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A technicality, a debate, a scouting report and a recommendation

A technicality:

When the Nationals placed Odalis Perez on the DL yesterday, they did so expecting to make the transaction retroactive to June 4, a day after the lefty's most recent start. But they encountered a slight problem. And as a result, Perez won't be able to return from the DL as quickly as they hoped.

Here's what happened.

To take Perez's place on the roster, Washington recalled Tyler Clippard (pitching tonight) from Class AAA Columbus. It's the second time this week Clippard was called up.

Turns out, a player cannot be recalled for a second time in 10 days or less except in the case of injury.

Therefore, Perez's injury -- for DL purposes -- needs to have occurred since Clippard last pitched for Washington.

Clippard pitched for the Nats on June 9, but the transaction that sent him back to the minors became official on June 10. As a result, Perez's DL stint is now retroactive to June 11.

---

A debate:

Seems that Manny Acta believes that Cristian Guzman, not Rauch, is the team's most viable All-Star candidate at this point. He also mentioned Redding, but probably more out of habit; Redding's had a fine season, but he's winless in four starts, and during that span, his ERA has risen from 3.59 to 4.29.

Acta's rationale:

"Cristian has done a great job for us from day one. He's been consistent offensively and defensively. Everything has to be attributed to the fact that he's healthy and happy coming to work everyday. And he deserves to be considered for the All-Star Game, because he's an everyday guy. It's tough with all the top shortstops in the NL -- Tejada, Ramirez, Reyes, Rollins just to name a few -- but on an everyday basis he's been our most consistent player. Right now, because Guzman gets to go out there every single day, rather than a starter or a closer, I think that gives him an edge."

---

A scouting report:

Manny Acta on tonight's starter, Tyler Clippard:

On what he needs to work on: "He needs to improve his fastball command. Obviously in the last game that's why the hitters kind of saw his change-up the third time around. Right now it's just about consistency, because he does have some type of funky delivery that gives him some deception. But he needs to be a little more consistent with his fastball command."

On why Clippard was chosen for this start: "We just felt he's farther along right now than Mock. He's had some big league experience, obviously, with the Yankees. And we felt his start the other day, other than the fastball command, I think he battled real good for us."

On his unorthodox delivery: "He's got some funkiness on his left leg before he lands, and that's something that is very tough to correct, and you don't want to do that. Plus, that gives him some deception. That has nothing to do with his stuff. We were well aware of it when we got him in the trade. It's not what we're looking at. It's the fact that sometimes he lands on the left side, sometimes he lands on the right side. His inability to repeat the delivery -- that's what keeps him from having that fastball command."

---

A recommendation:

Check out Steven on Capitol Hill's contribution in the post below. It's the first one. I didn't want it to get lost in the shuffle.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 14, 2008; 9:42 PM ET
 
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Comments

somehow i think me saying enough is enough just win wont really change anything. if it did the mariners would have won the 95 world series, the redskins would move to montreal, the yankees and sox would never play again on national tv, and clint would be somewhere on the bottom of the anacostia...im not sayin...im just sayin

Posted by: love | June 14, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Steven, that was a hell of a post.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 14, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

You mean this technicality got by the Nats' crack (cracked?) front office staff? Doesn't anybody have a rule book in their desk? Shocking, just shocking, I say

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 14, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

why exactly did we send dimitri from second on a shallow single? horrible, just horrible.

Posted by: kevinx | June 14, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

That would be because of one Tim Tolman.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | June 14, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

506--thanks.

@leetee--agreed. this seems incredibly unusual. I can't remember hearing about any other team making this mistake. Someone wanna match my leg work and find another example of that? Chico's handing out kudos for hard-working NJ-ers.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 14, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Steven, well done. Great post.

On a different note, it seems that Dukes is edging, slowly but surely, up to a somewhat respectable BA. As much as this pleases me, I was more heartened by the article over on Nats.com about the team meeting he called--to apologize. My God, could this be actual progress? Step 9: Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Here's hoping.

Posted by: Atlanta | June 14, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Check this out from Erik Bedard's Wikipedia:

"Although 5'4" and 120 pounds as a senior, he grew seven inches and gained 30 pounds during the summer between graduating from high school and beginning college"

It has nothing to do with anything, but how does someone grow seven inches in one summer?

