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Nats activate Lo Duca, put Cordero on DL

So the move that we've expected is official. The Nationals just placed closer Chad Cordero on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 30, and reinstated catcher Paul Lo Duca from the 15-day disabled list.

As Manny Acta said in today's $.35/$.50-edition (and thanks to Adam Kilgore for filling in), Lo Duca will receive most of the starts. Nieves will be the obvious defensive replacement, and I suspect Johnny Estrada will be mostly a pinch hitter for the time being.

Nice win last night. Watched from my buddy's seats in Section 113. Nice view from down there. You can read all about Austin Kearns and Odalis Perez here.

Boz chimes in on the attendance issue. The key line: "This winter, if the Nats say they can't afford a free agent, don't believe them." I would make one quibble: I wouldn't say they have said they can't afford a free agent. I would say they didn't pursue them because it didn't fit their plan. Either way, that must change -- at some point.

But anyone who doesn't think the story of the day is Dmitri Young's massage therapy is simply incorrect. Read the quotes, then chuckle to yourself.

Will talk to you later about a few things -- baseball and non-baseball.

By Barry Svrluga  |  May 2, 2008; 10:17 AM ET
 
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Next: Prepare to welcome a new beat writer

Comments

OK Geeks, got a question for ya, where and how did the first baseman getting tossed the ball near the dugout tradition get started?
Inning over, the first baseman runs toward the dugout and some1 always and i mean always tosses him a ball just as he nears the dugout.

why?

i mean i know he needs a ball for warmups the next inning. but why cant he just get one in the dugout? or why cant some1 walk over and hand him 1 in the dugout.

this is one of the longest traditions and probably one of the most meaningless ones eva.
any thoughts or answers?

Posted by: dk | May 2, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"Every day I wait for the e-mails from fans who don't like this or that. But they don't come," said Bowden.

OK WHO'S GOT HIS EMAIL ADDRESS???????????

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 2, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Dmitri Young is one of the most amuzingly bizarre baseball players out there. I desperately adore him. Can't wait to have him back.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 2, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

btw nieves is hot. doesnt take a genius to see that. simply a big mistake to take the hot hand outta the lineup

Posted by: dk | May 2, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if it is a reflection on me that about twenty one-lines (all inapporpriate for this space) popped into my head after reading the notebook about Dmitri...

I do have a question... Is Adam Kilgore writing for David Letterman when he's not filling in for you?

Posted by: Wigi | May 2, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Although it does seem that negative comments get disproportionate play in that space. I mean, we are in the middle of a winning streak.

______________

Thanks for the tip o' the cap, Bob, but your comment here sounds like you're creeping over to join the nabobs of negativism!

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 2, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey DK -- On your ball tossing question. Oops, that sounded gross. When I played ball we had a guy do that just to have something to do. Baseball is a game that can easily get slow on the bench and it keeps someone's head in the game. It's fun to pop up and fire a ball over to the first baseman. Plus, that way he doesn't have to worry about it. We had guys assigned to all kinds of stuff. Backup catcher to warm up the pitcher if the catcher was on base for the last out, pitch chart guys, warm up the odd man out outfielder guy (though in the bigs the bullpen does that), pick up the bats out of the on deck circle guy, etc, etc. All about keeping guys involved in the game as a team.

Posted by: Ryan | May 2, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for pointing out the humor in the Young piece. I felt it might be immature to bring it up, but I admit to laughing out loud when I read it.

Thank you, Adam Kilgore.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 2, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

As for the catching situation - I absolutely LOVE Nieves. Watching him catch is a wondrous thing. It's amazing how well guys hit their spots when he is behind the plate versus other times. I feel for the guy with the playing time though. When I was a catcher in college our pitcher's ERA was a full run-plus lower with me behind the plate, but I am only 5-foot 10-inches 185 lbs, whereas the other guy was 6-foot 2-inches 215 pounds so he got preference for offense a lot of the time. Just the way it is.

Posted by: Ryan | May 2, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

good to see the only player hitting over .300 (.400 to be exact) is going to be the "defensive replacement." lo duca better step it up to make his starting role and contract worth it.

Posted by: smith | May 2, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

If we're in the middle of it, does that mean it's going to be eight games long?

I sure wouldn't mind that.

-----

I mean, we are in the middle of a winning streak.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 2, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

mmm... happy ending...

Posted by: 231 | May 2, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

thanks for the vote N@sfan. For a second there, I thought the guy after my daughter might sneak in some votes.

Of course now, my daughter has a swelled head after this. We're going tonight and she's already talking about being up on the "Big TV" again. I've told her that last night might be the only time that'll happen, but being three years old she doesn't quite grasp that yet.

Oh, and is she ever going to be disappointed that Lannan and Chico switched starts. She keeps asking if "Mattchico" is playing whenever we watch a game. I told her yesterday and this morning that he'll play tonight. She was so excited. Guess I'll have to convince her that Lannan is Chico tonight. And bny that I don't mean I want Lanna to pitch like Chico. Thankfully, she can't read yet.

