?

Posted by: make that 'illiterate drunks' | February 2, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Ok, Rauch for $3.2M over 2 years...and FLOP is going to get a minimum of $4.9M for 1 year? Wow...

Rauch is infinitely more valuable to this team than Lopez is.

And, to keep up my mantra, go get Livo! Colon would be a nice pick up too, if that is truly possible.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | February 2, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Seeing as how it came from someone who posted the same message twice, that accusation rings rather hollow. ;)

---

WT [RF]? Did you ALL start the Bud Bowl a day early? Who are these drunks?

Posted by: Ms. Kettle | February 2, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm rooting for FLOP to rebound. And I am a BIG fan of Bowden, so it is with some consternation that I read about JimBow laying down the law on FLOP in the press pre-arbitration. FLOP was really bad last year, Guzman and Belliard were clearly better, but FLOP has the potential to rebound. Clearly JimBow thinks that FLOP needs a verbal wedgie to snap him to attention. It would seem that there is little chance of a multi-year deal prior to arbitration. And if they go to arbitration, there is little chance that FLOP returns in 2009. He'll probably gone by August.

So Note to Felipe: you probably make more money in the long run if you sign now for $4.9, enhance your standing with the team, have a good spring, and earn some playing time. Other teams are going to note that your went to arbitration after a bad year.

Also, note that you can actually finf the word "wedgie" at dictionary.com. Who knew?

Posted by: NatBisquit | February 2, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

"WT [RF]? Did you ALL start the Bud Bowl a day early? Who are these drunks?"

Looks like some Redskins Insider readers have decided to wander over to Barry's blog to introduce themselves to the new beat reporter. Better get used to it, Barry. Dumb it down, dude. That's your new mantra. Dumb it down. You'll even have to start spelling your own name wrong - which in your case shouldn't be hard. Having second thoughts yet?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 2, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

... I love Flippie as much as the next Nats guy, but JimBow is right on when he says our offer is about right "given his past performance". I say keep him around for a while yet to see if he can turn it around. But I'd be hard pressed to agree to put one more nickel than is absolutely necessary in Scott Boras' pocket.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 2, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Lopez does not deserve a raise, but I think those who are critical of his attitude are unfair. The Nats jerked him around all season. He was asked to switch to 2nd, and he did it. Then he has to go back to short after Guzman went down opening day. then they changed their minds several times about where he would play. They also moved him from leadoff to 7th and back again. it's easy for a player to sulk when his role changes everyday and he is in a contract year

Posted by: SwiftIt | February 2, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

"jerked him around" is a bit much. he wasn't in a "contract year," necessarily, since he's still in arbitration and i don't think was ever signed long-term. now 2008 is a contract year, since he'll be a real free agent after this season.

as far as being moved from leadoff to 7th and back, that's nobody's fault but his. if he had hit, he never would have been moved from leadoff. but when your OBP is under 300 (his was 297 before the AS break, 308 overall), you're not going to stay in the leadoff spot.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | February 3, 2008 12:29 AM | Report abuse

He was moved to leadoff and short the 2nd day of the season, then back to 2nd (recall the J. Wilson experiment?). Then they moved him back to short. He spent all off season preparing to play 2nd and bat 2nd. As for the "contract year", arbitration is about the same thing. All I'm saying is that the Reds just had him play short and bat 1 or 2 and he went to the all-star game.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 3, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

You can't bank on Lopez's past stats in Cincinnati. He played at the Great American Small Park.

Posted by: swanni | February 3, 2008 6:22 AM | Report abuse

I tried to find the Rosenthal bits on the Nats offering contracts to pitchers, but that info was nowhere to be found. I've been had.