Posted by: res21 | June 14, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Is this team run by monkeys? Seriously? This is--or at least it is supposed to be--a professional franchise. How could they overlook a pretty run-of-the-mill rule that any GM or front office should be aware of?

In fact, 29 other teams ARE aware of the rule. It is not exactly some sort of peculiar rule or exception to a general rule or anything.

How did they miss this?

Advice for the future since the F.O. can't seem to figure out the basic rules: shut down the damned revolving door from DC to Columbus and just bring the younger guys up.

Posted by: Natsman | June 14, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Chico is already making sure he stays on Steven of Clueless Hill's good side. And can you blame him? Chico posts here under his real name, and it's well known where he can be found during the games. If he ever gets on SoCH's bad side, he'll have Squire Badbreath digging up every word Chico ever wrote, including the love notes passed to that cute girl three rows over in third grade that were confiscated by the teacher, and posting them on the web for all to see. Who would want that?

Now, on to SoCH's latest attempt to start an argument by putting words in someone else's mouth so he can shoot them down:

"@ABM--since you have nothing to say in defense of your totally misguided position on Guzman going to the AS game over Tejada, Reyes, and Rollins, should we assume you are already backing away from it? I don't blame you

By rule, Mr. Clueless, one National must be chosen for the All-Star team. Cristian Guzman will be the one chosen, even if it means one of those other shortstops will get left off. Them's the breaks. I'll say nothing more in defense of that, because Manny Acta said it much better than I ever could. And English isn't even his first language.

Quit putting words in my mouth and maybe I'll quit calling you names. Maybe. But don't count on it.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | June 14, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

For the stadium subsidy, then against it. For Guzzy going to the AS game, now you're against it....

Pretty soon you're going to be my biggest fan!

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 14, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

I got new posted, so here it is again:


Nice work Steven. While I agree with the general premise of your data and your overall point to a somewhat lesser extent, I think it's important to remember that All Star selections are based off of fan selections, and not always merit.

There have been several selections where either name recognition, being a player on a major market team, or just sentimental feelings have landed a player on the team more so than actual play.

Does that mean that people from Bowden's teams got shafted? I don't know, I doubt it as the overall product is usually pretty good. But maybe a rookie got hurt because he would have had to win a write in campaign, which is much more difficult. Carlos Quinten of the White Sox comes to mind for this year's game.

So like I said, great job, but let's not put too much stock into something the fans choose. As we all know on this blog, fans can be pretty big homers.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | June 14, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

As I keep on saying, Lopez is not hitting close to 250, which is his career average. Why are people demanding for more? Why can't people just be patient and watch the other players on this team regress to the mean?

Posted by: SF Fan | June 14, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

by "not", I really meant "now"

Posted by: SF Fan | June 14, 2008 11:35 PM | Report abuse

I just saw on mlb.com that Instant replay is on the horizon and might be instituted as early as Aug 1.

Chico - can you ask Mr. Bowden why the general managers want this?

Posted by: No Instant Replay | June 14, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

"For the stadium subsidy, then against it. For Guzzy going to the AS game, now you're against it....

Pretty soon you're going to be my biggest fan!"

You read the words I write, and immediately you write something that shows that you're not comprehending them, Steven. (And there, I'm not even calling you a name.) If you obviously can't accurately describe what you're reading here, why should anyone pay any mind to what you write here? Clearly, you're operating in your own twisted world of misinformation and spin. You must feel right at home on Capitol Hill!

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | June 14, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

@No Instant Replay
I believe that it is only in order to verify close HR calls. There are numerous bad calls on HRs every year. My favorite being when Frank Robinson convinced the umpires to call back a Braves shot at ol' RFK.

Sometime in the past month or so there was a real bad week where like 4 calls were controversial.

That's all I know, does anyone else know more?

Posted by: NattyDelite! | June 14, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, only the umpires can initiate a review using the instant replay. Managers can't throw challenge flags or anything.

Posted by: res21 | June 14, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Flores is our allstar.

Posted by: NatBisquit | June 15, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

For the first time, I'm convinced that Bowden needs to go. It seems this whole season is a comedy of errors. This goof up with the DL stint is the final straw.

