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Chat reminder

One thing I managed neither to fit into the game story nor the notebook was the incident that opened last night's game. Because it involved a hit batsman one night after tensions ran high over the cheerleading episode, many -- at least in the press box -- interpreted John Maine's first pitch as the signal for a saucy night.

After all, before facing lead-off man Felipe Lopez, the Mets' pitcher had faced 181 batters this season. He'd plunked just one of them. He's known for average- to above-average control, and of course, baseball is a game whose history is rich with retaliation.

I suppose Lopez found out that retaliation can leave a welt. Maine's opening delivery darted toward the inside corner of the plate and hit Lopez in the midsection. But nothing serious happened after that. No stare-downs. No more hit batsmen. Rather, Lopez just jogged to first. We had a quiet baseball game after that, and another Nationals' loss. They're 16-24 now. Quarter point of the season. Better than last year, but perhaps more disappointing too.

One reminder. We have some time to talk about this good stuff today. Svrluga and I are teaming up for the traditional 2 p.m. Wednesday chat.

Special preference to six-word questions.

By Chico Harlan  |  May 14, 2008; 9:38 AM ET
 
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Comments

Talk about haunting your old team, what is in the water that Schneid and Church are drinking??

Posted by: CN | May 14, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I don't know, but if they're drinking it at Shea, it'll probably end up killing them.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 14, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the cheerleading episode and today's Notebook, someone in the Nats' clubhouse described his own teammates' conduct as "bush league"? Really? That's very surprising to me that someone would say that, even anonymously. It's also surprising that this generation of ballplayers has apparently never heard of something called "bench jockeying."

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 14, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I got newposted ...
--------------
Man, I get laid up with a pinched-nerve in my neck for the past 5 days and I come back to this? People, chill. It's just a game. There will be good days. There will be bad days. Right now, the bad days are outnumbering the good. I'm not happy about it, but I try to remain optimistic that it will change.

Now, with the revelation that Bergmann will be called up to pitch on Thursday, who's going to be the one that gets sent down? It can't be a starting pitcher. I hope it's not a reliever since the Nats really need to keep a full staff of relievers right now. So, is it a position player? is it time for Mackowiak to go?

And what about later this week/weekend when Dimtri is ready to come back from his rehab? Who goes then? Would the Nats consider placing Nick on the DL to rest his wrist, then have DY and Aaron Boone man first base?

Personally, I think it's time to cut bait on Kearns. I really thought that he would come around and resemble a .270/15-20HR/75+ RBI guy. But I'm not seeing it. And I'm not reacting to his gaffe in RF last night. He's been consistently bad at the plate all season long, and I just can't take another 3 months of this hoping he starts to hit again. It's bad when your number 5/6 hitter can go 1-5 and RAISE his batting average.

Maybe a move to another team (a la Ryan Church) would get his rear into gear. Do you think the BoSox would take him? JD Drew git hurt again last night (what else is new) and for some reason I can see Kearns doing well in Boston.

Posted by: e | May 14, 2008 10:01 AM

Posted by: e | May 14, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Following up on e's point, here's a six-word question for later:

Kearns still the right field future?

For that matter, this is coming from someone who's generally opposed to torch-carrying lynch mobs and who has enjoyed and appreciated Kearns' effort and defensive talent since the day he got here. I've often been in the position of trying to justify his lineup spot to friends at the park. That being said, we've now seen a pretty large sample size of what he has to offer at the plate, and I'm not sure that there's much reason to think that there's any kind of turn-around imminent. At this point, Austin may be destined for defensive replacement status on this team.

Posted by: faNATic | May 14, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

The Red Sox would not take Austin Kearns. He is no good. They can put Crisp or Ellsbury in right, and they have players in the minors who can hit above .230, and play a good defensive right field, which is not very difficult.

Posted by: strange days & deed | May 14, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

By mid-June, I'd like to see the Nats try an OF of:

LF -- Milledge
CF -- Dukes
RF -- Maxwell (or Daniel or Escobar)

Couldn't be worse than what they're trotting out there right now, right?

Posted by: e | May 14, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Jimbo spent two years knocking Ryan Church, whispering to management-friendly reporters like Bill Ladson that he's soft, etc. (Ladson also took frequent shots at Brian Schneider when he was here...hmm, wonder where that came from?)

Why did Jimbo hate Church?

Because he was an Expo!

Church could hit 50 HRs and Jimbo wouldn't get the credit. So he had to go.

Now we see the impact of Jimbo's narcissism -- and incredible lack of baseball judgment.

Posted by: swanni | May 14, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Anyone care to start a softball cheer?

Here it is:

Jimbo...He must go.
Jimbo...He must go.
Jimbo...He must go.

Say it with me, everyone -- you, too, Mark Lerner.

Posted by: swanni | May 14, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Maxwell is hitting .238 in Harrisburg with almost as many strikeouts as hits. He's nowhere near ready yet...

Posted by: natrat | May 14, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Zimmerman bombs but otherwise stays quiet.


Right now there's no real reason to move kearns. I have been doubtful about him since day 1. I thought that Lopez was the real deal in that trade and that kearns would be a nice bat late in the lineup. The thing to do at this point seems to be benching kearns for a few days to let dukes get some at bats. Kearns can take the breather to try to get his head on straight and if he starts hitting when he gets back then maybe there's something we can hold on to. Sadly, he will be next to impossible to move because of his contract (who says raising payroll is a good thing) so it looks like he's going to be a national for quite some time.

If worst comes to worst i would be happy to see an outfield of milledge, maxwell, dukes, daniels for a little while and see how that works compared to kearns and pena.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | May 14, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Nice debate going in the last post folks. N@tsfan and 506 doing their best against the usual cast of Negative Nancy's, who I have to admit have some valid arguments.

My thoughts:

I'm a patient man and I believe in the "Plan." I'm happy we have a team here and a new ballpark. But, I have to admit the losing is weighing on me. I have given the Lerners/Kasten a pass for the plan I believe in but, I agree with Boz, they need to spend some dough this offseason on a couple three players.

As for Kearns, I'm losing my patience with him. I think JMax could do better than he is right now. We are at the 1/4 pole and AK is still at the Mendoza line and now, he is starting to struggle in the field...not good. Time for him to sit or go via a trade. Problem is, who would want him?

Let's not turn on each other in here, we are all frustrated.

