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And your Opening Day starter is...

... one Odalis Amadol Perez.

Manager Manny Acta confirmed it following the Nationals' 4-1 win over the Atlanta Braves today. It's not a shocker, in the sense that Perez had been slated for that spot (in terms of an every-fifth-day counting of days) since the start of the Grapefruit League schedule. But it is somewhat stunning in the context of where Perez was five weeks ago. When the Nationals signed him to a non-guaranteed minor-league deal, it was seen as a mere "depth" signing -- in other words, an extra arm to have around as insurance, a guy who might pitch his way into the back end of the rotation, or might be asked to start at Class AAA.

Here is Acta on the decision: "He won more games [eight] than any one of our starters last year in the big leagues. He's the only one of our staff who has won 15 games before [in 2002]. And he has pitched well in spring training, too. So he earned it.... We just never knew what we were going to get out of [Shawn] Hill and [John] Patterson, health-wise, so this was kind of the Plan B all the way. That's why he was slated there."

More Acta: "I've known this guy since he was 17 years old, and this is the best shape I've seen him in the last 10 years. .... I guess he wants to prove to everybody he has some baseball left in him."

Meanwhile, lefty John Lannan threw six outstanding, efficient innings against the Atlanta Braves' full projected lineup, allowing only three hits and one earned run. However, it seems pretty clear the Nationals have already tabbed him to start the season in Class AAA Columbus, with Matt Chico winning the last spot in the rotation.

Here was Lannan after the start: "This was definitely my best start, no matter what happens. I'm ready for the season to start because that's where I need to be.

More Lannan: "This was my first big league spring training. Not to make excuses, but coming in here and battling for a spot is kind of overwhelming at times, so I just needed to back off. I didn't need to do anything special and prove to anybody I belong. I just needed to go out there and throw like I can and think good things can happen.... Chico was a workhorse last year. He went out there and had a good year. He did pretty well and he deserves to be up there again."

That's going to do it for me, folks. Mr. Svrluga will be back with you tomorrow from Jupiter -- the town, as he likes to say, not the planet.

By Dave Sheinin  |  March 22, 2008; 3:58 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: King of the Bullpen... and lineups
Next: "Happy Easter!" -- and more middle infield talk



Posted by: rwagner | March 22, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Dave for pinch hitting!

Posted by: Greg | March 22, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Barry will never be back with us again...Duke lost in the 2nd Round to WVU.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | March 22, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Barry will never be back with us again...Duke lost in the 2nd Round to WVU.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | March 22, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Barry will never be back with us again...Duke lost in the 2nd Round to WVU.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | March 22, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I lose in the guessing game. Sort of like taking Winthrop over Washington State. I like the 'dogs too much.

Posted by: PTBNL | March 22, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I am really looking forward to seeing Lannan back in the bigs this season.

Posted by: Jamming | March 22, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Now how are we supposed to get excited about Odalis Perez? Oh well.

Lannan, you are a rock star. You'll be back up in no time, buddy.

Thanks VERY MUCH for filling in Dave.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 22, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Actually. I'm not done yet. I feel a rant coming on.

All this talk and controversy about the rotation (or any position for that matter) and all we've heard is earn, earn, earn. So-and-so EARNED his spot, so-and-so needs to EARN his spot, blah, blah, blah.

What in the world has Odalis Perez done IN SPRING TRAINING that Lannan, or anyone, hasn't? Nada. He's in good shape? Whatever. What pitcher isn't? He did well in 2002??? Cripes, even Patterson's 2005 was more recent than that.

"And he has pitched well in spring training too"??? Big Whoop. If you owe the guy a favor for 17 years of friendship, say so. But don't try and tell me he has pitched better than anyone else in the rotation this spring training.


Posted by: NatsNut | March 22, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

OK! I'm excited. Here's to the 2008 CPOY! Comeback starts 3/29.
Lannan pitched his butt off today, and will be in DC soon enough, I don't doubt it.