Time after time they've left injured players on the roster only to DL them a week or so later, leaving Acta short a player.

Kasten and the Lerners must see this, don't they?

Heck, as poorly ran and misguided as the Expos were in their final years, things like this NEVER EVER EVER happened.

Posted by: Expos Fan | June 15, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

BTW, could we possibly stop evaluating Bowden based on his track record with the Reds. Please, if you must keep playing that one sour note, limit your criticisms to the Nats. Hate him because he signed Guzman and traded for Guillen in 2005; traded Wilkerson and Galaraga for Soriano in 2006; drafted rule-5 Flores in 2007; and failed to sign Andruw Jones in 2008. Hate him because he traded away Vidro for virtually nothing; cheated the Reds out of Kearns, Wagner, and Lopez; and wasted the cheap Lerners money on 19 of 20 draft choices in 2007. Hate him for all those things but please, please stop hating him for what he did under Marge Schott. She's dead.

Posted by: NatBisquit | June 15, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Why should we assume a) that Perez will be ready before June 26; b) that forcing Perez to miss one extra start is a bad thing; or c) that somehow this is a mistake worthy of declaring a last straw? I assume it was truly a mistake and that the mistake was Bowden's but who cares? Clippard gets to pitch again. It hardly ruins our chances of winning the world series. Seems like we should be applauding the fact that we acquired Clippard. I think we get carried away with the indignation sometimes.

Posted by: And another thing | June 15, 2008 12:47 AM | Report abuse

And the winning streak hits 2!!!

3 of our last 5!!!

Go Nats!

Posted by: natsinthevalley | June 15, 2008 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Rauch for president! 12 pitches, 10 strikes, 3 strikeouts. 1 more save.

Posted by: SF Fan | June 15, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse

I feel like some of you missed the game tonight...

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 15, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

I agree, Bowden should be evaluated strictly on his performance with the Nats. I don't care what he did with the Reds and I based my last post on his performance this year, which in my humble opinion, is sufficient to get him fired.

Posted by: Expos Fan | June 15, 2008 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Nice work, Clippard, especially your strikeout of Sexton with the bases loaded.
Bringing up Lo Duca and sending Clippard down now does not improve the club, in my biased opinion.

Posted by: Dale | June 15, 2008 6:23 AM | Report abuse

I don't really care about the Reds, either except that it tells us something about whether we have a good GM or not.

I look at his overall track record as a GM because I think it's the most fair way to evaluate his ability as a GM. It's not fair to him to disregard his successes as GM there. Nor does it make sense to disregard his failure. I'm trying hard to AVOID making knee-jerk, thoughtless, unfair, emotional calls for anyone's head, unless it really seems like getting rid of them will make us better.

A lot of things a GM does can only be evaluated over the long haul. Drafting for instance is impossible to evaluate in the short term. Sure its nice to have BA hype our draft last year, but being ranked number 1 now doesn't mean much. Even the 2005 draft is hard to evaluate now. If Zimmerman become an AS .290-25-90 guy with gold glove defense for 20 years and Lannan becomes a 3, then it's a very good draft. If Lannan is more of a borderline 5, and Zimmerman regresses, and Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki (whom we passed on for Zim) become HOFs, then not so much. But it's not too soon to evaluate Bowden's effectiveness as a drafter and developer of young players in Cincy.

Trades have to be evaluated over the long haul too. Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz seemed great for the Doyle side when it happened, now not so much. The Kearns, et. al. trade looked incredibly lopsided for us when it happened, but if Lopez and Kearns never perform any better for us than they have and Bray turns into a bullpen stalwart and Majewski finds his way back to 2005 form, then we'll be on the short end of that. Even this Bowden gem--trading a minor league arm named B.J. Ryan for a 4-start rental of Shawn Estes seemed... ok Shawn Estes was never a good idea, but not as bad as it does now.

Then there is the chorus of people who say that everything Bowden did in Cincy is irrelevant because of Marge Schott, tight payrolls, etc. Personally, I give him SOME latitude for this, but I can't see how you just give him a total pass on a decade-plus. Especially when you factor in that, actually, he had a competitive payroll for a majority of his time there, and in fact a league-leading payroll for a few years, and that Schott was banned from involvement in baseball operations, and they got a new stadium, and that Bowden's predecessors were actually VERY successful under Schott (1991 WS winners, perennial playoff team in the late 80s)... all that tells me that Schott was a drag, but not THAT big of a drag. Bowden was still the guy in charge who made over 100 trades and 600 draft picks and bottom line the team lost a lot more than it won.

