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Chat reminder

Wednesday, June 25

We're chatting today at 2 p.m. Possible topics include injuries, injuries, injuries, or lightheadedness. Non-medicinal questions will also be accepted.

In the meantime, here's the coverage from yesterday's quagmire. Shawn Hill is likely heading to the disabled list, and Nick Johnson is going to stay on the DL all season.

I also noticed that one or two people on this blog mentioned Destin Hood, the team's second-round pick (still unsigned) in the latest draft. He showed up at Nats Park yesterday for a little BP, a little sight-seeing, a little gladhanding -- a de facto recruiting tour. Mark Viera, a Penn State guy who's interning with the Post this summer, was with me at the ballpark yesterday and wrote about Hood's day.

---

Here, by the way, is some more detailed stuff from Hood:

"It's a lot of fun. I've been waiting all day on the plane. All the White House stuff with my little brother. But I'm ready for this right here."

What else have you done on the trip?

"We went to go see the White House when we landed. They took us to the White House and they took us to lunch It was a lot of fun."

You went into the White House?

"Yeah, we took a tour of the White House."

Is this your first time in D.C.?

"No, I actually worked out about a week before the draft. It's my second time up."

So Jim Bowden said you're a baseball player first.

"I've played baseball since I was 4. I kind of jumped into football when I was 10, just so happened to be good at it, you know just stayed with it to see where that takes me. Being a baseball player, it feels good just going and playing the game, but it's good to have both sides of the aspect and both sides of the sports."

As far as choosing between the two at this point, do you have any idea how you want to pursue a professional career?

"I would love to pursue a professional career, but we've just got to work everything out with my parents and everything. What's best for my family will be good."

Is there a deadline you have to tell Alabama what you want to do?

"No, not necessarily. Coach Saban is very understanding. Whenever it gets done it's fine with him, if it doesn't, when I report in August, just whenever."

Other than Alabama, what schools did take official visits to?

"I've taken official to Florida, LSU and Auburn, and after that I was burnt out."

So is this a baseball recruiting trip?

"Yeah it's a lot more fun for me."

How is this different than any other?

"I mean, just the stadium at the pro level. The big screens and everything, it's really fun. Football college football you see all the stands a just a football field."

By Chico Harlan  |  June 25, 2008; 9:01 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Senators moved to Minneapolis. The Nats are moving to Rochester, Minn.
Next: The lineups, and a meeting (if it helps)

Comments

Marcus Jones was here last week and Destin Hood was here yesterday. There are reports that four draft picks are expected in DC this week. Any idea who the others are going to be?

Posted by: Brian | June 25, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

"Just a football field" - that won't play well in T-town. He sure sounds like a baseball player first.

Posted by: lowcountry | June 25, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Sign 'em up.

If your so dedicated to spending $ on The Plan instead of the here-and-now.....then I don't understand what's taking so long to sign these guys. Show me the money.

If they don't sign everyone of their draft picks then the fading loyalty I have for the Lerners/Kasten/Bowden will be long gone. We've sacrificed a quality team on the major league level to spend money on the draft and development.....put up or shut up.

Posted by: Corey | June 25, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Whoops, you're - not your

Still early in the day

Posted by: Corey | June 25, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Corey, they've already put up once before (perfect signing record last draft, including paying several players far more than slot dictated). What exactly leads you to believe that they're not attempting to do the exact same thing this time around?

Posted by: faNATic | June 25, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

according to washington.nationals.mlb.com/team/draft.jsp?c_id=was the Nats haven't signed a pick above the 8th round. Leave it to the Nats to pay a scouting department a lot of money and then not sign the guys.

You will never convince me that this team wouldn't be better off "investing" more money in high priced Free Agents (like Soriano) and then either keep them or trade them for draft picks, or at least get compensated more draft picks by MLB's supplemental rounds. Essentially they would be "buying" more draft picks. At this point other than Flores, Lannan, & Zimmerman everyone else should be traded. We can lose with or without any of our current older players. O's and Jays need a SS, Trade Guzman. Anyone need a closer or middle reliever? Trade our whole bullpen. Hell Trade Manny Acta to the Mets for whatever. Trade Bowden for another Segway. Trade Kasten before he destroys our fanbase like he did Atlanta's .

Ok I feel better now. Thanks for letting me vent. :)

Posted by: NatsFan | June 25, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Sign him, plug him in left field right now. Kidding. LoDuca is a P.O.S. outfielder. We should not (under any circumstances) play our guys out of position. It's embarrassing to them, the team, and disrespectful to the fans who play $10-$350 to see this mess!

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

The Nationals first five picks were Aaron Crow, a college RHP rumored to be looking for a well above slot deal and a major league contract; Danny Espinos, a college SS represented by Scott Boras, and three high schoolers (two of which were rumored to be tough signs [Destin Hood & Adrian Nieto]).

Teams have until August 15 to get deals done and these types of negotiations take time.

If on August 16th, any of the players selected in the first ten rounds or so are not signed, then the questions can be raised as to their commitment. But raising those issues only three weeks into a ten week progress seems a bit premature (at least to me).

Posted by: Brian | June 25, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

@ NatsFan - The Nationals have signed their 6th and 7th round selections. Paul Demny and Dan Killian are signed and assigned to the GCL Nationals

Posted by: Brian | June 25, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I got newposted:

VT, do you have to buy a franchise to dispense all that Kool-Aid?

Seriously, your post is so wrong on so many levels that I don't know where to start, and I'm not going to be able to address all of it. Here are a few points:

The issue of concern as I see it (and I don't speak for SoCH who you were addressing in your post) is not with the current losing, and it's not a question of impatient NOW NOW NOW as you suggest. The problems are that 1) this team on the major league level is going backwards, not forwards, and 2) *how* the team is losing--the team is playing with an awful attitude and no sense of purpose.

The coaching has been horrible--and apparently tolerated. Zimmerman while he was healthy earlier this season showed real signs of regressing in his development, and not improvement--which I attribute largely to poor coaching, and the absence of experienced players from whom he can learn (and who can take some pressure off him).

These are not signs of an organization that is turning itself around with an eye towards competing in the future. These are signs of a stagnant bad team.

Moreover, your suggestion that fans need to "support" this team in order to keep it from moving away is just plain wrong--the team cannot go anywhere for 30 years. Personally, I am a full season-ticket holder, so in your view do I support the team? I believe I do, but I just expect them to make an effort to win and take the business of rebuilding seriously, which in my view they are not doing. I'm not going to just sit around dumbly and hope, as you put it, that "things can magically turn themselves around."

As to your comment that "the Nationals minor leagues now have the best pitching top to bottom of any organization"? Oh, how I wish that were true. Unfortunately, it just isn't. They have some decent prospects, but so do many other teams. And the Nats don't have anyone right now who in their systemt who has shown the potential to be a #1 starter.

VT, a plan is fine. A plan does demand patience. I agree with that. The problem is that this ownership and management hasn't shown that they deserve our patience, and they haven't shown that they are competent in implementing any plan. The team is moving backwards, not forwards.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | June 25, 2008 9:44 AM

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | June 25, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

"We can lose with or without any of our current older players. O's and Jays need a SS, Trade Guzman. Anyone need a closer or middle reliever?"
_________________________

It would be nice to get some great to exceptional value for these guys. We got Chico and Mock for Livan. I'm not so happy with that upside. The problem will dealing our guys is that they're not of that top tier and we'd only get marginal talent back, especially since teams are more reluctant to deal their youth.

RE: Guzman. Since he's a free agent after this season, it might be better to just hold onto him and get the 2 draft picks...if, for instance, we were offered guys like Chico and Mock in return.

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

"Guzman. Since he's a free agent after this season, it might be better to just hold onto him and get the 2 draft picks"

You actually think I'm going to be a Type A guy? I wasn't even a Type B the past two seasons and the rankings are based on a rolling average of the previous couple seasons. I have likely done enough in 2008 to be a Type B which will give you one pick.

Posted by: (fake) Cristian Guzman | June 25, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Chico, I've really enjoyed your blog posts the past couple days, you've given us a lot of good info here, thanks.

Hood sounded like a really good guy, I enjoyed his interview with Don and Bob (and it was an added bonus to see Sutton get seriously frustrated with Carpy for stepping all over his questions). Let's hope the Nats get him in the fold and put some more potential big bats into the system.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 25, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info on Hood, Chico, just what I was looking for. Keep us posted on his status, if you can, and any information you hear about our draft picks, more specifically the top guys.

Posted by: Nats703 | June 25, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Naive quote of the year: "Coach Saban is very understanding."

Posted by: joemktg | June 25, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

while i'm with everyone who wishes they'd signed more of the early picks already, i'm not going to panic and/or get bent out of shape over it until it's 8/16 and the opportunity is gone. it would be nice for them to sign in june, but we all know that some negotiations take longer than others.

and if they do a crappy job of signing draft picks, i'll be right with those of you complaining already come 8/16.

Posted by: 231 | June 25, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Lerners are Cheap--what exactly do you mean when you say that the team is playing with an awful attitude? Granted, they wd have to be superhuman not be to be somewhat demoralized at this point, but I don't see that the team as a whole is failing to make an effort. Errors aren't necessarily due to a bad attitude. Individual players sometimes seem to be unfocused, but that's been an ongoing thing with, say, Lopez.

Posted by: Section 109 | June 25, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I notice two Nats stories in the past two days with bylines from Post interns. Looks like Chico's getting some additional support on the Nats beat, or at least getting some additional writing opportunities for the existing staff.

More reporters=more reporting.

Nice job.

Posted by: Coverage is increasing | June 25, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I drank too much of the Kool-Aid, but I don't think this team is regressing as much as most say it has. Sure this year is practically a lost cause, but considering that about half of the everyday starters have been injured for most of the season, it's underdstandable.

Now, what I see is that the Nats have some slots sewed up for 2009:

C - Jesus Flores
1B - tba
2B - tba
3B - Ryan Zimmerman
SS - tba
LF - Elijah Dukes
CF - Lastings Milledge
RF - Austin Kearns

I'm not counting on Nick Johnson to be the everyday 1B next year. I think his calling will be as a PH/defensive replacement. I'm also not sure if sigining Guzman for another 2+ years would be the best solution at short. I have been impressed with his batting average this season, but I just don't know if he could carry that over for the next 2+ years. Plus, his range at short is getting smaller and smaller, and I just see him as being more of a defensive liability the next next few seasons. Perhaps he could move to second?

