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King optioned to Columbus

With Barry down in the clubhouse, I'm getting this up on the blog for him: The Nationals optioned veteran lefty Ray King to Columbus today and are bringing up lefty Mike O'Connor, who was off to a fabulous start in Columbus' rotation (2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in four starts, .221 opponents' batting average).

Barry is working the clubhouse as we speak, and promises to get you an update after he is able to speak to King, Manny Acta and Jim Bowden about the move.

By Dave Sheinin  |  April 24, 2008; 4:05 PM ET
 
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Next: King: I'll take my time; O'Connor will be long man in pen

Comments

King was not at fault for last night. He got two infield grounders that should have been outs. He would have been out of the inning. Unfortunately, he had to keep pitching after that.

Posted by: NatBisquit | April 24, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

He tripped over his own gut!

Posted by: Chris | April 24, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Is O'Connor going to come out of the pen and work for us? If not, we now have a bullpen without a lefty! Not a good move!

Thanks for throwing a ball to my fiance yesterday in BP Ray!

Posted by: Keenan | April 24, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

King has options?? Or was he outrighted?

Posted by: steve | April 24, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I kinda like Ray, so I would never speculate as to whether this spells major trouble for the 5 Guys franchise...or maybe it's just an opportunity to expand towards the west?

Posted by: joebleux | April 24, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"PWABOMH -- I agree with everything you said. See, isn't life better with a moniker? And a good one at that?"

No, because sooner or later you all will turn on me, as you have on so many others, and start reacting to my posts on what you think you know about who I am, and not paying attention to what I'm saying. Anonymity is much better, because in the absence of any real background knowledge of the person behind the post, the post should just be evaluated on the words and opinions it contains. This is the Internet. No one knows who they're talking to, even if they think they do. Better to just pay attention to the words you read and leave it at that.

Posted by: PWABOMH | April 24, 2008 4:12 PM

-----

This is exactly the problem with PWABOMH. His status as a former press secretary means that he will always spin things towards his personal opinions of strict constructionism. It's probably the impact of his toddlers. What an idiot! He should be fired.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Not altogether surprising. I'd imagine that O'Connor, for now at least, is the new LOOGY in the bullpen. I really don't think that all of this is King's fault. The injuries to the bullpen and the Nationals reliever policy forced King to come in against a lot of non-lefties which is certainly not his specialty.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | April 24, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree with NatBisquit that Ray wasn't the problem last night. However, he's proven a number of times this season that he really is a LOOGY and should not be left in to fact righties, and we've proven many times that we need someone to pitch a full inning or two in relief, facing lefties as well as righties. Bottom line: Ray King hasn't been put in position to succeed at what he does best. The same can be said of the entire bullpen, and that's due largely to Chad's absence and the resulting fact that everyone is pitching in a different role than they're supposed to. So maybe O'Connor is the long man out of the pen for now, pushing everyone else back a rung? Even so, I do wonder why they didn't just DL Chad and call up O'Connor. I'd like to make sure Chad is healthy and at full strength before throwing him back out there. Alternatively, does O'Connor push Chico down if he has another rough outing?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 24, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"Alternatively, does O'Connor push Chico down if he has another rough outing?"

I think this is the real point of the move. Assuming we're right about JimBo and he's not just being arbitrary.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Right now, this team doesn't need a LOOGY, and it doesn't need a closer. It does need relievers who can contribute in volume. Replacing King with O'Connor is a nice start, and freeing up Rauch to pitch in leveraged situations as the need calls for it would be a good way to go too.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | April 24, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

... pitching moves ...
1) It's a nice start. Nice call.

2) Send/release Saul Rivera to AAA for Chris Schroder.

3) If Chico struggles in his next one or two starts, bring up Collin Balester.

... other moves ...
4) get dukes on a rehab assignment asap.

5) bench kearns.

Posted by: Kearns Sucks | April 24, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm all for shaking it up. These guys are playing like crap. I would like to see a few more moves. I'm not saying that they should call in an air strike and start all over but, some moves need to be made to grab the players attention.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | April 24, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

"2) Send/release Saul Rivera to AAA for Chris Schroder"

Why? Rivera can pitch regularly, and for multiple inning stints sometimes. Schroder could stand to be here now (and would be if not for Hanrahan's options status), but Rivera is valuable to us. Manny should pitch him until his arm falls off.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | April 24, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"1) It's a nice start. Nice call."
I'm nervous, I think it might be reactionary and impatience is never a virtue in baseball.

"2) Send/release Saul Rivera to AAA for Chris Schroder."
Rivera has only 4 out of 22 outings with ERAs over 3.00. That's nuts, you should look to Colome if you feel the need to fire someone.