Oh, and way way way to rub it in, Andrew Andrew Andrew. ; )

Posted by: CE | March 22, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Manny probably feels that OP won't be overwhelmed by the moment, having pitched before in postseason. That said, I would have really liked to have Bergmann pitch the first game in the new park. Perez probably would have better matched up against all of those lefthanded hitters in the Phillies' lineup. But hey, how many people remember that it was free-agent journeyman Rick Sutcliffe who pitched the OPCY opener in 1992? It is what it is.

Posted by: natsscribe | March 22, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut, you hit the nail on the point.

Yes, past performance is not a good predictor of future success/failure, but neither is "but what have you done lately" in spring training. There's a lot more to this baseball stuff than, well, stuff. As the guru Yogi used to say, "Ninety percent of this game is mental, and the other half is physical."

Lannan has thrown well lately, and that's really encouraging. He'll be back, and he understands how and why.

Posted by: CE | March 22, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Not at all surprising. Next thing to happen will be to hold Chico back a day to split up the lefties.

I'm excited about Perez. He had a couple of years right before he signed his big deal with LA where he was a very good left handed starter. If he has a solid season, stays healthy, gets 12-15 wins, don't be surprised if they make him a two or three year offer before the year's up to keep him off the market.

Posted by: MKevin | March 22, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

MKevin, yes, and ...

if he looks like he'll win 15 or so this year come August, deals like Belliard and Young got may not be enough. The SP market is way more overpaid than infielders these days.

Posted by: CE | March 22, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm biased because I wasn't even close to being alive when the Senators played - so my D.C. baseball traditions begins/ends with the Nats. I'm more pumped than anybody for this season and the new park - which is why I shelled out thousands of bucks for season tickets. Having said that let me say this, big whoop about who starts the first game. To the team it is just a game - at the end of the night it goes down as a single W or a single L. Manny has done nothing for me to not trust his judgement - In Manny I trust.

Quit whining about who starts the freaking game, it's just a game - 1 out of 162. I want the person starting it to be the same person who gives us the best chance to win it, I don't care if he's been with us his whole career or not. That's one thing the Yankees, Sox, Cubs, and whomever else does right - they only care about one thing: winning.

Stop yapping about who starts it and be excited that it's Opening Day and the start of what hopes to be an amazing season.

Good luck Odalis, welcome to D.C. and I look forward to applauding your trip off the mound for many nights this summer.

Posted by: Corey | March 22, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I would much rather see one of our other pitchers starting on open day, and I would rather see Lannan in the rotation instead of Chico, but I'm really ok with this.

Lets hope Perez can eat some innings and rack us up a few more wins.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | March 22, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

i'm just a fan who likes to watch ballgames, so this is a bit over my head. but does anybody know how to do one of those sabremetrician magic things where you take every team that ever was and calculate the percentage chances of improving their win record by 8 games the following season? that's what it would take for the nats to hit .500 in 08, so i'm wondering what the baseline odds are on that. someone said 50-50 earlier, but that's only in a truly random universe, which baseball is not.

Posted by: natty bumppo | March 22, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"We Trust Manny."

I like the sound of that.

Posted by: CE | March 22, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

If Perez wins then I guess it was a good decision to start him. If Perez loses then in my own mind I will be saying, "I told you to start Redding, Bergman or Chico." I guess I just wanted to have some familiarity with the opening day pitcher, some minute connection, some recognition of his time as a National. Yeah, I guess that this is the sign of the new Nats and I am slow to adjust. Manny must be projecting a lot into Perez's spring performance.

Posted by: Dale | March 22, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

This might be 1 game out of 162 but an Opening Day victory would be a huge boost to the team and fans going into the new season. Correct me if I am wrong, but since coming to DC this team has not won it's Opening Day game and started the season off on the wrong foot.

New stadium, in front of a national TV audience...they need to win this game! It's their time to shine!