Posted by: Positively Half St. (12 more days) | February 3, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

I posted this just before Barry's new post, so I think many missed it. I thought it was interesting:

Here is an extended interview with Assistant GM Mike Rizzo from 1/26/08. The guys doing the interview are clearly amatuers, but this extended interview has a few nuggets worth listening to. You just have to suffer a little banter before they get to Rizzo:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/baseballdigestdaily

Posted by: Positively Half St. (12 more days) | February 3, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

For those who think FLopez's salary and asked increase are ridiculous, especially compared to Rauch, consider this:
- The arbitration system pretty much guarantees pay increases for veterans as "payback" for 6 years of indentured servitude to clubs. Imagine if you got out of school and took a job w/ a company knowing you had Zero choice but to stay with them for 6 years before you had a chance to leave.
- Lopez knows and everyone else knows the Nationals don't have any shortstop coverage in the minors. None. Zero. That makes him frankly more valuable to the Nats right now than even Rauch. If Guzman gets injured, we HAVE to play Lopez at short. If both Lopez and Guzman get injured we're in a world of hurt. If Rauch gets injured, Ayala or Rivera or Colome easily fits into the setup role.
- I think Rauch's deal makes sense; it guarantees good pay increases for his 3 arbitration years with us and takes the hearings (which apparently are rather ego-deflating for the players) out of the equation. Setup guys just aren't valued as highly as closers.

Posted by: Sec131 | February 3, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

The Nats Made no offers to any pitchers fox sports is a idiot.

Posted by: DJ 26 | February 3, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

The fact the Nats have no SS options is the fault of Jimbo. Could have had Dave Eckstein for the money they are paying PLOP. Could have had many lesser cost all Defense SS on the open market this past winter. Could have traded for SS Depth all last year instead of signing Manny Alexanders and D Jimmerez because we were toooooooo cheap to spend some cash on Major League Backups.....some thing Jimbo is doing this year to his credit.

PLOP should have been cut a week before the season ended and 5 Million should have been spend on backup plans for AAA, AA and MLB all defense type if (when) Guzmen goes down in May.

Jimbo is responsible for the PLOP FLOP in so many ways.....


Posted by: JayB | February 3, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

JayB-

PECOTA predictions, for those who understand them (help me, here):

Eckstein:

Avg .274 OBP .326 Slug .352

3 hr, 36 rbi.

VORP (value over replacement player)- 4.8
Upside- 1.8
Breakout year - 3% chance
Improve - 21%
Collapse - 54%

Felipe Lopez-

Avg .271 OBP .344 Slug .396

11 hr, 59 rbi.

VORP (value over replacement player)- 24.2
Upside- 81.8
Breakout year - 19% chance
Improve - 42%
Collapse - 24%

This stat-head analysis apparently gives a BIG advantage to having Felipe Lopez over Eckstein. Time will tell.

Posted by: Positively Half St. (12 more days) | February 3, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Keep your stats.....

My eyes don't lie when it comes to heart and baseball sense. Lopez has no heart and those projections mean nothing when hustle and heart are the issue as they are with PLOP.

Posted by: JayB | February 3, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

+.5St(12md), boiled down and somewhat oversimplified, those PECOTA numbers express the belief that, at the plate, Lopez is worth 24.2 - 4.8 = 19.4 more runs than Eckstein. That would be worth, on average, about two wins to the team that has Lopez.

As for fielding, PECOTA rates them about the same.

When the BP book with player comments comes out later this month, it will likely give us a glimpse into some of the rationale behind these ratings. (I don't believe it has a metric for moodiness, though. Probably just as well, since everybody this side of Ernie Banks would get dinged at one time or another.)

Posted by: Hendo | February 3, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The Nats are pretty much stuck with Lopez. They have to keep him because, as has been pointed out here, they really have no backup at shortstop. Plus, he's someone that Jimbo went out and acquired, and Bowden will let this thing play out to it's eventual end. Clearly, when they offered him arbitration, he was in for an automatic increase - that's just the way the system works. But I find it kind of amazing that he would ask for a 1.3 million dollar raise (33 percent) after the season that he had. I agree with Jimbo that the team was more than generous with it's offer.

Personally, I hope he rebounds to have a good season. The team needs him. But his lack of passion, indifferent attitude, and inconsistent performance make him a tough guy to root for.

Posted by: blueson | February 3, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Hendo-

Thanks. It may not be that big a difference, but 2 games in the right direction certainly couldn't hurt.

Looking at the numbers for Belliard, it seems that he comes out a little behind Lopez, but not much.