"3) If Chico struggles in his next one or two starts, bring up Collin Balester."
I might protect Balester and put O'Conner in the rotation and bring up Schroder, but I wouldn't mind seeing Collin at all. Better for Chico to play well, though.

... other moves ...
"4) get dukes on a rehab assignment asap."
'Cause rushing to rehab and then play didn't hurt Wily Mo at all...

"5) bench kearns."
since we need less, not more defense in the outfield.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

there are a lot of waffle houses between here and ohio.

Posted by: natsscribe | April 24, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

There are no easy and quick answers here. The Nats just need to fight through this bad start and cope in whatever ways they can with their roster options. O'Connor for King is a fine enough trade-off, at least in theory, since it makes the bullpen more versatile.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | April 24, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Henry Mateo -

Eh, Rivera's numbers this year - 1-1, 4.30 ERA, 7 ER in 14.2 IP, and 7 walks?!?! For a reliever that's not acceptable.

Posted by: Kearns Sucks | April 24, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

would love to continue chewin the fat with ya'll but gotta get ready. off to the phone booth to check out les wiz hopefully a whiteout win.
and hopefully ill come bk in a betta mood tomorrow than i did today from that nats game.
im goin in all smiles and optimistic!!!
later.
go wiz.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Why? Rivera can pitch regularly, and for multiple inning stints sometimes. Rivera is valuable to us.
Posted by: Henry Mateo

had to jump in real quick. im saul riveras newest biggest fan. we sat overlooking the nats bullpen last night and he tossed a ball to my kid. love rivera.

btw the ball has a special emblem on it with a picture of the nats stadium and reads 2008 inugural season, washington dc.
so that is pretty cool.

and after tossin my kid the ball, he came in and pitched in the game.
gotta love that.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Texas lost today, so with a win tonight, the Nats will only be tied for the worst record in baseball!

Looking at how the position players delivered exactly zero runs last night, I can see why Bowden wanted to option King. Makes perfect sense. If they lose tonight, I think they should look into replacing the Nat Pack girl who can't get the t-shirt gun to reach the upper deck, maybe that would send a message to the team. And if that doesn't do the trick, someone will have to talk to Screech about coming to the park without his lucky socks.

Posted by: Baseline Brews | April 24, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

hey in the presidents race last night, teddy actually was flyin and had a big lead and then all of a sudden grabbed his hammy, pulled up lame and started limping.
is teddy tryin to lose. some1 give me the real lowdown.
me thinx teddys takin a dive. and i had a bundle on him.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I thought Teddy was going to hug Ryan Church out in RF. That would've been entertaining.

Oh it would've been entertaining to have Church as our RF rather than Kearns.

I like the Nats winning tonight though. Even with Kearns in the line-up.

Posted by: Kearns Sucks | April 24, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I think I said "why does King have a job" in the 8th last night so I get dibs on seeing this move coming (except of course that I didn't).

I think O'Connor is going tpo start and Chico is going to be in the pen, similair to Bergmann - and Chico can expect the same treatment if he faulter there too.

Posted by: estuartj | April 24, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

dk, enjoy your wiz.

PWABOMH -- it's not like we didn't know who you were when you weren't using a moniker. And we generally don't turn on people here, especially if they're reasonable, as you seem to be. Of course there will always be those who come just to vent or to flame, but that's not historically what this blog has been about, it just gets out of control sometimes. Like during a long losing streak featuring lots of poor play, bad luck and zero clutch hitting.

You know what? I'm happy to see O'Connor get back up here, but I don't think King should have been sent down. He should have been sent back to his true role as a LOOGY, and Chad should have been put on the DL. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. At least until we hear from Barry/Manny/Segwaypants.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 24, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

The Teddy act is old, old, old. Couldn't be lamer at this point.

Posted by: swanni | April 24, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

hey in the presidents race last night, teddy actually was flyin and had a big lead and then all of a sudden grabbed his hammy, pulled up lame and started limping.
is teddy tryin to lose. some1 give me the real lowdown.
me thinx teddys takin a dive. and i had a bundle on him.

Posted by: dk | April 24, 2008 4:51 PM
------
I saw a guy with a Wrist Rocket Sling Shot leaving Section 137 right after Teddy pulled up...

Posted by: N@sfan | April 24, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I hate the role of the LOOGY .... you use 1 roster spot, on a guy who's going to face 1-2 batters. Now, if your LOOGY can finish the inning, that's fine. But Ray wasn't getting RH hitters out.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | April 24, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Baseline Brews, that's the spirit! When you're a fan of a losing baseball team, or at least, of a baseball team that is losing, you just have to embrace it. It's part of the show. Or in this case, part of The Show.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 24, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

hey jimbow,

steve kline and mike myers are looking for work. lol!