Posted by: NatsNQ | March 22, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

This might be 1 game out of 162 but an Opening Day victory would be a huge boost to the team and fans going into the new season. Correct me if I am wrong, but since coming to DC this team has not won it's Opening Day game and started each season off on the wrong foot.

New stadium, in front of a national TV audience...they need to win this game! It's their time to shine!

Posted by: NatsNQ | March 22, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Bummpo might be asking what percentage of teams improved on their record by 8 games (although you'd have to correct for the difference in schedules over the years, or else just start with "teams SINCE 1962, minus strike-and-adjacent years").

"Would a FO of typing monkeys do better or worse than a given team?"

Posted by: CE | March 22, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Livo won the Home Opener in 2005.
How soon they forget.

But Corey is right, this is one of 162. No opener is Must Win.

Posted by: MIB | March 22, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Fair enough, Corey. I know what you're saying. Grand scheme, opening day pitcher not that big a deal really. (and perhaps I was a little harsh about the 17-year favor. I don't doubt Manny for a minute and I worship him. I take that remark back).

So you say put a pitcher in there who's going to win; that's all that matters. I'm saying, what has Odalis Perez done that shows he's going to win any more than anyone else in the projected rotation?

It IS a special day and at the very least, should go to someone who has earned it. Redding's not really a home-grown National, but my goodness he has earned his spot.

All things being equal, as in all starting pitchers' performance being pretty much equal, why not give it to someone who has done better the last few weeks or who we are familiar with?

Posted by: NatsNut | March 22, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

I agree that an Opening Night win would be huge for the stage it is on, but the way this club plays in June or Sept. doesn't depend on Sunday night's performance. And who is to say that O.P. wouldn't give us a good start - forgive me, but he is about as capable as any other of our healthy pitchers.

As long as we play within the rules of the game and the expectations of class, I don't care what we do or who we do it with to win as many games as possible.

Just win baby!

Posted by: Corey | March 22, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Name: Odalis Amadol Perez
Born: June 11, 1977
Las Matas de Farfan, Dominican Republic
Height: 6-0
Weight: 222 lbs.
Age: 30

Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Pos: SP
Experience: 9 years

Posted by: So get familiar, awreddy | March 22, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

So the Cubs want Roberts to lead off and play second, but the price is too high, leading them to look at Lopez as the cheaper alternative. What could Lopez bring from the Cubs? Clearly not the prospects that Roberts would. But a back-of-the-rotation starter and/or a utility guy? Possibly.

My guess is that Jimbo will ask for something like Sean Marshall and Ryan Theriot in exchange for Lopez and cash, and that the Cubs will counter with Sean Gallagher and Ronny Cedeno for Lopez and (more) cash, or possibly, Jason Marquis (due $6.4m in 2008 and a whopping $9.9m in 2009) and Theriot/Cedeno for Lopez.

I don't think Cedeno can hit in the majors, but Theriot would fit the bill as a hustling fan-favorite utility guy that could start for awhile at short if Guzman couldn't go. I'm not at all sure that Lopez is worth Theriot plus a pitcher, but if Trader Jim could pull that off I would support it.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | March 22, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

yeah, CE, correcting for the difference in season lengths, a better way to ask it is what are the historically based chances of an 8/162 = 0.049382716049 percent increase in wins.

Posted by: natty bumppo | March 22, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh alright.

Odalis, make me eat crow.

(but let me finish this last bit of pout allowance first)

Posted by: NatsNut | March 22, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow. BobL, if almost anyone else suggested that, I'd be sneering. But I've learned to respect your judgement.

I hope you're right.

Posted by: CEvans | March 22, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

That "Las Matas de Farfan" is either impressive or scary.

Posted by: Sr. en el Entre | March 22, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

CE - not necessarily... the bottom kinda fell out of the SP market this off season. Unless your name was Johan Santana you didn't get nearly the kind of cash that was thrown around after the 2006 season. Lohse case in point. He dramatically overplayed his hand and ended up with a one year deal for $4.2M.