Let's turn our frustration toward the NL East:

What rival in the NL East to you hate the most?

Mine is the Phillies. I hate everything about Philly, in general. Obnoxious fans, and it is a dirty, rundown city that frankly, smells.


Anyone else care to vent their spleen on the NL East?

Posted by: Section 505/203 | May 14, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Bill Ladson in this week's Mailbag column:

"I'm never going to say a bad word about Bowden. I think he has done a great job since he has been in Washington."

How embarrassing.

Come on, Bill? You'll never say a bad word about Bowden? So, he's perfect, then? Infallible, perhaps?

If you're going to be a cheerleader, Bill Ladson, at least buy some Pom-Poms to go with your outfit.

Posted by: swanni | May 14, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Swanni's negativity depresses, but i'm optimistic.

Church wasnt getting it done here. I'm not the world's biggest supporter of bowden but i think what he did in the milledge trade was great. He picked up a talented young (not yet fully consistent) player for two guys who had been struggling. Milledge is still providing a decent bat and although he's not consistent, he will most likely turn it around. I think we need more then a full year to evaluate this one. Also, church is playing well but i cant see this keeping up and if im not mistaken schnieder picked up his first extra base hit of the night last night. I'll take flores over him any day.

Swanni likes being unhappy, I dont.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | May 14, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

swanni, I agree with you. that makes one. Just know the counter argument by those saying that Church needed a change of pace. Were they indeed reading the picture painted by the media? lazy, soft, a platoon player, cranky, sensitive, etc....

It is amazing around here. The same people that preach patience, loyalty, and a positive attitude are the same ones that fail to recognize that a positive attitude to a player would result in him performing the VERY SAME WAY he is now.

So let's pat Kearns on the back, give Milledge the benefit of the doubt, and hope for the best. Because it would be a shame to run another solid player out of town and have them shove it back on a poo-poo platter ten fold.

Posted by: theraph | May 14, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I bet Church did need a change of scenery because the narcissistic GM was bad mouthing him at every opportunity.

Jimbo...He must go!

Posted by: swanni | May 14, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Ladson is a joke, ignore him.


That's my take on the guy anyways. The more i learn about this team the less i am capable of reading the guy. Yes, he's employed by mlb.com, but that doesn't mean he's any good. Sadly, others may not know that at this point but anyone with half a brain can tell you that his analysis is garbage and he's sucking directly from the teet of kasten or bowden.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | May 14, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Why Does Austin Kearns Suck @ Baseball?!?!

Posted by: Kearns Sucks | May 14, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

For a beat reporter to write he'll never say a bad thing about one of the people he covers regularly...well, he might as well just get his checks straight from the Nats.

Clearly now, you can't trust the guy -- he'll write anything that will make Jimbo look good and/or serve his agenda.

Posted by: swanni | May 14, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Wait a second natrat, you mean to say that Maxwell is hitting badly and striking out too much in AA ball? How can that be? I thought all of our "prospects" crap gold and their farts smell like roses! Isn't Maxwell going to be an all-star? He's supposed to be our center fielder when we win the division in 2011! How can this happen?

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 14, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Church produced last year. I personally liked him as a player and wish we could have kept him.

But, him and a defense only catcher for a 22/23 year old OF with huge potential? Anyday of the week. You have to give something to get something in return. I agree with VT Nats Fan, this needs longer than 40 games to evaluate.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | May 14, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

theraph, i'm with you 100%. I think some of these guys are pushing right now and need to be supported if they are going to turn it around. I suggested earlier giving Kearns a chance to clear his head. I was not suggesting that we ship him down to Columbus on the next bus. The front office has certainly not been perfect over the years but let's wait and see how some of this turns out. We cannot evaluate a system of rebuilding after only a couple of years. We need to see how players develop, how trades work out in the long run, how the mindset of the organization evolves. I am certainly not bowden's number one fan (i guess that honor goes to ladson) but I still think its too early to call for his head.

If not bowden... Rizzo..? Brown..?

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | May 14, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

By the way, thus far, I have appreciated Chico's healthy skepticism in his gamer stories. No knock on Barry, but Chico has been willing to be more critical in his coverage thus far.

Let's see if that continues when Stan freezes him out and Jimbo threatens to drive a Segway over his toes.

Posted by: swanni | May 14, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

True, JMax is only hitting .238 in Harrisburg. But he also has an OBP of .387 and is slugging .477. He has 7 homers, 25 rbi's and 11 stolen bases. He plays better than average defense. While I would not expect him to match or improve upon these numbers in DC right away, he couldn't be any worse than what Keanrs and/or Pena have done so far.

Again, I was on board for giving Pena and Kearns the benefit of the doubt. Pena may or may not get his power stroke back. Kearns may or may not get more than one hit per game. But as of now, I have yet to see any progression with either player. Pena's hits have mostly been dribblers in the infield. Kearns just looks like he doesn't want to be there.

What would the Nats be giving up if they played someone other than Kearns or Pena in the outfield for awhile?

Posted by: e | May 14, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

505/203, I see that you and 506 share something other than a former section - your detestation of Philly. He has set the bar rather high with his awesome rants on the subject, though, so you may have your work cut out for you in that regard. ;)

---

Mine is the Phillies. I hate everything about Philly, in general. Obnoxious fans, and it is a dirty, rundown city that frankly, smells.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 14, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

We knew Maxwell's swing was long and that he struck out a lot. Not all prospects hit 1.000 and slug 4.000. Maxwell's average is not spectacular, however, he still has a solid on base and a great slugging percentage considering. He's walked 31 times in 36 games which nobody can deny, is impressive. He's stealing bases at over a 70% clip and is leading a pretty good Senators team in total bases.

If he's struggling, I can't wait!

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | May 14, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Anyone intersted in placing odds on who goes to make room for Bergmann on Thursday?

Hanrahan 3/2
Chico 5/1
Mackowiak 5/4
Harris 4/1
Kearns 10/1
Pena 8/1

Posted by: estuartj | May 14, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Beat me to Maxwell's defense e.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | May 14, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Hanrahan should be 1-5.

Posted by: swanni | May 14, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I dont see pena or kearns going down before Robby Mack. Wouldn't be surprised to see chico, Hanrahan still has options and someone might snag him. I like those odds.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | May 14, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm not enjoying the koolaid just yet but it's better than going thirsty. 506 had to shut me down about a week ago after the second loss to the Astros on another AK miscue. But I was nagging the team not the office. It just seems like such a waste of time - I've played the game so I can criticize that but I have much less street cred as a GM, prez or owner.

