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Back from the 'pen, and Portland

The 'Chico returns' storylines are multiple. I'm back from the wedding. Matt's back in the rotation, briefly. The Nationals played .667 ball in my absence, by the way.

Four flights this weekend, including two layovers in Minneapolis, allowed for a lot of catch-up reading -- and finally, I managed to read the profile of Elijah Dukes in ESPN The Magazine. It's written by Chris Jones, who, just a few weeks ago, penned a story for Esquire that was trumped on the cover as "the most gripping story you will read this year." The Dukes story didn't quite harness the same reportorial prowess, but as far as non-six word pieces of journalism go, it's still well worth a read. Lots of info on Dukes' background -- and, not surprisingly, his transgressions. It also makes you very mindful of just how much faith the Nats (for better or worse) put in Dukes when they made this trade.

Jones, by the way, describes the Nationals as "woefully inept."

During the final leg of the trip back to BWI, I also hunkered down and started some required heavy reading, the Nationals' media guide. The thing is, those 492 pages are peppered with fascinating information, some of it entirely unlinked to anything of current relevance (Manny Acta had six home runs in 1,189 career minor league at bats), but some of it quite informative to frame what we're seeing in 2008.

Last year, Manny's first on the job, the Nats set the all-time major league record for team relief appearances. On pages 320 and 321, you can actually chart the entire season by day-to-day bullpean numbers -- how many relievers appeared, how many innings did they throw, etc. By my count, Acta used six relief pitchers in a game 13 times last year. In three games he used seven pitchers, and twice -- both in September -- he used a whopping eight.

You might at first interpret this to suggest that Acta either 1.) enjoys walks to the mound, or 2.) was cursed last year with least durable and effective starters in the history of post-Connie Mack baseball. But I think what we're seeing this year helps shade our understanding of all this. Acta is simply a serial pitcher-changer, always playing for the best matchup of the moment. Even yesterday, when starter Tim Redding threw shutout ball, Acta used three relievers to finish off the last 2-2/3. Right now, the Nats have three pitchers who rank in the MLB's top 15 in appearances, including the leader, Luis Ayala (28 games). Nobody else in the big leagues has pitched in more than 24.

By Chico Harlan  |  May 20, 2008; 9:26 AM ET
 
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Next: Kasten-MacPhail redux

Comments

Hi Chico. Welcome back. Now get to work.
;)

Posted by: NatsNut | May 20, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I like that Manny has a quick trigger. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is when the manager acts the other way around.

I remember the Johnny Oates years in Baltimore. Oates, a wonderful man who fought the good fight in his personal life, but was the consumate "one batter too late" decision maker.

What I wonder is how much of it is collaboration with St. Claire and how much of it is simply Manny managing like Manny. My hunch is the latter, but I'd be interested to see those same stats in Frank's two years in DC, also with St. Claire.

Posted by: Ryan | May 20, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Chico. The Nats media guide does make for some interesting reading (and would be even more useful if it had an index, IMO). I'd be interested to know whether the guides are made available to the media in electronic as well as print form.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 20, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't going to say anything, but I believe your first day on the job the Nats lost 11-0. I hope you aren't cursed.

Posted by: Sec 312 | May 20, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Serial pitcher changer...is that legal?

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 20, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I have to admit the Dukes story was kind a disappointment. I thought Svrugla did a better job (and at least laid off all the fearmongering) back in the spring.

Posted by: Capybara | May 20, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, 'serial' makes it sound like he's doing it for the sake of doing it vs. it being a sound managerial choice/philosophy.

In your mind, Chico, which is it?

Posted by: Softball Girl | May 20, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Whoops...looks like I shouldn't be criticizing the writing of others this morning.

Posted by: Capybara | May 20, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

For thoughts on not changing your pitchers until too late, please see the well-reasoned and thoughtful discussion held by Philly fans last night regarding Charlie Manuel's bullpen management.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 20, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

i'd be interested to see some comparisons with frank, too. although i wouldn't be surprised to learn that frank didn't get more *innings* out of his relievers and manny got more *appearances.* frank had a tendency to pull his starters early (and they often deserved it, he had some pretty bad starters at times, ryan drese anyone?), but i seem to remember more long relief apps starting in the 4th innings, not serial changing from the 6th on.

Posted by: 231 | May 20, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I'd rather see pitching changes than watch young pitchers get burned out by the time they're 25 (see every young pitcher Joe Torre or Dusty Baker worked with).