So, do they splurge and sign a Furcal and/or Hudson to play MI next season? Do they sign a Teixeira to play first? It would be nice, but I don't know if this will happen. Still looking at what might be in place at each position, I'm not freaking out too much (yet).

Posted by: e | June 25, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

But like the Zimmerman signing argument, it goes two ways.

I know you all mean the team needs to step up, pay over slot if they have to, but it's the kids' decision too and they have a lot to consider.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 25, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Alright, maybe I jumped the gun a little bit. And, I wasn't criticizing yet - just saying....I hope that they sign all of their guys because, if not, all legitimacy of "The Plan" is out-the-window. I'm well aware of their 'signings' for last year, and I just hope that this year is a follow-up to that.

Maybe I just got a little over excited with Crow not being signed yet; however, I've learned not to take any JimBo quote without a grain of salt.

Posted by: Corey | June 25, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

to be fair, tho, natsnut, that's also part of the decision process on who to draft and where to draft them. signability is one of the reasons some guys slip. you have to do your homework on them and, while you should definitely take some chances (mcgeary is case in point), you can only take so many of them.

still, it's *way* early in the signing process to panic.

Posted by: 231 | June 25, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Line up next year - In addition to the Young Core Four (YCF - Flores, Zimmerman, Dukes, and Milledge), we have Dmitri (and Nick) signed, AK, as well as Belliard. I'd prefer Hudson, but probably could live with Belliard, especially if he's playing next to Furcal. It looks like there is a major leaguer at 1st, although the identity is foggy. I'm thinking an OF upgrade or one middle infield slot may be settled by a trade this year.

Pitching - Would anyone be really surprised if Bergmann and Lannan held their jobs and we came up with one more starter in the current player pool?

Not so bleak. His Hokieness was spot on.

Posted by: PTBNL | June 25, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

109, the team on the whole is coasting. Watch the infielders on relays--I've seen numerous relays recently where the infielders (not just Lopez) are not paying attention, not getting the ball crisply to the right base. Dmitri has failed to cover first base a couple times recently, and not because he's fat, but because he's not paying attention. Outfielders often don't back up plays, and don't hustle to the ball. These things are not necessarily documented by errors, but they reflect a bad attitude and lack of focus (and errors sometimes are the product of mental mistakes too). At-bats are undisciplined, too many guys going up to the plate without a notion of what they want to do, and hacking at anything. The team is not playing crisp baseball, which it can do even when it is losing.

You of course are welcome to disagree with my sentiments, but you should know that it is not just me saying this. Media around the country--including experienced former players--are not just commenting about how bad the Nats are, they are commenting about how the Nats are mailing it in and seem to have given up on the season. Our own radio announcers are commenting about how things the Nats are doing just "shouldn't happen." That's not a way to start moving the team forward for the future.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | June 25, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I think Tim Hudson would really love to come here -- let's see, I'll leave a good, always competitive club, and pass up all the other offers that I'll get from good teams, to play for the Nationals.

Sure, that'll happen.

Posted by: natty bo | June 25, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I think they meant me

Posted by: Orlando, not Tim, Hudson | June 25, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I believe the Hudson in this case refers to Orlando Hudson, the O-Dawg.

Posted by: CapHill | June 25, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Wait, did Hood visit the White House?

Posted by: John in Mpls | June 25, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

If you want to club the club, then why hasn't anyone asked them why they aren't one of the leading contenders to sign Michael Inoa. He's considered the equivalent of a top 10 pick and the leading team right now on his is the small market, going broke Oakland A's. Maybe Beans is just driving up the price.

Posted by: Damning evidence | June 25, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

PTBNL, you are a Red Sox fan also, right? So here's my question for you: would any of the Nats guys you've named below be someone that would want to start for the Red Sox this year over your guys, including Zimmerman over Lowell? (And assume Ortiz returns and Manny in the OF so we're not talking about Coco as an alternative.) I think if you are honest, you will have to say "no." Would you take Lannan or Bergmann over any of the Sox' young starters? It seems to me that what you are saying is that the Nats have a handful of competent guys, some of whom might--might--develop into quality major leaguers, but not a single one of whom you would want to start for your hoped-for championship team. To me, that's pretty bleak.
__________________
Line up next year - In addition to the Young Core Four (YCF - Flores, Zimmerman, Dukes, and Milledge), we have Dmitri (and Nick) signed, AK, as well as Belliard. I'd prefer Hudson, but probably could live with Belliard, especially if he's playing next to Furcal. It looks like there is a major leaguer at 1st, although the identity is foggy. I'm thinking an OF upgrade or one middle infield slot may be settled by a trade this year.

Pitching - Would anyone be really surprised if Bergmann and Lannan held their jobs and we came up with one more starter in the current player pool?

Not so bleak. His Hokieness was spot on.

Posted by: PTBNL | June 25, 2008 10:47 AM

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | June 25, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

http://tinyurl.com/4f25bn

From the article:

"Plate umpire Brian O'Nora was hit in the head by a shattered piece of Miguel Olivo's broken maple bat Tuesday night, sending blood streaming down his face and forcing him out of a game between the Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals.

"O'Nora was injured in the bottom of the second inning when Olivo's bat snapped on a groundout to shortstop. With blood pouring down his face, O'Nora rushed to Kansas City's dugout, where Jose Guillen quickly covered the umpire's head with a towel."


...you can stop saying "somebody's gonna get hurt" now. Someone got hurt.

Posted by: i hate walks | June 25, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"Wait, did Hood visit the White House?"

Yeah, it said in the paper that he was in the 'hood. But it sounded like he took the regular White House tourist tour, not that he had an audience with Bush like the Rangers did last Saturday. (BTW, nice of the Rangers to come visit with their former owner. Do you think the country Bush [used to] own will bother paying him a visit once he's settled in as the former owner? Would he serve us lunch if we did?)

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 25, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

VT fan, responding to your earlier post - I agree with much of your post and believe me, I have been patient. I patiently waited 33 seasons for a team to come back to DC and I have supported this team daily since they returned from going to games to writing letters to city council members to support the stadium and lease plan. Please do not resort to name calling like "crybaby" to dissent. I will not bail on this team, ever -- I just want to see evidence of progress and the lack of heads-up play on the field and Bowden negotiating with his first round pick through the media make things look very bad.

Now, to some of your other points...

Realize that the reason the senators left was because the fan base would not support them.

-- This is totally untrue, a persistent falsehood. The first team left because its owner decided to -- just like the Giants and Dodgers' owners.

The second team left because of Bob Short's greed and debt. In 1969 the team had the 6th best attendance in the AL -- nearly as high as the 109-win Baltimore club! This with the highest ticket prices in baseball. Even in 1971, the lame-duck club outdrew Cleveland and, possibly, the White Sox. This when Short only cleared trash from the stadium after each home series, not game by game. Poor, greedy ownership was the reason the team left not disloyal fans.

I don't think the Lerner's are bad owners or cheap, but they have made a lot of mistakes -- one example, building two buildings that block 75% of the fans from seeing one of the most stirring, goose-bump inducing symbols of freedom in the world -- the US Capitol. Both buildings remain empty. Second, doing nothing to guard against this kind of meltdown by signing some good FA's to fill out the roster and tutor the kids.

It is your job as a fan to suffer the lumps that come with having a team and that will make it all the more satisfying when they start to win. Please don't boo this team out of town just yet, they only just got here and I don't want a crybaby like you to ruin it for those of us who love baseball, not just a bandwagon eligible team.

-- I've suffered much for baseball. I have many friends who are Baltimore fans and all but one moaned to me about how unfair it was to "invade" Baltimore's market and how now they won't be able to compete with Boston and New York. Then, how Baltimore "deserved" an NFL team and it's not the same as baseball. One said, hey, I know how long you DC fans waited, congrats. One.

I have never booed the Nats and won't, but I will challenge their ownership and front office to make better decisions and manage the franchise better than they have so far. That's my duty as a fan as well.

I hope the future is bright, but feel quite worried JimBo and the Lerner's may squander it. But I will remain patient, attend as many games as I can, and never resort to cheap name-calling as a form of argument. I challenge you to do the same.

Posted by: steve | June 25, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Line up next year - In addition to the Young Core Four (YCF - Flores, Zimmerman, Dukes, and Milledge), we have Dmitri (and Nick) signed, AK, as well as Belliard. I'd prefer Hudson, but probably could live with Belliard, especially if he's playing next to Furcal. It looks like there is a major leaguer at 1st, although the identity is foggy. I'm thinking an OF upgrade or one middle infield slot may be settled by a trade this year.

Pitching - Would anyone be really surprised if Bergmann and Lannan held their jobs and we came up with one more starter in the current player pool?

Not so bleak. His Hokieness was spot on.

Posted by: PTBNL | June 25, 2008 10:47 AM
____________________________

I pretty much completely disagree with this. Once again, we get into the dream world where we make these players out to be guys who they aren't. AK!? Common man. Suddenly Belliard steps up and becomes a reliable starter? Bergmann suffers no let downs? Dimitri and Nick being signed is what we had this year. AK is what we had this year. Belliard is what we had this year. These players aren't reliable, and neither are Milledge and Dukes. Not yet.

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"Wait, did Hood visit the White House?"

I think that was a snark due to the number of times Hood mentioned it...

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Corey,
I agree with you but can wait until 15 Aug to evaluate the draft signings.

Brian,
I'm only aware of the status of our prospects and draft signings because of the excellent work you do on NFA. I agree that 15 Aug is the line in the sand, I just wanted to make a point of it before we get there. You are right, of course, about how well we did last year in signing our draftees. I desparately want to see that momentum continue. Atta boys to the Nats for signing 5 or 6 free agnets after the draft. They're apparently high risk high reward or organizational players but either way it shows effort in the right direction.

I would hope that the Nats would soon recognize the concept of sunk costs and cut some of the dead weight. I understand not being able to play WELL because of our limited talent base, but I will not tolerate not playing HARD. PLOD misses 2B by 20 feet on a casual toss. The next hustle play by FLOP will be his first. Meat waves a a ball directly at him. I have long since stopped expecting blood, sweat and tears but how about at least a grimace and a grunt from time to time? Further, these older players can infect the young. If we are going to have an AAAA team for a year or two I would much prefer to have one that showed at least a modicum of respect for the game, for each other and for the fans.
I ask that they:
Scout hard
Negotiate hard
Sign hard
Practice hard and
Play hard
I don't think that will happen until they cut the dead wood.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | June 25, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"With blood pouring down his face, O'Nora rushed to Kansas City's dugout, where Jose Guillen quickly covered the umpire's head with a towel."
___________________________________

Nice hustle Jose! Dare I say that we could use some of that around these parts.