Posted by: Positively Half St. (12 more days) | February 3, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

". . . the Nationals don't have any shortstop coverage in the minors. None. Zero."

". . . they really have no backup at shortstop."

Well... it's bad, but perhaps not quite *that* bad.

First of all, a year of health and productivity for Guzman at SS, for which we all wish -- and a non-funky season for Lopez at 2B -- would ease the worry considerably. Even in that event, I'd expect to see Lopez at SS (and Belliard at 2B) at least for a couple dozen games.

Barring that best-case outcome, I'd expect to see some appearances by William Bergolla in the middle infield. And I'd bet you a Dinger(tm) that we'll see Ian Desmond at Nats Park some time in 2008, although I'd prefer it be after September 1.

Lest we forget, this is the team that deployed Royce Clayton and Junior Spivey at times, and yet survived. We shall again. (Jamey Carroll fans, I feel your pain, but we need to let go and move ahead.)

Posted by: Hendo | February 3, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Don't wory nex offseason we'll get olrlando cabrea and orladno hudson it's all good.

Posted by: DJ | February 3, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Ok So the 2009 free agent call for shortstops is Orlando cabrera,adam everett,david exstein,rafel furcal and guzman and lopez the only good 2nd base option is orlando hudson. sign cabrera or furcal (there's your leadoff hitter.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | February 3, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

noooooooooooooooooooooo :)

---

(Jamey Carroll fans, I feel your pain, but we need to let go and move ahead.)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 3, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

but I will accept a consolation dinger...

Posted by: JC fan | February 3, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh yea Jamey Carroll.....just one more reason why PLOP's FLOP is on Jimbo's head. I think Jimbo is doing a good job given the limited resources he is being given but it would not take much cash to fix the SS problem in the organization....no $$ is not the problem, rather a bigger road block, that is Jimbo's massive ego.....he would have to admit he screwed up with Lopez and that is not likely to happen....ever.....

Posted by: JayB | February 3, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Sez you.
"My mind is made up, don't confuse the issue with facts."

*********
Keep your stats.....
My eyes don't lie when it comes to heart and baseball sense. Lopez has no heart and those projections mean nothing when hustle and heart are the issue as they are with PLOP.
Posted by: JayB | February 3, 2008 12:48 PM

Posted by: (hands over ears, humming) "No use talkin' to ME" | February 3, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

To be fair, it's not quite the same. They cleaned up the cadenza in the second post.

"Ma Kettle" was a nice touch, btw.
****************
Seeing as how it came from someone who posted the same message twice, that accusation rings rather hollow. ;)
---
WT[RF]? Did you ALL start the Bud Bowl a day early? Who are these drunks?
----
Posted by: Ms. Kettle | February 2, 2008 07:51 PM

Posted by: CE | February 3, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Fair point but really those are some soft prediction stats based on fuzzy logic and vastly different ball parks. Lopez is still living off one good year in that bandbox park in Cinny.

My point is no matter where he "plays" if you watch him and how he plays it is clear to me that he is a real head case. Now if your stats predictions account for that factor and still produce the "predicted numbers"....fine....I just do not think so based on what I see.

Posted by: JayB | February 3, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Stats are stats, period. There is no such thing as a "head case," except in other people's heads. It's a justification post-hoc for an otherwise unsubstantiated -- because it's unsubstantial -- ad hominem attack. It's like "potential" -- it's all in someone else's head; it's imaginary, not real.

Do or do not, as the little guy said.

Posted by: CE | February 3, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I understand your point CE.........except the stats we are looking at here are not achieved but "predicted" and I have a big problem taking them as fact, would you not agree?

Posted by: JayB | February 3, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

If this were August '08, yeah, I probably would agree. But it's February -- if we aren't interested in predictions, what are we doing here?
I'm just speaking in favor of evidence-based predictions, based on something better than a guy's facial expressions while he's playing, or lack of pithy, sympathetic quotes afterwards.

Ultimately, yes, they play the games and that's what counts, and until they have, this is all BS.


********
I understand your point CE.........except the stats we are looking at here are not achieved but "predicted" and I have a big problem taking them as fact, would you not agree?
Posted by: JayB | February 3, 2008 05:01 PM

Posted by: CE | February 3, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

For the record, VORP was not a particularly accurate predictor of individual Nationals' performance in the 2007 season.