Posted by: natsscribe | April 24, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree - O'Connor gets Chico's spot in the rotation and Chico is the new lefty out of the pen until he gets sent down to ride the bus around Columbus. When O'Connor was up pre-injury he consistently kept the team in the game... we need someone who is not going to chough up the big inning every other turn through the rotation.

Posted by: Nats Fan in KC | April 24, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Ageed 114! Manny doesn't believe in using a LOOGY and keeps asking King to do a job he is incapable of doing, I think the O'Connor call up tells you we have no minor league relief pitchers, Arnie Munoz is the only one I can think of and he, like King, can't get righties out to save his life (or career in this case).

Posted by: estuartj | April 24, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

114, you're right, you can only afford the luxury of a LOOGY if you have starters going 6-7 innings and a reliable setup/closer pairing. We don't have that, which is why Henry Mateo F.C. is right when he says we need a middle reliever instead of a LOOGY right now. The question for me is, is O'Connor going to be a reliever now that he's stretched out? He's been pitching well as a starter, do we really want to mess with that?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 24, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

The LOOGY isn't very valuable to a struggling bullpen like the Nats. This team is usually so far behind in such situations, that King was mostly used for show, or CYA in Manny's case/. I agree with Padres GM Kevin Towers, who says the LOOGY is basically a waste of a roster space because it cuts down on the flexibility of your bullpen.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 24, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I see O'Connor for Chico in the near future. Why else bring in a starting pitcher? King has not looked good with inheriting runners on base and is expensive in the sense of using him for one out, especially with a Cordero-short bullpen as it is. I am anxious to see how O'Connor is going to be used.

As for Austin Kearns, carrying a 9 million dollar salary next year is going to be a heavy load. If he is floundering this year I doubt he would improve enough to justify that figure for next year. I offer no prediction other than the heat on him will be turned up to a very high flame.

Posted by: Dale | April 24, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see Chico get one more start to see if he can turnaround. If not I understand moving Chico to the pen. (At the same time though I would like to see Collin Balester up here) But I like what O'Connor has to offer. He received poor run support in '06, but for the most part gave us a chance to win. Wow remember his performance against the Yankees in the Zimm walk off?

By the way, I had one of Noah's Pretzels - Curly W preztels last night. It was phenomenal.

Posted by: Kearns Sucks | April 24, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

And yes I just contradicted myself by arguing simultaneously that King should not be sent down and should return to the LOOGY role, and that we can't afford the luxury of a LOOGY right now. I'm going to shut up for awhile until we get some more info.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 24, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

the nats front office sees the iceberg of a losing season quickly approaching and is rearranging deck chairs on the titanic.

Posted by: natsscribe | April 24, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I liked when O'Connor was up here in 06. Thought he did a decent job. Injuries obviously hurt him last year. Glad to see he's performing well again this year.

That said, how long before those of us calling for O'Connor to be the savior up here turn on him? 1 bad outing? 2? I'm hoping no bad outings from him, but we know that's not going to happen.

Posted by: e | April 24, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

aaaaaaaaand Chico's next start on Saturday, April 26.

O'Connor's next scheduled start for Columbus? April 26.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Matt Chico and Michael O'Connor are basically the same pitcher - lefthanders who rely on guile and location rather than velocity to get outs. I know O'Connor looked good in the latter stages of Spring training, but that seems like such a long time ago.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 24, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

For the firing fans, this from Jayson Stark:

• Ready, Aim, Fire Dept.: Reds owner Bob Castellini has no idea how many people in baseball he alienated by firing his GM, Wayne Krivsky -- as well-liked and highly respected a man as you'll find in the business.

"They just went from a team you root for to a team you root against," is the way one veteran baseball man put it Wednesday.

Sure, Krivsky made his share of mistakes. Goes with the turf. But have there been three bigger steals in the past two years than Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena, Brandon Phillips for Jeff Stevens, or Josh Hamilton for 50,000 bucks? And Jeff Keppinger for Russ Haltiwanger is right up there, too.

So why was this guy fired again? Because this team came out of spring training with a little promise and then started 9-12? Ridiculous. The Yankees, Phillies, Cubs and Rockies were all 9-12 or worse last year this time -- and made the playoffs.

"There's nothing worse than these owners who treat the national pastime like it's the frigging stock market," said an official of one team. "They think it's got to keep going up, up, up, every day. But that's just not the way of works. This is a game of human beings."

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 24, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Dangerous to post before reading the thread but this article in The Hardball Times on the recent Forbes valuation of baseball teams has some useful and new information on two of our favorite topics - LAC or not! and Darn you MLB!