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I'd honestly like to see M. Daniel/Bernadina playing somewhere in the outfield next year. Kearns hasn't produced much, if at all since he's been here. The 1B market(Dunn/Teixeira) has two quality players in it that are younger and with a better injury history than Furcal. I'd much rather invest in them and live with this team next year.

C: Flores
1B: Dunn(JB's fave)/Teixeira
2B: Belliard(I could live with him if we make a splash at 1B)
SS: Guzman
3B: Zimmerman
RF: Dukes
CF: Milledge
LF: M. Daniel

Posted by: Marcus | June 25, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Call me an optimist, 756*, but I think Milledge and Dukes have been better than I expected at this point in the season. Keep in mind, this is basically their first season playing everyday. I certainly did not expect .300/.400/.500 with 25 HR's and 100 RBI's from either of them this season. But, I think they have handled themselves pretty darn well considering how terrible this team has played so far. And, I believe that they will be a valuable asset to this team next year (with a full season under their belts and with a healthy slate of teammates around them). Have they made mistakes? Sure, but again, they haven't had the distinction of playing everyday and it looks to me that they are learning from said mistakes.

As for Kearns being an asset next season, again I'm drinking from the Kool-Aid and think a veteran with good defense will help this team. I'm not in the belief that Belliard should be a starting 2B (or starting anywhere). I think they need to get a proven starter in both MI spots for next season. Either by FA or by trade, I think this is their most pressing need going into next season.

Posted by: e | June 25, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Steve,

I apologize for resorting to name calling. It was not meant as a personal attack on you, it was meant to demonstrate the point that a lucid argument is more effective then an enthusiastic falacy.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | June 25, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Ok...with Hill going on the DL..does that mean we're going to see Clippard coming up soon?

Posted by: Pablo | June 25, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

NATIONALS JOIN INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE

WASHINGTON, June 25 -- The Washington Nationals announced today that the team would join the International League in 2009 in lieu of renewing its player development contract with the Columbus Clippers. The Columbus club is widely expected to align with the Cleveland Indians, leaving the Nationals without a AAA affiliate.

"We knew that we were likely to lose Columbus at the triple-A level," said team President Stan Kasten, "and at the same time, we haven't exactly been able to put together a major league roster. This move really enables us to kill two birds with one stone."

General Manager Jim Bowden, commenting on the move, said "Well, we've said all along that we're committed to building through the draft, through scouting, by building organizational strength throughout the minors, and at this point in time we realized, hey! Maybe the best way to do that is just to bring all of the guys down there for awhile and let them play at a level where they're competitive. I'm sure we'll be back in the majors by 2010, or 2012 at the latest. This is really the right thing for everybody involved, the players, the fans, and of course, our ownership group. It was just getting too hard to watch, day after day, night after night."

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 25, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"I don't think the Lerner's are bad owners or cheap, but they have made a lot of mistakes -- one example, building two buildings that block 75% of the fans from seeing one of the most stirring, goose-bump inducing symbols of freedom in the world -- the US Capitol. Both buildings remain empty."

Are you talking here about the parking garages or the office buildings the Lerners have built in the M Street neighborhood? Because if it's the parking garages you're speaking of here, they really had no choice but to build them. And if they had built underground parking as many wanted them to, there would have been some structure built on top of those underground garages that would have blocked the Capitol view just as the garages block it now. (Probably those structures would have looked a lot better than the garages do, but they'd still be blocking the Capitol view.)

If you're talking about the office buildings the Lerners have built near the stadium, construction of those buildings was underway before the Lerners even owned the team. If the Lerners weren't building on those sites, someone else would be. They were not going to sit there undeveloped as the rest of the neighborhood grew up around them. Wait a few more years, and you'll see that there was no way that a Capitol view could have been preserved in the stadium at all, given what will be developed between the stadium and the Capitol. I can see the Capitol now from my seat in the Upper IF Gallery, but I can already tell that the view will soon be gone as more buildings get completed.

If you want to blame the Lerners for making mistakes, fine. But at least be correct in what you're blaming them for.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 25, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Steve,

Sorry, that post got a little out of hand, it was 2 am and it was a LOOOONG game followed by some really crappy traffic. I'll think before i blog next time.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | June 25, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Whoops... didn't think that previous one posted... oh well

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | June 25, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

As for Kearns being an asset next season, again I'm drinking from the Kool-Aid and think a veteran with good defense will help this team.
__________________

Yeah, most teams look to RF for offense, not defense. And I wouldn't classify him as a veteran just yet. He has played 2 seasons with 500+ ABs, is 28 y.o., etc. With Cinny remember, he was spliting time with the likes of WMP and Ryan Freel. If you want to classify him as a veteran because of his declining skills, then please go ahead.

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

i think once you have 2500 ABs, it's safe to call you a veteran (re: AK).

Posted by: 231 | June 25, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Re: Maple Bats

There's a reason for the switch. There's a little green bug eating all the ash trees.

This from the USDA:
Since its discovery near Detroit in May 2002, the emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, has decimated the ash tree population in parts of Michigan and forced quarantines to be imposed there and in parts of Ohio and Ontario.

Ash is a valuable hardwood that provides habitat for wildlife, ornamentals for landscapers, and wood for makers of handles, oars, baseball bats, furniture and baskets.

The metallic-green beetle, which feeds beneath the bark of green (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), white (F. americana) and black (F. nigra) ash trees, is indigenous to Asia. It is feared that the borer, which probably entered this country about five years ago in wooden packing material, will cause damage rivaling that caused by the Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) and Dutch elm disease.

Posted by: flynnie | June 25, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Awesome waste of money!

02/01/07: Signed three-year, $17.5 million contract w/2010 option. 2007: $3.5 million, 2008: $5 million, 2009: $8 million, 2010: $10 million club option w/$1 million buyout, 2011: Free Agent

Posted by: Awesome Austin! | June 25, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Media around the country--including experienced former players--are not just commenting about how bad the Nats are, they are commenting about how the Nats are mailing it in and seem to have given up on the season.

Posted by: Sources/citations, please? | June 25, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

The emerald beetle is eating all the ash trees in Maryland now - this from Southern Maryland On-Line somd.com/news/headlines/2007/5198.shtml:

When an ash tree is infested by the beetle, scientists believe that within the next year, ash trees within a half-mile radius will also be infested. Because the infestation was three years ago, state forestry officials must therefore examine a radius of 1.5 miles from each infested tree.

The beetle cannot be killed with pesticides because it lives under the bark, where it disrupts the water and nutrient flow of the tree. The only way to kill the larva is to kill the tree and chop the bark into a square inch pieces.

"These trees are going to die anyway, if we continue to allow the emerald ash borer to populate, the trees will die and it will continue to move across the state and then the country," said Carol A. Holko, Chief of Plant Protection and Weed Management for the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

The federal government is providing $3.7 million in funding to combat the Maryland infestation, saying that this is a national problem. Frank Lowenstein, Director of Forest Health Programs at The Nature Conservancy, hopes that the funding nationwide will go up about 90 percent. "It would cost about $90 million in federal funding to eradicate the beetle across the country, right now we are only getting about $9.6 million," said Lowenstein.

Posted by: flynnie | June 25, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

VT fan - Thanks.I understand and agree with you on a well-written argument!

Let's Go Nats!!

Posted by: steve | June 25, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

i would love for teixeira to come here but no amount of money would bring him here. he's a rich man already who wants a good environment and a ring by now, i'm sure, same as most other top guys (like soriano).

we'll have to keep waiting.

AKs 2010 $10 club option will be enthusiastically declined asap.

Posted by: longterm | June 25, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Re. the maple bats, that wasn't the first injury and I doubt that it will be the last.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

More on bats and injuries: http://tinyurl.com/6aj3e8

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we could install some beetles in the bat racks in the visitors dugout.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 25, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

team has most definitely mailed it in. a great reason not to bring up Balester, etc. don't expose young guys to these bitter discards.

Posted by: longterm | June 25, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

thanks,1a! i've not seen anyone address the asian beetle infestation that has decimated most of the ash trees in the U.S. I wonder whether ash is stil available as a substitute for maple bats on the scale needed to supply all the MLB and minor league clubs who need to use the same bats.

Posted by: flynnie | June 25, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

We have to be careful in signing all kinds of FA next year. We loose draft choices.

Posted by: mjames | June 25, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I have a solution to the maple bat problem. The cork tree growers are having a hard time because wine-makers are using less cork. As an experiment, allow the Nats to use cork bats for the remainder of the season!

Posted by: flynnie | June 25, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

As I break for a quick lunch and open up the paper, I must say, while the story of another ugly loss, Shawn's elbow, and Nick's wrist is depressing, it was also quite refreshing to see not one, but two top of the front page articles about our team. Thanks for that, Chico.

I feel so bad for both of those young men. They deserve better.

Posted by: Doctor Joe | June 25, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Lord knows this team can't afford to make any loose draft choices.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | June 25, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I think we're letting a little bit of the short-term disaster that is the ML team creep into the assessment of the state of a affairs as a whole...

"The team at the ML level is moving backwards..."

Since when and by what metric? If you mean they're playing terrible this year and losing a lot, I agree, but I don't think that means that the team is going backwards on the whole as an enterprise. They were thin on talent, and thin on depth, and got hit by season-ending (or long-term) injuries to their 3-4-5 hitters, one mainstay starter and their closer. Considering this was a team that was hoping for .500 at best, it's not surprising to see them near the bottom in the standings - it doesn't make it any easier to watch the slop that goes on out there night after night, but it's unfair to take the current 25-man roster and compare it to say "they're going backwards." Even with the current 25-man roster, I'd rather have Flores than Schneider, Milledge than Wilkerson or any of the other so-called CFs we've had, Dukes than Guillen, Lannan, Redding and Bergmann than Bacsik, Bowie, Jerome Williams, or Jason Simontacchi. I'd rather have Clippard than Albaladejo. Yes, the MI is a god-awful mess and Lopez has seriously regressed since the trade, but I think it's just a bridge too far to look at the current record, the current roster and say "the major-league team is going in the wrong direction." Development isn't a straight-line process. Frankly, this is about what I expected out of the team last year, and was shocked by how garden-variety mediocre they were.