Of the Nats' eight most-used hitters, only Belliard, Logan and Schneider came within 5 points of their predicted VORP. Young was the pleasantest surprise, Lopez the most unpleasant.

Pitching was even less predictable. Of the Nats' eleven most-used regular pitchers (i.e., not spot starters) for whom VORP predictions were made, only Cordero, Hanrahan and King came within 5 points of estimate. Tim Redding's year was the best over prediction, JP's the most disappointing.

Overall, the surprises -- thanks largely to breakouts by Young, Redding and Saul Rivera -- were on the plus side. That's the kind of thing I wouldn't mind seeing happen again in 2008.

Posted by: Hendo | February 3, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

"Keep your stats.....
My eyes don't lie when it comes to heart and baseball sense. Lopez has no heart ..."

... I agree with you JayB. I said it last year and still believe it: Bill James and his stats-obsessed ilk have a lot to answer for. Stats are useful as far as they go, but in the end the proof is in the pudding.

... I also said it last year, and still feel it's true; Felipe didn't want to play here and showed it all too clearly..

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 3, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

So maybe we're arguing apples and oranges here, or apple pudding anyway -- the games games being the pudding.
I agree, predictions of _what someone's stats will be_ are of dubious validity. You have to get into arguments over how valid a given stat is, which reduces to predicting what the prediction will be, into a recursive loop, yadda yadda. And past performance is not that good an indicator of future performance, we all seem to agree (above).
So here's where I guess I'm stuck: it's February, they aren't playing yet, and we want to talk about 2008.

You think the guy's a dog; I'm not sure that matters even if it is true (I'm not convinced -- happiness is over-rated).


************
Stats are useful as far as they go, but in the end the proof is in the pudding.
... I also said it last year, and still feel it's true; Felipe didn't want to play here and showed it all too clearly.
Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 3, 2008 05:56 PM

Posted by: ce | February 3, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and fwiw, they are NOT showing the Superbowl on the jumbotron. Probably a (c) issue with the NFL.

Posted by: ce | February 3, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

CE,

"You think the guy's a dog; I'm not sure that matters even if it is true"

It is true, When you slide 25 feet in front of 2nd base and before the SS even gets the ball instead of try to break up a DPin the bottom of the 8th in a tie game with a runner on third....your a dog. When you job out behind 2nd base and wave at a pop up when the game is tied with two outs in the top of the 8th and a runner on third.....yup your a dog. When you jog down the line to first and get doubled up with 1 out and a runner on third in the bottom of the ninth and down by one run....you're a dog.

Acta finally benched him for Jimmerez for the final games just to be fair to the pennant races....Trust Me it has nothing to do with interviews or facial expressions.....watch the game man, the game.

Posted by: JayB | February 3, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

"Stats are useful as far as they go, but in the end the proof is in the pudding."

The proof is in the pudding makes no sense.
How can there be proof in the pudding??? The saying is "The proof of the pudding is in the eating", which is somewhat similar to "You can't tell a book by it's cover", In other words, you can't tell how good it is until you try it. Sorry for the rant - which really has nothing to do with baseball - but it just drives me wild to hear people say this. They aren't really thinking about what they are saying or they would realize it doesn't make any sense!

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | February 3, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

i love stats, they are the language of baseball. i have also been watching, playing, coaching for close to 20 years and FLOP just does not have "it". we all know its there, zim has it, meat hook has found it, shawn hill shows flashes of it. stats are great, moneyball is invaluable. but there is an unquantifiable quantity to anything sports that FLOP DOES NOT HAVE. drop him. we are not experts, but we are all are baseball fanatics and know gravitas when we see it, and we dont see it with FLOP

Posted by: love | February 4, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Hendo, JayB, et. al.,

As a member of SABR, I feel compelled to defend our most honored Sensei, Bill James. As it turns out, I can't. Having read his lines where he calls John Dowd (local lawyer of some skills) a doofus, I have some doubt as to his evaluative skills.

