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Chat reminder

We're chatting today at 2 p.m.-- or 11 a.m., on the West Coast, for the droves of Washingtonians who've road-tripped to Petco for this series. We can talk about the daunting injury list, the sad offense, the draft, whatever. We can speculate on whether Wily Mo Pena would hit home runs if he got to bat against Charlie Manning.

Last night, for those who didn't catch it, the Nats offense was again absent. But I used the game story to look at Shawn Hill -- for two reasons. First, his health (or lack thereof) is vitally important to this team, both for this year and the long term. When Hill pitches, management is watching with interest. And second, Hill's performance yesterday struck me as one of the most compelling outings all year. He battled. He battled against his own pain, against a tight strike zone, etc. He really had to bargain with Manny Acta and Randy St. Claire for a chance to the finish the fifth inning, just so he could leave with game with his head held high. And with a 1-2-3 fifth, Hill managed to pull it off.

By Chico Harlan  |  May 28, 2008; 11:32 AM ET
 
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Next: An astute statistical examination of the Washington bats, and then a list of them

Comments

Since we all know about the offense, or lack thereof - let's chat about the draft and the deadline.

Some interesting possiblities out there:
Guzman
a catcher or two (except Flores)
Hook or Boone
Belliard (if we can convince a team he'll be healthy by the dog days)
an outfielder or two
Odalis
Redding

Posted by: Corey | May 28, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

If character really counted in baseball, Shawn Hill would be an All-Star and MVP.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 28, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Shawn Hill, you rock.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 28, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

How about some discussion on the guys coming up in the farm system and who might be ready to play at the major league level later this year - especially outfielders.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 28, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Wily Mo is worthless and weak!

A one armed blind folded batter would be better!

Posted by: Cabraman | May 28, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

The Wily Mo is not weak!

Posted by: Wily Mo Pena | May 28, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

PTBNL, you got double new-posted! Not quite as good as a triple steal though.

Regarding Pokey, in general I'm fine with rooting for a defense-first shortstop. But not until we have some more pieces in place, like hitters that can bat 1,2,4 and 5. Also, Pokey's last credible season was in 2002. In 2003 his line was .221/.271/.303, and in 2004 it was even worse at .215/.271/.262. And he hasn't played since then! Depth at AAA, fine, I guess. Anything more than that, no thanks.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 28, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Carrying over from the last thread (for Jon D., our friendly neighborhood web editor):

Hey Jon, how about this for a working thesis:

Baseball fans are more likely to be print subscribers because (i) Senators-turned-Nationals fans tilt the fanbase to the older portion of your demographic, which (I assume) is more likely to subscribe to the dead trees edition; and (ii) we're nerds that like to scour the boxscores from around the league, and it's easier look at them all in one place in the paper than to click on multiple places online.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 28, 2008 11:58 AM

(The point being that maybe baseball fans are disproportionately print subscribers who read the paper and don't necessarily click on the gamer online.)

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 28, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for that poor bast%%$# Shawn Hill. Did you see the scar on his forearm?

I just don't see how he's ever going to hold up over 200 innings. Has the FO considered moving him and his magic sinker to the bull pen? 70+ high leverage 3.00ERA innings you can count on would be better than this every fifth day soap opera "Can he go or not?"

Posted by: Gal Revels in Pee | May 28, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Go O's.

Posted by: O's Exec | May 28, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Bret Boone retired.

Posted by: theraph | May 28, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Forget Nationals fans showing up in droves at Petco. How about Padres fans showing up in, say, the dozens? From what I saw, that would be an improvement on last night's attendance. Wow.

And forget about Charlie Manning - that first pitch by Hanrahan was right down the middle. Charlie Manning - heck, Charlie Chaplin - may have done better in that spot.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 28, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Somebody asked about the farm.