Now if he ends up hitting the FA market and becomes a sought after comodity, history tells us he'll be somewhere else next year.

Posted by: MKevin | March 22, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I'd take Theriot for Lopez, even up, right now. They both had off years last year, but we're short one Ryan, and he seems to be a good clubhouse and utility guy who had a good year in 2006 leading off.

Posted by: Cevans | March 22, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Corey, NatsNut, may I - as a fellow member of the Don't Remember the Senators cohort - attempt to bridge the divide?

Here's to hoping, in winning the game and starting the 162 games off in the optimal rotational order, that March 30 is the day Odalis A. Perez becomes one of our guys.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 22, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

506, there you said it. That's how somebody gets to be a Fan Favorite. Give him his shot.

Posted by: MIB seasons, for now | March 22, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, 506

I didn't mean to come off harsh, but Odalis is a Nat right now (for better or worse) and until he gives me a reason to not like him then I'm rooting for him all the way. Good for him to earn the OD nod, god speed.

A Happy Easter to all of you and your families.

Posted by: Corey | March 22, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

As someone who does remember the Senators - the ones that absconded to Minnesota and the ones that absconded to Texas - there have been some mediocre Opening Day pitchers for the AL expansionistas.

1961 - Dick Donovan (10-10 for WAS)
1962 - Bennie Daniels, whom Boz visited in jail (40-60 for WAS)
1963 - Don Rudolph (16-32 for WAS)
1964 - Claude Osteen (33-41 for WAS)
1965 - Phil Ortega (39-49 for WAS)
1966 - Pete Richert (31-33 for WAS)
1967 - Richert
1968 - Camilo Pascual (27-27 for Expansion Senators)
1969 - Pascual
1970 - Dick Bosman (49-49 for WAS)
1971 - Bosman

Posted by: natsscribe | March 22, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Dick Bosman was 49-49 in 1970??
Wow, those old guys really did work harder!

Posted by: just kidding | March 22, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Those were career totals with the Senators.

Posted by: natsscribe | March 22, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and speaking of guys hitting .213: Kazuo Fukudome, the outfielder DC didn't get, but the Cubs did.
Just pointing it out.

Posted by: CE | March 22, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm happy that the nats obtained Perez-By far the best deal for the money out there.
But Bergmann is a product of the system, is a good pitcher, and has had a reasonable spring. He should be the starting pitcher on opening day.
Whitney situation I just don't get. A Mackowiat or Harris over a good prospect? Why bother getting him in the first place. I'm not suggesting the first two wouldn't be more valuable this year, but they're utility players. Guess management has agreed ith me all along. We have a chance at the wild card.

Posted by: Jeeves | March 22, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

The general plan for Section 506, Armchair GM, is to think real hard to myself, "what would the Cubs do" and then do whatever is closest to the opposite.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 22, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Check out this new blog:

Looks like it could get big. Some great info there.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | March 22, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I mean

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | March 22, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

he he. How does your RHCFG feel about that, 506?

Although I think we all agree that she's at least secretly, if not openly, a RH*N*FG by no.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 22, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

he he. How does your RHCFG feel about that, 506?

Although I think we all agree that she's at least secretly, if not openly, a RH*N*FG by now.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 22, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Actually, she has absolutely no concept of who is on the Cubs right now, except for that one guy with the funny name (Angel Pagan), but was really mad at Lopez for coming in the game and booting that ball the other night. She wants Lopez to succeed real bad, because she thinks it's really important to him and because she thinks he's the hottest guy on the team.

She could also rattle off Meat Hook's life story, Zimmerman's age and where he lives (near her), her opinions on Belliard's hair (good), the "new guys" that look to contribute to the team big (WMP, Lannan, Hanrahan), and is seriously bummed that Schneider is gone.