Finally, I don't hate Bowden. I don't really care about him personally. I love the Nationals, and I'm convinced by the evidence that they are a LOT less likely to turn things around with him than they would be without him, or with let's say Walt Jocketty, who was available last off-season, or Mike Rizzo, who's track record from AZ and what he's done here is far more encouraging.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 15, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

506 is right. We had a game last night. I fell asleep in the 3rd, but just read the gamer.

First, the Mariners ARE terrible. Not that it isn't good to win, just saying.

But this seems good--young pitcher comes up, gets the win after a quality, 6+ inning start, Meat continues to heat up, Rivera, Ayala, and Rauch do their thing in the 7th, 8th, and 9th, and best of all... Jesus!

Now one of you people who are smarter than me can explain why we're dumping said young pitcher and cutting into Jesus's playing time for Mr. .200-.290-.260? Must be the 9% caught stealing.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 15, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

The Mariners MUST be bad.

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 15, 2008 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Interesting article introducing people to the VORP in the paper today. Since Sheinen didn't include all the Nats, and you have to be a subscriber to get it from BP.com, here's the whole team so far this year:

OFFENSE:
Cristian Guzman 20.7
Jesus Flores 14.7
Nick Johnson 8
Ronnie Belliard 4.9
Dmitri Young 4.5
Lastings Milledge 4.1
Aaron Boone 3.2
Ryan Zimmerman 2.1
Wil Nieves 1.6
Elijah Dukes 0.2
Kory Casto -0.5
Ryan Langerhans -1.1
Felipe Lopez -1.9
Paul Lo Duca -2
Willie Harris -3.8
Johnny Estrada -4.1
Rob Mackowiak -5.3
Wily Mo Pena -10.3
Austin Kearns -10.7

PITCHING
John Lannan 16.9
Jon Rauch 10
Saul Rivera 6.9
Odalis Perez 6.8
Tim Redding 3.8
Charlie Manning 3.7
Joel Hanrahan 3.5
Shawn Hill 2.5
Chad Cordero 1.6
Tyler Clippard 1.2
Jesus Colome 0.4
Chris Schroder 0
Ray King -0.2
Brian Sanches -0.2
Garrett Mock -1.5
Luis Ayala -1.9
Jason Bergmann -4.6
Matt Chico -4.8
Michael O'Connor -6.9

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 15, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I agree SoCH. I do like some of his moves and last year I didn't think was too bad but this year he seems slow to get guys medical tests, this screw up with the DL (although I'm happy to see Clippard get a shot) and things like that.

I just don't see things getting better with him on the helm.

Posted by: Expos Fan | June 15, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I was thinking that Guzman's production has been so good, that the Nats would have been worse off signing A-rod and playing him at short. I was right, in that Guzman has had 117 more at bats, and been healthy the whole season. But in 117 fewer at bats, A-Rod has 10 more RBI's.
A-ROD
AtBats OPS Slg BA RBI
180 .407 .589 .322 34
Guzman
297 .329 .444 .310 24
*******************************************


Santana wasn't available as an FA, but ARod was! Now THERE'S a guy who would have made us better immediately, would have put butts in the seats, and is worth every dollar in terms of wins.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 14, 2008 8:21 PM

Posted by: flynnie | June 15, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I thought I'd apply the VORP concept that Sheinen wrote about today to our AS debate.

Assume you take 2 shortstops (which is the case, unless you have to add one for the "every team gets one guy" rule) and 5-6 relievers each year.

Rauch (10.0) is tied with Francisco Cordero at #4 among NL closers by VORP, behind Lidge (13), Wood (12.6), and Lyon (13.4). There are middle relievers with higher VORP (Heath Bell, J.C. Romero, Renyel Pinto, to name 3), but the AS game almost always ignores them (like it or not, I don't but the standard has always been starters and closers only, unless you pitch for Boston or NY).