It's amazing how few position players we have in Columbus (hence, Pokey Reese). Alex Escobar, Kory Casto, pick your 29-year old journeyman/injured guy/minor league free agent. So it's really just the pitchers, in terms of our 2010-12 contender (or as 506 would say, our Decade of Dominance). Balester, who will be just 22 on June 6, is 5-3 with a 4.65 ERA in 10 starts, 50 innings, and has an attractive K/BB ration of 40/16. Clippard, 23, is 3-4, 3.93 in 10 starts, 52 innings and 53/21. And Mock, 25, is 2-2, 3.31 in 9 starts, 49 innings, 38/11. So there is some pitching help down there if we end up trading Redding or Perez. And that doesn't even include Chico.

I'll put some AA info in a separate post.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 28, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Fair point about the Petco attendance.

Tickets, as they say, are available.

I think the entire fanbase here is feeling the hangover of a bad start and a season already down the tubes. The announced crowd was 18,774 last night, but I'll bet the total people in the seats was closer to 10,000.

Posted by: Chico Harlan | May 28, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Down in Harrisburg (AA) -- or is it up in Harrisburg? Over in Harrisburg? Anyway, lots of interesting stuff happening there. In no particular order:

Rogearvin Bernadina, who will be 24 next month, is hitting .326/.388/.500 and has 17 stolen bases. He's listed as our 29th best prospect by Baseball America, but a lot of that has to do with his age and the fact that he's progressed rather slowly through the system until breaking through with the Netherlands in last year's Olympic qualifier. He's reportedly a "superb defensive center fielder with a strong, accurate arm," not that we'd have any need for that. Questions about his bat have him projected as a fourth outfielder at this point, but if he's just a late bloomer at the plate then maybe we have something here.

Most people here are probably at least dimly aware of Mike Daniel, another athletic outfielder, who is hitting .312.355/.406 for the Senators this season. He turns 24 in August and is listed as our 23rd best prospect by BA. Evidently he's an above-average runner that can play all three OF spots, and he has a sound swing but limited power. Possibly a #2 hitter, but perhaps more likely another fourth outfielder.

Pitchers in a subsequent post.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 28, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Having a crappy team in town surely doesn't help matters any.

Posted by: Matt | May 28, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, I forgot to mention JMax, who is 23 and hitting .233/.367/.459, with 13 SBs. Obviously the average is low but all of the other numbers look good and his manager says he's really progressing. I think a lot of us would like to get another look at him in center, perhaps sooner rather than later. Keep on keepin' on, Justin.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 28, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Compelling stuff even though they lost. I checked in when it was 2-2 but then promptly fell asleep (even though I am on the west coast). Imagine if we had some offense? We'd actually be good!

Posted by: Patty | May 28, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Also in H-burg, Luke Montz's season so far is worth noting. Catching depth can never be ignored and he seems to have put it all together this year. Old for the level (25) but possibly another late bloomer.

Posted by: Jimmy Tango | May 28, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

And having a crappy team in a nice town is even worse. Maybe if the Padres were in, say, Butte, Montana they could draw 'em in. But given the choice, I'm taking the city.

(My apologies to anyone living in Butte. Admittedly, I've never been.)

-----

Having a crappy team in town surely doesn't help matters any.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 28, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Finally, here's where the potential pitching depth really starts to show -- there are seemingly five interesting pitching prospects in AA, and that number doesn't (yet) include any of the 2007 picks (Detwiler, Smoker, and McGeary, who are rated as our 2nd, 5th and 6th best prospects by BA).

Cory Van Allen went 3-0 with an 0.66 ERA for Potomac to start the year, got promoted to Harrisburg and went 3-0, 2.16 in his first four starts there. He's 23.

Jordan Zimmermann, who just turned 22, followed the same track as Van Allen, with a 1.65 ERA over 4 starts for Potomac, followed by a 3.80 ERA in 4 starts for Harrisburg.