Ironically; everyone talked about how the bullpen was our strength, and this year its been really hurting us. Ayala especially; in Cordero's absense we need him to shut teams down and he hasn't.

Jon Lester threw 130 pitches last night to finish his no-hitter. I bet Theo Epstein was just cringing in his office.

Posted by: Sec131 | May 20, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

506, it's another example of trying to shoehorn a predetermined theme into the game story, due to the fact that the paper does not give the Nats the space for 2 aritcles on the same day. So Barry shoehorns it into the gamer even though it really didn't fit there and resulted in an incomplete game story. If Milledge hadn't gotten any hits, then Barry's story just would have been how the woeful outfield cost the Nats another game. Barry also is probably compensating for the fact that the Post doesn't have a baseball columnist who writes about topical issues like this.
* * * * *
Hey Barry, did we watch the same game? Where are the six doubles, tied for the most in a season by the Nationals? Where is this stellar defense and offense by Zimm that the teaser promises me. Heck, where is Zimmerman at all? Where is Jesus Flores stepping in at catcher more major league ready than the major league catchers? Where is Saul Rivera coming on in a situation when the Phillies were on a come back, but shutting them down?

Coverage is indeed lacking. All we get is how the outfield batting averages suck. One of the best game of the season and you come back and hit us with this garbage. These are narratives that can't be found in the box score. I don't know what Stan did to you Barry, but this is shameful.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 20, 2008 9:16 AM

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 20, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Chico- We missed you. I have read articles by Chris Jones before, speaking of woefully inept. Too many of the baseball writers out of town really no nothing about the Nats(or 80% of the other MLB teams) Maybe I am used to the high standards of the WP, with writers like Boz, Wilpon, and I include you and Barry also. I think the Nats are a lot better than last year(3rd in the majors in fielding, pitching up about 8 notches from last year)

Let's see how this week unfolds for the Nats.

Posted by: Nick the Nat Fan | May 20, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Not in these parts . . . but you know how them big city folk are!
_______________________
Serial pitcher changer...is that legal?

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 20, 2008 9:53 AM

Posted by: lowcountry | May 20, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

the mets owner (wilpon) writes for the post? i didn't no (sic) that.

Posted by: wha? | May 20, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I certainly do lowcountry...I miss not being able to go to Nats games, but thats about it these days.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 20, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Hey, what happened to "Kasten-MacPhail Redux"?

Here was Barry's post:

Kasten-MacPhail redux

So one more thing before Chico (the writer, not the pitcher) returns to the beat, which happens this afternoon.

(There is the matter of last night's game, in which Lastings Milledge actually delivered a big hit and Tim Redding was ... well, what the Nationals have come to expect from him, even when he didn't have his best stuff. The notebook had stuff about the start for Chico (pitcher, not writer) on Wednesday, and Ronnie Belliard going on the DL. And Sheinin chronicled Ryan Howard's march to 200 strikeouts. Yikes.)

Anyway, last week, I wrote something about Stan Kasten and Andy MacPhail. In it, they expressed admiration for each other, and Bud Selig expressed admiration for them both.

But a couple things didn't make the story. First, there's this throw-away line from Selig when I asked about how he thought the whole Baltimore-Washington baseball thing is working out.

"When you look at the demographics," Selig said by phone from Milwaukee, "it's a two-team market. Baltimore has its fans, and Washington will have its. I think both franchises have a very, very good future. There's no doubt in my mind. In fact, I think they could be two of our model franchises."

I'd ask: Would you agree?

The other small point. I pointed out to Kasten that, because of Peter Angelos's strong objections to having a team in Washington a few years back, there is some thought that the Orioles and Nationals won't deal with each other, that they wouldn't make a trade, etc.

"That's silly to even suggest," Kasten said. He has a long relationship with Angelos, and he said there are no barriers -- geographic, political or otherwise -- that would prevent the two clubs from making a sound baseball trade.

I know we're a few days now from the completion of the Orioles-Nats series, and I know the Nationals are now 15-11 since starting 5-15, and I know Jason Bergmann faces Cole Hamels tonight. But I ask: What do you think is the relationship between the Orioles, the Nationals and their two fan bases?

(Can of worms, meet can opener.)

(Oh, and thanks for letting me interlope here for a day. Welcome back to Chico.)

By Barry Svrluga | May 20, 2008; 9:28 AM ET


and here's my response:

I think that MacPhail changes the dynamic entirely, and that Balteemore can be treated almost like a major league team from here on out.

Now, if a Bowden-led team from DC can be described that way, we have the makings of a normal relationship.

