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3:40 p.m.

At 3 p.m., the Nats made their first-round pick, selecting Aaron Crow, a right-handed pitcher from the University of Missouri. Baseball America calls him the second-best pitcher in the draft; that's the good news for Washington. Bad news is, this draft was loaded with college hitters, and the Nats didn't get any of them. Gordon Beckham, a shortstop from Georgia, was taken one pick before the Nats were on the clock.

After the selection, Jim Bowden, Mike Rizzo, Dana Brown and Bob Boone -- the leadership of the front office -- sat down for a press conference. I'll provide some quotes of what they said later, after I transcribe everything. But I can relay the basics:

This was a "unanimous selection" -- they had total agreement that Crow was the right guy.

They envision him as a top-of-the-rotation guy.

They're particularly impressed with his control and command.

At least one person from the Nats organization saw each and every start he made this season.

He had one streak this season of 43.0 consecutive scoreless innings pitched. He led the NCAA with 13 wins.

Meanwhile, on the field, there's an actual game being played. 4-1 Cards in the eighth.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 5, 2008; 3:40 PM ET
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Would have liked Beckham at 2nd but this kid is a fireballer!

Posted by: Johnny Baconbitz | June 5, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

He had one streak this season of 43.0 consecutive *scoreless* innings pitched. He led the NCAA with 13 wins.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse


I'm tired of hearing the Lerners are cheap.

The Lerners are SMART. And they LIKE MONEY. Running the team into the ground will not make them money! They know this, because they're smart and good at making money! (See Exhibit A, Tysons Corner.)

The teams that make the most money are the perennial contenders who never quite win it all. (The price gap between a team that loses in the DS every year and a team that wins the pennant is prohibitive.) If the Lerners are SMART and MISERLY (which they are), they will build the Nats to that point and stop.

They just spent all this money on a baseball team; they're not going to burn it to the ground, because they want return on that investment.


Roll Call on everyone who is tired of hearing "The owners are cheap"

Posted by: NeedANatsFix | June 5, 2008 3:32 PM

Posted by: opinionated lurker | June 5, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the Nats sure are loading up the minors w/ good young pitchers! I would have liked a top hitter, but I'll gladly welcome Crow.

Chico- Any idea how quickly 1st round pitchers take in the minors? I look forward to seeing these guys pitch in Nationals Park!

And Chico (or anybody else who knows), can you give an update on the status of our farm team. How are the highly rated guys doing, who is under/over achieving, who could make it to the majors this year, etc.

Posted by: Tim | June 5, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Glad we got a guy who threw 43 scoreless innings to go with our scoreless offensive

Posted by: Will O. | June 5, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Tim, one reason Crow(e?) makes me really excited is we're getting closer to developing a surplus of young pitchers. With extra young pitchers we can get those bats we need, even proven major leaguers.

The more hot pitchers we have the more of a comparative advantage we will have in the hot stove season.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 5, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Section 506- I agree w/ you. Hopefully Bowden will pick a couple selections after the 1st round that will make a relatively quick impact (like Lannan-11st round or J. Zimmerman-2nd round).

How are our top two selections from last year doing?

Posted by: Tim | June 5, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

i'm up for the night game.

i heard we drafted a crow though. i'm a little scared of crows.

Posted by: elwood the rally possum | June 5, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

A little scared of crows?

Well, apparently so were Big XII we're all good.

Posted by: Corey | June 5, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I would have liked to have taken Justin Smoak at #9. I think the Rangers were thrilled, and surprised to get him at #11. I saw mock Drafts that had him going 5th.

As for Crow, if the Nats brass is happy, fine, they're getting paid to make that call. And it's their fanny on the line.

That said, if they had someone see every one of his starts, doesn't that make the pick a foregone conclusion? Or a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | June 5, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

We need a showing of softball girls for ladies night.

No, really, that was sad to watch.

Posted by: i hate walks | June 5, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"(The price gap between a team that loses in the DS every year and a team that wins the pennant is prohibitive.)"

That's the Master Plan (tm)? Just like Stan did in Atlanta . . . get to the postseason 14 years in a row and only win one WS! What a crafty genius that Stan K. is.