Marco Estrada, 25, is 6-2 with a 2.14 ERA in 10 starts, and his K/BB is 48/25. He's a bit old for this level but he started late (after college) and then lost most his first professional season to a broken collarbone. He could still reach his ceiling as a back-of-the rotation starter.

Shairon Martis, 21 and our #18 rated prospect, is 3-2 with a 2.87 ERA in 10 starts for the Sens. His K/BB is 39/20.

And reliever Zech Zinicola, 23 and our #28 rated prospect after struggling last year, has seemingly recovered his 2006 form. He threw 12 shutout innings for Potomac, got promoted to Harrisburg and now has 5 saves for the Sens, allowing just 3 runs over 11 innings (2.45 ERA).

That's my list of prospects on the radar in AA and AAA at the moment.

For those seeking in-depth minor league coverage of the Nats, see Brian's work here:

http://www.farmauthority.dcsportsnet.com/

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 28, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

As I'm sure you're aware, I was talking about the Nationals. We may love them, but all across the country there is no team that is less relevant or less interesting.

**********************************

And having a crappy team in a nice town is even worse. Maybe if the Padres were in, say, Butte, Montana they could draw 'em in. But given the choice, I'm taking the city.

(My apologies to anyone living in Butte. Admittedly, I've never been.)

Posted by: John in Mpls

-----

Having a crappy team in town surely doesn't help matters any.

Posted by: Matt | May 28, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"I checked in when it was 2-2 but then promptly fell asleep (even though I am on the west coast)."

You should be thankful then that the MASN girdle commercial full of fat ladies was apparently not running in your area. Imagine nodding off while watching the game, only to wake up a few minutes later to get an eyeful of that! A frightening prospect whether you're in their marketing demographic or not. (And of course I have no way of knowing whether or not the girdles would fit you personally, Patty, so rest assured I'm casting no aspersions here...)

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 28, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I thought you were talking about the 20-33 Padres, not the 22-31 Nationals.

But point taken. A double dose of crummy is not exactly a box office draw.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 28, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

as suspected, most of our talent is in AA. that's not really a bad thing. real talent doesn't usually spend that long in AAA, anyway, unless they're blocked at the ML level (a la howard in philly being blocked by thome for too long). if most of our talent was in AAA, while we seem to have a dearth of quality with the ML club, that would make me question the quality of such talent.

let's hope even half of those guys continue the same direction they're heading. especially the pitchers, since it's a whole lot easier to trade pitching for hitting than vice versa.

Posted by: 231 | May 28, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Way out of the lane here, but I just heard the latest Chipotle commercial on the radio. The song's refrain is "you can't beat our meat". Priceless

Posted by: N@sfan | May 28, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

uh, yeah...

Posted by: Da Meat Hook | May 28, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

one of the reasons i'm big on building from within is caught by this passage from gammons' most recent blog post:

===

Go to your sortable stats. Look at the ERA leaders. The top pitcher signed in the traditional free agent process? Vicente Padilla, whose ERA is 42nd in the majors. Go back to last season, and you'll see the only pitchers signed as free agents in the top 30 were Escobar (16th) and Gil Meche (22nd). The Angels got it right with Escobar, and he may or may not pitch again this year, but they had Saunders, Santana, Weaver and Adenhart in the wings and should be back in the playoffs for the fifth time in seven years because they grew their own.

==

FA pitchers are getting more and more difficult to predict (and never have been easy to deal with, since pitching is more unpredictable than hitting). and this makes our farm system depth of pitching even more valuable over time.

Posted by: 231 | May 28, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Almost as good as the recent "Hot Dog Love" post on the Grounds Crew blog from one of their female contributors.
* * * * *
Way out of the lane here, but I just heard the latest Chipotle commercial on the radio. The song's refrain is "you can't beat our meat". Priceless

Posted by: N@sfan | May 28, 2008 1:59 PM

Posted by: Carpenter stinks | May 28, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

i think chico left out of his response re: trading redding the fact that the club controls him for another year or two, as opposed to any of the other SP trade fodder.