Posted by: e | May 2, 2008 10:36 AM
-----
put a darling little girl in a pink Nats jersey and I guarantee she'll be on the Jumbotron every night if you're within +/- a section of a camera guy. My girls got to the point where they expect it!

Posted by: N@sfan | May 2, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

The first base thing is certainly not accurately characterized as "meaningless." It's a way for the first baseman not to have to look for a ball when he takes the field. It's not "meaningless" or "meaningful," it's just how it is.

Posted by: freshfish | May 2, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Do you think Adam Kilgore is a pseudonym for the Greaseman? Adam and Doug both have four letters in them & Tracht and Kilgore both have an R in them...

Posted by: N@sfan | May 2, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

231 - I just got it.... hysterical. That'd make me hit too!

Posted by: 6th and D | May 2, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The first base thing is certainly not accurately characterized as "meaningless." It's a way for the first baseman not to have to look for a ball when he takes the field. It's not "meaningless" or "meaningful," it's just how it is.
Posted by: freshfish

agreed. its just funny how the person in the dugout doesnt simply hand him the ball. the ball has to be tossed to the first baseman while he is running toward the dugout. funny how these things develop.
we've sat behind the dugouts a number of times and watched this inning after inning and just kinda wondered about it.
also thanks ryan on your info.

Posted by: dk | May 2, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Apologies in advance but Me thinks there is something ado here:

"All of a sudden, he felt instant release," Bowden said. "She found the spot."

Posted by: N@sfan | May 2, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

dk, I agree that it is an odd routine -- the first baseman could just as easily stick a ball in his glove when he gets into the dugout, and if he forgets, how hard is it to yell "hey, someone throw me a ball"?

Not one of the great mysteries of the universe, but I'd also be curious if anyone knows when this practice started. I'm not sure that I remember them doing that when I first started watching baseball in the early '70s, but maybe I just didn't notice.

Posted by: joebleux | May 2, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I got NewPosted. Carrying over from the last:

Corey and CE, us Plan Fans have to stick together!

I think they will listen to offers for any one of those guys, and I would include Flippie in that list as well. There are problems associated with trading nearly everyone on the list though, adn those would need to get resolved, either prior to the trade or as part of it.

For example, as CE notes, WMP is not exactly an exciting commodity at this point (and, if he becomes exciting, then we won't want to trade him). The Plan was to get him as many ABs as possible and hope he developed some consistency. Unless he really tanks I think they will continue to run him out there and hope he gets it together.

Similarly, trading Kearns wouldn't make a lot of sense, at least at the moment, because we would be selling low. He still has substantial upside, slow start notwithstanding. And if he shows that upside between now and July, my sense is that Jimbo would have to be blown away by an offer in order to let him go (and we all know it's pretty hard to blow Jimbo away).

Now, Guz and Flip, methinks are another story. I think 231 is right when he says we would need another SS if we dealt either of them, but I think we could find a decent defensive MLB backup shortstop someplace, whether as part of a Guz/Flip deal or through other channels. And if one or both of those guys prove to be hot commodities at the trade deadline, we would be selling high. So I think that's more likely to happen than WMP/AK, at least the way things look now.

As much as I would like someone to give us value for PLod, I don't think that's going to happen. I'm rooting for Flores/Nieves in 2009 on the catcher front.

Finally, Nick the Stick -- yes I think he could go. Barry has said as much. If he stays healthy and produces there are many, many potential trade partners (like almost every AL team, for example). Would he be missed here? You betcha. But we could make do with Meat and Boone if the right offer came along. That doesn't mean I'm advocating this move, I'd love to see Nick here as part of a contender in 2010. I just think it's possible that he could be dealt.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 2, 2008 11:08 AM

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 2, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

So would that be considered a "Happy Finish"? There was a place like that on 8th ST, but it was closed by the city a couple of years ago.

Posted by: CapHill | May 2, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Maybe JB should have all the Nats field players get a massage from DY's masseuse. Might improve the team BA.

Posted by: Wallpass | May 2, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Carrying over from the last thread, I wanted to respond to PTBNL's comments about Milledge vs. Delmon Young.

It's actually funny that you brought Zimmerman into the mix, because I got to thinking about him after I went over Young and Milledge's draft positions.

Delmon Young was drafted first overall in 2003. Milledge was picked up at the twelve spot that same year, although he was expected to go in the top three (allegations of sexual misconduct while he was in high school led to him getting passed up). Young made his debut on August 23rd, 2006, filling in for an injured Jonny Gomes. Milledge made it to the bigs on August 30th of that same year.

Zimmerman was drafted fourth overall in the 2005 draft. He made his appearance that very September.

Zim was picked behind Justin Upton, who made his first appearance with the Diamondbacks on August 2nd, 2007. Also ahead of him in the draft was Alex Gordon, who first appeared with the Royals on Opening Day last year. Jeff Clement was picked next, and he's played just 11 major league games, making his debut last September for Seattle (he was just called up again on Wednesday). He is, though, hitting .368 with a .478 OBP and slugging .737 in those games.