And that, as they say, is where the rub is. None of us quite know which statistics are really valuable and quite where they lie in being predictors.

Some have had more than moderate success in using stats, none has been perfect. No one, recently, has been able to be successful by ignoring what the numbers tell us. What we often forget is that stats tend to be predictors over a long, not a short period.

BTW, one of the ongoing questions in SABR is whether clutch hitting actually exists. My personal contention is that just the opposite is more likely to be true. A clutch hitter will, essentially, hit his average in clutch situations. A choke hitter will...well, choke.

Posted by: Catcher50 | February 4, 2008 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of SABR, as catcher50 was, I wonder how many other NJ denizens might be members, as I am (I'm not a stats person, but I'm interested in the history of baseball and other aspects upon which SABR also focuses).

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 4, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I really don't understand all the Felipe hate.

Sure he had a hitting slump. If you recall, who didn't?? Maybe he didn't handle his slump very well, but a lot of people have blown a couple stories way out of proportion.

Whatever his deal was, it most definitely wasn't "all year long" and it wasn't "obvious" he didn't want to be there. He made the change from 2B to SS to 2B BACK to SS again without a single complaint and I recall tons of now-overlooked, flawless double plays.

Yes, he does have something to prove when he comes back. And yes, I agree he should shut up and take the Nats offer. But I can't stand to read the overblown negativity about him.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 4, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Anyone recall when single game tickets went on sale last year, and at what point prior to that they were made available for sale to season ticket holders?

Posted by: Matt | February 4, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

to be fair, his "slump" lasted pretty much all season long. the only month he didn't outright suck at the plate was july. hey, 1 out of 6 ain't bad?

but i guess the other months don't look as bad when you compare them to may (OBP of 261, OPS of 493, BA of 182).

Posted by: 231 | February 4, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

single game tix went on sale in feb, iirc. but i don't remember any details of which day or how early season tix holders got access.

Posted by: 231 | February 4, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm sypathetic to your main point, jp's fan, but in this case I dissent. The two phrases can be reasonably understood to mean the same thing -- eating can be assumed here. Makes more sense your way, but the truncated version still makes sense. Now, "begs the question" -- don't get me started on that one. Although I kind of like the image in "making money hand over foot," and "it's a doggy-dog world" just brings all kind of great things to mind.

*******
"Stats are useful as far as they go, but in the end the proof is in the pudding."

The proof is in the pudding makes no sense.
How can there be proof in the pudding??? The saying is "The proof of the pudding is in the eating", which is somewhat similar to "You can't tell a book by it's cover", In other words, you can't tell how good it is until you try it. Sorry for the rant - which really has nothing to do with baseball - but it just drives me wild to hear people say this. They aren't really thinking about what they are saying or they would realize it doesn't make any sense!
Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | February 3, 2008 11:52 PM

Posted by: The Eternal Editor | February 4, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Any thoughts on why JR's 2010 option has to be picked up within 5 days after the end of the 2008 WS? I can't see the Nats imposing this restriction on themselves so it seems like something JR wanted -- but why? Maybe it's there in case he's traded to a contender at midseason (and he wants to force a quick decision on the extension)?

Also, don't get me started on mixed metaphors. It's no use crying over water under the bridge. And the early bird is worth two in the bush.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 4, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, C~50. I thought that WAS the definition of "choke" all along, but isn't a clutch hitter someone who consistently raises their game, and hits *better* than their average in clutch situations -- the "Mr. October" thing? And is there a consensus definition of "clutch situation" in SABR?

******
BTW, one of the ongoing questions in SABR is whether clutch hitting actually exists. My personal contention is that just the opposite is more likely to be true. A clutch hitter will, essentially, hit his average in clutch situations. A choke hitter will, well, choke.

Posted by: Catcher50 | February 4, 2008 06:53 AM

Posted by: CEvansJr | February 4, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

not quite sure, bobL, but it's similar to ARod having to make his decision w/in a week of the WS last year. probably done to make sure there's closure quickly and not have it drag out.

Posted by: 231 | February 4, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

NN, it's been pointed out several times, so forgive me for restating, but since Guzman found Redemption, we lack a true scapegoat on the field, and Lopez was the unlucky nominee.