Posted by: n@sfan | May 14, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Hanrahan's performance is no different than it was last year, except he has a higher strikeout ratio to innings pitched. Which is not surprising because he's now a relief pitcher. But the Nats seem infatuated with the K's -- as if you get two outs for one when you strike out someone.

Posted by: swanni | May 14, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Maxwell is old for AA. He should be tearing it up if he has real potential to become a valuable big league outfielder--the kind of player the Nats need in order to improve as opposed to just tread water.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 14, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I think Maxwell CAN be very good, there is just no sense in rushing him, let him have some success at the lower levels first...

Anyone notice any changes in Kearns over the years? He was MUCH bigger in Cincinatti, I'm just sayin'...

Mac is the one that goes, the only one that makes sense. The Nats need bullpen arms with the stretch they have now and inconsistant starters. Hanrahan hasn't been that bad over the last few games.

Is Ayala hurt? 83 mph last night and been getting hit at over a .400 clip his last 4 outings, ouch!

Posted by: natrat | May 14, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I was down on Kearns for the whole first-half of last season but was pleased to see him turn it around for the second-half and had hoped that it portended well for this season. To this point it has not and questions about his future as "part of the core" are legitimate. But to bring Maxwell up at this point would be foolish - we currrently have six major league outfielders on the roster. Four of them (Kearns included) are likely everyday starters on most teams. Kearn's sub-par performance should first signal an opportunity for Dukes and WMP. Furthermore, Mack has shown signs of life lately and I am struck by the fact that we seem to win games when Harris plays. This is not a fantasy league - attitude, hustle, determination, and chemistry all mean more at the end of the day than BAs and OPS. From now until the all-star break we need to see who of these six will be worth retaining as part of the core.
At this point, I am comfortable in acknowledging that while I still think we got the better end of the Milledge trade - he is not our long-term solution in CF. And perhaps Maxwell is - but in the demands to bring him up now I am hearing a lot of echoes of the cry to bring O'Connor up to replace Chico. Let's not rush things - it doesn't appear that we are going anywhere anytime real soon.

Posted by: lowcountry | May 14, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

One thing to consider with Hanrahan is he has 5 intentional walks and another I remember he pitched around Pujols to strike out Glaus. Take those out and you have 2.38/1 K/bb ratio.

Posted by: kranny | May 14, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

i thought O'Connor already made room for Bergmann??

The first pitch plunk didn't get by me. I'd like to think the absence of any later brou-haha is because our guys are way, way classier.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 14, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I bet Elijah Dukes doesn't get hit by the Mets anytime soon...Trust me on that one, Dawg.

Posted by: swanni | May 14, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Maxwell is 24 years old. Graduated from UMD in '05. Missed a year in college due to injury.

He's in his third year in the minors. Started '06 in Short-Season Vermont (74 games), then went to Low A Savannah (17 games). Started '07 in Low A Hagerstown (56 games), went to High A Potomac (58 games) then ended the season in DC (15 games). Started '08 in AA Harrisburg.

He is moving up the organizational ladder at a normal pace.

Posted by: e | May 14, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"we currrently have six major league outfielders on the roster. Four of them (Kearns included) are likely everyday starters on most teams."

Name them.

Posted by: e | May 14, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Washington softball girls T-shirts are now on sale!

Posted by: n@sfan | May 14, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"I bet Church did need a change of scenery because the narcissistic GM was bad mouthing him at every opportunity."

Like Frank was doing Church any favors in 2005-06? Manny was a Church supporter in 2007, as evidenced by his comments on Church last night in his post-game press conference. So maybe Church did need a change of scenery, but it wasn't solely Bowden's fault as you claim it to be. I bet even a Bowden favorite like Zimmerman would get a bounce if he was traded to a contending team. swanni, you're as narcissistic in your hatred of Bowden as you accuse him of being. When are you and Steven of Clueless Hill going to have the big smackdown for the title of champion Bowden hater in these parts? That would be very entertaining, you should sell tickets. I'd come.

Posted by: An Bruscar Mor (#10) | May 14, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Wmp, lm, ak, ed, rm, wh
6 OF.

Posted by: n@sfna | May 14, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

With AK in his current funk, the only outfielders we have that even look like major leaguers are the ones who aren't playing: Mackowiak and Harris. And it's not a coincidence that best played game we've had recently is the one they started (the 8-3 win at Houston).

Posted by: joebleux | May 14, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Wmp, lm, ak, ed, rm, wh
6 OF.

Posted by: n@sfna | May 14, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

e, maybe Maxwell is moving up the organizational ladder at a "normal" pace, but normal isn't going to get you anywhere other than another average or below average player, which isn't going to help the Nats much. If an outfielder who played college ball is going to have a real long-term impact in the big leagues, odds are he is going to be playing higher than AA in his third year in the minors when he's 24. And if he's not, he should at least be tearing it up at AA, which Maxwell is not.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 14, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I attribute it to Manny. You have to think he talked to the team about this before the game, right?

-----

The first pitch plunk didn't get by me. I'd like to think the absence of any later brou-haha is because our guys are way, way classier.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 14, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

People, defending Bowden is really a slippery slope......Why do you think he was available to work for the Marge's Reds and MLB owned Nats.....He is a high risk, all in, poker player....why defend this approach if you believe in a 10 year plan? A plan by definition does not involve high risks. You may not like those who advocate a change but try to hear the message while you kill the messengers.

Barry never followed through with his hints about why Lerner keep Bowden on. Now that Barry is gone perhaps he will tell the story he knows about why Stan was forced to keep Bowden......it sounds a great deal like a Redskins tail about Vinny S and Dan S.

Posted by: JayB | May 14, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The Redskins have no tails, except potentially when they're in tuxedos.

Posted by: note to JayB | May 14, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I'd be curious about what baseball people think about the Nat's cheering (beyond "bush league" or "not bush league"). Clearly bench-jockeying in general has a long tradition, but I get the impression that what the Nats were doing violates something on page 1,028 of the unwritten rule book, and Felipe's plunking was just the Nats taking their medicine.

Posted by: joebleux | May 14, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Wmp, lm, ak, ed, rm, wh
6 OF.

