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Tradeability, signability

Good evening, folks. Below, I'm going to post the full Cannot Possibly Be Taken Out Of Context version of the Q&A we had with Jim Bowden right after batting practice today. Some interesting information.

Such as ...

* Bowden doesn't think the vets on his team have much trade value.

* He's looking more at prospect-for-prospect deals.

* And, he has plenty of doubt about the team's ability to sign Aaron Crow.

You'll note the quick, two-question exchange about Crow's signability. You'll also note the "Don't know that" answer. The "Don't know that" wasn't snippy. He dragged the words out. The "know" had a higher tone, almost injecting the phrase with a question-like cadence. He sounded like somebody trying to figure out what to order at a restaurant. That's my read on it, at least. My read is also this: He's smart to use the media for any possible leveraging position in negotiations.

Oh, and before we continue, one in-the-community note: The Nats have arrange a back-to-school drive for Saturday, Aug. 2 and Sunday, Aug. 3, when the team faces the Cincinnati Reds. The First Ladies -- Nationals players' wives and girlfriends -- and volunteers from The UPS Store and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves will collect new school supplies outside of the Center Field Gate when gates open (4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday) through the end of the fourth inning. Supplies needed include, but are not limited to, backpacks, rulers, packs of pencils, pencil boxes, calculators, spiral and composition notebooks, loose leaf binders and paper, pocket folders, glue sticks, crayons, and new lunchboxes. The team will also collect new children's books to benefit the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, an initiative of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation and The UPS Store. For more information on this initiative, visit

Now, onward...


Q: How active have these last few days been, and what do you expect in the next day?

We've had a lot of discussions, you know. We're looking obviously for young players, and other clubs like our prospects. Other clubs we're talking to are all coming after our minor league system and our young players on the big league level. So discussions have been a little different, but we keep working on them. I'm not sure if we're going to be able to do anything by tomorrow, but we'll keep working on it.

We'd be open to a prospect-for-prospect kind of deal, sure. If we can fill a void that we need. If we can find a deal that makes us better, sure, we're open to that. We've had a lot of discussions with a lot of clubs about a lot of players in our farm system. That's taken most of our time.

Q: You described it a few weeks ago as being both a buyer and seller. Do you still feel that way?

Well, I mean, our veteran players, obviously, there's not much of a market. Rauch was our marketable guy that we traded. The other ones there's not much of a market for. Obviously, look, we're a last place team and a lot of them are underachieving. So that's not surprising. But I think we're at a point now where most of the discussions we have now are prospect-for-prospect.

Q: Redding is the one veteran who could have value to a contender. Because of his contract, is he a guy to hang on to?

We have to... look, in our position we have to sit there and listen to everybody, and we'll do that with every player. And we have to do that.

Q: Is the organization starting to see the benefits of the minor league system (as trade value)?

Sure, sure. Ideally, you want to trade veterans for young kids. That's the normal route. And except for the Rauch deal, that's not going to happen at this trade deadline just because we have veteran guys who've underachieved. That doesn't mean it can't change in August. The last few years we were able to trade Marlon Anderson, Daryle Ward and Mike Stanton and we're sitting there with (Shairon) Martis and (Luis) Atilano and (Jhonny) Nunez that other teams want now.

Q: Since you have so much pitching in the minor leagues, would you want minor league bats in return?

Well, we're trying to do everything we can to build a championship club, so if we can make a trade that helps us fill other holes we'd be open to that. But you can never get enough pitching; don't get me wrong. So I never look to trade pitching. That being said, if there was a three, four-hole future hitter or a shortstop up the middle long-term we're always looking for that.

Q: Speaking of pitching/progress, has any been made with (first-round pick) Aaron Crow in negotiations?


Q: Do you think you'll have him signed by the Aug. 15 deadline?

Don't know that.

We're working hard trying to sign all the guys that are unsigned.