Peter Angelos -- let's see: an opportunistic lawyer who made his money and bones off lawyerly obstinance mixed with being in the [sadly] right place at the right asbestos-ridden time. Convinced he knew more than anyone else, he wrestled Balteemore's [and DC's] love of the Orioles to the ground, and killed it.

But wait. . . . that love lives, at least in Baltimore. MacPhail is giving it mouth-to-mouth right now.

Yuck.

I hope that the Dukes-for-Markakis trade gets made before the end of June. . . .

Posted by: 241 Scott | May 20, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I suspect, but do not know, that Washington relievers not only set a record in number of appearances, but that the starters threatened the record for lowest average length of start and that the relievers threatened the record for most number of relief innings ever. What I do know is that Washington relievers had a better ERA than Washington starters. When that changes I hope that Manny's tendencies also change.

On a more offensive note (or perhaps less offensive note), the Washington starting outfielders may be threatening the record for worst offensive production by an outfield unit. Shirley [sic], management will be forced to make roster moves soon to address this weakness. Not to be too critical, but a righthanded Nook Logan would be a dramatic improvement over Pena's production to date. (Nook is available).

Posted by: Stop calling me Shirley | May 20, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I have to say that I agree with you, Coverage is Lacking.

Someone write that down and hang onto it.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 20, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"But I ask: What do you think is the relationship between the Orioles, the Nationals and their two fan bases?"

There is nothing wrong with the relationship between the Orioles, the Nationals and their two fan bases. Healthy competition rages, as it should. The problem is the relationship between the TV and newspaper outlets that cover the Orioles and Nationals. There's way too much inbreeding there - and we all know the kind of deformed offspring that results from too much inbreeding, don't we?

And yes, in case you haven't already figured it out, I'm talking about the Washington Post and MASN. Both outlets looked upon the recent Orioles-Nationals series as a grand opportunity to have their respective Orioles and Nationals teams get intimate with each other. Wrong move. The resultant coverage offspring was an insult to both Nationals fans and Orioles fans. Let's hope that MASN and the Post don't repeat their blunder when the two teams meet again in late June.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 20, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Chico.

One of my dead horses has been the need to have Schroder in the bullpen and the need to have a 7 man bullpen. Glad Schroder is back. I hope Manny works him in as I think he can help keep the Rivera to Ayala to Rauch chain from wearing down.

Some interesting roster decisions coming up. My guess is if Hill does not respond well to the cortisone, we see another DL. If the original Chico looks good, then maybe that call up is an MI like Desmond (good glove MI back-up). If not, then it is likely a starter.

Barry's discussion of Selig saying 2 model franchises - that's a stretch. Not meant as a criticism of the O's (who are my 3d team), but I just don't see people from DC to go up mid-week to watch the O's as O's supporters. Not too much is made of this, but a huge difference from the time OPACY was planned and the 45K+ time in the mid-90s is the rush hour traffic on the road. More cars, but not more lanes. Even if everyone here loved the owner and said by gones are by gones about his resistance to a team here, it would still be a pain to get there midweek. Now that there is a local option at this end of the parkway, people are just going to make more of the inconvenience. No one (other than maybe Boz) goes to every game in both ballparks.

The Nats have two advantages in terms of franchise strength that the Os lack. First, they are on the wealthier, more populous end of the parkway. Second, they play in the smaller stadium. The combination of those facotrs helps in terms of presale of tickets through season tickets and advance single game because of the perception of scarcity and the ability to charge more for seats.

At their peaks, the Nats will be in the top 1/3 in terms of financial strength, while the Os will barely be in the top half, unless MASN becomes an asset valued like the best regional sports networks (YES and NESN).

Posted by: PTBNL | May 20, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

241 Scott, where the heck did you get that post from Barry? Can't find it anywhere.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 20, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I ditto NatsNut's comment.

Also, 506, that is the second time in as many weeks that you and Coverage are relatively close on an issue. I remember agreeing with both of you last week.

Does that mean it's the End of Days?

Posted by: NattyDelite! | May 20, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmn . . . what did happen to the missing Svrluga post?

Personally I think the market is big enough for both teams. It will take a generation, though, to develop a deep and true Nats fan base, meaning, people who remember going to their first game at Nationals Park with their Dad (or other SO) as opposed to semi-traitors like me (Cubs).