Posted by: 231 | May 28, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"...as opposed to any of the other SP trade fodder."

Mr. Odalis Perez

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 28, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Woo hoo! I think that's 2 "post of the day"s in a row for me!

Time for WaPo to send me a royalty check, methinks.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 28, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Interesting chat item on the stats Santana and Redding, Chico. Methinks that you should post them on the blog anyway for those who haven't read the chat. I also liked the Clint trade idea. Make it happen...

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 28, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

FA pitchers are getting more and more difficult to predict (and never have been easy to deal with, since pitching is more unpredictable than hitting), and this makes our farm system depth of pitching even more valuable over time.

Posted by: 231 | May 28, 2008 2:09 PM

I am not sure I agree with you about hitting being more predictable than pitching......Kearns, Lopez, Pena, Milledge all seem to be examples of Jimbo's sure fire, can not miss hitters......

At what point is the lack of hitting over several years the fault of the GM who seems to love tools without regard to skills?

Posted by: JayB | May 28, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

come on now. it's not like bowden traded for glenn davis or some other monumental garbage.

these moves have all been minor in scope with potential but mostly roster flexibility in mind. there have been no great expectations for kearns or lopez or pena or milledge.

Posted by: longterm | May 28, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I generally (and that is an understatement) don't agree with JayB on many things, but I think that he is right on point, here. I don't blame JimBow as much as him, but I have two things to factor in:

1. AS A RULE (caps for emphasis), hitters decline gradually at end of career, while pitchers tend to fall off of the table. Therefore, it is easier to think that one year or more may be just an anomaly for a hitter, while (excluding identifiable injuries) it's easy to say about a pitcher that it's time to stick a fork in him, he's done.

2. 'roids/HGH/amphetamines, and other PEDs. None of us (and probably many baseball execs) really know who did what. It will probably be another 3 - 5 years before a new baseline can be established for hitters and some will never have one established because their role changes.

Posted by: Catcher50 | May 28, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

soch, i presume that was tongue in cheek, traditional "jimbow" hating, response and not actually debating a relatively accepted baseball concept that it's more important to develop young pitching.

that said, it's too early to call milledge a failure. 40 games is kind of a short leash for a young guy, eh?

and it's not as if there weren't plenty of people out there, GMs included, who thought the kearns/lopez trade was lopsided on the nats side at the time.

and WMP cost almost nothing, so a worthwhile short-term experiment for a team not ready to contend anyway.

again, i'm not a bowden supporter. and i'd like to see him broaden his range a bit in the types of players he brings in. we need a few more players with better OBP and less Ks in the offense. not to mention power hitters with actual power. but i don't begrudge any of the attempts you mention above by themselves. only when taken as a whole do they start to bother me in that we're pulling a lot of the same kinds of guys who now mostly have low OBPs and some power guys who suddenly have a dearth of power.

as far as "tools" go, nothing wrong with "tools" guys at all. the issue is figuring out which "tools" guys can learn to develop those tools to where they translate into "play" on the field better. most of the guys taken in the top couple of rounds of the draft start as tools guys and develop skills.

the issue bowden has, imo, is trading for so many of those toolsy upside guys after they've had time in the minors and hoping they'll develop a little later. nothing wrong with doing that occasionally and taking that chance, but we need to start with more of the toolsy guys to develop from the beginning instead of trying to find the late bloomer toolsy guys at 25-30 yrs old and letting them develop on the ML roster, which can be painful to watch (and to the record).

Posted by: 231 | May 28, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

doh, i meant jayb, not soch. i had something else on my mind at the moment. sorry to both of you guys for mixing your monikers up there.

Posted by: 231 | May 28, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Bowden's problem is not liking toolsy guys. It's liking guys that might be toolsy, but never end up proving it. If Bowden constantly traded for true toolsy guys then we would be set. Those guys are pretty rare, though.