Upton is the exception in this group because he's just 20 years old. He already has 70 MLB games under his belt, and he's hitting .327 this season (and slugging .554). While it's hard to argue he was brought up too early, I doubt you could make the argument his rise to the majors should have been as sudden as Zimmerman's.

But other than Upton, you have four guys right there who went higher than Zimmerman and still took longer to crack an MLB roster and don't appear that close to being the star Zimmerman practically already is. Two of those players - Young and Millege - were drafted two years earlier than Zimmerman (but are about the same age) and still made it to the bigs later. It's a small sample size, for sure, but I don't think it's a wholly inaccurate portrayal.

Yes, Zimmerman's path to the Nationals was paved by an injured Vinny Castilla. But Young only had Gomes in front of him, Milledge had only to outplay Endy Chavez for a job, and Gordon, well, let's just say it's Kansas City.

Some of this has to do with the unpredictable nature of the draft. And, obviously, some players need to marinate a little longer than others. But this little sample seems to speak volumes to how special a player Ryan Zimmerman really is.

368 major league games. The three picks ahead of him combine for just 260.

(Sorry for the long post - I got carried away!)

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 2, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

The best news from this transaction is now JimBo can get on the phone and sell LoDuca to the Yankees. For anything, a ham sandwich, some new dugout stationary, a cell phone whatever. Just clear his salary off the books and use the savings to . . . (From Stark at the WWL)

• The next big thing?: It's 10 years ago now since the Yankees handed a $1.52-million signing bonus to a 16-year-old Dominican pitcher by the name of Ricardo Aramboles. It's believed that no Latino pitcher (non-Cuban division) has topped that bonus since. But there's so much buzz about a Dominican right-hander named Michel Inoa, it looks as if Aramboles' record is in serious danger this summer. More than a dozen teams are in on Inoa, who is already hitting 94 on the gun -- at age 16.

Posted by: Trader Jack | May 2, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what took her so long to get to the sweet spot.

Seriously, there's miss communication here.

"All of a sudden, he felt instant release," Bowden said. "She found the spot."

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Hey, and I thought "instant release" and "the spot" referred to pitching.

Posted by: upperdeck4 | May 2, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

CapHill, i think you mean "happy ending." or at least that's the accepted euphemism.

Posted by: 231 | May 2, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Bob says, "Finally, Nick the Stick -- yes I think he could go. Barry has said as much. If he stays healthy and produces there are many, many potential trade partners (like almost every AL team, for example). Would he be missed here? You betcha. But we could make do with Meat and Boone if the right offer came along. That doesn't mean I'm advocating this move, I'd love to see Nick here as part of a contender in 2010. I just think it's possible that he could be dealt."

This is the worst part of rebuilding, I think. You have to trade away high-quality guys you like because they have value to other teams. If you could trade players that weren't doing well or you didn't like, baseball would be easy to GM. Unfortunately, you have to give up something of value to get something of value.

I still think Guzzie is at the top of the trade-bait list. Major League Baseball has moved away from the "proven-veterans" model of acquisition to the "hot-new-talent" model. In the old days, the Yankees or the Sox or someone would happily trade young 'uns for your proven vets, but these days everyone wants to hang on to their young stars.

So the most common trade of the future, I think, is the rental. A hot veteran in the final year of his contract to a team that (in the terminology of another sport) is on the bubble for young talent. And I think the Washington Nationals are in a great position to jump into this market.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 2, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

This might be the worst sentence I've ever posted:

"A hot veteran in the final year of his contract to a team that (in the terminology of another sport) is on the bubble for young talent."

A hot veteran in the final year of his contract is traded to a team that is on the bubble in exchange for young talent.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 2, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Okay, so the the Brewers DFA Derrick Turnbow. Could he fill the gap in our pen? His control has been wretched this season, but it appears to be an aberration as he usually has a 2-1 K-BB ratio. He's only 30 and making just over $3 mil/year- not sure about his contract status.

Might be worth a chance...another reclamation project for Bowden?

Posted by: Section 112 | May 2, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Reposted from last thread:

A quote from Adam Kilgore's National's notebook in the 50 cent edition: During the game, Young worked with Nationals massage therapist Tatiana Tchamouroff, who focused on his hip flexor rather than his back.

"All of a sudden, he felt instant release," Bowden said. "She found the spot."

There a "happy ending" joke in there somewhere...

Do you think he meant to say "relief?"
I guess that COULD be interpreted as relief...

Posted by: TimDz | May 2, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Barry, you were in 113 and didn't stop by?

So, you'll be posting later on non-baseball things? Consider my interest piqued.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | May 2, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Barry is right -- they are not so dumb that they would ever say they can't afford free agents; they say it's doesn't fit into the Plan, which is a cover for cheapness.

But Boswell's statement about not believing them if they say they can't afford FAs is Damascus-like. Welcome to reality, Tom Boswell.