Posted by: n@sfna | May 14, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

JayB, your characterization of Jim Bowden as a high-risk poker player is inaccurate. If that were the case, he would be dumping our prospects for over-priced vets and signing over-priced free agents. While this might make your Learners are cheap friends happy this is not the path the team has set.

There are valid questions about Bowden's job, particularly his injury management this year. But citing his time in the Schott era in Cincy, his DUI or his segway are not valid arguments as to why he should be fired. You criticize people here for not hearing a message, maybe it is the messanger that is flawed.

Posted by: NoVA Nat | May 14, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"Clearly now, you can't trust the guy -- he'll write anything that will make Jimbo look good and/or serve his agenda."

Well, you'll write anything that will make Jimbo look BAD and/or serve YOUR agenda, swanni. So clearly now, we can't trust you either. Nothing is black and white, no matter how much you'd like to paint it that way.

Posted by: An Bruscar Mor (#11) | May 14, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Given that Annika Sorenstam was available last night (she threw out the first pitch at Shea), did the Nats give any consideration to giving her a softball bat and letting her hit?

Posted by: Just wondering... | May 14, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Prior to that game, Mackowiak was hitting .042 (1 for 24) with no RBI.

He's two for his last seven (.256) - raising his average to .194 - with four RBI, two BB, and one HR.

-----

With AK in his current funk, the only outfielders we have that even look like major leaguers are the ones who aren't playing: Mackowiak and Harris. And it's not a coincidence that best played game we've had recently is the one they started (the 8-3 win at Houston).

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 14, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

(that's .286, not .256)

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 14, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

VT...Nope trading prospects for proven players is much less risk so you have it backwards....Jimbo loves the dice game of finding a diamond in the rough....he loves the risk of Milledge and Pena being superstars someday....signing proven players at fair market value is boring to him.....he feeds off the high of proving (or not in my view) that he is smarter than everyone else.....this is not a plan to build a frachise on.....He has his job with the Nats because he kissed up very fast to the younger Lerner, before Stan could get his ear......the facts are the facts folks......Barry has hinted as much, maybe he has the guts to say it today's chat.....

Posted by: JayB | May 14, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Chico - you need to get your picture posted in the Sports blog index in lieu of the logo.

Posted by: N@sfan | May 14, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Yes JayB, Bowden learned from first-hand personal experience what can happen if you don't get close to the owners. Though in this case as opposed to Cincy I believe Mark L. is happily married.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"e, maybe Maxwell is moving up the organizational ladder at a "normal" pace, but normal isn't going to get you anywhere other than another average or below average player"

---------------------

Ryan Howard moved up the Philly organizational ladder at a very slow pace... remember what happened there? Maybe this isnt the best argument for now because Howard is slumping but not everyone can play in the bigs the first year that they are drafted. Maxwell probably wont be much better then a league average outfield starter through his career, but that's much better then anyone whose been performing this year.

Patience is the key with young players, as well as taking advantage of opportunities. I trust that the team has some idea of what they are doing more then me. I trust that they can look past the numbers and see how players are performing. I certainly trust that they can look past batting average to see if a player's numbers are any good. While getting rid of bowden may be a good move, I cannot make that call at this point. I have not seen how everything he's done has panned out and I certainly have less knowledge then the people in charge. Reactions without proper judgment brought DC the eras of Norv Turner, Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, and the rest, as well as their demises before they had a chance to implement their systems. If you want to be the same fickle crowd that forced these coaches out in their first few years then have at it, just know that you're doing your team a grave disservice and probably crippling it for years to come.

Have fun wallowing in misery forever.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | May 14, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

JiM, in other words: Mackowiak's about as good as our other outfielders, except that he can field, and hasn't had the benefit of consistent playing time.

What do you think Milledge/Kearns/Pena would be hitting with 31 at bats?

Posted by: joebleux | May 14, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Can we go back to the six-word format again? It makes it a lot easier to scroll past posts like "I partake in defunct equine flagellation."

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 14, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

You gave me undo credit JayB, but I guess I'll take it. Getting vets for youngsters is a more low risk option, this is true. However, the proper way to go about this process is to have a mix of both. Veteran players are set in their ways and often are going the wrong way on the development path. Young players can infuse passion and excitement into a locker room while vets bring stability and leadership. A successful team needs both but most importantly it needs to be wary of when to cut the cord with aging stars. Look at the yankees, they have 5 DH's playing all over the feild. Thier pitching staff has two players who were all stars by the time i was in gradeschool. They are searching desperately for a youth movement but have blown so much money on former all stars and future hall of famers that they cannot move these vets for younger talent. Eventually almost every competitive team runs into problems of good players leaving in free agency or getting older and declining. The best way to counter this trend is with smart spending, savvy trading, and infusions of new, young talent whenever possible. I think that the nat's plan will set them up on this path, i just hope that they stick to it and don't let every naysayer call them too cheap to make the big Barry Zito or Jason Giambi signing.

We'll see how things turn out.

Only time can tell the future.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | May 14, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

JayB, Trades like Sizemore et al for Colon would be the sensible way to build a foundation for this franchise? I say no, that is a roll of the dice. You're attributing characteristics to Bowden that you have now way of proving or disproving.

We lost virtually nothing on the Pena deal, so if it fails no big deal. We lost some on the Milledge deal but that was to get a guy the Red Sox almost traded Manny for. In the end it could be the Nats who got the steal there. There is some risk involved in all GM jobs, its unavoidable.

Again, I have no problem with substantive criticism of JimBo, a lot of it is deserved, but your conspiracy theories and personal attacks against him don't carry a lot of weight.

Posted by: NoVA Nat | May 14, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I get wordy, I'll rectify...

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | May 14, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow, we're on pace for 64-98 season.

Posted by: 6th and D | May 14, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

In his first 30 AB, Milledge hit .267 with two RBI, one BB, and one HR.

In his first 30 AB, Kearns hit .233 with four RBI and seven BB.

In his first 30 AB, Pena hit .100 with one RBI and one BB.

-----

What do you think Milledge/Kearns/Pena would be hitting with 31 at bats?

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 14, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Sorry VT and NoVA,

Nope Pena did not cost us much, except a punch of runners left on base and several miss played balls in LF....oh and lost focus on a real solution in the OF.....I do not think my views are personal re Jimbo....just observations about the players he is pushing out on the field day after day.......record is what it is....

Posted by: JayB | May 14, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Ugh. seriously 64-98?