Guzman's 20.7 VORP places him 5th behind Hanley (34.7!), Reyes (26.6), Furcal (27.1), and Tejada (20.9). Surprisingly to me, Rollins is at just 13.4, so unless he goes on a tear he's actually out of the conversation at least for this year.

So, based on VORP, Rauch makes the cut, and would (barely) make it even without the affirmative action for the Nationals. Guzzy doesn't make the cut, though he's not the total embarrassment Dmitri was last year, when he went despite not even being in the top half of NL 1Bs.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 15, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Guz will never approach ARod RBI status...he's a leadoff hitter most of the time, which follows the pitcher in the NL. RBI comparison between the two is not a fair comparison.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 15, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

@flynnie--come on now. I wasn't really serious about ARod, and no of course he wouldn't lose the 15-20 pounds he'd need to drop to return to SS, but you aren't really serious that you'd take Guzzy over ARod either.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 15, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

@SC Nats Fan--you point being that if Guzzy hit clean up for the Yanks that he'd put up 156 RBI?

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 15, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

File this under "pie in the sky non-sense," but if the Lerners REALLY were willing to spend like we could, you sign ARod, play him at third, trade Zimmerman with Balester or Detwiler in a package for a front-line starter like Santana, Sabathia, or Haren, and we'd be in the mix for a wild card right now.

It's wild, I know, but doable. And probably in the long run it's not the smartest way to build a lasting contender, but don't tell me "nothing could have been done" to make us better now.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 15, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Carrying forward from a few posts ago: Thanks for your post, flynnie. I have really appreciated your optimism and enthusiasm and hope to continue reading flynnie posts in the future.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 15, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Not at all, but Arod in the leadoff spot in the NL wouldn't have 156 either. I'm just saying an elephant isn't a tiger.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 15, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I'll add that Guz is among the league leaders (NL) in hits. To do that with absolutely no protection is an astounding stat, wouldn't you agree?

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 15, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse


Why isn't Flores getting a mention?

Posted by: brothbart | June 15, 2008 12:07 AM
******************************************
AB OBP SLG AVG
R. Martin Dodgers 231 .412 .424 .312
B. McCann Braves 230 .381 .561 .304
B. Molina SF 225 .340 .467 .311
C. Soto Cubs 222 .376 .532 .288
J. Kendall Mil 206 .323 .345 .248
Y. Molina StL 204 .358 .382 .299

Jesus Flores Nats 101 .400 .584 .327


Posted by: flynnie | June 15, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

SoCH - Your pie in the sky is delicious! The thought of going to NatsPark to see A-Rod and Santana has me giddy. Surely, the Nats would be contending, when you consider how many games they lost because they scored 2 runs or less against mediocre pitching.

Posted by: flynnie | June 15, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, 1a, and I'm looking forward to the Father's Day gift of another win tonight! The fathers living in Seattle have already got their gift- get to live in Seattle. My 2 year old grandson is swinging his Nationals vinyl bat (we had to hide the wooden one) and running around the house after each swing, a purposeful look on his face, playing "aceball." He actually likes to watch games with me!

Posted by: flynnie | June 15, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Whoa... AROD would not have signed with the Nats for any amount of money approaching fair compensation. Trading for Santana would have wiped out the farm system before it recovers (and it is unlikely the Twins would have liked our package). Santana has 7 wins for a much better (talent wise) Mets team. AROD spent three weeks on the DL and plays 3B and SS - not the Nats areas of need. More realistic, but also unlikely - Tori Hunter, Aaron Rowand, or Andruw Jones. Only Hunter has been healthy all year and he cost $156M (or about) and has not exactly been earning against that value.

The Free Agent class of 2008 seems much more likely to be of help. Perhaps Sabathia could be tempted to come to DC instead of NY or Boston, but I doubt it. I can't see the Yankees or Sox being outbid by the Nats. Maybe Furcal and Hudson could be gotten (although I'd vote for Guzman right now).

The best way for the Nats to attract qualified free agents is to finish the second half of the year over .500. Then maybe equal dollars will compete for most free agents. But more likely the Nats will have to outbid the competition's already inflated dollars to attract the top players.