I'm not an AL fan, and I certainly have not been an O's fan in recent years (of course I always liked Cal back in the day). But I didn't mind watching the O's-Nats series, and I found myself coveting some O's outfielders. They're a young team in a rebuilding phase like ours, so it's hard for me to hate them. That doesn't mean I don't want to beat them, but I think a good healthy rivalry can develop, as opposed to a battery-throwing, beer spilling hatefest. Nothing wrong with making the trek up to Camden for a few games every year (and I suppose that means we need to tolerate some orange jerseys in Nationals Park, but then that's nothing new here in transplant city anyway, we just have to learn to embrace that somehow).

Finally, Sheinin says the Phils will likely trade Howard at some point. Any takers?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 20, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

ABM wrote:


"The problem is the relationship between the TV and newspaper outlets that cover the Orioles and Nationals. There's way too much inbreeding there - and we all know the kind of deformed offspring that results from too much inbreeding, don't we?
"

I agree with the basic premise there, but with some qualifications.

First, you can't really compare MASN and The Post; MASN is owned by the Orioles and Nationals, and doesn't really engage in journalism. It is probably more correct to look at a Nationals broadcast as a 'baseball info-mercial'. While The Post certainly combined resources to cover the series, The Post has strict journalistic standards that they adhere to... which MASN does not. One can certainly find reasons to criticize The Post's coverage of the Nats, and this past series, specifically, but probably not on the basis of their internal journalistic standards. It might or might not be good business to cover it the way they did, but that is different than good ethical reporting.

On the other hand... the conflicted nature of the Nats fanbase fits more to your analogy. Without rehashing the history, most Nats fans followed the Orioles for most of the 33 years that there wasn't a team in DC, and so most are at least initially predisposed to think of the Orioles positively... the Orioles recent performance and apparent disdain for their fanbase notwithstanding. So for some, it is hard to simply hard to fully embrace the Nats AND turn their backs on the Orioles.

It is easier for people like me, who grew up as Senators fans, and for whom the Orioles were simply a pacifier (and certainly, for most of those 33 years, what a pacifier they were -- If they had been a bad team, they never would have been as easily embraced by Washingtonians, who, as we already know, love a winner). For most Nats fans, they are being asked to forsake allegiance in one team for another... but for others of us, the return of the Nats is simply a return of what was rightfully ours in the first place.

The MASN ownership arrangement really is toxic, and it is worse for the Nats, but it is bad for the Orioles, too. You can't watch a Nats game without being reminded that there's an Orioles game on another channel. It would seem to me that if cable companies are going to commit to two channels for MASN, it would make sens to have a NatsMASN and an O'sMASN. But there isn't, and one of the reasons is to make it difficult for fans to find the right game... because, as I mentioned above, most Nats fans have at least some passing interest in the O's... so if they can't find the Nats game, but they do find the O's game, they might hang around and watch that... Bet that doesn't happen in Baltimore too much...

On a positive note about this past weekend, I kinda did enjoy listening to Palmer and Button talk about pitching... it got a little esoteric at times, but they have perfectly suited personalities to irritating each other... not that it came across that way, but it was fun to listen to.

Posted by: Wigi | May 20, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

i have to wonder if howard isn't better off on an AL team for his next contract. remember, he's not as young as a lot of the other guys coming up cuz he was blocked by thome for so long. he's already 28, and he's a big guy. while i don't remember hearing anything bad about his fielding, i don't remember hearing anything good. and he's a big, big guy, and i don't think he's tremendously athletic, like some big guys.

i wouldn't hate a trade for howard, but i have to wonder if he's the guy we want to spend $15-20m/year on down the line. cuz if he's not, then i don't think we should trade for him.

Posted by: 231 | May 20, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Wigi wrote:

". . . So for some, it is hard to simply hard to fully embrace the Nats AND turn their backs on the Orioles."

should read:

". . . So for some, it is hard to fully embrace the Nats AND turn their backs on the Orioles."

Posted by: Wigi's Editor | May 20, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

. . . Palmer and Sutton

(sheesh!)

Posted by: Wigi's Editor (again) | May 20, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I think last night showed what a player Redding is. He had a great sac-bunt (that if Willie Harris had stole second -- why didn't he go, Meyers never looked at him the whole at bat!) would have put us in position for another run. He slid into second and broke up the double play like a 280 pound outfielder. And he pitched without his good stuff for three innings and allowed no runs.

What's the guess on trading him by deadline? Yes, no? What would we want? This is the last year of his contract, right?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 20, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

A third is tourism. DC attracts far more and I expect that Nat's attendance will routinely jump when school is out and the museums are full.
______________________
The Nats have two advantages in terms of franchise strength that the Os lack. First, they are on the wealthier, more populous end of the parkway. Second, they play in the smaller stadium

Posted by: lowcountry | May 20, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

That was a great slide by Redding. I was sorry that Lopez was busy running down to first base; otherwise, he could have been paying attention to the nuances of how to break up a double-play (note, Felipe, that the slide doesn't end ten feet short of second).