*******
I really don't understand all the Felipe hate.
Posted by: NatsNut | February 4, 2008 09:51 AM

Posted by: CEv | February 4, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

With ARod, though, it's understandable -- the Yanks would want to know whether they had him locked up for years or whether they had $200 million to throw at replacements going into the winter meetings. Here, the shoe is on the other foot. A stitch in time saves a penny earned.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 4, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

They are: "making money hand over fist" [not FOOT], and "it's a dog-eat-dog world" [not DOGGY-DOG].

Posted by: phrases | February 4, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

You really hit the hammer on the head. I wouldn't trust him with a ten-foot pole.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 4, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

The NFL limits TV screens to 55 inches at public viewings of the Super Bowl.

-----

Oh, and fwiw, they are NOT showing the Superbowl on the jumbotron. Probably a (c) issue with the NFL.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 4, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

A review of my checkbook register shows that I bought my Opening Day ticket last year on February 23rd. That was on the first day of pre-sale to season ticket holders. It was only a couple of days after that when they opened up single-game sales to everyone.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 4, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

The thing is, I agree with this concept, but I don't TRUST it.
Look at players in history (I'll stick to baseball, as all here know baseball is the perfect metaphor for reality) who had it -- Rickey Henderson, Pete Rose, Satchel Paige, Willie Mays, Nolan Ryan, the Jax -- and guys with tons of talent, who just didn't -- Dave Kingman comes immediately to mind, and so does Bonds. It's love of the game, and a sense of showmanship.
*************
i love stats, they are the language of baseball. i have also been watching, playing, coaching for close to 20 years and FLOP just does not have "it". we all know its there, zim has it, meat hook has found it, shawn hill shows flashes of it. stats are great, moneyball is invaluable. but there is an unquantifiable quantity to anything sports that FLOP DOES NOT HAVE. drop him. we are not experts, but we are all are baseball fanatics and know gravitas when we see it, and we don't see it with FLOP.
Posted by: love | February 4, 2008 12:41 AM

Posted by: CE | February 4, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Excellent. Appreciate the help.

Posted by: Matt | February 4, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Just saw this on dugout chatter:

"Oh, by the way, I had not heard or read this date anywhere that I can recall, but Phil Wood said on his show this morning that single game tickets will go on sale come March 1."

Posted by: 231 | February 4, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Hi ce:

"You think the guy's a dog; I'm not sure that matters even if it is true (I'm not convinced -- happiness is over-rated)."

... I think that last year, the guy was a dog (see JayB's litany of sins committed). But I don't think Felipe Lopez is a dog per se; he's had a pretty good career up until 2007. It is entirely possible he'll have another great season this year. But the facts are clear about last year (and 2006) and that's what Jim B had to base his offer on.

... and I'm sure you'll agree that while happiness might be over-rated, it is a subconscious condition which shows itself in ways the guy might not even want to display. If someone is unhappy, it is often difficult to impossible override that emotion and play above it, no matter how professional that person might be.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 4, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

For NatsNut:
"I really don't understand all the Felipe hate."

... it's not hate, it's just a bunch of baseball fans getting antsy. Ten days and counting is almost too much to bear. As for Felipe, no one I've read has hinted at a strong dislike of the guy; we've merely pointed out the deficiencies of his play of late, and how that ought to affect his remuneration.

... now on to better things.

For jpsfanandproudofit:
... mixing metaphors is a time-honoured tradition in creative writing and oral speech. So by virtue of that truism, it simply stands to reason that if one can look for a pudding's proof through the eating of it, one can also express the reality of such by noting the location of that proof, i.e. the pudding.

... and now back to the daily grind ...

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 4, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

my favorite:
"I was running around with my head cut off"

Posted by: malaprops cont'd | February 4, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"If you can't imitate him, don't copy him."

Posted by: I like this one (Yogi) | February 4, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"I wouldn't know him from a hole in the head."

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 4, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

New post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 4, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm bleeding like a stuffed pig.

Posted by: Doggydog | February 4, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

and the ever-classic "Play hardball or sink."

Posted by: Fish or get off the pot | February 4, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

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