I do have high-ish expectations this year so i am disappointed. And please stop telling me what last year's record was at this time because we should not be comparing this start with last year's start AT ALL.

We should be comparing to last year's finish, which is where we should have left off. THAT is where my expectations come from and THAT would show progress for me. We don't look anything like last year's finish.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 14, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

JiM, were those at bats spaced a few games apart? Are you seriously arguing that it's not harder to pinch hit than it is to get 4 plate appearances day in and day out?

Posted by: joebleux | May 14, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

You are just the type of Fan the Stan does not want to have.....rational.....

Posted by: NatsNut | May 14, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Also, a correction. Prior to the Houston game, Mackowiak was 4 for his last 24 (.167) with three BB and no RBI (and nine strikeouts).

So yeah, Mackowiak was better than Pena - and even Bowden admits he removed from the DL too soon - over his first 30 ABs.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 14, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

It IS tough to see our ex-players on a division team - i would think we would all not be surprised by this. That's why trades like this usually don't take place. Perhaps Jimbo and co. really didn't think they'd play over in NY?? Oh well. It all goes along with the plan, though, right? Milledge is supposed to be good in the future. The Mets want to win now, so Church and Schneid are pieces they need now. Only see them 4 more times this season! Also, I think you all should chill out on Kearns - he's just the flavor of the week. I would like to see Mr. Dukes get in there more. And who cares about a little cheering from the bench? I think its a good thing that the players care enough to try and rally for a win! It may be a little goofy, a little sophmoric (sp?) - it got the opposing pitcher demoted! We could stand a little fun during this losing season.

Posted by: Patty | May 14, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"we currrently have six major league outfielders on the roster. Four of them (Kearns included) are likely everyday starters on most teams."

Name them.

Posted by: e | May 14, 2008 11:08 AM
-------------------------------------
Wmp, lm, ak, ed, rm, wh
6 OF.

Posted by: n@sfna | May 14, 2008 11:15 AM
------------------------------------

So, which 4 are "likely everyday starters on most teams"?

There is no way that Mackowiak, Harris or Pena are everyday starters on most teams.

Milledge, if he's playing in left, might be a starter on most teams.

Dukes, with his past, he's likely not starting on most teams.

Kearns, with his production the past two plus seasons would not be playing everyday on most teams.

And I'm not necessarily saying that Maxwell will be the answer. But I think if this current crop of OFers (namely Kearns and Pena) haven't started to produce by this time next month (or even sooner), something HAS to be done. Be it Maxwell or Escobar or Daniel or Bernadina or (shudder) Langerhans.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

JayB, Ryan Zimmerman has left a bunch of runners on this season was it a bad move drafting him? Dmitri Young was terrible at 1st at the beginning of last season, should we have dropped him after 40 games?

Wily Mo was rushed back from an injury to fill a gaping whole in LF. It is clear that he is struggling for whatever reasons, but dumping him after 40 games would be losing focus on a real OF solution. We need to learn if and where Pena, Milledge and Dukes should be playing. You can't tell that after 1/4 of the season.

Posted by: NoVA Nat | May 14, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"we currrently have six major league outfielders on the roster. Four of them (Kearns included) are likely everyday starters on most teams."

Name them.

Posted by: e | May 14, 2008 11:08 AM
_____________________________________

I suspect you wanted the four, e: Kearns, Milledge, Pena, and Dukes.
Admittedly they are all subject to criticism but I didn't suggest that any of them were all-stars. I think they would all get claimed on waivers by someone else at this point (probably even Dukes but maybe he needs a few more weeks of good behavior) and most teams have a spot of two for them. I will not provide a litany of who they might start for but I think that Church is illustrative here. Most were glad to see him go but he is showing that he can play everyday given reasonable expectations and in a line-up where he is not expected to be a leading producer. Had we traded Kearns instead than he would be starting for the Mets right now. Had we not made the deal than you could speculate the Milldege would by starting for NY . . . you get the drift. Conversely, would you be happy if Dias, Patterson, of Amezaga were starting for us?

I'm not estactic with our current outfield situation and I am certainly displeased by recent results - but let's be realistic about what we do have (or at least spend some time finding out).

Posted by: lowcountry | May 14, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

A few things on my mind...

Maxwell is doing fine in Harriburg and AA IS where the top prospects need to be playing (AAA is for fringe and former major leaguers that expect to be shuttled to an fro). His OPS and SLG are looking good, as well as the 1 error in the field. I expect his average to pick up, at that point he won't be long for Washington.

It was time to move on from Church. He's going on 30 and had to be sent down for poor performance as recently as two years ago. He's also a streaky hitter so don't be surprized when he goes in the tank soon (or on the DL).

I think the lack of response to the hit batsmen last night is a clear sign that we're still Losers. Winners don't stand for that kind of disrespect but Losers are used to it. Lannan is young, but he needs to stand up for his guys. The retaliation chapter is much earlier in the unwritten rulebook than bench-jockeying. If Acta is the one that prevented a response, then it's his fault. Otherwise its Lannan's responsiblity to protect his hitters. There was nothing 'classy' about it. We need a backbone. Where's Jose Guillen when you need him?

Posted by: 307 | May 14, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Again, I have no problem with substantive criticism of JimBo, a lot of it is deserved, but your conspiracy theories and personal attacks against him don't carry a lot of weight.

Posted by: NoVA Nat | May 14, 2008 12:00 PM

___________________________________________


The personal attacks on Jimbo are SoCH's department.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | May 14, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Mackowiak was mostly a 4th/5th OFer in the '06 season for the White Sox. He never got more than 65 AB's in a month that season (64 in May 06). His monthly stats that year:

Apr (35 AB) -- .143/.250/.200
May (64 AB) -- .344/.425/.500
June (46 AB) -- .304/.377/.348
July (36 AB) -- .417/.475/.556
Aug (40 AB) -- .250/.318/.350
Sep (31 AB) -- .194/.235/.355

In '07, he began the season with the White Sox, then got traded to the Padres. Again, some starts, but mostly a PH. His monthly stats:

Apr (43 AB) -- .186/.255/.326
May (66 AB) -- .273/.377/.333
June (64 AB) -- .234/.306/.297
July (64 AB) -- .391/.444/.688
Aug (53 AB) -- .208/.236/.264
Sep (3 AB) -- .000/.500/.000

He is what he is. He's never going to be an everyday starter. He's capable of filling in every now and again. Just not every day.