Posted by: joebleux | May 20, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

being that redding has been fairly consistent, id say he would fetch a typical return for that kind of player. however, if we have learned anything as fans of this team, the price will be too high and nothing well happen.

Posted by: theraph | May 20, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

You mean when Ayala's arm falls off it won't be (entirely) Bowden's fault for not signing Livo or Lohse?

Heretic! Unbeliever!

Posted by: estuartj | May 20, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

The other two great players last night were Ryan Zimmerman and Lastings Milledge. Milledge thinks that being arrogant was what was missing. If that's the case, be arrogant LMillz! We'll keep it a secret between us that it's really swinging for contact, not for a home run, that was missing. And he played great in center, too.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 20, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

and if we end up with redding signing on for another year or two, if he has indeed figured it out and gotten healthy, then i don't mind him staying for a couple of years. he's only 30, so maybe he's got another couple of years left in him as a #3/4/5 starter.

Posted by: 231 | May 20, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking last night that Redding is going to be somebody's darling at the deadline. If he keeps this up, he will net a significant return.

If he was 27 or 28, I'd say keep him. But at 30, ship him.

Posted by: Jimmy Tango | May 20, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

one of the BIG problems I have with MASN is the inconsistency on when/where the Nats (or O's) games are. For example ... last night, Nats are on MASN. Tonight and Wednesday, they're on MASN2. Why can't all three games be on one channel?

Shouldn't it be that all games of a series be carried on the same channel? Why switch channels during a series? It makes it a lot more difficult to follow from day to day (and worse, the bars in Northern Virginia have no idea which channel the game is on, and heaven forbid if the Nats are on MASN2 since none of the bars I've gone to seem to know which channel that is).

Posted by: e | May 20, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Your heretical comments concerned me, Wigi. I was relieved to read your subsequent disclaimer, but I'm still not sure that we should be posting such tolerant comments.

________________
"Without rehashing the history, most Nats fans followed the Orioles for most of the 33 years that there wasn't a team in DC, and so most are at least initially predisposed to think of the Orioles positively..."

Posted by: lowcountry | May 20, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Very thoughtful post, Wigi. For decades, baseball fans in this town have been told they can't cut it. That they wouldn't support a major league franchise. The Senators said that (twice). Then Angelos and MLB and the national media and on and on. And for just as many decades, baseball fans in this town pushed back -- hard -- against that argument.

So there is perhaps an underlying ... uneasiness among the Constituency that doesn't exist in other cities. People in Boston or St. Louis don't have to worry "What if the naysayers were right?"

I don't think it's coincidental that the topics that inflame the most passions in places like NJ are the topics that poke that sore spot. Like attendance (20,000 for the second game; empty President's Club seats on TV) or, yes, Washington Post coverage. Sell-outs every game and voluminous coverage might not justify our belief that this is a baseball town, but would certainly validate it.

So when the Nats beat writer is out of town during a series in which the Nats lose two of three to the Orioles, the perfect storm brews.

Posted by: Capitol Hill | May 20, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

speaking of lohse...

april ERA: 2.31 (and everyone loves him and wishes we'd signed him).

may ERA: 8.22 (4 starts, 1 quality and three that had 4, 7, and 8 earned runs and era jumps from 2.31 to 4.71). and yet still people love him?

i don't hate the guy, and maybe he would have been a decent addition to the rotation, but he's not worth pining over.

Posted by: 231 | May 20, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"Very thoughtful post, Wigi. For decades, baseball fans in this town have been told they can't cut it. That they wouldn't support a major league franchise. The Senators said that (twice)."

Let's not forget, either, that Griffith told reporters one of the reasons he was leaving DC is because it was "trending colored." He and his father pointedly refused to integrate, years after Robinson, though they were happy to accept the black community's money. Minnesota was seen as a much more "white" city and a place where they could operate under the principles of segregated baseball that were partially behind the founding of the National League, the first segregated baseball league, and that the Griffiths had always defended.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 20, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I find these discussions of trading our players more discomforting this year. I think it is because we are starting to have some sense of stability in the organization. So, I would be sad to see Redding go. 30 is not old and, for many reasons it would be nice to have some solid starting pitching for a full year. Redding, Perez, and Lannan have allowed us to expect that we should be able to get six innings out them - something that never happened last year. But if the right deal comes along than we should probably make it and wish Mr. Redding well in the play-offs.