I think the same goes for Kearns. To say "We'll get back the guy we had before he was injured," seems a little unfair. Yeah, he was playing terribly in the first part of this year, but he's a guy who's OPS'ed .795 over his seven year career. He's basically been the same player his whole career - a slightly-better-than-average hitter (career OPS+ of 107) who plays good defense and somehow disappoints because he looks like he should be better. Worth noting that he started slow last year too when lots of us were down on him (OPS of .692 in the 1st half) before getting hot (OPS of .851) and ending up near his career norms. There's a lot of reasons in looking at Kearns' numbers to think that he'll get back to his old self. His .561 OPS in April and May is putrid, but so is his terribly low .198 BABiP - that'll turn around when he gets back. More hits will fall in, and he'll end up better than any of our OF options not named Milledge or Dukes. I'm not saying he's going to be an all-star (I think the expectations for Kearns have always been way too high), but he's not exactly a "Cut 'im!" kind of guy, nor is he vastly overpriced at $8-10m per.

Generally, while I'm completely disgusted by the way this team is playing lately, I think there's a little too much willingness here to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Posted by: Highway 295 revisited | June 25, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

MIAMI (AP) -- The Florida Marlins signed catcher Kyle Skipworth on Wednesday, getting their first-round draft pick to agree to a signing bonus of about $2.3 million.

Skipworth was the No. 6 overall pick in the draft.

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"We have to be careful in signing all kinds of FA next year. We loose draft choices.

Posted by: mjames | June 25, 2008 12:33 PM"

essentially, then, the FO/ownership can't win for losing. if you don't sign the FAs, everyone complains about the terrible ML team. if they sign the FAs, people will complain that they're giving up draft choices and forsaking "the plan."

Posted by: 231 | June 25, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

The way this season is likely to finish, I think the Nats would have a hard time attracting any top free agents even if the Lerners were willing to spend. The Nats need to establish that they are truly improving. Why come to a team that is still a long away. We will likely sign a couple of middle to low ranking free agents.

Our April 2009 opening day lineup is already here -

C - Flores
1b - Johnson/Young
2b - Belliard
SS - ??
3b - Zimmerman
RF - Kearns
CF - Milledge
LF - Dukes

Posted by: Count Demoney | June 25, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"We have to be careful in signing all kinds of FA next year. We loose draft choices.

Posted by: mjames | June 25, 2008 12:33 PM"

essentially, then, the FO/ownership can't win for losing. if you don't sign the FAs, everyone complains about the terrible ML team. if they sign the FAs, people will complain that they're giving up draft choices and forsaking "the plan."

Posted by: 231 | June 25, 2008 12:59 PM
----------------

For a Type-A FA, we'd lose a 2nd round pick. If we sign a 2nd Type-A FA, would we lose the 3rd round pick too?

Seems like the best option would be to sign multiple Type A Fas.

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"Lopez has regressed this year." No he hasn't.

ops slg ave
327 .391 .257 -career
321 .331 .247 -2008
errors:
28-2006
21-2007
9- 2008

Posted by: flynnie | June 25, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The way this season is likely to finish, I think the Nats would have a hard time attracting any top free agents even if the Lerners were willing to spend.
Posted by: Count Demoney | June 25, 2008 1:02 PM
*******************************************
Like Aaron Rowand going to San Francisco?

Posted by: flynnie | June 25, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Let me clarify.

1. It's better to sign Type-A FAs when you are one of the worst 15 teams in baseball. (Cubs gave up a 2nd rounder when they signed Soriano).
2. If the penalty for signing a 2nd is less than the 1st, then it makes sense to sign multiples. (Didn't we get the wrong end of this with Carrasco? Since he was valued less than Matthews(?), we got a 2nd rounder instead of a 1st rounder. Or was it with Guillen and Seattle?)

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

295 is correct. There are no metrics to indicate a team regressing, as a team. No team that has lost its 3,4,5 hitters due to injury can produce the way its fans and F/O would like. This is going to be a process and anyone who accepted the concept that this team would be contenders in any year before 2010 is truly delusional.

On the other subject, Flynnie's posts are truly disturbing. There is no question that maple bats are dangerous, although the trend towards thinner handles certainly has something to do with the explosion of exploding bats (sorry!). And for all of you conspiracy theorists, out there, now that MLB is requiring base coaches to wear helmets...maybe the next step will be allowing metal bats (and don't give me BESR). After all, if no steroids, why not aluminum.

Posted by: Catcher50 | June 25, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

An example of why NOT to sign FAs
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/draft2005/news/story?id=2075697

We had 2 picks in the first 4 rounds.
2nd round pick to Minnesota for Guz
3rd round pick to Colorado for Preston.

Lessons learned:
- The Preston Wilson signing was silly. Why waste a pick on a 1-yr FA signing.

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

spot on as usual flynnie! laughing here.

*******
I have a solution to the maple bat problem. The cork tree growers are having a hard time because wine-makers are using less cork. As an experiment, allow the Nats to use cork bats for the remainder of the season!

Posted by: flynnie | June 25, 2008 12:39 PM

Posted by: Sec. 3, (MC), loosing with da guys in diamonds | June 25, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

flynnie, you're absolutely right. flopez hasn't regressed, he's stayed the same guy throughout most of his career, with the exception of that one big season, which is essentially responsible for that 60 point difference between his career SLG and the rest of the years.

i.e., he's just not all that good and is still living off of the "potential" tag based on that one big year in 2005 when he slugged 486 (155 points higher than this season). his reality offensively is a 250ish BA, 320ish OBP, 350ish SLG season. and those are backup middle infielder numbers.

i wasn't a believer before, but i was willing to give him one more chance this season and he's proven his detractors right. he's just not all that good.

Posted by: 231 | June 25, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I've got the answer...the NJ bloggers should storm the front office and take over the running of this team. All problems solved : < ))

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 25, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Missed all the debate today, but I can imagine it...

I do want to say, the last post proved why Shawn Hill will never ever be John Patterson (though a similar fate may await). He mentioned needing to be shut down because of the strain he was putting ON HIS TEAM.

Patterson always talked about how hard it was on him.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 25, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

756, we didn't sign preston wilson as a FA, we traded zach day and jj davis to colorado for him. so we didn't give up a compensation pick for him.

i'm guessing you meant vinnie castilla, which was worse, in some ways.

Posted by: 231 | June 25, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

231-
You are right. He and Kearns were great in the Smallpark. They must curse the day they were traded. But it's a trade 30 out of 30 GM's make every time.

Posted by: flynnie | June 25, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie, don't know how you define "regressed" but dropping 60 points of slugging ain't good. (yes, I realize that his career slugging is fueled by playing in GABP, and that one over-the-top career year). Moreover:

2004 .242/.314/.405
2005 .291/.352/.486
2006 .274/.358/.381
2007 .245/.308/.352
2008 .241/.321/.331

I don't know what you call that, but it sure ain't "progression." BA and slg have dropped every year since '05. Take away the slugging, and he better be a defensive specialist. And he's not that - and pointing to raw numbers of errors isn't exactly the best measure of his defensive prowess. He's an at-best average 2b, and a well-below-average defensive SS. Note: I don't give a "flip" about his presumed "attitude" - if the guy could reproduce his 2005 year, I wouldn't care if he walked backwards to first base while flipping off the entire Nats dugout the whole way.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | June 25, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

And, considering how great Kearns and Lopez were in Cincinnati, why not trade them back for Dunn, or for Billy Bray, or for something?

Posted by: flynnie | June 25, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"After all, if no steroids, why not aluminum."

Because ping belongs on a golf course, not in a baseball park.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 25, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

And I meant to say, Flynnie, that cork bats post was funny - had me laughing over my lunch. I mean, really, after all - would anybody notice the difference?

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | June 25, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Right on 231. And Vinnie was for 2 years. I'm tying to wrap my head around the 2006 draft, but my memory fails me.

Pick 15 - ours
Pick 22 - from Oakland (Loaiza)
Pick 59 - ours
Pick 70 - from Angels (Carasco)
Pick 91 - ours

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad we got to see Vinnie, and the fact that Brian Lawrence didn't throw one pitch for us, after regularly pitching 200+ innings, is just natsluck; that was a good trade.
Vinnie and Guzman are the 2004-05 equivalents of the kind of veterans to sign if you are just trying to keep the team watchable while the farm develops, considering the limitations of that time.

*******
756, we didn't sign preston wilson as a FA, we traded zach day and jj davis to colorado for him. so we didn't give up a compensation pick for him.

i'm guessing you meant vinnie castilla, which was worse, in some ways.

Posted by: 231 | June 25, 2008 1:24 PM

Posted by: ce | June 25, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Sorry guys, but the team is regressing on the ML level. It's not a question of injuries, because that only relates to how many wins and losses the team has this year. And while some more wins now would be nice, they don't matter in the big picture since the team wasn't going to contend this year anyway.

Instead, it's a question of how many identified pieces of a potential championship ballclub does the team have in place? It's also a question of how does the team play as far as effort? In both of those areas, they are moving backwards, not forwards.

The poor play or injuries of Kearns, Lopez, Johnson, Cordero, Patterson, and Hill now require the Nats to fill holes that they didn't think they had a year ago. On the plus side, you perhaps have Flores, Milledge and Lannan, though none of those guys have even one full season under their belt and are yet unproven. Then you have some big-time question marks. Also, Zimmerman, while no question a piece on a potential contender, has taken a step back this year as far as where he might fit in on such a team--star, or solid contributor? That makes a big difference because it elevates what you are looking for in the other pieces. All in all, this is a step back.

As to play on the field, does anyone really dispute that the team played better fundamental baseball last season as opposed to this one? The younger players are hardly being shown a good example of how the game should be played. Another step back.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | June 25, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

@756* - That is correct. Marrero, Black (unsigned), & King were the Nationals selections. Willems & Englund were the picks for Loaiza & Carrasco, respectively

Posted by: Brian | June 25, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

2007 Draft

Round 1
Pick 6 - ours

Round 1 Supp
Pick 31 - from Cubs (Soriano)
Pick 49 - for Guillen ??