Would the Nats be better/worse if he were let go? Possibly better.

Would they better/worse if he started every day? More than likely worse.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

VT Nats Fan said:

"Ryan Howard moved up the Philly organizational ladder at a very slow pace... remember what happened there?"

My response:

Howard tore it up in the minors at every level, including his Age 24 season in AA. Hardly a good comparison for Maxwell. The only reason he didn't get to Philly faster was because Thome was blocking him.


VT Nats Fan said:

"Maxwell probably wont be much better then a league average outfield starter through his career, but that's much better then anyone whose been performing this year."

My response:

And yet how many posts do you think I could pull out of the archives of this blog arguing that the Nats shouldn't go after Torii Hunter because Maxwell will be "ready" soon? Don't respond that Hunter never would have signed here; the issue is one of approach by the team. This is the problem with waiting for FAs to be the "final pieces" in a master plan. What happens if you never get to the point when you're ready for the final pieces? What's Plan B?


VT Nats Fan said:

"Patience is the key with young players, as well as taking advantage of opportunities."

My response:

I agree. If only Bowden had some. And if only he had brought in some competent major leaguers to bridge the gap that would allow them to be patient.


VT Nats Fan said:

"I trust that the team has some idea of what they are doing more then me. I trust that they can look past the numbers and see how players are performing."

My response:

Hello? Mike O'Connor, anyone?


VT Nats Fan said:

"Reactions without proper judgment brought DC the eras of Norv Turner, Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, and the rest, as well as their demises before they had a chance to implement their systems. If you want to be the same fickle crowd that forced these coaches out in their first few years then have at it, just know that you're doing your team a grave disservice and probably crippling it for years to come."

My response:

This isn't football. I'm happy to be patient to allow a system to start working when those implementing it know what they're doing. Kasten and Bowden have shown that they don't. Patience for a plan that clearly is flawed is the Pittsburgh Pirates.


VT Nats Fan said:

"Have fun wallowing in misery forever."

My response:

I sure hope it doesn't come to that. But if it does, I'd rather be tough on my team and its shortcomings as opposed to deluding myself about how success is "just around the corner" and be happy just because the sun is out, they're playing baseball, the beer is cold, and who cares if my team loses all the time? Then I would be a Cubs fan.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 14, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

You guys really didn't think I had left did you?

Posted by: O's Exec | May 14, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

It'd be nice if just ONE of my questions could get answered in a chat.

I used to get my questions in all the time, then Barry just cut me off and decided to never answer any of my questions again for some reason.

Barry, WHAT DID I DO TO YOU!!!!????? *cry*

Posted by: New Carrollton, MD | May 14, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Hail JimBo, Hail JimBo, Hail JimBo!

Posted by: Wookiee | May 14, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Not in the least. In fact, Mackowiak himself admitted that he's still adjusting to seeing fewer ABs, and I take him at his word. I know pinch hitting is tough. But really, that's exactly the role he signed on to fill.

But if he's one of just two major league-caliber OFs - which was the argument - then he'd be seeing more regular ABs, wouldn't he? Until the Houston game, you were more likely to see him in the on-deck circle as bait to burn the opposing team's LOOGY. He was the easily worst hitter on the team, and he only got the start that game as part of a shakeup due to the OFs woeful defensive performance in the previous game(s).

I know Kearns, Milledge, and Pena have been disappointing, but their subpar play even further highlights how bad Mackowiak has been. On a team where two starting OFs had sub-Mendoza averages and at least two were making routine mistakes on defense, Mackowiak had a gift-wrapped opportunity to earn more playing time. Instead, he was abyssmal.

So his lack of regular appearances before the Houston game should either reflect on 1) his awful performance up until then, or 2) Acta's ineptitude as a manager. I choose the former argument.

Were it not for his guaranteed contract, it's likely he wouldn't even be in a Nationals uniform at this point in the season, and there's a chance the Nats will dump him by the end of next month despite this guaranteed money. The Houston game may have bought him some time here.

I'm absolutely willing to entertain arguments that the OF has performed poorly, or even blanket statements like "so-and-so sucks." But to argue that Mackowiak is any better than the four guys ahead of him (and that number was only three until very recently) is either utilizing a new metric for ability or performance that I have not yet seen, or it is simply an overreaction to what is a truly tough OF situation in Washington.

-----

JiM, were those at bats spaced a few games apart? Are you seriously arguing that it's not harder to pinch hit than it is to get 4 plate appearances day in and day out?

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 14, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Adam Dunn! Adam Dunn! Adam Dunn!

Posted by: Wookiee | May 14, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Results from the survey about what Nationals Park stuff sucks most:

http://www.webjam.com/ihatewalks


Sorry, this is almost a day late but work got stupid on me. Entertain yourselves while hitting refresh during the chats.

Oh, and easy on the vitriol. If you're gonna get seriously worked up, do it on a topic that will make a difference, not baseball.

Posted by: i hate walks | May 14, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

On Church: He never performed as well at Washington. He never would have performed as well at Washington. In New York he has Reyes batting in front of him and Wright batting behind him. Connect dots.

On having patience: What the heck is wrong with so many people? Now is not forever. Why must you, LAC, assume that people okay with a poor final record now (me, me!) are going to be okay with it for always.

Some of us, believe that diverting resources and attention between a competitive team on the field and the farm after this level of degradation (the 30-year old blaming his parents is an apt analogy... in another 28 years) would be at the cost of both. That means to be a smart owner you need to invest in one or the other. We believe that investing in the farm and taking it on the chin in the majors will yield one or two decades of championship quality teams. Investing in the majors now could result in one or two years of COMPETITIVE teams.

So... some of us will continue to look for positives and let our investment mature.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 14, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

What? You're not allowed to throw the opposing team's HR ball back?

I mean, I hate Clint as much as the next guy, and yeah, Screech is gross. And I understand God Bless America making the cut there. But at least those are defensible.

The "entertainment experience" of Nats Park is meaningless when it comes at the cost of the baseball experience. Now I'm not saying we revolt, but I've got this pitchfork here, and I don't have any other plans for it...

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 14, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

You guys really didn't think I had left did you?

Posted by: O's Exec | May 14, 2008 12:56 PM
---------------------------------------------
Please cue the theme from "Psycho"...