Q: How close is Emilio Bonifacio to playing with the Nationals

I think he'll play up here some time this year. I think so.

Q: Have you been impressed with what he's done at Columbus.

I asked Tim Foli. The answer is, Absolutely. Really, really excited. The reports are tremendous. Range both sides, strong arm, turns the double play, getting on, flies. Everything we thought we were trading for is what Tim Foli sees out of him...

Q: Is Dukes getting close at this point?

You know, he had a great game last night. It was really his best performance game that he's had. He had a really good game last night. He was able to hit the breaking ball away and he was running well. So, that was one good game. Let's see if he can do some back-to-backs in a row. We don't want to rush him here. We've already rushed enough guys this year out of desperation. We'd like to try to get him up here when he's ready to go.

Q: Are you surprised he's made this much progress so quickly?

Yeah. I mean, it's incredible. But he's a fast healer, he has a tremendous body and his body bounces back. But yeah, what he's doing is tremendous, medically speaking. Nobody expected this. He's running 4.4 down the line, swinging the bat. He has his legs under him. Everyone says he's running normal. He's just come back quick.

Q: How is Dmitri Young doing?

You know, not well. We're giving him all the help we possibly can medically. We care about his health first and foremost. So we're going to make sure he has the very best medical help possible to help him deal with the diabetes, and we'll put baseball second. We have to get (his health) under control first. Because that affects everything else. And all we do is care about him as a human being, first, and that's all we're going to concentrate on right now. No timetable.

Q: Is he in Florida right now?

I'm not going to comment on that. We just want to get him healthy. We don't want a soap opera around how he's doing every single day. We just care about getting him healthy. It's best that we handle it behind closed doors.

Q: It seems like Redding has gotten better as he moves along.

Look, in the last 37 starts for us, his ERA is under 4.00. There aren't a lot of major league pitchers you can say have 37 starts under 4.00. He's been solid He's 30 years old and he's solid. And he's been a great influence on the young pitching in that clubhouse.

Q: Is that the importance of keeping him, then, as a mentor?

I'd like to have him on the team. But that being said, we always have to explore every possibility. We wouldn't be doing our job right if we didn't.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 30, 2008; 6:49 PM ET
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Next: Law of averages


"My read is also this: [Bowden]'s smart to use the media for any possible leveraging position in negotiations."

That only works when the public sides with the team. Crow is smart to hold out, based on what we have seen in the past couple years one needs to be very careful before signing a contract with the Lerners.

Posted by: PB | July 30, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Prospect for prospect deals-INTRESTING

I dont expect anything from us tomorrow.
But this is the time to save Jimbo's job. They just need to do something to get fans a little excited. John Rauch deal was not that. I wont mind trading Redding but I want major league talent in return. They need to do everything possible to trade vetrans like Lo Duca,Perez,and perez. I will trade Lopez fo some bats and $ 100.

Posted by: KW | July 30, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Meat's in rehab.

Posted by: nat fan | July 30, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

It's a sad day when the opposing team scores two runs on your team in the first inning and you already think that the game is out of reach.

Posted by: 4/9000 | July 30, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

"Sounds like Meat's in rehab."

Ding, ding, ding

Posted by: 6 of 9,000 | July 30, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Jesus Flores!

Posted by: Jason | July 30, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what to say, other than "I called it." (see previous discussion thread for my prediction that Flores would hit a HR today)

Posted by: Jesus (Flores) saves | July 30, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm calling it now: Flores will hit a homerun in tonight's game. I don't know why, I just have a feeling that he's going to crush a soft Moyer-ball.

Posted by: Jesus (Flores) saves | July 30, 2008 6:47 PM

Please make another prediction... (Flop will be traded perhaps?)

Posted by: Twinbrook, MD | July 30, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Flop will be DFA on Friday.
Redding will be traded for two Rockies prospects.
It will rain tomorrow afternoon at 4:15pm.