But ask her what her favorite team is and she'll say, "My dad's from Chicago, so I've always sorta been a Cubs fan."

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 22, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

1 question. Who was the most successful starting pitcher in all of spring training this year? Who had the best stuff? That's who should be our number 1. Not some journeyman who would be the #5 on most teams in MLB. Not a sermon, just an observation.

Posted by: 6th and D | March 22, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure that would be one Joel Hanrahan...

Posted by: natsinthevalley | March 22, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Theroit is one of Lou's favorites, no way they give him up for Lopez straight up.

Posted by: SwiftIT | March 22, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Hanrahan and Rausch have been the best pitchers in the games, I haven't seen any practices or minor league games though. Redding has also been good, except for 1 start in hurricaine-like wind v. the Astros

Posted by: SwiftIT | March 22, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I think this decision was made purely based on the past, but I can't say I disagree with it.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | March 22, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't sound like anyone here knows anything about anything as far as who the SP should be. Unless someone is a real mole, nobody here has been in bullpen sessions, practices, the clubhouse, or the minor league games.

A few people have made a couple day trek down to FL and saw a game or two live, but that's it. All of this speculation about who should or should not be starting is just that--speculation. It's based on numbers that have been reported from the games and a few personal stories about what people saw.

At the end of the day, I trust Manny to make what he considers the best decision. He thinks that Perez is best suited to make the start, and I am in no position to question that judgment. Nobody else here is either. That's why Manny is the Manager, and we are the fans.

Posted by: SP | March 22, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

I claim absolutely no knowledge of pitchers' abilities, but doesn't giving OP the OD start come down to the calendar?
From what I understand, pitchers are big creatures of habit and dislike being thrown off their schedules (unless a playoff game is at stake [we should be so lucky])?

Posted by: chime121 | March 22, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

As I have mentioned before, I'm from Chicago (been here a long time now though and decided to root for the home team, in part to bring my kids along and in part due to that little matter of a century of frustration).

Cub fans like Theriot. I like Theriot. Dusty Baker liked Theriot. Lou likes Theriot. That said, his ceiling is much lower than Felipe's is. If Lopez were on any team other than the Nats, JimBow would be trying like hell to deal for him. Think about it. A young guy whose downside is basically a top-shelf third middle infielder, and whose upside is a leadoff hitting sparkplug with speed and some power. That's exactly what we need. That's exactly what a lot of teams need, including the Cubs. That's exactly why a lot of us, myself included, have been saying, be patient, wait for Felipe, give him every chance.

Theriot's upside is Felipe's downside. He's not an everyday player on a contender, at least if scouting reports are to be believed. What he might well be is a key piece of a contender, like a Mark Lemke on those Braves teams. A scrappy, all-hustle, get-the-uniform-dirty guy that would relish any role he was given.

So to me, the question is, if you can get a guy like Theriot PLUS something else of definitive value for Lopez, then maybe the "change of scenery" argument applies and you do the deal. But you don't deal Lopez for Theriot now, at least not if you're the Nationals. If you're a contender and you have a malcontent that won't play the right role, then maybe. But apropos of my earlier post, I am not ready to write of Felipe as a malcontent, even if he's not content right now with a backup role.

So, the cut to the quick is, unless Jimbo is blown away by an offer soon, we're fine with the three MIs we have and let's see what happens in July.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | March 22, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Delete "?". Add "."

Posted by: chime121 | March 22, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I agree Lopez has more talent and a higher ceiling than Theroit. But he is clearly a head case (probably b/c of his horrible childhood) who may never have the mental toughness to reach his potential. I hope I'm wrong, I like Lopez and want him to do well, but at this point I don't see the Cubs or anyone else giving up a major league player for him

Posted by: SwiftIT | March 22, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I know that Barry wrote an insightful article about Lopez' past, and I know that we've all been watching him "struggle" with unknown things over the past year and a half, but I don't think it's fair to attribute his dropoff to his childhood at this point.