Posted by: Alfred | May 14, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully, Mackowiak reads this blog, because I'm sure he'd be happy to know that someone thinks he's at the level of a starting MLB outfielder. Although he may be kicking himself for not signing with one of those teams that he could have started for, since he knew he'd be a utility guy here.

Posted by: mike8 | May 14, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

i hate walks:

Any way that we can see what the "other comments" that people posted on the poll were?

Otherwise, interesting results.

Posted by: faNATic | May 14, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

506, you are constantly asking for more "detail," so let's turn the tables on that for a moment: Please give me some detail as to why you believe fielding a competitive team now would have been at the expense of "one or two decades of championship quality teams."

Explain to me why it has been necessary for the Lerners to insult us by trotting out Mike Bascik, Jason Simontacchi, Jerome Williams, Levale Speigner, Matt Chico and Mike O'Connor among others over the past two years. And also please explain how these stellar starting pitchers have in fact not set back the goal of fielding "championship quality teams" by severely overworking what was actually a high-quality corps of relief pitchers.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 14, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I hope you're feeling better, e.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 14, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Who are you suggesting we should have trotted out LAC? I didn't know that there was a whole lot of choice. I suppose we could have signed Barry Zito.
________________
Explain to me why it has been necessary for the Lerners to insult us by trotting out Mike Bascik, Jason Simontacchi, Jerome Williams, Levale Speigner, Matt Chico and Mike O'Connor among others over the past two years.

Posted by: lowcountry | May 14, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Sure thing, LAC. Give me some time, though. Looking to be a busy afternoon at work and I'll be at The Roots/Erykah Badu tonight, so I might not have time to put the numbers together tonight. I have a plan for this, but if anyone else has their own way of addressing this, I'd be interested in seeing that too.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 14, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I hope you're feeling better, e.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 14, 2008 1:56 PM
--------------------------------------
Thanks, JiM.
I haven't felt this much pain since I had slight tears in both rotator cuffs. I really thought the pain would have subsided by now. A massage yesterday helped, although I didn't get the same result that DY did a couple of weeks ago.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"Hopefully, Mackowiak reads this blog, because I'm sure he'd be happy to know that someone thinks he's at the level of a starting MLB outfielder."

Well, he'd be misunderstanding my point if he thought that based on what I've said.

I said that he and Harris look like major leaguers, and the other 4 don't. Good example from last night: Mackowiak comes up with Dukes on third. Just needs to slap a grounder to the right side to drive in Dukes. What does he do? He slaps a grounder to the right side. Any of AK, WPM, Dukes or Milledge probably wouldn't have got the job done, based on what we've seen from them this year (well, Dukes particularly, since it's hard to drive yourself in from third).

I'm not president of the Rob Mackowiak fan club; I'm not even arguing that he SHOULD be starting, given that the Nats need to see what the other guys can do. I'm just saying that if you were putting out the best outfield to win games right now, he and Harris would be starting. Really much more of a comment about how pathetic the other four have been rather than the merits or RM or WH.

Posted by: joebleux | May 14, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"On Church: He never performed as well at Washington. He never would have performed as well at Washington. In New York he has Reyes batting in front of him and Wright batting behind him. Connect dots."

------

that is not the point. the point is that he is better than anything they have now, and in all honesty, was outperforming any of the other OFs last year as well. a line of .270 15 80 with decent OBP and SLG is what they would call average. But on this team, average sure does beat below average...

You are a stats guy, look them up.

Posted by: theraph | May 14, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Looked them up, theraph. And I looked at the splits, too. Here's the link:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/bsplit.cgi?n1=churcry01&year=2007

Here's a quick peak to give a sample of what's here:

AVG (PA)
March/April: 284 (104)
May: .247 (104)
June: .239 (93)
July: .263 (83)
August: .291 (94)
September: .349 (52)

This is a good snapshot of the kind of player Church is and always has been. A good hitter, who goes into torrid slumps, and is at his best when playing five days a week.

Do we need a 30-year old who meets that description? Maybe. He'd be a nice space-filler to have now. But trading him for Lastings Milledge gives us instead a young guy who may or may not be a key to the team in ten years. We already know that Church would not be a key in ten years.

I have no ill-feelings to Churchie, I liked him. Only student from University of Nevada to go into the majors, my roommate would always remind me. I thought he had good hustle and, while a bit pouty, an overall good attitude. I'm glad he's getting his 15-minutes with the Mets now, way to go buddy!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 14, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Jimbo...He Must Go!
Jimbo...He Must Go!
Jimbo...He Must Go!

For the love of all things good, little Mark Lerner, get rid of that guy and move on. Listen to Stan for a change.

Posted by: swanni | May 14, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"We already know that Church would not be a key in ten years." -- section 506

Oh, great, now the Plan has been extended for a decade.

Posted by: swanni | May 14, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Heck, yeah, swanni. This is a twenty-year plan. What, you want to make a plan that starts the championship-winning in two years and then suddenly stops? "Okay, well, now we're winning, what do we do?"

The Plan is a plan not for one championship, it's for many. It's a plan of dominance. Look at Atlanta in the 90s. And whether or not you give Stan credit, he was there as they built it, he was there through its success, and he left at the same time of its inevitable decline. If he didn't have anything to do with it, he at least had front-row seats.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 14, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

LAC - here's another point for you to ponder:

"Point is, even unsightly baseball can be fun."

-- Chico Harlan, circa 2008

Posted by: N@sfan | May 14, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I understand all the points that are made. but the linchpin is this: the assumption that Milledge is/will be part of the 'future' (read: winning team) for this franchise.

My answer is no. Trading an older player, although Church can still be productive until his mid 30s, for a younger with more upside is a productive trade. My guess is that in this future window of excellence of 2011, Church will still be putting up numbers and the braintrust will still be insisting that Milledge has more to learn.

I did not like it then, I do not like it now, it is salt in the wound, and the more I see this team unfold the more I seriously question the talent evaluators.

Tools without the ability to apply those tools leaves nothing but raw pieces. Without mentors, those tools just waste space on the shelf. Where are the mentors?