Posted by: Jesus (Flores) saves | July 30, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

If any of you drink, now is a great time to have one. If you don't, now is a good time to start, unless you are like my friend James' Uncle Fate (LaFayette), who, if he had just one, would wake up in a Pullman car in Chicago and not know how he got there.

Posted by: flynnie | July 30, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Redding and Perez have pitched themselves off the trade market until August.

Flop is here because nobody else wants him. I hope he and Plod are DFA'd and take Bowden with them.

Posted by: Junkbucket | July 30, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

okay so we won't sign our top draft pick Aaron Crow.

a) So much for the plan.
b) Open your f'n wallets Lerners.

Posted by: POS Lerners | July 30, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

The follow up questions to Bowdes are: So what are you going to do now with all the veterans you signed last winter thinking you would be able to trade on July 31st? Keep them? DFA them and bring up the youngsters? How does this affect the Plan?
The Dimtri question required a simple yes/no
answer. Bowdes answer left open a whole slew of possibilities. Rehab? I understand the privacy issues,but Bodes just opened a door a truck loaqd of reports should want to drive through. Just as bad as the Cordero answer on 980 last week. Maybe worse.

Posted by: Temporary Beat Reporter for the Day | July 30, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm naming my next male child Willie Jesus Evans.

Posted by: CE | July 30, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Hate to say "told you so" but I predicted two days ago that Young's problems were not diabetic related.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Who are you?

Posted by: flynnie | July 30, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Big happy crowd at the ballpark tonight. All is going according to the Plan.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Figures... when the nats pitch well, the offense is a dud. Then, when the nats actually score a decent amount of runs, the pitching falls apart. Ugh!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

@Anon at 9:24

You should know by know that what happens on the major league level has nothing to do with "The Plan" until Stan says it does and until the Nats are "ready to compete". Instead, The Plan is all about purporting to develop an abundance of young talent in the minor leagues for years and years and years, primarily by signing our top young draft pi...........oh, wait. Forget it.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | July 30, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Why did Lopez come out in the 7th? No hustle? Injury? pleasepleaseTRADE?pleaseplease?!?!

Does anyone know? Gameday makes it remarkably mysterious...

Posted by: NattyDelite! | July 30, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or for the first time ever in the brief history of the Nationals did Jim actually answer the questions honestly?

Amazing what having your job on the line will do to you...

Posted by: The Nationals Enquirer | July 30, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Even MASN is in on the Plan, highlighting the Phillies fans as they dance and cheer. Thanks Mr. Lerner for buying this team, you've brought such joy to DC!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I give Sutton credit for saying in the post game that it is inexcusable to walk the opposing pitcher.

Posted by: Ed | July 30, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I still believe the remainder of the year is going to determine the length of Kearns' career as a National.

Posted by: Ed | July 30, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Lastings Milledge has just about the worst arm in baseball. To night I had a great view of him charge the ball and throw from very shallow CF...really more like deep infield and he could not reach the pitchers mound.

Lo Duca was so surprised that the ball was at his feet he muffed the cut off. Could not have been more than 150 feet in the air.

If Jimbo has a chance to trade it. He can not play even LF based on his arm. Logan had a better arm.....really just a wet noodle of an arm.

Posted by: JayB | July 30, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm with TBRD -- this is the second time in a week that Bowden has given TMI (too much information) about the status of a player on the DL. Closed doors, soap opera?!? -- "no, he's still in the area" or "yes, he's traveled to Florida (and he's preparing to resume baseball activities") would have been sufficient.

Bowden can't use the media for possible leverage in negotiations with Crow (or anyone else, for that matter) if he doesn't know when to stop talking.

Posted by: 422 | July 30, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

JIMBO pleezeeeeee stop spinning, Manny pleezee stop spinning. I'm getting dizzy just listening to these guys.

No interest in JIMBO's vets, go figure.

Anyone notice that Stan "The Carne Act-Used Car Salesmen" Kasten has been MIA lately?