Catcher50 brings up a good point about PEDs. We're going to have to seriously reevaluated our OPS standards. The days of every team having a "40 home run guy" are over for good.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 28, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

to be fair, roids or not, there probably isn't an era when the OPS of our current crop of OFs for this season would stack up even slightly below par. but they can't all be this bad this suddenly. even those guys who hadn't lived up to promise before are significantly below their career norms.

Posted by: 231 | May 28, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

to be fair, roids or not, there probably isn't an era when the OPS of our current crop of OFs for this season would stack up even slightly below par. but they can't all be this bad this suddenly. even those guys who hadn't lived up to promise before are significantly below their career norms.

Posted by: 231 | May 28, 2008 4:34 PM

-----

Dead ball era?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 28, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Who the heck is this "Clint" were going to trade by the deadline?

Posted by: dcb | May 28, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

can't we just DFA clint?

and 506, i'm not sure they'd compete in the dead ball era, either.

Posted by: 231 | May 28, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

oh, and "who" clint is would be the annoying "ryan secrest wannabe" who the nats trot out to "entertain" the fans between innings.

Posted by: 231 | May 28, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

oh him. lets hold on and see if we can get the same thing we got for John Patterson.

Posted by: dcb | May 28, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Catacher 50 you make a very interesting long term point. Drugs in Baseball really messed with the stats and maybe our hitters are cleaner than other teams and they will deflate to our level soon?
231 correct me if I am wrong but did not Jimbo sign Kearns to a multi year deal where he is due $9 Million next year. Seems that is not low risk or trivial to the development of the team. Between Lopez, Kearns, Pena I think that is well over $10 Million this year. Put in the catchers who can not throw and your up over $15 in dead wood. I would have liked Hunter or Rowland for those numbers.
Toolsy players that are available for a bag of balls is the problem. Pena can run, throw, hit (during BP) but is never going to be a star. Milledge has the tools but no baseball skills. Jimbo time and time again loads up on these types and we end up with Nook Logan in CF one year, Lasting Milledge the next.....remember Preston Wilson in CF........

Posted by: JayB | May 28, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"I do have a pet theory that any given city/region can only have one team/franchise that it truly loves. Boston, for instance, is a baseball town -- baseball is etched into the place's soul -- and no matter how many Super Bowls the Patriots win, that won't change. Pittsburgh is a football town. We'll see where DC stands as the Nats develop roots, but I suspect they have a hard time overcoming the deep love for the Skins."
From Chico's Chat

Many Bostonians would argue that it is a hockey town, from the Broons to the Beanpot.


Posted by: flynnie | May 28, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Updated 5:01 p.m. ET
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SAN DIEGO, May 27 -- By taking the mound Tuesday, Washington Nationals starter Shawn Hill stepped into a prizefight against his own defectiveness. Pitching on this night meant a little pain and a lot of rustiness, which meant diminished capacity. Which, for Hill, meant constant dissatisfaction.

Posted by: flynnie | May 28, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

If the Nats ever win another game, will the gamer break into the top 10 of "most viewed articles"?

Posted by: flynnie | May 28, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

again, jayb, i'm not necessarily trying to defend jimbow. the only point i made on kearns was that (along w/lopez), a lot of people thought that was a good trade for the nats at the time. at this point, it doesn't look all that good for either team, since all players in the deal have either regressed or been injured.

and i don't know that, even at the time, i thought kearns' contract was a good one. and in hindsight, it's definitely a bad one.

as far as the "dead money" goes, *shrug*. taking chances on 4 guys for that money instead of putting it all in one guy (and the one guy who'd be making that money for 5+ years, not just one year (or two)) isn't necessarily the worst thing, except that none of them panned out. but the key is the nats aren't committed to any of them beyond 08 (and 09 for one). so any mistake(s) are short-term problems, not potential multi-year problems.

i don't know if that's a defense of bowden, like i said, i'm not a fan of his. and both rowand and hunter are playing better than anyone in our OF. but that still doesn't mean that (a) either of them would have signed here for $15m or (b) that either of them will perform this way 2-4 years from now, when we really need it and when that $15m might be better off spent elsewhere.