Posted by: theraph | May 14, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

this is getting impossible to read. i want the team to win, but i also want a great organization and i will not sacrifice the latter for the former. building a great farm team and new stadium is the VERY FIRST STEP in that long long process. i know you think that the money you spend on a ticket entitles you to a win...guess what it doesnt work that way. people thought the team would be .500, thats winning 50 percent of its games, what difference does 10 percent lower make this year or the next year if the norm in 5 or 6 years can be 55, 60 percent through smart, tempered and yes sometimes frugal management. the same people who hate bowden and the lerners for not getting FAs like paul lo duca are silent as to the current situation, the two FA cathers are injured and horrible, while GREAT GREAT scouting and shrewd baseball management have dropped top catching prospect jesus flores into our laps. the nats minor leagues have under gone a ridiculous transformation, especially with regards to pitching. i can only post here so much longer if the posts and posters continue to be so basely hateful shortsighted impatient and downright dumb about how the real baseball world works.

Posted by: love | May 14, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Getting incredible massages!
__________________
Where are the mentors?

Posted by: lowcountry | May 14, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

And, just for the record, Stan gets WAY too much credit for the Braves success. Entirely too much credit.

Other people made the magic happen, including the GM, manager, and coaching staff, with shrewd decision making in evaluating pieces that were needed to sustain excellence.

Those are not things that are prevalent in this organization yet. Time is on their side, but to assume it will work simply because Stan was involved, is foolish ideology.

The 'Plan' can work. What is so different from the organizations plan and the rest in the league? The only difference (other than the superpowers) is the people running the show. Do you have faith in them?

Posted by: theraph | May 14, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I can see why you'd be concerned, theraph, and that's okay. My thought is that nothing ventured is nothing gained. Milledge is an opportunity that could extend long into the Decade of Dominance (consider it coined), whereas Church would only be able to be there for the very beginning (I was a bit flippant and generalized to say not at all, earlier). That's a worthwhile risk, I think.

I was intrigued by Barry's hint that Milledge has options in the chat. Some minor league seasoning would not be bad for this young man at all, I think. Then we have Dukes take a go at center or bring in the beloved JMax. Or play Harris or Mack there. Milledge looks like a left fielder to me and his biggest problem seems to be mental, not physical (cf. Spring Training).

Short response: Yes, it would be nice to have Church, but it would be nicer to have a franchise guy for the Decade of Dominance. It would be so nicer that it's worth the risk of seeing this with Church.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 14, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, the best I can come up with is Mentos.

-----

Where are the mentors?

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 14, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Re: Stan in Atlanta

I said: "And whether or not you give Stan credit, he was there as they built it, he was there through its success, and he left at the same time of its inevitable decline. If he didn't have anything to do with it, he at least had front-row seats."

Truly, he has been through it, whether he masterminded it or not. He is so far doing the same thing that the Braves did. Why wouldn't that give us hope?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 14, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

So, Stan can't get any credit for the Braves success in the 90's, but he can be flogged for the Nats failures in the past two seasons?

Posted by: Stan or not Stan? | May 14, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

506 - the Stan comments were not directed towards you. Just in general.

And I have never made one negative remark about Stan in this forum, or elsewhere. So please do not confuse my comments with the feelings/thoughts of others. I do not "flog" to justify anything. As a matter of fact, I have stated previously I enjoy the losing period so it weeds out real fans. My only beef is the one in which I have commented several time: Church.

I cannot speak for others.

Posted by: theraph | May 14, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Here's a couple teams off the top of my head that allowed the major league team to wallow in mediocrity while management rebuilt and focused their assets on youth & development:

Late 1980's Braves under Chuck Tanner - while Smoltz, Glavine, Avery & Mercker took their lumps the team was the worst in baseball

Early 1990's Indians under Johnny Mac - horrid teams changed gears as young players like Belle, Thome, Manny, Loften & Vizquel were eventually signed to long term deals.

Mid 1990's Angels under Buck Rodgers & Marcel Lachemann - their lack of success expedited a team plan of focusing on development and hoarding prospects

Mid 2000's Diamondbacks under Bob Brenly - sure Brenly turned a WS champ into a cellar dwellar...but the management change resulted in a new philosophy of building from within

I don't know the full rosters of those teams. Maybe team management made an effort to sign some free agents and attain some level of respectability. I'm not sure. I do know that each of these teams during the above mentioned times were horrible. While they were horrible, management focused on building from within. Now those organizations have continued success.

Gripe about management of the plan. I'm not sold on Bowden. The arguments against him, personal attacks aside, seem warranted.

But to criticize the general idea of building from within while avoiding free agents seems short-sighted and wrong.

Bringing in Rowand or Livo or Lohse adds what...6-7 wins? That turns a 70 win team into a 76 win team? Livo and Lohse wouldnt be here when the team plans on being competive, but late 30's Rowand and his albatross contract would be.

So why does that make sense to a rebuilding team?

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | May 14, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of rebuilding, new post up re. the minors.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 14, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

506, I look forward to it.

LDO, that's different than saying that wallowing in mediocrity is a necessary evil. How about signing Livo and Lohse so our starters might pitch more innings and Ayala and Rivera don't have to lead MLB in appearances? (Cordero would be there too if his overuse hadn't already led to his dead arm.) Ayala has probably already told Dr. Andrews to block out some time for him come June. And what would be wrong about bringing in those pitchers to make the team more competitive now, even if they would be gone by the time the team might be a real contender?

As to the Milledge/Church discussion, I'm not getting into that debate, though I do think it is an interesting one. I will however add one piece of info in case any of you missed it last night on Baseball Tonight: Gammons did a piece on Milledge, and reported that in the offseason both the O's and the Twins had zero interest in Milledge when Minaya tried to shop him. Not that Milledge wasn't enough for a Bedard or Santana package, but that those teams just weren't interested in him, period. Makes Bowden's decision-making on this a bit more interesting, no?

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 14, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Love,

Nobody here wanted LoDuca or Estrada on this team......That mess is all Jimbo.....My reading of the posts today are that people want progress and a better quality product; this is not only wins. What we are seeing with the Nats is regression and denial by the front office and Acta. I am all for the Plan of building the farm system. My beef is with the talent evaluations at the MLB level to date and that is all Jimbo.

The GM who looked at Milledge and said here is my CF prospect needs to be looking for a new job. Milledge has a weak arm, no instincts, no fundamentals and a weak work ethic. He thinks he is a star, based on what? Why should we trust a GM that can not see what Barry and several other Pro Scouts have told Barry....He is NOT a CFer.....Everyday Jimbo pushes Manny to play him at the MLB level in CF is more proof that Jimbo is the wrong person to build a team with.

Posted by: JayB | May 14, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

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