Round 2
Pick 67 - from Cubs (Soriano)
Pick 70 - ours

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Well, it depends on *how many* more wins, but your point is things are not getting better, they are getting worse, and overall, I think you're right.
Flores, Lannan, Bergman if he learns to pitch, Zimmerman if he's healthy and here, Dukes if he's here, Milledge if he can learn CF, maybe Kearns but I doubt it, and PTBNLs from the minors unless natsluck extends to Ohio and they all fall down.
That's not much.


*********
Sorry guys, but the team is regressing on the ML level. It's not a question of injuries, because that only relates to how many wins and losses the team has this year. And while some more wins now would be nice, they don't matter in the big picture since the team wasn't going to contend this year anyway.
....
As to play on the field, does anyone really dispute that the team played better fundamental baseball last season as opposed to this one? The younger players are hardly being shown a good example of how the game should be played. Another step back.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | June 25, 2008 1:34 PM

Posted by: ce | June 25, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

@756* - Yes again on 2007 draft. Detwiler & Smolinski were the Nationals selections. Smoker/Zimmermann for Soriano and Burgess for Guillen.

Posted by: Brian | June 25, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

So we got pick 49 of 2007 as compensation for not signing Black in the 2nd round of '06?

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

No, the rules for compensation for unsigned picks did not apply until last season. The unsigned 2006 selection was not compensated in 2007. The #49 in 2007 was compensation for losing Jose Guillen.

::prepares for the obvious cheap Lerner postings::

Posted by: Brian | June 25, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, whoa...

LAC, I didn't think you were a Planista, but maybe my memory is playing tricks on me. As a Planista myself, I want to make clear that very few of us ever considered "Kearns, Lopez, Johnson, Cordero, Patterson, and Hill" part of the plan.

Kearns and Lopez, I hoped, and was not alone in hoping, would provide adequacy until some real studs could play the field and could maybe hang around and provide some veteran presence in the early years.

Johnson and Cordero there was more mixed opinions on. I favored them both as trade bait, but I think a lot of folks want to keep Johnson. I also remember a lot of wise folks saying "neither will be on the team in three years" with reference to Johnson and Dmitri Young during the Jim Bowden signing Young two years "scandal" last year. Not such a bad idea in retrospect (or, for those of you that do so, is hindsight only reserved for criticizing JimBo?).

Patterson and Hill were trade bait/Aces depending on how they developed. Patterson was already assumed to be crackers last year. Hill we always included the caveat, "if he improves."

Wanted to set the record straight that being a Planista doesn't mean being a Polyanna. A lot of us plan supporters counted last year as our successes Zimmerman, Acta and maybe Flores, plus a lot of draft pitching potential. This year we upgrade Flores to definite and add Lannan, and maybe Dukes and Milledge, keeping the pitching potential as potential. It's progress from a mainstream Planista perspective.

I'm with you entirely on the departure of fundamentals. This is where we miss the Schneider-Zimm-Kearns cabal the most.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 25, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Hypothetically, let's say that we sign both Tex and Sheets (extrapolating final '08 standings from current standings and assuming that Texiera is ranked higher than Sheets).

We'd end up giving Atlanta our 2nd round pick. They'd also receive a 1st round supplement pick. And Milwaukee would receive a 1st round supplement pick. Would we have to give them a 2nd rounder too?

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"As to play on the field, does anyone really dispute that the team played better fundamental baseball last season as opposed to this one?"

Maybe not better fundamental baseball last year, but surely not much worse then than now. Probably about even, I'd say. Look for instance at two interleague series played at home this June as compared with two similar interleague series played here last June. This year's series against the Rangers (one late win, one late-arriving blowout loss, and one defeat snatched from the jaws of victory) and Angels (one defeat snatched from the jaws of victory, one blowout loss, tonight's inevitable debacle TBD) as compared with last year's series against the Indians (Cordero blows save, Nook Logan "What was he thinking?", nuff said) and Tigers (a 9-8 loss that started out 9-1, a 15-1 blowout loss, and an 8-4 defeat snatched from the jaws of victory). Last season was terrible at times, is this season really any worse? And Kearns, Zimmerman and Cordero were on the field last June, while this June they're not.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 25, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

@756* - Elias releases their free agent ranking around Halloween, which includes both a Type classification (A, B or nothing) and a numeric score. Type A compensation is the team's first round selection (provided it is not top 15) and a supplemental 1st round selection. Type B compensation is just the supp 1st selection (i.e. no pick lost).

Using last year's rankings as a guide, Tex was a Type A and Sheets was a Type B. If this holds, the Nats would owe Atlanta their 2nd round selection (1st is protected) and Atlanta would get a created pick in the Supp 1st. While the Brewers would just get a Supp 1st. The Nats would lose one of their own picks.

If by chance, both Tex and Sheets were both Type A free agents, you look at the numeric score I referenced. The player with the higher score would give their former team first compensation. Assuming Tex is higher rated than Sheets. Nats 2nd round selection & supp 1st to Atlanta. And Milwaukee would now get the Nats 3rd round selection along with a supp 1st.

Posted by: Brian | June 25, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I hope the players don't take my paper bag hat tonight personally

Posted by: Rick.Felt | June 25, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Someone above mentioned the O's, who need a SS, trading for Guzman. I wouldn't mind that at all, considering the schlubs the O's have been running out there every night. However, the problem with that (from the Nats point of view) is that the O's aren't going to give up anything of value for him.

So, the trade is probably a moot point.

Oh yeah, forgot to add, last night O's beat the cubs (the best team in baseball) while the Nats play like they typically do (committing 3 errors in the first 2 innings).

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I re posting this post from another thread. I thought Dave made a number a valid points


Jim Bowden has to be held accountable for what's happening on the field this year. Injuries happen to every team, but the good ones have quality players stashed they can recall to fill in.

There were plenty of NRIs and minor league free agents available over the past off-season that could have been brought in to compete for jobs on this team, let alone provide injury insurance. What did Bowden do? He signed Aaron Boone, Willie Harris, Rob Mackowiak, Pete Orr, Ryan Langerhans, two old, beat up catchers in Paul LoDuca and Johnny Estrada and Odalis Perez.

Boone and Perez have performed on the level the team hoped for, but the rest have been an abomination.

Harris, Mackowiak and Orr are all the same player and Langerhans has been released twice now with no other team claiming him, allowing him to be sent back to Columbus.

Think the $5MM the Nats spent on Paul LoDuca would have been better spent on Milton Bradley? How about Russel Branyan, a minor league free agent that "just wanted another chance", who has hit XX homers in xx at bats? Bartolo Colon? He signed a minor league deal. Chris Gomez signed a one-year $1MM deal. I could on all day.

Yet Bowden came back with the crew he assembled proclaiming this team to be competitive. It never had a chance.

Now, we all know Mike Rizzo is in charge of scouting and drafting of the amateurs, so all we have to judge Bowden on is his performance assembling the major league and Triple-A team. and those area have both regressed in the four years (two under the Lerners) that he's been on the job.

Enough is Enough. I'm not playing hypotheical like FIREJIMBOWDEN.com is, but simply providing evidence that Bowden very poorly chose the NRIs and one-year contracts he chose to give out for THIS SEASON, and the evidence is damning.

He continues to overvalue and overhype the players he assembles, then BLAMES THEM for poor performance. it's time he's held accountable for the teams he's putting on the field. there's no reason to play this poorly when you can be a shrewd judge of stop-gap talent in the off-season.

Bowden must go.

Posted by: Dave at Bottomfeeder Baseball | June 25, 2008 1:27 PM

i obvously menat to go back and fill in Branyan's stats. he's hitting .297 with 10 honmers and 17 rbis in 74 at bats for Milwaukee.

he he. sorry.

Posted by: Dave at Bottomfeeder Baseball | June 25, 2008 1:29 PM

Posted by: mjames | June 25, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

the nats are stupid bad and worse than that--irrelevant before even the all-star break, which is the worst thing you can be in sports.
hope every1 watched the os last night cause that game was amazin. felt like the 7th game of the world series.

Posted by: dk | June 25, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I think we all need to be careful cherry-picking free agents who are performing well and blaming Bowden for not signing them. He was one of twenty-eight GMs who missed on that player. For every free agent performing well, we can come up with two who are underperforming. Should he get credit for passing on them?

Please don't take this as support for Bowden. Just asking to take a step back to see the whole picture.

Posted by: Brian | June 25, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

the nats are stupid bad and worse than that--irrelevant before even the all-star break, which is the worst thing you can be in sports.
hope every1 watched the os last night cause that game was amazin. felt like the 7th game of the world series.

Posted by: dk | June 25, 2008 2:16 PM

=========================================

Alright, we got one fan converted. Just need to rest of you to wise up and switch over from the Dark Side.

Fantastic, scrappy game from the O's last night. Flat Breezy showed why he's the man as closer.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Three games over .500, the WWE just came thru town in April with a PPV event, and the head of security at the Yard gave me a subtle wink and smile the other night. Stay tuned! Yeah, life is good up here in Baltimore.

Remember, have some crab cakes for dinner and we'll see you at the Yard.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

and you're going to use Russell Branyan as one of the main FA's he didn't sign? Keep in mind that Branyan is primarily a 3B. He's played maybe 20 games at first over the past 5 seasons. He could coneiveably play in the OF, but has limited range. He hit .196 last year. Why would Bowden have considered him?

Posted by: e | June 25, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Looks like my stalker is back. Everybody knows I have my eyes on Adam Jones and not stadium staff.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

is this season really any worse?

This season is worse because we were promised a higher payroll by Kasten and the Nats didn't deliver. I'm paying more money to see a worse club, who's expectations were supposed to be higher, but are losing the same way....

What bothers me is that there are so many people who don't mind the Nats not spending money, but I don't think those people see all the negative consequeces. It is more than just winning and losing.

It's about getting future draft picks.(No compensation for Dice K and Matsuzaka)

It's about young players not having a ton of pressure on them and learning from the older vets.

It's about growing a fan base that actually follows the team and shows up on time and stays until the end. Not duplicating an Atlanta fan base.

It's about creating an environment where future FA's want to come play.

Injuries happen year after year, they are to be expected. We should be signing as many guys as possible and let them compete and earn their jobs, not just hand them jobs like WMP.

Reed Johnson would have been a nice addition to our OF this year after he was cut by the Jays, but I bet he didn't want to play in DC.