Posted by: swanni | May 2, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Agreed. Might we be seeing an introduction to our new beat reporter?

-----

So, you'll be posting later on non-baseball things? Consider my interest piqued.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 2, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

And failing to play Nieves while his bat is hot is sheer stubbornness.

Just because they signed LoDuca for $5 million doesn't mean he should play when someone else is playing dramatically better.

Posted by: swanni | May 2, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

"Maybe JB should have all the Nats field players get a massage from DY's masseuse. Might improve the team BA."

Nah. I envision a mass disaster if that ever happened, with the starting nine all being so relaxed after their pre-game massages that they take the field and immediately lay down for a nap. Sort of like what happened to the Yankees on the day after they got the cotton uniforms that George Costanza put them in back from the cleaners.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 2, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

On Turnbow, good thought, but on further review I'm not sure there is much there to reclaim. He had one good year in 2005, when he saved 39 games and blew only four, and sported a snazzy 1.74 ERA. (OK, I know ERA can be a misleading stat for relievers, but it's not necessarily bad for closers, who usually start with a clean slate.) In 2006, he was still the closer and managed 24 saves, but he blew 8, which is clearly cardiac territory. More importantly, though, his ERA was a whopping 6.87! Let me put that into perspective: In 2005 he pitched 67 innings and gave up 15 runs, 13 of them earned. In 2006, he pitched 56 innings and gave up ... 51 runs!!! OK, so "only" 43 of those runs were earned. Still, that's 30 more runs, in 10 less innings, than the year before when he was dominant. Predictably, he lost his job, and he's never recovered.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 2, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"Will talk to you later about a few things -- baseball and non-baseball"

That's ominous. I think we've seen the last of Barry's gamers, or shortly will...

Posted by: NaNaNaNa, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye | May 2, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so the the Brewers DFA Derrick Turnbow. Could he fill the gap in our pen? His control has been wretched this season, but it appears to be an aberration as he usually has a 2-1 K-BB ratio. He's only 30 and making just over $3 mil/year- not sure about his contract status.

Might be worth a chance...another reclamation project for Bowden?

Posted by: Section 112 | May 2, 2008 11:33 AM
-----
no surprise here. if you saw him a few nights ago when he got thrashed by the Cubs you'd understand. He was worse than the Wild Thing before glasses

Posted by: N@sfan | May 2, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Are we sure that Massage Therapist wasn't really Mindy McCready?

Posted by: Section 303 | May 2, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

---The best news from this transaction is now JimBo can get on the phone and sell LoDuca to the Yankees

exactly. thats the only thing duco should be used for now--tradebait. get ridda the guy. yanks definitely need a vet. and dont ask for the entire farm jb, just get what you can and cut your losses. let nieves and estrada finish off the year. you may have caught a break.

Posted by: dk | May 2, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

loduca back in ny but on the other side. now that would be funny. what a serendipitous route that would be.

Posted by: dk | May 2, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Title of previous post: "Life without 'The Chief'"

Title of next post: "Life without 'The Blogfather.'"

Has Adam Kilgore finished his apprenticeship?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 2, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

According to the chat this week, Barry seems to think that Nieves might be a good fit for New York.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 2, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

And what, my friends, will the Yankees offer us in return for a $5 million catcher with highly suspect career stats batting lower than his weight (whatever is said on the Big Board)?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 2, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

And what, my friends, will the Yankees offer us in return for a $5 million catcher with highly suspect career stats batting lower than his weight (whatever is said on the Big Board)?

dont have to offer us anything. just take his sorry arse and his elephant contract for free and lower beer and hot dog prices by a buck for the 5 mil youll save.

Posted by: dk | May 2, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

GHF: the other stuff could be charitable events or some such off-the-field stuff.

---

That's ominous. I think we've seen the last of Barry's gamers, or shortly will...

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 2, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

btw nieves is hot. doesnt take a genius to see that. simply a big mistake to take the hot hand outta the lineup

Posted by: dk | May 2, 2008 10:37 AM

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

I had to look twice to see if it was JennX or NatsNut that posted this.

Yes, Nieves is batting well these days. Losing that "catch and throw guy" label faster than a greased cheetah.

Posted by: i hate walks | May 2, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

So that's it? All we gotta do is get Dmitri some "relief?" Hell, he could become "Client #21"

Just sayin ....

Posted by: Elliott Spitzer | May 2, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

True. I may just be paranoid. But consider the following:

Two weeks ago, I asked Barry how I could get my book signed while I was in DC, since I was assuming he wouldn't be on the beat when the Nats come to Minnesota in June. He neither confirmed nor denied my assumption, but did tell me to email him while I was in the DC area (possibly an implicit acknowledgement of my assumption's validity?).

In Wednesday's chat, he said that next season he would "float in" to write a story on Zimmerman. Yes, he has already said he'll be gone by then, but the verbiage might lead one to believe that the departure has taken root in his language because it is soon to occur.

And might we take yeterday's day off as a possible prelude to departure? Sure, the man deserves a break, but the timing - the day after a scheduled off day - is interesting.