You suppose he actually MADE SURE the Braves would choke in the postseason to keep costs down? Exactly how does one go about doing that? I imagine a scenario like "Major League" -- Stan cuts off the hot water to the clubhouse during the NLCS.

Can't complain about the draft pick. So far in their young existence, the Nats seem to always get value (that is they get a player who was rated higher than the draft slot.) Whether that pans out . . . well the last two 1st rounders are scuffling in HiA.

Posted by: Gal Revels in Pee | June 5, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I think that Crow was a steal here, but I still would have liked to see them grab Smoak. Both would have been good picks, but you dont find a gold-glove caliber first basemen with legit power from both sides of the plate every day. Comparisons have been made to teixeira and chipper jones (naturally).

Posted by: DraftFan | June 5, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Who wants a teeny bit of good news?

John Lannan posted his 8th quality start in 12 chances today.

Here are your other starters since opening day:

Redding 5 of 12
Perez 5 of 13
Hill 2 of 8
Bergmann 2 of 7
(This needs a bit more parsing: 2 of 4 since he returned and one of those 2 non-quality starts was the 4-0 compete game. I kinda feel like if you go 8 innings and only give up 4 runs, you should be able to still get a QS, since your runs to innings ratio is still the same as 3 over 6)

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 5, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I ain't trying to say anything here, just smirking at the expense of New York.

Johan Santana: 9 quality starts of 12 chances

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 5, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

"You suppose he actually MADE SURE the Braves would choke in the postseason to keep costs down?"

The short answer is "yes," but it works the other way around.

When you get a good-but-not-legendary team together, it can take that one or two big trading deadline signings to push you into the postseason. (These are the ones the Lerners keep promising us we'll see eventually.) Barring the occasional Cinderella story, a team that just sneaks into the postseason most years isn't going to win it all.

So the smart, money-grubbing FO gets those one or two deadline players but stops short of picking up the real superstar(s) that would be necessary to go all the way.

To answer your question, keeping down costs causes choking, not the other way around.

Occasionally, say once in fourteen years or so, you get lucky and win the World Series in the process.

Posted by: JH | June 5, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I am fine with the selection. Guzman is a quality SS for the time being (if we can lock him up for a few more years). The big problem with the offense is the outfield is not producing.

The other side of this is that you get much more for pitchers than hitters in trades. You have to trade all-star potential hitters for established MLB hitters. On the other hand, you can trade potential or mediocre MLB pitching for established MLB hitters.

Posted by: BT | June 5, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

JH, if 3 Hall of Fame pitchers, a Hall of Fame third baseman and numerous other all-star position players winning their division 14 straight times is not a legendary team, what is?

Posted by: NoVA Nat | June 5, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I hate saying this, but Guzman has to go. We need some quality young players for the future and he's the only chip we have. We can't afford to sign him for more than 3-years with the plan and I would bet his value declines too drastically in that time to be of the same value in that time.

Now, that's a bit hyperbolic. As always, we should trade him for quality. But we need what quality he can bring and he's not a longterm answer. He's not part of the Decade of Dominance.

Gotta remember, you can't get something for nothing.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 5, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

506, the best part of a Guzman trade is that we could always resign him in the offseason. I read on some site that he might give the Nats a discount because he missed so much of his 4 year contract. I highly doubt that would actually happen, but it is something to think about. If it comes down to keeping him or Felipe in the MI next year, I'd rather stick with Guzman.

Posted by: NoVA Nat | June 5, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

NoVA Nat, if Guzman gives the Nats a discount he's a horrible businessman and the union will freak out. I like it, let's sign him!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 5, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Did someone really say we might keep Lopez? Not a chance, if you all are right that our baseball people know what they are doing and they have a plan to win, Lopez could not possible be part of it.

Posted by: JayB | June 5, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Glad we got a guy who threw 43 scoreless innings to go with our scoreless offensive

Posted by: Will O. | June 5, 2008 3:49 PM


Now all we need is four more starters just like him, and we can win with 1.33 runs per game.

Posted by: LA Nats | June 5, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

i wonder how willing guzman would be to give the nats a discount if they trade him in july...

Posted by: 231 | June 5, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Bats win divisions.... Pitching wins championships. I'm absolutely thrilled at the quality of arms the Nats have added the last two years. If pitching is 90% of the game then we're in great hands.

Posted by: egrib | June 6, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

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