My friends if we are spending top money to see this team, it's time to demand the team spends money on the talent needed to be succesful.

I am contemplating wearing a Paper Bag on my head tonight with a Big Curly W (or L) on it, but figure it won't really matter because I think the only people who really care right now about this team are on this blog, and I don't think the 20 of us are going to make much of a difference.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I've closely followed the Nats since day one. Having grown up in a city with no ongoing baseball tradition (tho I did see the 2nd Senators once) I cannot cite stats for any item one might imagine like some of the more knowledgeable NJ posters. But I've watched or listened to 90% of their games since the return of baseball and this I know: they were fun to watch before; they are not fun to watch now. I never felt they were mailing it in before, I do now, at least for some players. I will not boo them, but this is just depressing to watch. I have tickets Sunday; this would have been my 7th game. I do not plan to go.

Posted by: NatsFly | June 25, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"But I've watched or listened to 90% of their games since the return of baseball and this I know: they were fun to watch before; they are not fun to watch now. "

So they were fun to watch during the 31-50 second half of 2005, but they're not fun to watch during the 30-49 first half of 2008. Care to explain why? After all, the second half of 2005 consisted of them playing themselves out of first place and into last place, and so has the first half of 2008, seeing as how they were undefeated and in first place after the first three games. The 2005 team just really dragged out the process of going from first to last, while this 2008 team didn't. Is that what made 31-50 more fun than 30-49?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 25, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to the game tonight and I've already prepared my paper bag. It's going on after the 4 run 1st.

Posted by: Rick.Felt | June 25, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Ray King, I'll take a crack at this one. I was actually nodding along with NatsFly when he/she said that 2005 was more fun.

The reason? Well, part of it was certainly that the team was new to us. Also that they burned bright early on, giving us more hope. Finally, the team itself was overjoyed, if the players' quotes can be trusted, to be in DC: now they had only one home town, with a lot less travel, and they drew good-sized crowds that were excited to see them. That may have given the players a bit more spunk, or zip -- even as they lost game after game.

So, a lot of it (the more-fun-in-2005) had little or nothing to do with the team or its play -- we knew even at the time that we'd never have another 2005. But that doesn't mean it's not real.

Oh, yeah -- the stands bounced. That was cool.

Posted by: Scooter | June 25, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse


"So they were fun to watch during the 31-50 second half of 2005, but they're not fun to watch during the 30-49 first half of 2008. Care to explain why?"

I can explain why. I've said this before. Because we're not talking anything about win/loss record. We're talking about HOW they play.

I completely agree with Natsfly. Last year's record wasn't great, but they were awesome to watch. Hustling, energetic, scrappy players who were clearly having a great time discounting the 120-loss predictions. If I missed a game, first thing I did last year was watch the highlights. And there were plenty.

There are very few sparkly highlights at all this year and the team is absolutely playing with no heart and no real enthusiasm, regardless of the win/loss record.

Surely you must get this?

Posted by: NatsNut | June 25, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm STILL laughing at this. Good one, Chico.

From his chat:
Chico Harlan: I've got a few questions in the hopper here that really make me feel bad for the Nats fanbase right now. I feel like this chat room should be equipped with a plush sofa and some soothing music. One or two people have even begged me to tell them something -- anything -- positive.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 25, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

yes the nats roster is pathetic but what has manny acta done himself? why does this guy get a pass. this guy shoulda been canned a long time ago along with bowdon who has to be the worst gm in all of baseball. why is he still around.
go os.

Posted by: dk | June 25, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

btw george gomer pyle sherrill is my new hero. goin out to the yard from now on to watch real ball and i dont mean the naval yard.

Posted by: dk | June 25, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"I completely agree with Natsfly. Last year's record wasn't great, but they were awesome to watch. Hustling, energetic, scrappy players who were clearly having a great time discounting the 120-loss predictions. If I missed a game, first thing I did last year was watch the highlights. And there were plenty."

Missing from last year's position players: Zimmerman, Schneider, Kearns, Church. Only Schneider and Church should be missing. Church wasn't missed the last quarter of the season when WMP was producing with his Kirk Gibson-like performances. Schneider's "hustle" is probably less than Lopez's slacking, but we loved him.

Still, it shouldn't be this bad. Lenny Harris was even here last year doing fine. This is why it's easy to point to injuries and say they're at fault. I don't know if I believe that.

I will say, it looks a lot better building yourself a mountain and then cheerily digging yourself down than it does to try to climb out of a hole.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 25, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for stopping by, dk. Enjoy that 11th straight losing season.

Posted by: Jimmy Tango | June 25, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

" this guy shoulda been canned a long time ago "

He's only been here a year and a half. Interested in your definition of "long time ago"

Posted by: Huh? | June 25, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Our run differential is 41 runs worse than the 2nd worst team (Padres).

Posted by: Rick.Felt | June 25, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

1 os bummer, they coulda had santana, whose pitchin tonight for the angels along with aybar for tejada last year. those are 2 studs. what a mistake. man o man.

Posted by: dk | June 25, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"(No compensation for Dice K and Matsuzaka)"

fyi, dice k and matsuzaka are the same guy... ;)

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"Oh, yeah -- the stands bounced. That was cool."

Bouncing stands and Ben's half smokes all the way would NOT be a good combination.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 25, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

So they were fun to watch during the 31-50 second half of 2005, but they're not fun to watch during the 30-49 first half of 2008. Care to explain why?

I'd like to jump in on this one too. 2005 was magical. They were excited to be here, we were excited to have them. Most people forget even though they may have been out of first place they were in the Wild Card chase playing the Braves during the REDSKINS HOME OPENER against the Bears. We are not even into Redskins training camp and the season is lost.

I'll take a great 1st half and a wild card miss over a 1st-half-season-over-by-July-1st anyyear! The 2005 team did fall apart because of injuries and a lack of depth, but they knew they were

Posted by: 2005 WAY BETTER than 2008 | June 25, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for stopping by, dk. Enjoy that 11th straight losing season.
Posted by: Jimmy Tango | June 25, 2008 3:07

u may be right. as a matter of fact you probably will be right, especially since we have to play the freakin r-saux 18 times. but at least the os are entertaining and play their hearts out. and may finally be goin in the right direction. which is more than i can say for the senators.

Posted by: dk | June 25, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

one thang i can say for these senators. they are making their predecessors proud. yea they are really livin up to the great washington baseball tradition of utterly happless teams.
what a freakin joke.

Posted by: dk | June 25, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

for your definition of "long time ago"

Posted by: Still waiting ... | June 25, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey dk,

Why don't you and O's Exec go down to the gym and pump each other.

Posted by: Irwin 'Fletch' Fletcher | June 25, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"(No compensation for Dice K and Matsuzaka)"

I meant no compensation for Dice K and Matsui... (the boss walked in and broke my concentration on baseball

Posted by: DOH!!! | June 25, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

O's Exec = troll with a decent sense of humor
dk = ranter

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 25, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Section 506, I'm not sure what you are reacting to--perhaps it was my statement that wins don't matter this year; on that front, I've accepted the situation for what it is, whether I agree with the team's approach or not. At this point, I'm all about the future, but the team's poor approach to building for the future has me seriously discouraged there, which was the subject of my post.

Also, I don't know what makes one a "Planista," but if it means being in favor of developing players internally, then count me in. If being a "Planista" means having a revulsion to signing any impact free agents before they are the "last pieces in the puzzle," then no, I'm not one. I believe that building a team in such a way is foolish and is, quite frankly, Lerner/Stan propoganda to justify being cheap.

What is happening with the team this season shows precisely why I and others think that the team should have been bringing impact free agents into the mix at the same time that they are developing players. Kasten is trying to play for a royal flush with his "Plan," but what happens when he keeps drawing jokers like he has been? The Plan regresses.

Let's look at what the Nats organization considered its core pieces of The Plan, and how that is working out for them. As an initial matter, let me just respond to your point below: with all due respect, it really doesn't matter at all what you as a fan thought about who was or wasn't part of The Plan. All that matters is what the team thought. Here's what Kasten had to say to Boswell in Boz's Feb. 13, 2007 column:

"We are much further along at the major league level than we were in Atlanta. There is no comparison."

Based on what? Well, expanding on that, here is what Boswell said in the same column (and pay attention to the players he identifies):

"To build a contender, you need 16 key players -- eight everyday regulars, five solid pitchers and three top relievers. Hard as it is to believe, Washington already has seven of those puzzle pieces: Ryan Zimmerman, Chad Cordero, Nick Johnson, Patterson, Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez and Brian Schneider. Braves in early '88: zero. Nats to start '07: seven."

Now, the last thing I want to do is start at comparison with the Braves. My point is that a year ago, all of these players I mentioned save Hill were identified as "core" puzzle pieces. The only one who remains a core piece is Zimmerman, and then a couple question marks. It's also important to recognize that when the Nats are putting together this puzzle, not all "pieces" are the same, because you need some standouts: Zimmerman's performance has regressed in the past 1.5 seasons especially as measured against his contemplated potential; he can be a piece of a championship club, sure, but is he going to be a star? That's more doubtful today than it was in the beginning of 2007. Championship teams need some stars, not just a bunch of "core" guys.

Sure, there have been some new "core" players identified. Chico in his chat just listed Dukes, Milledge, Zimm and Flores. But again, 3 of those guys are bigger question marks than the 7 identified by Boz in '07; those three haven't even played a full season as a starter in the bigs yet.

Similarly, Mark Zuckerman in his June 23 story quoted a "prominent member of the organization, one who both has a keen eye for talent and is in a position to influence roster decisions." That guy identified four core guys: Zimm, Milledge, Flores, and Lannan.

The fact that a few new guys have emerged is great. But when it's seen as measured against the backdrop of other core guys fading out of the picture, is this really the kind of progress that the team needs to become a winner?

My point is not to say that this kind of stuff shouldn't happen. My point is exactly the opposite: it *does* happen. The fact that, in the abstract, a guy the team is relying on might have his career shortened or limited by injury (Johnson/Cordero) or that he might not pan out (Lopez) happens all the time. Big-time propsects have setbacks (Marrero, Detwiler). But it's as if the Lerners and Stan are operating in a fantasy world, where none of that stuff is supposed to happen, and where they've been operating with no flexibility. Sign an important free agent before he's a "final piece"? Heavens, no! Meanwhile, the team, and the Plan, regresses.