I may be reading too much into this, for sure.

-----

GHF: the other stuff could be charitable events or some such off-the-field stuff

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 2, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"According to the chat this week, Barry seems to think that Nieves might be a good fit for New York."

Maybe so, but it would be stupid (and totally anti-Plan) to trade Nieves. Nieves has proved this year that he can be the backup to Flores next year after LoDuca and Estrada play out their one year deals and go elsewhere - as also per The Plan. Even if Flores is the starter, there will still be 30-40 starts available to the backup catcher, as well as late-inning defensive opportunities. That's the nature of the catcher role. It's the one position where you need absolutely solid backup. (Which BTW is why Estrada was signed to back up LoDuca this year.) Nieves is showing that he is the ideal guy to fill that role. If the Nationals did not already have him to use in the backup catcher role next year, they'd have to be going out to find someone just like him to back up Flores.

LoDuca or Estrada, though, are each eminently tradeable to the Yankees, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see that happen just as soon as LoDuca gets enough playing time under his belt after this latest DL stint to prove that he's healthy.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 2, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"Sure, the man deserves a break, but the timing - the day after a scheduled off day - is interesting."

That timing makes sense to me. It's how you create a weekend off for your reporter in exchange for only one actual day away from the beat. Everyone ought to get a weekend off at least once a week, if you ask me!

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 2, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Paulie L has had 35 freakin' ABs with the Nationals.

Posted by: the chorus | May 2, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"Has Adam Kilgore finished his apprenticeship?"

-----

Dunno about Kilgore, but his copy editor still needs more work:

"Perez peppered strike zone, throwing 61 of his 89 pitches for strikes and walking no one.

"He turned it into his first home run this season., clobbering it over the left field fence and into the Pirates bullpen."

"Nick Johnson pushed him to second when a pitched knocked him over and brushed his upper arm."

"Guzman chugged around third base without hesitation, third base coach Tim Tolman windmilling him home even as Xavier Nady, having charged Kearns hit, cocked his arm."

Those were from last night's gamer. Most have since been corrected, but jeez...

Posted by: Juan-John | May 2, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

First of all, I completely agree that Nieves is a quality backup. Barry actually went so far as to call him an "ideal" backup catcher - for a contending team.

But I don't think it's exactly "anti-Plan" to trade him. Obviously, it all hinges on what they could get in return. One might argue that turning a minor-league catcher who did not figure into the team's long-term plans back in early April for any kind of prospect would be exactly what the Plan is all about. And honestly, it shouldn't be that hard to find another backstop in the offseason - the Nats found two this year.

Depending on the length of Posada's injury, the Yankees may not be all that interested in a backup, ideal or not. So maybe a guy like Lo Duca is more likely.

For the record, I like Nieves. I like him a lot.

-----

Maybe so, but it would be stupid (and totally anti-Plan) to trade Nieves.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 2, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

(and I think I'm already on the record as disliking Lo Duca. I dislike him a lot.)

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 2, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I agree. I didn't say it didn't make sense. I said it was interesting.

After all, there's really no point in reading too much into pointless "signs" if you're not going to make a big deal about everything.

natsfan1a is probably right - the "non-baseball" stuff is probably about the Nats, not about Barry leaving. But, like I said, I'm paranoid.

-----

That timing makes sense to me. It's how you create a weekend off for your reporter in exchange for only one actual day away from the beat.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 2, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Paulie L has had 35 freakin' ABs with the Nationals.
Posted by: the chorus | May 2, 2008 12:53 PM

thats 35 too many.

Posted by: dk | May 2, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Interesting article on espn.com about baseball franchises who keep losing. Sure enough there is a lot about the Expos/Nats franchise.

Here is the link.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=keri/080502&sportCat=mlb

Posted by: natsinthevalley | May 2, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal:

*The Yankees made a concerted effort to re-sign catcher Wil Nieves last off-season, envisioning him as protection at Class AAA. Nieves took less money to sign with the Nationals, believing he would get a better opportunity -- and effectively became the team's No. 1 catcher while Paul LoDuca was on the disabled list with a bruised hand.

The Nats plan to carry three catchers after LoDuca is activated Friday night. Nieves could be claimed by the Yankees or another club if the Nats try to put him through waivers; the Yankees, with Jorge Posada on the DL, might view Nieves as an upgrade over Chad Moeller, whom they re-signed to back up Jose Molina. The third Nationals catcher, Johnny Estrada, eventually could be released; he is earning $1.25 million.

Posted by: swanni | May 2, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

e,
OMG, your daughter is ADORABLE!! She looked like she was walking up to hug the cameraman.

I have a sinking feeling about LoDuca coming back as the main guy. I'm afraid we'll start losing ugly again.

Not that Nieves is carrying the team or anything, but he is hot (in both senses of the word) and what's that they say about the catcher? He sets the tone for the whole team?

And speaking of Nieves, I'm a huge fan, but I also feel guilty raving about him because of Flores. Flores earned his spot in the bigs on just about every level, he wanted to stay up so badly, but got sent down anyway, and now he's not doing so great.