If you had a diffucult childhood and then rose to become one of the 25-50 best people in your profession at what you did, and then slipped back a bit for a year or two, or more, then would it be fair to attribute that slip to your difficult childhood?

Maybe the competition is just tough enough that most of the best prospects turn out to be average regulars, or solid reserves, or decent AA-AAA players, or don't make it at all.

Look at it this way: If Jack McGeary or Josh Smoker end up being John Patterson, they will have done a lot better than most others of their ilk.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | March 22, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

BobL, you had me right up to "cut to the quick."

Posted by: CE | March 22, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Whenever I hear talk of a given player not having the heart/guts/stones for MLB, I always wonder what the talker does for a living, and how well, and at what level.
Is that wrong of me?

Posted by: MIB jobs | March 22, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

i'm still at a loss as to why the cubs would even be interested in flopez. to play 2nd? why? he hasn't been any better than derosa the past few years. to hit leadoff? seriously? he's a terrible leadoff hitter, with that horrible OBP. they'd be better off with soriano moving back to leadoff.

can anyone explain to me why he's of any real interest to the cubs?

Posted by: 231 | March 22, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

BobL, the problem I see with that, and why I'd take Theriot for Lopez and send a nice check with it to cover the salary differences, is one of relative need, just as you say. Lopez might turn everything around this year, hit >.300, get on base every other time up, and win the MVP. He's still gone after this year. His theoretical ceiling is probably higher than many; certainly he's a better talent than Theriot on the field. But it's very limited, for the Nats, because it appears obvious he does not want to play for DC if he has a choice. Guzman may stay (doubt it personally, but it could happen), Belli has a few more good years maybe, but I really, really don't think Felipe Lopez stays, no matter what 2008 does.

Posted by: CE | March 22, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

231, I think BobL did, it just doesn't apply to the Nats.

Posted by: CE | March 22, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Trust In Manny.

It's about winning ball games. Lopez good luck and mow them down big fella.

Go Nats!!

Posted by: Section 505/203 | March 22, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

We need buttons. T-shirts. Towels.
"I Trust Manny"

And a "Trust Me!" Manny Bobblehead.

Posted by: Mr. InBetween promotions | March 22, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's all speculation. Of course we don't know jack. And of course we leave the decisions to Manny, silly goose.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm fully aware that I don't know what the heck I'm talking about. But it's the speculation and occasional trash talk that makes this so much fun.

506, your description of RHCFG is HILARIOUS!

Posted by: NatsNut | March 22, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Nick Johnson 2005. Nick Johnson 2007. Nick Johnson 2008. Dmitri Young 2006. Dmitri Young 2007. Dmitri Young 2008. Felipe Lopez 2006. Felipe Lopez 2007.

Ditto Patterson, Odalis Perez, and many, may others. Not many sure things in this world.

What do you get when you trade for any of these guys? Potential upside, potential downside, value-for-money, and fit.

CE, thanks for the deference, probably not deserved. I'm an armchair GM. Have at it.

For you and for 231, the reason the Cubs have interest is the same as the reason the Nats still should. Guys with Felipe's talent don't come around everyday, and he's still young enough to be a several-time all-star if he can put it all together. So I don't think you deal him for his downside value now, especially since we don't have anyone on his heels literally anywhere in the minors.

Pitching, pitching, pitching, OK. Jim, we've got a decent stable, let's see what they can do. This draft, let's see shortstops.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | March 22, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

And pins. "I Trust Manny" cloisoinne hat pins.

OK, laminated hat pins.

Posted by: mib | March 22, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Great article about an old fan of the Senators and his love for RFK. Thanks Rocco, I could have written something very similar. I used to love the game when the main attraction was the game, not all the fluff that accompanies it today. But in the end, if you keep your attention between the lines, you can still appreciate it as always. The big difference to me is the way players come and go. GO NATS...GET and STAY HOT.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | March 22, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Coffee cups.
Beer helmets.