Sorry for the long post everyone. Have at it.
______________________
Whoa, whoa...

LAC, I didn't think you were a Planista, but maybe my memory is playing tricks on me. As a Planista myself, I want to make clear that very few of us ever considered "Kearns, Lopez, Johnson, Cordero, Patterson, and Hill" part of the plan.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 25, 2008 1:56 PM

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | June 25, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

O's Exec = one trick pony with a decent sense of humor
dk = mouthbreather

Posted by: Fixed | June 25, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

LOL. It's true. When O's Exec stopped trying to annoy so much he started cracking me up.

____________________________

O's Exec = troll with a decent sense of humor
dk = ranter

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 25, 2008 3:25 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | June 25, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

So they were fun to watch during the 31-50 second half of 2005, but they're not fun to watch during the 30-49 first half of 2008. Care to explain why?

4 year season ticket holder with over $28,000 spent so far: I'd like my hand at this one too.

Simply put, the 2005 (and 2006, for that matter) Nats had position players that could at least occasionally produce a professional at-bat when asked to do so.

Posted by: Giving up my tix after 4 years | June 25, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

LAC - The only Nat in the Young Core Four who would be better than anyone the REd Sox have signed for next year is Flores, because Varitek is an FA. Oddly enough, on SoSH Flores was a guy talked about in the off-season as a trade target as a backup and eventual replacement for Varitek. I would say he is better than Kevin Cash, both guys in AAA, and probably Wagner at Portland. That is just for 2008 -09, without projecting growth the younger players and decline older ones. Zimmerman / Lowell in 2010, with Lowell signed at least through then - tougher call, most likely Zimmerman's better.

The 23 year olds are guys to watch develop together. Dukes in particular has could be high end if his head is together. My fan interest is now completely oriented toward the future because the present, without question, is bleak. But, you may gather I don't just follow the Red Sox. When my office had its OPACY tickets back in the early '90s, I tried to grab Cleveland tickets because they had some talented players coming up - Kenny Lofton, Joey Belle, Carlos Baerga. And the past few years, when we've had only Sunday tickets there, I have always grabbed the D-Ray games (not in on weekends the past 2 years) or traded for weekday tickets for the D-Rays to see Rocco Baldelli, Carl Crawford, Jonny Gomes, and hope for Delmon Young and BJ Upton to be called up to the major league team if I get a September game.

The point? I like watching players emerge. So I will go to games, cringe at mistakes and bad play, but be fascinated at seeing just how many of the current young players pan out, even if none of them would be more than a back up for the World Series champs in '08 or '09.

Posted by: PTBNL | June 25, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

somewhere toby harrah is weeping in his jack and bosco.

Posted by: dk | June 25, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

btw c guzman has more hits than any1 in all of baseball and that includes berkman and chips. all of baseball. that dude has heart.
guz, dukes, flores and maybe milledge. scuttle the rest of the ship.

Posted by: dk | June 25, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

It's a pretty easy world to live in when "heart" equals "offensive production." Here we've spent centuries describing the human spirit as an intangible essence that drives each man or woman in different ways, when really, all we had to do was look at run production.

I'll tell you one thing, this is going to make cheesy heart-string tugging movies a lot shorter!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 25, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Now now, don't lump me in with that other guy. I don't want to be associated with the garden variety loudmouths that come over here. Unless, of course, he has some old Wrestlemania DVDs, in which case I'd love to have him over to my palatial estate in Essex. Bring those DVDs and some baby oil, that's a night right there. A nice crab cake dinner with some sweet Eastern Shore corn off the grill...that's living.

In the meantime, I'll sit back and sip some champagne as it looks like the Birds won't be picking in front of the Nats in the draft again next year. Only one other time in the last seven years could I make that claim. Yep, life is good.

Why don't you have your own crab cake dinner tonight, and see you out at the Yard.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

The 2005 Nats were in the playoff chase into September. The Sept. 9 comeback game against the Braves was one of the most exciting games I've ever been to. So, RKGF, I think you're entirely off-base here. It's not just a question of win/loss, as the '05 Nats showed.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 25, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

heart is continuing to play hard and heady when the ship is taking on water and all those around you have given up or never tried to begin with---read F L O P!

Posted by: dk | June 25, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

756* - Please be fair to my post. I did not say that Bergmann will not suffer let downs. I asked "Would anyone be really surprised if Bergmann and Lannan held their jobs and we came up with one more starter in the current player pool?" Heck, Scott Kazmir, CC Sabathia, and Brandon Webb still have let downs, and I was not saying Bergmann will be better than them. I am saying I don't think it'd be a surprise if he ended up somewhere between a #2 starter (max upside) to a #4 starter. When his stuff is right, you agree it is major league, right? Consistency isn't there yet, but would it be a surprise if he got better with experience?

AK? All I said is he was signed. Belliard is older but he's been a .275 hitter for Cleveland, St.Louis, and here. Sure he'll decline, but coudl we get by with him starting next to Furcal? I think so. And I did say that I could see a trade upgrading either an MI or an OF, to go with O-Dog or Furcal, and making me happy. If you gave me say, a Lowrie in trade and one of those two FAs, I could live with AK batting 8th and playing defense.
-----------
I pretty much completely disagree with this. Once again, we get into the dream world where we make these players out to be guys who they aren't. AK!? Common man. Suddenly Belliard steps up and becomes a reliable starter? Bergmann suffers no let downs? Dimitri and Nick being signed is what we had this year. AK is what we had this year. Belliard is what we had this year. These players aren't reliable, and neither are Milledge and Dukes. Not yet.

Posted by: PTBNL | June 25, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

btw will some1 please please enlighten me as to what accomplishments one jim bowdon has ever had in major league baseball. have his teams ever won anything?

Posted by: dk | June 25, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Sac Bunt, Manny and SABRMetrics...

The Sac Bunt hurts you statistically, by lowering your chance to score - specifically by giving up an out, it lowers the expected amount of runs.

For example:
With 0 out and a man on 1B, a team is expected to score 0.953 runs in that inning.

With 1 out and a man on 2B (the result of a successful SAc Bunt), a team is expected to score 0.725 runs.

Now, you have to Sac every now and then so that you remain unpredictable. Also note that the Run Expectancy table doesn't take into account for the skill of batter. So, it makes sense to use a pitcher (or toherwise weak hitter) to Sac Bunt, but in no case should you be Sac Bunting, in the first inning, with your #3 hitter.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | June 25, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Lefthanders against Ervin Santana this year => .259
Righthanders against Ervin Santana this year => .186

Santana is Right Handed

Splits for some NatsBats:
Vs. Left/Right
Pena .256/.170
Dukes .182/.290
Milledge .260/.223
Lopez .250/.245
Belliard .231/.211
Young .342/.236
Flores .293/.300
Guzman .353/.290
Harris .053/.213
Boone .308/.228
Casto .100/.233

The lineup kind of writes itself. (or does it?)

Posted by: NatBisquit | June 25, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Dukes is a righthander who is hitting righthanders better this year, but the split was reversed last year. I interpret this as hope that he will hit both equally well given a full season.

Posted by: NatBisquit | June 25, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

btw will some1 please please enlighten me as to what accomplishments one jim bowdon has ever had in major league baseball. have his teams ever won anything?

Posted by: dk | June 25, 2008 3:56 PM

___________________________________________

SoCH, you are being paged.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | June 25, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"After all, the second half of 2005 consisted of them playing themselves out of first place and into last place"
_____________________________

Last place in the NL East with a .500 record! Please, don't even compare to this year.

Last place in the NL East with a .500 record IS NOT THE SAME AS second to last place in MLB with .380 record.

This year we've gone from terrible to absolutely horrendous unwatchable.

Posted by: 756* | June 25, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"So, RKGF, I think you're entirely off-base here."

Why am I off-base? All I did was ask a question. You guys are answering. Are questions off-base around here now?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 25, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"So, RKGF, I think you're entirely off-base here."

Why am I off-base? All I did was ask a question. You guys are answering. Are questions off-base around here now?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 25, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

dk, it pains me to do this, but go to http://firejimbowden.blogspot.com. Or read the archives here for the last month. But I sense your question was rhetorical, you are already confident of the answer.

RKGF, I don't think you're that far off-base at all. But if we're going to be using baseball metaphors, couldn't someone at least have thought of claiming they had tagged you off-base? It would have been a little more original.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 25, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of 'off-base' are the Nationals playing tonight?

Posted by: Ouch | June 25, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

btw george gomer pyle sherrill is my new hero. goin out to the yard from now on to watch real ball and i dont mean the naval yard.

Posted by: dk | June 25, 2008 3:05 PM

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

Welcome aboard the O's boat, dk. Happy to have ya. Soon enough we'll convert more of these guys to O's fans. Wait until it's mid-August and the Nats are like 30 games under .500 and the O's are hanging around .500 and/or the wild card spot. Than Nats fans will be jumping ship like rats leaving the Titanic.

The O's, exciting and new,
Come aboard.
We're expecting you.
The O's, life's sweetest reward.
Let it flow,
it floats back to you.

The O's Boat
soon will be making another run.
The O's Boat promises something for everyone.
Set a course for adventure,
Your mind on a new romance.

The O's won't hurt anymore
It's an open smile on a friendly shore.

It's the O's!
Welcome aboard - It's the O's!

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

No, of course not. I inferred a point of view in your pointed questions. As you apparently didn't have a point of view on the issue you were asking about, consider me the one who was off base in thinking that you did. Sorry about that.

* * * * *
"So, RKGF, I think you're entirely off-base here."

Why am I off-base? All I did was ask a question. You guys are answering. Are questions off-base around here now?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | June 25, 2008 4:13 PM

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 25, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

By the way, even I signed the fire Bowden petition. That's how bad I feel for Nats fans. Even I think there needs to be a change at the top.

Yikes!

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

SOCH - out in left field

O's exec and dk - off the wall


Posted by: baseball metaphors | June 25, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

O's boat = Titanic

Peter Angelos = Edward John Smith

Posted by: Section 505/203 | June 25, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Not only am I flattered at the "fake" O's Exec posting but I'm even more flattered by the other "fake" O's exec pretending to be me by making a tad bit more serious posts.

I'm deeply touched that someone would go to lengths such as this to impersonate me.