There are still several other areas the Nats need to improve in before dropping the BIG free agent dollars: 1) better medical, training, and conditioning programs/personnel; 2) better marketing (revenue generating) investments; and 3) better coaching (or at least better results) with regard to fundamentals and on-field inteligence. When they get those things fixed then they will start generating the revenue to pay for Free Agents and those free agents will be more meaningful because they will have teammates to support them.

Posted by: NatBisquit | June 15, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

SoCH - Do you honestly believe, for one second, that if Jim Bowden had been told, "The checkbook is open - go get 'em" he would NOT have made these deals? Unlike Cashman, he's never had the chance, which is why so many of us, including Svrluga, say give him a chance.
******************************************
File this under "pie in the sky non-sense," but if the Lerners REALLY were willing to spend like we could, you sign ARod, play him at third, trade Zimmerman with Balester or Detwiler in a package for a front-line starter like Santana, Sabathia, or Haren, and we'd be in the mix for a wild card right now.

It's wild, I know, but doable. And probably in the long run it's not the smartest way to build a lasting contender, but don't tell me "nothing could have been done" to make us better now.

Posted by: flynnie | June 15, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Too, it seems like Flores' hitting is best when he plays evry day, or close to it-I'm wondering what effect two or more games off a week might have on his hitting.
He's in a comfort zone now, and there's no sense disturbing it.

Posted by: MattB. | June 15, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Chico, Be careful who you give credit to. SoCH already drinks his own Kool Aid, I mean, have you seen his bloviation filled posts day after day after day.

SoCH, your hatred of Bowden is flat out frightening. You are like a lover scorned. I agree with NatBisquit. Let's not judge Bowden on his Reds time, just his time here.

And ARod here? Please stop. That Dude was not signing here.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | June 15, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Even the best catchers routinely get one or two games off a week. Day game after night game, etc. It's a tough, physical position. The cumulative effect of having to play every day would probably wear down a catcher's hitting much more quickly than whatever bits of edge would be lost by not hitting for a day.

When LoDuca comes back, I fully expect him to catch about as often as Nieves is now, unless Flores goes into a protracted slump. I hope they keep Nieves around, though, because I see him as the ideal backup to Flores next year and beyond, when LoDuca is gone. If LoDuca can stay healthy and perform adequately in a limited role, he's the kind of player that could be traded to a contender later in the season for a prospect or two. Remember what I wrote yesterday about trading from a position of strength? This would be exhibit A of that.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | June 15, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

PLO being dealt from a position of strength is fantasyland. He lives in the past, his game is in the past, hopefully soon, his mind and body will be in the past regardless of value, limited at best. Perhaps Estrada can carry his bags on the way out the door. See ya

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 15, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I'll take a break from lurking just long enough to add that I also enjoyed SoCH's post. I have lost patience with Jim Bowden like most of you.

We have a decent number of players who were named as all-stars for Hagerstown and Potomac. Hopefully they can be our deserving All-Stars that Bowden can later claim (or Rizzo and Dana Brown). One was Adrian Alaniz, who was robbed of going 10-0 for the year in his first start for Harrisburg (6 scoreless innings, no-decision in a Harrisburg victory).

Posted by: Positively Half St. | June 15, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

He did do a lot of work on it, I'll give him that. But it's statistically meaningless cherrypicking. Well-intentioned, maybe a direction for further study, but cherrypicking.

These were Bowden picks who made the ASG, and people on other teams who didn't, but should have, in SOCH's opinion. (I suspect one could get an argument in a few of these cases, but let's accept that for the sake of argument.)

Now, if one adds Bowden picks who got hosed because someone else had to get in (and maybe there are none), because you're counting it against him the other way, it would be a little more balanced. If you compare Bowden to other GMs with more than, say, I'm guessing here, 10 years? of work, because longevity should count (Beane, Schuerholz, maybe Terry Ryan, Sabean, come to mind), it might have a veneer of context. Still very subjective, but at least a bit of cover, if only for modesty's sake.

The premise is interesting -- a good team has stars, and so a good GM gets multiple stars, and so the best GM is the one who gets the most stars -- and maybe that does hold up under study. Would be worth looking at.

But since free agency, and fan voting, you'd have to correct for budget and market size, at the very least, and probably a few other things. And always: COMPARED TO WHAT? In this case, that would be other GMs in his era.