Posted by: Yo confío en Manny. | March 22, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

while i understand what you're saying, bobL, i still don't think he makes sense for the cubs. trading for guys with "upside risk" is what you do when you're on the bottom half of the league, not when you're on the verge of playoffs and a serious contender. especially if you're counting on them to be your starter. and remember, as a shortstop, he's more limited defensively. while theoretically, theriot has less "upside," in my opinion (fwiw), he's also more likely to give you stable numbers. i haven't heard anyone say he was playing over his head. and we've heard the "upside" argument about lopez ever since 2005, when he was very good. and the past two years have both declined. is it possible he rediscovers his 2005 form? sure. should the cubs make that bet going into a season they expect to contend? seems odd to me. especially when they'd be getting him on a one-year rental and giving up a few years of theriot's cheap service time.

Posted by: 231 | March 22, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

A couple thoughts...

1. I saw Perez pitch a few times in Richmond, back when he was in the Braves' system. I thought he was going to be a light-out major league starter. Didn't quite turn out that way, but he had some decent years. If he's in good shape and is motivated to prove he can still pitch, he might surprise some people.

2. If JimBo could get The Riot and anything else for Lopez, I'd stand up and cheer. I'd love to see that guy wearing Nats' red.

Posted by: LANats | March 22, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

from BleedCubbieBlue blog. Couldn't be more apropós:
This article [] is mostly about the White Sox, but I'm posting it for this quote from Kenny Williams, a cogent analysis of trading:

"But it takes two to tango, and there's nothing you can do about it," Williams said. "You give your own assessment of your own team and you picture matchups in your head and you think there might be a need elsewhere.

"But in their minds, they would rather go in a different direction, whether it be for talent purposes or economic purposes or both."

That applies to the Cubs, too (or any other team, for that matter). We can debate trades here endlessly, and I'm sure Jim Hendry has been on his cellphone constantly discussing various possibilities. But there are many other factors involved in making a trade other than saying, "Hey, we want this guy."

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

My hope is the shortstop for the future is H. Ramirez. In a couple years, the Marlins won't want to pay him, and Stan THE PLAN will be ready to shell out the cash.

Posted by: SwiftIT | March 22, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

that was me, btw

Posted by: ce | March 22, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse


Livo won the DC home opener, not Opening Day which is what I meant to say.

Posted by: NatsNQ | March 22, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Oye que Henley es muy macho.

Posted by: confio en Manny | March 22, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: MIB | March 22, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Lopez's defense is a problem. Well below average at short, average at second. How many base hits are the Nats willing to give up to obtain his offense? If you're a Cabrera (I know, a third baseman) or a Soriano for most of his career, quite a few because the offense pays you back. Has Lopez ever proven he can be an all-star hitter outside of Cincy's ballpark? And in his case even I have to acknowledge the head case baggage, as much as I think we fans can't know these things. And he's gone after this year.

Defensively, you can't have good pitching without good defense up the middle, which Lopez will never give you.

So trade him if we can get anything at all of value.

But In Manny I Trust to find the best way to use him if he stays.

Posted by: Geezer | March 23, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

MIBjobs-I often have the same thoughts. However, I believe people such as ballplayers are in a much different position. For example, Lopez, who I'm quite sure I have never dissed, is 28 years old and already has made ten times the money that, lets say, this hypothetical teacher with two degrees has made in 32 years of teaching plus 10 years of pension. Let's assume said teacher was okay at his profesion. Lopez, and many others like him, have very mixed reviews re performance. And I emphasize, he's 28.
Celebrities,leave themselves out there to be assessed-praised, ridiculed, etc. It's the nature of the beast. So when a lopez or others like him still insist upon optimum reward despite poor performance, well, they, I guess, will not be applauded. Maybe they might expect some ridicule?