I'm honored.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

LAC/CIL - one-hitters

Posted by: more of same | June 25, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

O's boat = Titanic

Peter Angelos = Edward John Smith

Posted by: Section 505/203 | June 25, 2008 4:34 PM

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

O's record = 39-36

Nats record = 30-49

Who's really the Titanic of the DC/MD local teams? C'mon you can say the real answer. It's ok.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I like how Nats fans pile on dk, someone who has seen the light.

It's his right to root for any team he sees fit. Right now he doesn't see the Nats as a team worth rooting for.

Yet, some "fans" on here are getting on his case. Talk about sad.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Care to elaborate?

* * * * *

LAC/CIL - one-hitters

Posted by: more of same | June 25, 2008 4:34 PM

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 25, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I love pointing to only this season when making arguments. Other than that being the only thing I have, it makes me look smart!

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Ok Mr. Fake O's Exec, what seasons can the Nats point to to make them look better, other than their first one here? Let's talk about the Nats record in 2000. Oh wait, what's that? The Nats didn't even exist in 200? Yikes!

Wanna talk about how they can't even sell out their brand new stadium? Yet all the posters on here kept making excuses? Wait till they move out of RFK, than they'll sell out the new park constantly. Wait until school lets out, then the park will sell out. Wait until the Wizards and Caps are finished with their playoff runs, then the park will sell out. Wait until DC United isn't playing on the same night, then the park will sell out.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

In the ideal world the nats opening day lineup will be Rafael Furcal-ss Orlando Hudson-2b Mark texeira-1b Adam Dunn-LF Ryan Zimerman-3b Austin Kearns-Rf Lastings Milledge-cf Jesus Flores-c C.C. Sabatihia/Ben Sheets-p But knowing there learners to cheap to spend that kind of money but if they get 2 maybe 3 of those guys i'll be happy.

Posted by: DJ 26 | June 25, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

O's record = 39-36

Nats record = 30-49

Who's really the Titanic of the DC/MD local teams? C'mon you can say the real answer. It's ok.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 4:35 PM

___________________________________________

Did you get hit in the head with a big broken piece of maple bat that would cause you to not remember that the O's have 10 straight losing seasons?

Posted by: Section 505/203 | June 25, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Why does the first base coach need a stopwatch? Why do the players carry gloves while running the bases? Why does the Post need to interview their baseball beat writer to see if he knows anything about baseball?

Posted by: PB | June 25, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

How many WINNING seasons have the Nats had since moving here? Or even before moving here?

P.S., previous poster guy, there's no way the Nats are signing Furcal, Hudson, Dunn, TeIxeira (geez, spell his name right), Sabatihia, Sheets.

Calm down, fix that tent in your pants and come back to reality.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I may have been Flynnie Jr. (without the humor) lately, but I just want the discussion to involve fewer words ending with "st" and a few "cut this guy, the back up quarterback should start." So when I say there are some things to watch, that does not mean I don't cringe with every loss. I could (and have) been critical about the medical and training staff, over-spending on overated guys like Lo Duca, Chad Cordero's abilities, failure to trade relievers when their stock is high, roster management that contributed to burn out of the bullpen (and lwoered trade value), and a belief that every drafted prospect will be make the roster in '08, '09 at the latest. It's just the consistent poor-mouthing of everything about the roster pushes me to say, "wait a second, there are a few things you may not want to throw out." Will everything turn out OK? Ask a fan in KC. It isn't a guarantee. But, there are some assets in place, and I hope to enjoy watching them for years while they are surrounded by more.

Posted by: PTBNL | June 25, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Why does the first base coach need a stopwatch? Why do the players carry gloves while running the bases? Why does the Post need to interview their baseball beat writer to see if he knows anything about baseball?

Posted by: PB | June 25, 2008 4:44 PM
=========================================

Yeah guy, we all saw your post earlier in Chico's Nats chat. If you had read the full chat you would've seen the answers listed a few answers below your post.

Coaches use stop watches to time pitchers either going home with their pitches or going to 1st on pick off moves. The numbers on the stopwatches are than used in terms of basestealing.

As for players holding batting gloves in their hands, it prevents them from sticking out their fingers when sliding and having their fingers stepped on, hit with the ball/glove/tag, etc. It's a way for the baserunner to prevent his hands from being injured on the basepaths.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

You Nats fans really need to come to the Yard when we have glamour teams like the Yankees and Red Sox in town. The stadium is electric, Boog's BBQ pit smoking, and 75% of the fans there are for the other team.

When I sit back and savor some crab cakes and think of those nights, well, there's no place I'd rather be. It takes years to build up (and break down) a tradition like that.

See you out at the Yard.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

TeIxeira (geez, spell his name right), Sabatihia

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


Priceless.

Posted by: Jimmy Tango | June 25, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

In the ideal world the nats opening day lineup will (include) Austin Kearns's-Rf...
Posted by: DJ 26 | June 25, 2008 4:44 PM

whose ideal world? maybe your bizzarro world. but keep austin ks outta my reality.

Posted by: dk | June 25, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

All I know is, the Nats have had a BETTER record than the O's in every season they have been in DC, 2005-2007.

Let's face it, they both suck, but you're getting all hot and bothered about them being 3 games over .500 with half the season still left to play.

Relax and put the baby oil away.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | June 25, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

When you're sitting here with your first chance to post a winning record in over a decade, maybe even sniffing a wild card chase like the Nats had in 2005, it just puts everything in perspective.

Get yourself a nice crab cake dinner tonight, watch us try our best to go 4 games over .500 this late in the season for the first time in God knows how long, and we'll see you out at the Yard.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Why does the first base coach need a stopwatch? Why do the players carry gloves while running the bases? Why does the Post need to interview their baseball beat writer to see if he knows anything about baseball?
_____________________________

Common guys. Obv snark here.

Posted by: dim-witted NJ posters | June 25, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The Expos had back-to-back 83-win seasons in 2002 and 2003. Thanks for playing.

Posted by: !!!!! | June 25, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how many more times I can tell people to spell Teixeira's name correctly. Do you think it still makes me look smart?

Woops, did I ask that out loud?

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

TeIxeira (geez, spell his name right), Sabatihia

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


Priceless.

Posted by: Jimmy Tango | June 25, 2008 4:51 PM

___________________________________________

Jimmy Tango,

Priceless, Yes no doubt, and a good way to describe that post.

But I'll go another route and use the term. "Jackass"

Posted by: Section 505/203 | June 25, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

What's worse......

Watching the Nats this season or

watching such terrible baseball movies like:

The Babe (starring John Goodman).
The Scout (starring Albert Brooks and Brendan Fraser). Althought Albert Brooks as Hank Scorpio is the man!
Fever Pitch (starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon).
Summer Catch (starring Freddy Prinze Jr. and Jessica Biel).
Rookie of the Year (starring Thomas Ian Nichol and Garry Busey)
Little Big League (starring Luke Edwards, Timothy Busfield, and Jonathan Silverman). C'mon, any movie with anyone from Weekend at Bernies I or II isn't a grade-A actor.
Angels in the Outfield (starring "the Pigeon Lady" from Home Alone 2, Mr. Who's the Boss and Christopher Lloyd). I bet Lloyd wishes he could get back in his Delorean and go back in time and choose not to sign on for that movie. "Where we're going, we don't need roads."
The League of Their Own TV show (starring a bunch of no-name bums and Marla Hooch).
The Benchwarmers (starring Rob Schneider and Napoleon Dynamite).
Ed (starring Joey from Friends and a monkey).
Major League 3: Back to the Minors (starring Mr. Quantum Leap, Scott Bakula and Corbin Bernsen)
Mr. 3000 (starring Bernie Mac and Angela Bassett).
Mr. Baseball (starring Magnum PI and Ken Takakura).
The Kid from Left Field (starring Gary Coleman and Robert Guillaume)
The Fan (starring Bob De Niro and Wesley "I don't pay taxes" Snipes).
Hardball (starring Mr. Matrix himself, Neo, and Diane Lane). If Diane Lane had acted in this like she did in Unfaithful (and by acted I mean got naked) than it would've been a bearable movie.
The Rookie (starring Dennis Quaid and Rachel Griffiths). Seriously, any movie with ANYONE (in this case Quaid) who starred in Jaws:3D is bound for crapdom.
Beer League (starring Artie Lange and Daniel La Russo, Ralph Macchio).
Air Bud: Seventh Inning Stretch (starring Mr. Al Borland and Mr. Family Feud, Richard Karn and a dog).
Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills (Endorsed by Fred McGriff).
For Love of the Game (starring Kevin Costner and Kelly Preston). The only thing good about that movie is John C. Riley, Sasquatch. Sasquatch, we know your legend's real.
Rhubarb (starring Ray Milland and a cat). Nothing better than a cat inheriting a baseball team.
The Sandlot 2 (starring a bunch of nobodies and James Earl Jones). Luke, I made a crappy movie.
The Red Sox 2007 World Series championship sports illustrated video (enough said).
That episode of "Full House" where Stephanie strikes out her boyfriend in the big game.
The Comrades of Summer (starring Joe Mantegna). C'mon Fat Tony, you're better than this.
The Slugger's Wife (starring Randy Quaid and Rebecca De Mornay). De Mornay needed to make The Hand That Rocks The Cradle II instead.
Elmer The Great where the plot centers around this Gomer Pyle-ish hillbilly who unwittingly joins the Chicago Cubs and is so good he wins games single-handedly.
Happens Every Spring (starring Ray Milland again and Ed Begley). This is where a professor invents a substance which repels wood and quits the school to go pitch in the big leagues with his illegal-substance balls. Sounds like he the Nats could use him.


Shoot, what's worse, watching the Nats this year or watching Blue Chips or even The Air Up There?

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

When you're sitting here with your first chance to post a winning record in over a decade, maybe even sniffing a wild card chase like the Nats had in 2005, it just puts everything in perspective.

Get yourself a nice crab cake dinner tonight, watch us try our best to go 4 games over .500 this late in the season for the first time in God knows how long, and we'll see you out at the Yard.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 4:56 PM

==========================================

Actually fake O's Exec in 2005 were 50-46 on July 23. Thanks for playing, though, fake O's Exec.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 25, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

After the "Jackass O's Guy" just gave us a long winded movie review post that would make SoCH envious I say...

Holy Crap, it is time for a New Post.
What do you say Chico, hook us up. Lineup's, Ted Lerner's hat size, anything.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | June 25, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

You ask, he delivers!

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