Posted by: CE | June 15, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

oh, and how do you count people he drafted, who made the ASG after he lost their services? That would affect Billy Beane's score a lot, I suspect.

Posted by: ce | June 15, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Flush with excitement after having Chico Harlan crawl in and kiss his prostate, Steven of Capitol Hill expoundeth thus:

"Finally, I don't hate Bowden. I don't really care about him personally."

Yeah, right. And Captain Ahab loved and respected Moby Dick as a mammal, too. Nothing personal in that vendetta, either.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | June 15, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

@flynnie (10:40 am)--Of course ARod probably wouldn't have signed here. Hence the preface of "pie in the sky nonsense."

But he might have. We'll never know for sure, because we didn't try. I remember a certain agent at the WS saying he was leaving the Yanks for the open market, and the Yanks saying, "he's gone." If we had offered, and then he said no, that would be not surprising. But that didn't happen.

And you're right it would have required the Lerners to say "money's no object, let's win."

So it's not all or mostly Bowden's fault that the scenario I laid out didn't happen--I didn't say it was.

My point is that there are too many people ready to accept that it's no one's fault that the team is terrible, that there's no path to take that doesn't involve 90-100 losses this year, or losing seasons in 06 and 07. It's just not true. This is a huge market team with enough revenue to compete with just about anyone. There are things we could have done over the last 3 years to win now.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 15, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

@CE--I agree with pretty much everything you say, and in fact I acknowledged pretty much all those points in my original post.

If I had more time or didn't get bored I would have looked at some of the contemporaries as you suggest. Maybe you can do that. But my gut is that this is low, even if you factor in a couple "shafted" choices in there. Only one 2-time AS in 16 years? Does that seem good to you?

But there can be no cherry-picking on this: in 16 years, his teams have lost more than they've won, by a lot. If that changes, I'll be the first to cheer Bowden.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 15, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

And I for one wish Stan Kasten had chosen to do them, but we knew from the day the commissioner told Kasten to get with the Lerner group what was going to happen. And Kasten was clear about that, too. That boat is out in the open sea now. The horse has left the barn. The deal is done. The Plan is The Plan, take it or leave it. I don't like it, you don't like, but it is the path they've set themselves on. This is Stan's team, not ours. We just pay (or not) to see it implode. The only way that changes is if Stan, not Jim Bowden, leaves.
Not that I'm discouraged, or bitter about it, mind you.

***********
There are things we could have done over the last 3 years to win now.
Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 15, 2008 1:21 PM

Posted by: CE | June 15, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Another day, another come from behind O's win against the Pirates.

Maybe the Nats could learn a thing or two from the professional baseball team that resides up in Baltimore.

I'm going out to get some crab cakes and some Stella Artois. Who's with me?

Posted by: O's Exec | June 15, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

go get crabs? you don't carry 'em around with you?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 15, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

There are multiple flaws in Steven of Capitol Hill's Bowden All-Star treatise, enough to make one question Chico Harlan's wisdom in endorsing it as something worth paying attention to.

(1) All Star recognition covers performance in the first half of the season only. If Steven wants to downgrade Bowden for not being able to pick players who will perform well in the first half of a season, then he needs to give Bowden just as much credit for putting together the team that won the first-half championship in 2005.

(2) There are two ways for a player to make the All Star team: fan vote for the starters, and manager selection for the rest of the team - with the added provision that every team must be represented by at least one player. The fan voting process has all the integrity of the voting on American Idol, without the opportunity to text in one's vote. (And come to think of it, Steven of Capitol Hill has all the charisma of Simon Cowell, doesn't he? I've never met Steven personally, though, so I can't say whether or not he shares Simon Cowell's propensity to wear tight T shirts despite having man boobs...) The manager selection process has all the fairness of Hillary's claim that she won the popular vote in the primaries and thus should be given the nomination. The whole process says nothing about the skill of the person who hired the players who manage to win the popularity contest which is the All Star game. GMs hire players to win games for them, not to win beauty contests.

(3) Others have pointed out already that Steven focused entirely on players who made the All Star team in the year Bowden was GM, without looking at players who may have been on his team that year but became All Stars in another year with another team.