Posted by: 231 | May 28, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Some salary info:

Hunter - 5 yrs/$90 mil - he will be 38 at end of contract

Rowand - 5 yrs/$60 mil - he will be 36 at end of contract & played over 150 games twice in 7 seasons


Kearns - $5 mil in 08/$8 mil in 09 (club option in '10)
Lopez - $4.9 mil in 08
LoDuca - $5 mil in 08
Pena - $2 mil in 08 (club option in 09)

The combined commitment for those four unproductive Nats is less than $25 million...not really apples to apples when comparing against the long term deals of Hunter or Rowand.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | May 28, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to mention, not one Nationals player is signed beyond 2009. While the Nats have control over many of the believed "core" players past '09, no commitments have been made.

Signing a big free agent deal up to this point seems to work counter to the roster flexibility the Nats have created. Especially when that player would historically be on the decline during the big contracts latter years.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | May 28, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

not really apples to apples when comparing against the long term deals of Hunter or Rowand.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | May 28, 2008 6:03

Not really apples to apples in comparing offensive or defensive production either.....point was that Jimbo is responsible for a big chunk of dead money. I would take Hunter's production at at 38 or Rowlands production at 36 over anyone we have now or I can see in the current Farm system....yes time will tell but will the fans still be interested when Jimbo finally gets lucky with one of his all tools no Skills picks.

Posted by: JayB | May 28, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I did my duty today and read both the gamer and the notebook. I have to say, I am more inclined to read the gamer when they win.

Posted by: Patty | May 28, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

2 soccer stories and 1 O's story beat out the Nat's interms of most viewed stories.

Awesome.

Posted by: O's Exec | May 28, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to mention, not one Nationals player is signed beyond 2009. While the Nats have control over many of the believed "core" players past '09, no commitments have been made.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | May 28, 2008 6:10 PM

The real question then is who are the core players you seem to be so happy to control?

Here is my list
Zim
Flores
Lannan (I'm a believer)
Rauch (do not control him after 2009 right)

That is the list right....Maybe

Bergman (has shown these flashes before and the crashes and burns)
Dukes (I am sold on his talent but to risky to build around in my book)

SO if that is the list then Nats will be spending big money in 2010 to complete....Why not enjoy a true CF now and later, like Hunter at 35 in 2010 or Rowland at 33 in 2010.....Where are these players that will have us contending going to come from and who is the Centerfielder.

Posted by: JayB | May 28, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Check out Daryl Thompson pitching for AAA Louisville against Columbus tonight. You'll remember Daryl as the local kid who was getting over an injury and was thrown into the now famous Cincinnati trade. He's making his AAA debut throwing 94 mph.

Posted by: Tom | May 28, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

What this country (ball club) needs is some good young arms in the minors who also can bat .275 or thereabouts. Simply being able to get guys out is not enough with the no-hit offense now appearing at a park near you. Under "The Plan," it appears pitchers have to be able to drive in runs, maybe batting fourth or fifth.

Don't overlook the fact that the Marlins have signed Hanley Ramirez long-term, but Bowden dances around when asked about Zimmerman's being signed long-term. Maybe Bowden's concerned about Zim's shoulder and is being his usual extra-cautious self.

Posted by: JohnR(VA) | May 28, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

@231--I don't follow. did I say something that suggested that I don't think we should develop young pitching?

I'm all for the PLAN's emphasis on developing young pitching. I just think having a GM whose high water mark in this department is Brett Tomko is a disastrous decision.

But seriously I have no idea what I wrote that you are responding to.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 28, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh nevermind I see now that you were replying to JayB.