Then to top it off, this other punk kid marches right over the back of his neck, up to the bigs and is now the rockstar.

This can't be good for Flores's psyche.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 2, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"Those were from last night's gamer. Most have since been corrected, but jeez..."

Remember what Barry said the other day about wishing those first-edition gamers never saw the light of day? I'm sure Kilgore feels the same way about that. I bet there's no copy editor involved in the process at all.

If you've ever read Boswell's chats, you'll know why you never see this kind of tight-deadline writing from him.

Posted by: Nelson | May 2, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

If you're Bowden, do you release Estrada ($1.25 million) before you release Mackowiak ($1.5 million)?

Until Young returns Estrada is, at the very least, a switch-hitter off the bench. Mack seems to be, at the very best, bait to get the opposing manager to burn his LOOGY.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 2, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

35 horrible ABs, playing horrific defense (almost cost us opening night if you recall). he is even going 0-fer at potomac...not exactly santana, hammels and hudson pitching for the hillcats and warthogs. he just doesnt have it, and doesnt realize it. get him out of here before he really damages one of the young players with his horrible attitude and aging skill set.

Posted by: love | May 2, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

nteresting article on espn.com about baseball franchises who keep losing. Sure enough there is a lot about the Expos/Nats franchise.
Posted by: natsinthevalley | May 2, 2008 1:10 PM

"The Cincinnati Reds own the fifth-longest streak of losing seasons, with seven."
arent we the reds of the east with their old gm, their old mgr boone, their old other mgr knight as a broadcaster and half the reds players.
nice losing team to steal from guys. geez.

Posted by: dk | May 2, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"Then to top it off, this other punk kid marches right over the back of his neck, up to the bigs and is now the rockstar."

Nieves is 30. Flores is what, 23? I seriously doubt Flores thinks of Nieves as a "kid", punk or not. Seven years is longer than many pro baseball careers. If anything, Flores probably thinks of Nieves as an old man.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 2, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Flores is fine. Nieves is not going to be playing baseball in five years, Flores will be entering his prime.

We'll see Nieves catch Lannan tonight, then LoDuca tomorrow, then have a perfect excuse for Nieves again on Sunday. I think Estrada is the most likely to go to the Yanks, because he can offer them the most. Don't forget they're short an A-Rod, too. More offense won't hurt.

And, yes, I'm counting on both Estrada and Nieves to return to their career norms. What else can you do?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 2, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

i like nieves a lot, too. and he's hot right now. but to consider trading him "anti-plan" is kinda foolish. he *IS* 30 yrs old. it's very unlikely he'll play this way offensively the rest of the season, or even close to it. very very few guys suddenly figure it out at 30.

so if someone in dire need offers us something good for him, we should trade him. unless i'm mistaken, he's only on a 1-year contract. if we really want him back next year as the backup, we can pursue him in the offseason.

Posted by: 231 | May 2, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Barry Bonds suddenly figure out how to hit home runs at about 29?

***********
very very few guys suddenly figure it out at 30.
Posted by: 231 | May 2, 2008 1:43 PM

Posted by: MIB (kidding! don't flame) | May 2, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

A couple of separate thoughts.

First, we all know the day is coming when Barry moves to the Olympics beat and the Redskins. If Adam is his replacement, then good luck and good wishes to both (heck, same goes even if Adam isn't his repalcement). I'd love Barry to be able to chip in a feature on baseball anyway to remedy CIL.

Second - There are so many trade possibilities with the NYY that its hard to count. Perez for the rotation, any middle reliever, Nick, any of the catchers. As was mentioned in the chat and here earlier by a Red Sox fan, Alberto Gonzalez (the MI, not the Ex-AG) would be an ideal glove guy. When Betemit and A-ROd get healthy, he's expendable. Their low A team is absolutley stocked. I doubt we could get their catcher, Jesus Montero (18), because he projects as Posada's long term replacement, but he's worth a ton.

Third - continuing the conversation with John in Mpls - Good collection of comparables for Zimmerman. I think Delmon and Lastings were younger than Zimmerman when drafted (high schoolers), so you would not expect them to start as soon.

Age 1st full year in majors:
Delmon Young - 21
Lastings - 23 (this year)
Gordon - 23
Zimmerman - 21

Delmon also was held back a year by very cheap ownership in TB. I think in 2005 he was BA's minor league player of the year, splitting time between Montgomery and Durham, and still was not called up. He complained, and there was much criticism of both him (for complaining) and TB (for the owner being cheap). 2006 I think was the bat flip, his August callup, and 2007 was his rookie year.

Gordon was a college boy and Zimmerman's best comparable in the group. He actually was blocked by Mark Teahen, who was excellent in 2006. Gordon I think was the BA Minor League POY in 2006, and started the next year, with Teahen moved to right field.