Posted by: lowcountry | May 20, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Agreed 231, what contracts did Lohse and Livo sign? I have no problem spending the Lerner's money (even for LoDuca and Estrada although I don't think they are necessary - Flores was ready to step up to full time IMO), but I would not want to tie the team into a rotation spot for more than one year to a 30 something veteran instead of being able to move up younger developing guys like Lannan (and maybe soon Balester, Mock, VanAllen, Zimmermann and Detwiler - all of which I think will start games for the Nats in 2009).

I think we should trade Redding and Perez this year if they continue to perform AND we get legitimate prospects in return. We need 3-4 more mid level minor league pitchers similair to the guys (Chico and Mock) we got from AZI for Livo.

Posted by: estuartj | May 20, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Think about how disgusted we'd all feel seeing Mr. Redding pitching against us 4 or 5 times a year if he's traded or allowed to walk and ends up in say Philly or with the Mets?

He's really stepping up and becoming the ace of this staff so far this year. If he keeps this up through June then he's 1) got to be the Nats all-star, and 2) should be a priority to resign. Even with a staff full of young up and coming pitchers, you need the veteran presence.

Where was all this "30 is too old to sign" talk when Livo was a FA this off season?

Posted by: MKevin | May 20, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, lowcountry. It's hard, though, to not be excited for Redding. If he's traded it's playoff bound (bet you Charlie Manuel would die to have him) which means he has a shot at the series. The guy deserves it. He doesn't have it with us.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 20, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

What? What?? I'm not a day over 33 years old, I promise! Want to see one of my birth certificates to prove it??

Posted by: NR Livo | May 20, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

MKevin, how disgusted we'd feel seeing Redding hurling for the Mets or the Phillies is strongly related to what we got in return (at least for the reasonable among us).

For example: If we saw Redding pitching for the Mets against Nationals shortstop Jose Reyes, the haters probably wouldn't even be complaining (at least about that).

It's harder if you traded, say, veteran workhorse Livan Hernandez for two minor league pitchers. Or a beloved catcher and promising, but never coming through outfielder for a 23-tear old prospect. People tend to try to judge the trade based on how both players are playing immediately following it, rather than assuming the logical, that a 23-year old is going to play like a 23-year old and a 30-year old will play like a 30-year old.

Sorry, JimBo, but the Redding trade will be another one that will get you a ton of grief next year. Hopefully, it's one people will say "oh yeah, great guy, but the Phils really lost out on that one!"

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 20, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Redding, assuming he stays on his current course, would likely get us MUCH better quality than Chico and Mock, whether in the form of one or multiple prospects.

If we're talking about a long-term build, you need as many prospects as possible. I mean, look at Detwiler right now. I'm not writing him off by any means, but his performance thus far )as a college pitcher at advanced-A ball) leaves a good bit to be desired. What if his ceiling now is 3/4/5 starter? Worse? Strength in numbers. Cash in while you can. I love Redding, but when we're planning to be ready to contend, he's going to have a few more miles on the odometer.

Posted by: Jimmy Tango | May 20, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

The Barry O's post has materialized (i.e., new - old - post up).

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 20, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"Let's not forget, either, that Griffith told reporters one of the reasons he was leaving DC is because it was "trending colored." He and his father pointedly refused to integrate, years after Robinson, though they were happy to accept the black community's money."

Of course George Preston Marshall of the Redskins was right there in lockstep with Griffith on this matter. The Redskins didn't leave town, but they were one of the last NFL teams to integrate.

And whose statues sit outside RFK Stadium to this day? George Preston Marshall and Clark Griffith. Both of whom are probably spinning in their graves every time that DC United and their fans take over that stadium for a game.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 20, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Good post, Capitol Hill, I think you've hit on something.

As for Redding, he's on a one-year deal so we could trade him if the price is right and still re-sign him after the year, a la Ray King.

What's the right price? My guess is that the going rate is something like a mid-level prospect and a low-level prospect. Would we deal him for the equivalent of, say, Cory Van Allen and Smiley Gonzalez? I think I would.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 20, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

the usage "bullpean" makes me think, first, of course, of the parallel usage "european" as in, "he's a bullpean ballplayer."

then it would be "bullpeen" when our pitchers are hammering their hitters in relief during the late innings.

which would, of course, result in a story the following day that was a "bullpaean" of praise...

Posted by: natty bumppo | May 20, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

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