While we share an overall dissatisfaction with the progress this team is making, we're not the same person and actually don't agree 100% on what the team's problems are.

Pitching is the most valuable commodity in baseball, and it's absolutely where we should be putting our greatest focus. The fragility of pitching prospects only makes pitchers that much more coveted. Just remember, it'll take 3-4 prospects at least to get 1 successful big leaguer (that's normal, for Bowden it's more like 1 big leaguer every 14 years), so don't be counting on McGeary, Smoker, Ballester, and Detwiler all becoming aces, or even competent big leaguers. So we need to keep drafting more.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 28, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

@231--you say, "the only point i made on kearns was that (along w/lopez), a lot of people thought that was a good trade for the nats at the time."

OK you're right. I thought it was good at the time. Reporters too. But here's the thing--I'm not a professional baseball talent evaluator. I'm just some schmuck in the stands who doesn't know jack. Most beat writers are closer to my knowledge level than a pro scout's, and I bet Barry and Chico would be the first to admit that. Isn't it fair to expect that Bowden would know more than we do? That he'd be better able to assess than we are? When I speculate about good trades and draft picks, I EXPECT myself to be wrong, because I know I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. I expect an MLB GM to know better than me.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 28, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

two things:
1) I got run out of town, so to speak, the last time I said this, but maybe it's time again. There's about two, maybe three, dozen people in here who care and/or have a clue. That does not constitute a baseball town. DC ain't one. Talking to ourselves, we can tend to forget that.

2) @ Hoser Exec: Yes, the O's article is more popular. No one with an ounce self respect would brag about finishing ahead of this Nats team in anything, just now. Maybe someday. But by then, the O's will be on their 17th manager since Davey Johnson under Angelos.

***************
11) Nats' Loss Is Out of Hill's Control
SAN DIEGO, May 27 -- By taking the mound Tuesday, Washington Nationals starter Shawn Hill stepped into a prizefight against his own defectiveness. Pitching on this night meant a little pain and a lot of rustiness, which meant diminished capacity. Which, for Hill, meant constant dissatisfaction.
Posted by: flynnie | May 28, 2008 5:33 PM

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If the Nats ever win another game, will the gamer break into the top 10 of "most viewed articles"?
Posted by: flynnie | May 28, 2008 5:35 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | May 28, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Not that it matters.

Posted by: CE | May 28, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Here's why that's wrong, at least one reason: You get the benefit of hindsight, and he doesn't. You get to cherrypick which things to take that benefit on, he doesn't. No one, not even you, knows what you would have done in his place, not even in hindsight.

*************
When I speculate about good trades and draft picks, I EXPECT myself to be wrong, because I know I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. I expect an MLB GM to know better than me.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 28, 2008 8:12 PM

Posted by: CE | May 28, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

...new post.

Posted by: Check it out... | May 28, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Hunter at 38 will be making $18 mil...Rowand at 36 will be making $12 mil. If you prefer either player at that salary/age over the potential of Dukes or any of the minor leaguers (or quite possibly somebody not in the Nats system) based on 40+ games, then we disagree.

The risk of having to eat money at the end of big contracts to older players outweighs what I view as the short term rewards of enjoying Hunter at age 35. For me, it doesnt matter if the Nats win 78 games vs 68 games by signing a periodic all star. For others, it may.

I just don't see 2008 as the time to roll the dice on free agents.

Who knows what the OF will be in 2010 or who the core players will be. Maybe the Nats sign Carl Crawford or Chone Figgins. Maybe the Mets or Blue Jays become disenchanted with Beltran or Rios.
Maybe the Nats go all out and buy a couple starters like Lackey or Bedard.

Personally, I'd rather have the Nats spend big money on guys in their prime while the team is more likely to contend. Creating roster & payroll flexibility now should allow management to maneuver when the team is in a better position to sustain winning.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | May 28, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

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