I could go on, but it's lunchtime and I'm hungry.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | June 15, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

really, maybe we should just rename this blog "What's the point?" and let the troll have it to his lice-cake eating self.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 15, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Exactly so, SoCh - how do we know who would sign with us - we didn't try! Lerners ARE Cheap is right-why are we all acting like bankers or heirs to the Lerner fortune? They wanted the team bad enough to buy it. Why haven't they done more to give us a decent team in the first year of the D.C. paid-for park? As soon as Kasten was hired, and he's a very smart guy, he started apologizing for how terrible the team would be for three years. Why? Becasue his owners were too cheap/poor to do what he knew was needed for the team to be good? And Ted Lerner did call the free agent salaries insane at his first winter meeting. Why continue to defend them? They're not going to reward your loyalty with a Diamond Club Suite, believe me. Boswell warned about this last year, and it is happening.

Posted by: flynnie | June 15, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Exactly so, SoCh - how do we know who would sign with us - we didn't try! Lerners ARE Cheap is right-why are we all acting like bankers or heirs to the Lerner fortune? They wanted the team bad enough to buy it. Why haven't they done more to give us a decent team in the first year of the D.C. paid-for park? As soon as Kasten was hired, and he's a very smart guy, he started apologizing for how terrible the team would be for three years. Why? Because his owners were too cheap/poor to do what he knew was needed for the team to be good? And Ted Lerner did call the free agent salaries insane at his first winter meeting. Why continue to defend them? They're not going to reward your loyalty with a Diamond Club Suite, believe me. Boswell warned about this last year, and it is happening.

Posted by: flynnie | June 15, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh, no! I'm posting in stereo! I didn't mean to, and don't know how it happened. Happy Fathers day to you all, and I hope you have happy memories of your Dads, or those who filled in as Dads!

Posted by: flynnie | June 15, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Love is one funny dude!
*********************************************


somehow i think me saying enough is enough just win wont really change anything. if it did the mariners would have won the 95 world series, the redskins would move to montreal, the yankees and sox would never play again on national tv, and clint would be somewhere on the bottom of the anacostia...im not sayin...im just sayin

Posted by: love | June 14, 2008 9:54 PM

Posted by: flynnie | June 15, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

To reiterate: I'm not making any grand conclusions from the list of Bowden AS guys. It is what it is--doesn't tell you a ton, but it doesn't tell you nothing. In and of itself, it's not a reason to like Bowden or loathe him. If he fielded winning teams with no all-stars, I'd be psyched. If he fielded losing teams with 3-4 all-stars every year, I'd consider that failure.

Ultimately, all that matters is wins and losses. We know that in 16 years, the bottom line isn't good: 5 winning seasons, 1 playoff appearance, no WS appearances. Add up the overall, and it's a below-.500 record.

But since even I get bored pointing out the black and white reality, this was just an interesting (to me, and apparently at least a few others), though certainly flawed in all the ways CE, ABM and others have said, way of looking at the talent Bowden's been able to acquire.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 15, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

thank you, thank you i am funny...and a dude.

Posted by: love | June 15, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Chico is no Svrluga. Couldn't Barry at least cover the home games?

Posted by: Barely Svrluga | June 15, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

"Chico is no Svrluga. Couldn't Barry at least cover the home games?"

And Barry was also smart enough as blogmeister here to not feed the trolls on his own blog. Can't say that about Chico, unfortunately.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | June 15, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"'Geez Dad, for what you're paying to take me to this game you could have bought me a new laptop.' "

Still, when the Nationals' previous management group, installed by Major League Baseball in 2005, drew up plans for the Presidents Club and the other premium seating areas for the new ballpark, it priced those areas -- as well as regular seats -- at much lower figures than the current ownership has. Members of the Nationals' previous management group, and others in baseball, suggest privately that this is why the Nationals have not drawn as well as a team in a new stadium should.

Kasten declined to comment directly to questions about the Nationals' ticket pricing policies.

From Today's Post, "Far from Cheap Seats," Les Carpenter

Posted by: flynnie | June 15, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Echoing flynnie's wish of a happy father's day to all (including you, flynnie). Go Nats!

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 15, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I forgot to say, new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 15, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Manny - glass half full
With accountability:
Fun ride to good times

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | June 17, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

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