Gordon's April: .306/.370/.429 - 2HR, 2 SB, 9 RBI.
Zimmerman: well you know :(

Posted by: PTBNL | May 2, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a good feeling about LoDuca coming back on several levels. First and foremost, his performance both offensively and defensively has been horrendous. I've see throws to 2nd that should be an embarassment to any major league catcher.

Flores has proven he can play at this level. JimBo should do a couple of things IMHO, move LoDuca to anyone who will take him and admit the mistake. Bring back Flores to help rebuild his confidence. It's not as if we're going anywhere near the postseason this year. And even if we were, PLD would be a hindrance, not a help.

While he may think himself the fiery vet, I see him more as a disruptive and divisive figure in the clubhouse. Time will tell.

Kids on the screen...

e, your kid was awesome! Did she in fact give the camera guy a hug?

I ran into the dancing kid as I left the park. 3 foot nothing bundle of energy. Seemed to be about 5 or 6. I told him they should put him up every night - he agreed, LOL!

What can we do to stop the "o" in the National Anthem?

Posted by: FRANK 20 | May 2, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I have no problem trading Nieves for prospecs if someone want to make us that deal.

I wonder what we would need to trade for Arizona's Montero? What we need to complimnet Flores is a young LH catcher to make a solid platoon.

I also wonder what kind of return we can expect for Christian Guzman. Does anyone remember what we got for Jose Vidro (I think Shairon Martiz (sp?), then a high A pitcher). Would we expect more for Guzman?

Posted by: estuartj | May 2, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

And while we're at it, is there a better 0-3 pitcher now than Odalis Pérez?

Posted by: CE | May 2, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

We traded Vidro to Seattle for Chris Snelling and Emiliano Fruto. We then traded Snelling for Langerhans and Fruto for Wily Mo Pena.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut and FRANK 20:

Yeah, she did go up and give him a hug. We were just walking from watching BP to go let her play in the playground when the cameraman walked by and asked if he could film her. He was telling her to wave and kiss the Dmitri bobblehead, then asked her to hug it. She thought she meant to hug the cameraman and proceeded to go and hug him! The cameraman was so incredibly nice. He told me after filming that he would try and get her up for the Fan of the Game and to watch the scoreboard to see if she made it. Tell you what ... not easy trying to keep a 3 year-old in her seat until the 6th!

Posted by: e | May 2, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"What can we do to stop the "o" in the National Anthem?"

I was going to suggest coddling Steven on Capitol Hill by replacing the Star Spangled Banner with the Canadian national anthem, but then I remembered that one is O Canada.

Which makes me wonder...when Orioles fans go to Toronto to root on their team, do they yell an O in the Canadian anthem too? Oh, right. Orioles fans won't even go to *Baltimore* to root on their team. Never mind.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 2, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

And while we're at it, is there a better 0-3 pitcher now than Odalis Pérez?
Posted by: CE | May 2, 2008 2:08 PM

guy is definitely pitchin his heart out. felt bad for him last night. really wanted him to get the win. he looks great out there. wish we could get him some runs.

Posted by: dk | May 2, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

the cubbies are still looking for a 2nd baseman. should see what theyd give for lopez. they were offerin up a pitcher and some others for roberts.

Posted by: dk | May 2, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Is Odalis' start this season reminding anyone but me of the 2005 John Patterson season? Both have had good to very good starts, give up few runs, yet get no decisions?

Patterson in 05:
31 GS, 9-7, 3.13 ERA, 198.1 IP, 1.19 WHIP

Perez in 08:
7 GS, 0-3, 3.18 ERA, 39.2 IP, 1.34 WHIP

Posted by: e | May 2, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

They've got a second baseman, but he's playing left field.
**************
the cubbies are still looking for a 2nd baseman. should see what theyd give for lopez. they were offerin up a pitcher and some others for roberts.

Posted by: dk | May 2, 2008 2:17 PM

Posted by: MIB (born in Chicago) | May 2, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

So, as was asked early on in this thread--does anyone actually have Jim Bowden's e-mail address? I've always resorted to snail mail to write the management types.

I feel kinda sorry for Lo Duca, but I can't agree with playing him when his mobility as a defensive catcher is poor, his offense is not good at present, and his vibe is nothing like that of Nieves. Nieves is a breath of fresh air. I think Nieves has an old soul.

Posted by: Section 109 | May 2, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

They say the first thing to go is your memory...

Who the hell DID we get Shairon Martiz for?

Now that Lo Duca has replaced Cordero we have some tough decisions coming up...

Dukes returns Mackowiak gets DFA'd?
Young returns and Estrada gets DFA'd?
Shroeder is promoted and Harris is DFA'd?

I've been fairly critical of Bowden's roster handling so far this year, but I can't say I don't agree with the overall philosophy of not making permanent decisions until you have to. Any number of injuries or permormances might change the above dynamic and that doesn't even touch on the whole host of potential trades out there...

Posted by: estuartj | May 2, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry about Odalis. He's on a one-year deal, IIRC, and if he keeps this up, he'll remind you of Esteban Loiza, and cash in next year. And good for him if he does.