Posted by: Jeeves | March 23, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse


This is a t-shirt idea that my girlfriend and me have had for a few months now....probably going to head to Michaels or some other craft store and do the iron-on thingies. She's ungodly gifted in crafts and crap so hopefully they turn out o.k. So if any of yall see a lilly white Opey-looking yuppie (I swear I couldn't act cool if I tried, sad huh) out in Sect. 105 wearing a Manny t-shirt holler out at me and we'll go grab a brew.

One week to go yall.

Posted by: Corey | March 23, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Moment of silence .... Robert Fick got released yesterday.

Barry, I absolutely loved the article today on Manny's base running and strategy. I can't say that I agree with him on the hit and run, but he seems on the money with everything else. The thing I've always wondered about is why big leagues teams don't have refresher courses on fundamentals during the year. It's nice that Manny teaches during spring training, does he ever drill those things during the year?

I was watching a big league game in August one time with a FO executive from another MLB team. The team we were watching, the O's of Palmiero vintage, botched a run down. I asked him the last time the O's worked on run downs. He said spring training - 4 ½ months ago!! I found that remarkable. I asked him why a team doesn't pick one fundamental a week for 20 minutes of extra work, just to stay fresh. He replied that only one team at that time did something like that - Tom Kelly's Twins. They were not coincidentally one of the great overachieving teams in baseball. Does Manny do something like this? Maybe he should. Maybe pro athletes would balk at it? That's a shame if it's true. Maybe all they care about is getting extra swings.

Posted by: #4 | March 23, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

First games are important and historic, but not generally becuase of the what happens in the game. Remember last year? I'm excited for the game mostly for everything surrounding it and the start of baseball. The team feels, and i agree, that the atmosphere and the stadium will have all the drama and fanfare, but that announcing the starting pitcher need not. At the end of the day you must win that game, not because the packed house only comes back if they see you win, but because winning the game is the goal every night.

Posted by: Dave-O | March 23, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Bummer for Fick. I hope we don't make the mistake of signing him to a minor league deal.

The Nats are on XM for the first time in weeks (it seems), and so of course I will be at my mother-in-law's, where I cannot hear it. My priorities so close to the start of the season are obviously flawed. Nonetheless, I would really love to spend the afternoon listening to that game.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | March 23, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

No way the cubs trade their starting shortstop for Lopez. He's cheaper, better, younger, and has a better attitude. Move on. You might (might) get DeRosa or Fontenot. Possibly Murton.

If Fick is not picked up, sign him to MASN.

Posted by: NatBisquit | March 23, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

New look to the official site. Definitely an improvement.

Scroll down and look at the picture of Cordero, Lo Duca, and Young smiling at you, and have a happy Easter.

Posted by: John in Mpls | March 23, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Theriot is actually older than Lopez.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | March 23, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Uh-Oh. Any team that has Odalis Perez as it's Opening Day starter had better be prepared to finish the season in the basement. Things ain't looking good dowon I-95 in DC.

Now, as for your beloved BALTIMORE ORIOLES. Our Opening Day starter will be battling some of his teammates for the Cy Young Award this year. So, why not Nats fans, come out up to beautiful OPACY and watch a young, exciting, WINNING team while eating some delicious Boog's BBQ or crabcakes?

Posted by: O's Exec | March 23, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

So sorry, Barry, for your Duke's loss - but what a gamer you wrote! The mark of a true professional is to craft something so well despite a broken heart. Boy, will we ever miss you.

Posted by: nats nana | March 23, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

They're the same age for baseball purposes. Theriot is older by Dec to May.
Theriot is actually older than Lopez.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | March 23, 2008 11:47 AM

Posted by: CE | March 23, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

O's Exec, the third person singular pronouns his, hers, and its do not take apostrophes.
It's = "it is."

Thanks for playing.

Oh, and great Opening Day starter you got there: you can't even remember his name yourself.

Posted by: MIB | March 23, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

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