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/how-much-is-your-team-worth-2008/

No need for a Tin Yurl. The article criticizes Forbes method of calculating franchise value as a swag based on revenues rather than operating profits. Also notes that costs are pretty well concealed. Applying it to the Nats, that $47 million operating profit is a swag number.

Also, very interesting to note what they say about the team with the least year to year increase in Forbes-estimated value:
"The value of the Washington Nationals rose less than 3 percent, but this followed an enormous increase a couple of years ago after the team relocated from Montreal. Expect the Nationals' worth to accelerate now that the new ballpark is open (though you'd hope that the value of that asset, which is now complete, would be reflected in the data)." For purposes of LAC, the enormous increase was reflected in the $450 million they paid and did not go into their pocket (cue Steve on the Hill for the "MLB scre[ech]ed us" thread)

Posted by: Parry Repost | April 24, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Those are my two takeaways from today:

Stark: "This is a game of human beings."

Sheinen: "April lies, people! It lies!"

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 24, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Dave - Explain how King has options? Is it because he signed a minor league contract? Is it an outright instead of an option?

Posted by: Options, Options, He Ain't got no stinking options? | April 24, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a good move for reasons stated above. Given that the starters aren't going deep with any regularity and Cordero's questionable status means the 'pen is often effectively a man down anyway, we can't afford to use a reliever on one batter. King is really great when he's allowed to play his role and exit; when he's not, he's not. It'd be nice if we had a rotation that didn't demand early relief in almost every game, but we don't have that. Ergo, it's better to have another long reliever available than King -- even though I really like him when they don't make him face righties.

Also -- what does LOOGY stand for? I know what it means, obv., but not the acronym. Gracias.

Posted by: Clliffy | April 24, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Lefty one-out guy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LOOGY

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 24, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

LOOGY is:
Lefty
One
Out
GuY

Posted by: Section 114, Row E | April 24, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm w/506 and Bob L. I hate to see Ray go. We got value for him last year didn't we? He had one wild pitch which cost in one game that I remember, but last night was not his doing. This does smack of impatience and front office interference. Besides, he was my wife's favorite National. And she is as pure and golden as the Packers, or the syrup at the Waffle House. We love you, Ray!

Posted by: flynnie | April 24, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to hear King got sent down, but look at it this way; This sets O'Connor up for a SP slot & moves Chico to the pen. Chico has normally been effective the first time through the lineup, but runs into trouble when hitters feel they've seen everything his has on a given night. From the pen, he can also continue to work on his mechanics & be available every 2-3 days for long work, or every other day in a LOOGY slot.

Posted by: BIM | April 24, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

re: options ...When a player is on the 40-man roster but not on the 25-man Major League roster, he is on "optional assignment." One common misconception about the rules is that a player may only be "optioned out" three times. Actually, each player has three option years, and he can be sent up and down as many times as the club chooses within those three seasons. (Note: A fourth option is relatively rare but can happen when a player reaches the Majors quickly.)

I have done much digging into the specifics of Ray King, but my guess is that he was never optioned to the minors in three seasons thus the Nationals still had the ability to option him to the minors. (For example, Alex Rodriguez still has options left given the fact that he Mariners only used one; it's unlikely that it will ever be used but they are there)

Keep in mind that given King's service time, he has to OK it. If he doesn't then the Nationals would have to grant him free agency.

Posted by: Brian | April 24, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"PWABOMH -- it's not like we didn't know who you were when you weren't using a moniker."

Huh? You knew who I was when I was posting anonymously, but now you don't? There are a lot of people who post anonymously here. (Well maybe not a lot, but definitely more than one, because there were anonymous comments before that I didn't write.) But so far there is only one person who appears to be using this moniker. And here you all are already, paying attention to who you think is writing the words, and not the words themselves. And I've only been here a few days now. What happens later on?

Posted by: PWABOMH (or is it?) | April 24, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

PWABOMH: Stands for what (Person With A Big Or Massive Hemorrhoid)? Chill, nothing should be taken personally here.

Posted by: BIM | April 24, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

PWABOMH -- Obviously I don't know who you are in real life whether you post under this moniker or with no moniker. But when you post regularly without a moniker, we still get into conversations with you and therefore can often tell that we're talking to the same person in various threads, even if we don't know who you are. So my point was simply that by using a moniker we can address you by that moniker instead of as Mr. Anonymous Poster or whatever. If that's not working for you, then you could do what some others do here and just post under a different moniker every time. I'm not sure there is some huge risk to using a consistent moniker, but if you're not comfortable with it, you can choose not to do it.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 24, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

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