*********
Felt bad for him last night. really wanted him to get the win. he looks great out there. wish we could get him some runs.

Posted by: dk | May 2, 2008 2:15 PM

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

We got Martis from the Giants for Mike Stanton.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I believe Shairon Martis was one of the 18 people we have traded Mike Stanton for! Martis is actually doing well so far this season and is still fairly young.

Posted by: joNAThan | May 2, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

One more:

We've kicked around various juggle the batting order ideas in the past. The Hardball Times is doing a series on the worst hitters for a full-season by batting order position. Below is a link to the worst #3 hitters.
http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-10-worst-no-3-hitters-since-1957/

Interesting in here is a remark about #3 vs. #4 hitters. The author suggests that the ability to draw walks usually is more important for a #4 hitter than a #3 hitter. The thinking is that, unless you have very high OBP hitters #1 & #2, more often then not the #3 hitter comes up in the first, at least, with 2 outs and no one on. In that situation a walk is substantially less likely to lead to a run than a hit. Given Manny's statistical approach, that may explain Zim then Nick rather than vice versa. Also, given that Nick actually is this team's best hitter (see fan graphs article putting him in the top 5 in the NL), it might also explain why he isn't #2. Unlike Youk, Matt Stairs, or Nick with the NYY, we do not have another #4 candidate to hit behind Zimmerman and drive Nick in (unless it is Lastings, who has not shown power yet).

Going tonight. Getting walk up seats. Lastings jersey with a Trot Nixon style EE#4 (formerly #2) hat.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 2, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Since Schroder, O'Connor, Chico, and Rivera can be optioned, I'd imagine you'll see Schroder or one of the others bouncing back and forth when the roster gets real tight.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 2, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

It's amusing that so many of you, who have been pretty candid about being new to the game, are so quick to suggest that the Nats should act on that fact that YOU THINK Paulie L. is "disruptive and divisive" in the clubhouse, a hothead, just a guy you don't like.

And it's not like any other catcher is throwing anybody out.

Can't you maybe give him another week?

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

yeah, the cubs weren't looking for a "2B", per se. they were looking for a quality leadoff hitter. which is why they were interested in roberts, who's a very good leadoff hitter and has been for years. that description is not one that lopez fits, so i don't see lopez as trade bait to chicago.

besides, he's no better than de la rosa, who's playing in LF temporarily (and has an OBP so far this year of 405). and, despite playing much better lately, he's also not playing as well as ronnie cedeno, who was playing 2B while de la rosa was in the OF replacing soriano (who's now back). cedeno is capable of playing 2b or SS and is hitting the cover off the ball right now.

Posted by: 231 | May 2, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

jim.bowden@nationals.com

FIRE AWAY!

Posted by: FRANK 20 | May 2, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, we may be being unfair to LoDuca. But Nieves did throw out a couple of guys, didn't he?
..............
It's amusing that so many of you, who have been pretty candid about being new to the game, are so quick to suggest that the Nats should act on that fact that YOU THINK Paulie L. is "disruptive and divisive" in the clubhouse, a hothead, just a guy you don't like.

And it's not like any other catcher is throwing anybody out.

Can't you maybe give him another week?

Posted by: nattybo | May 2, 2008 2:39 PM

Posted by: Section 109 | May 2, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, we may be being unfair to LoDuca. But Nieves did throw out a couple of guys, didn't he?

------

2 of 8, to Lo Duca's 1 of 5. Career, Lo Duca's numbers are better.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 2, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

PTBNL, you're dead-on about the age. Like I said, Upton is the exception there, as he already has 70 games under his belt at just 20 years of age.

Milledge was held back a bit, too, but for a different reason. The Mets didn't sign him immediately, as news surfaced of the possibility of more improprieties when he was in high school. They launched an investigation, and signed him when it was complete. He only got a handful of professional games in during the 2003 season.

He missed some time starting off in 2004 with a broken hand. If you combine the missed time in 2003 with the time he was injured in 2004, and he may have cracked the roster sooner.

Clement was also a college boy - he went to USC - but he was first drafted by the Twins out of high school, but didn't sign. I agree that Gordon is Zimmerman's best comparable (what with being a third baseman and all), and my take is that Zimmerman will be the better fielder, while Gordon will most likely be better offensively.

I fogot about Teahen altogether, and I didn't realize Gordon was Baseball America's Minor League POY (on top of the Texas League POY). Good pull.

Going to the Metrodome tonight. I'll try to keep this Young/Milledge thing in my head as I watch the guy this season.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 2, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

New post. And I called it, too

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 2, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

And what, my friends, will the Yankees offer us in return for a $5 million catcher with highly suspect career stats batting lower than his weight (whatever is said on the Big Board)?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 2, 2008 12:13 PM

You'll get nothing and like it! Oh, except for not having to stroke fat checks to a useless catcher for the next five months. (Same principle as the the Vidro deal. Even if they got nothing back cause they saved $12 million. Wily Mo's all gravy)

Posted by: Judge Smails | May 2, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

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