If you want more spin tune in to Byron Kerr on 3WT for Nats Talk Live in about 5 minutes. No one calls so Kerr basically goes nasal on you for about 20 minutes and then just gives up!

Posted by: tippy canoe | July 30, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I was going to venture up there before the season ends...uh...I think I'll wait til next year. I watch the games on mlb xtra innings and it is getting very hard to watch. I think the whole bunch is just lost and dumbfounded at how things have unfolded this year. I'll just trek on down to Viera next spring, when hope will once again be reborn.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | July 30, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

JIMBO pleezeeeeee stop spinning, Manny pleezee stop spinning. I'm getting dizzy just listening to these guys.

No interest in JIMBO's vets, go figure.

Anyone notice that Stan "The Carne Act-Used Car Salesmen" Kasten has been MIA lately?

If you want more spin tune in to Byron Kerr on 3WT for Nats Talk Live in about 5 minutes. No one calls so Kerr basically goes nasal on you for about 20 minutes and then just gives up!

Posted by: tippy canoe | July 30, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Went to the game tonight, so I'm just reading this post. Either JimBow is crying poor mouth to the media to help move some of his undesirables, or he's finally realized that his brethern would rather see him stuck with his bad contracts and they'll just wait until the Nats just start releasing guys so they don't have to ship any compensation to JimBow.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 30, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

went to the game also. why doesn't someone in upper management muzzle jimbow? every time he opens his mouth, he just makes this situation worse. first chad, now the meat loaf. apparently, he must have missed "dealing with the media day" at GM school.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 30, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I actually like Byron Kerr. He doesn't always defend Manny or Jimbo when callers criticize them, and he lets his callers have their say and follow up. I'd like to hear more people call in though. It's a good outlet for knowledgable fans to express themselves.

Posted by: Section 222 | July 30, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I asked Mark Z. about this in his chat today......I agree that other GM's would enjoy letting Jimbo suffer....why give him anything for guys they could pick up off the wavier wire if they even had that value......Mark Z's take was that GM's are adults and do not hold grudges....I still think Mark Z is naive about how many people hate Jimbo and how many of those who have issues with him are also GM's.

Posted by: JayB | July 30, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

viera's gamer is up on the website.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 30, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

It's a good thing the Nats are starting to get some separation from the Padres and Ms, so they can get the #1 pick and then draft and not sign Salzburg.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | July 30, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

This franchise is in deep trouble. The team is just plain beaten down. This team expects to lose . They know that management does not care about winning. This losing mentality has directly impacted the performance of everyone on the team.

No one believes Bowden. I firmly believe that Lopez and LoDuca's performance will substantially improve once they leave Washington. The same can be said for Kearns. This notwithstanding if they are not playing for us we should DFA them. There is no point in keeping them. The only thing we can do is try to determine why they would not play for us.

We will reach a new low come August 15th. We will fail to sign our high draft picks and we will be at or approaching 80 losses.

Posted by: mjames | July 30, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Ok, guys just returned from watching the Clippers in Richmond.

Talk about a town that has given up on baseball. I've been to 41 ballparks this year and that ranks very near the bottom.

Attention John in Msps! (here's a report on Stammen just for you! hint - Surly)

Craig Stammen started and for the second straight game in AAA got hammered. Gave up 7 runs on 7 hits in 2 innings. Bases were loaded both innings and his pitches were being sprayed all over the field - even the Braves pitcher had a hit.

Levale Speigner relieved him and pitched 3 respectable shutout innings.

Mike Bacsik threw 2 good shutout innings.

Zech Zinicola got hammered in the 8th. Sadly he doesnt seem to be able to live up to the promise he showed in 2006.

Now on to the three position players that Nats fans are most interested in...

Bonifacio led off. On base 3 times out of 5 ABs. Attempted a bunt, struck out on 3 pitches, single, double and a walk. Also a stolen base. Opportunity didnt present itself for him to shine on defense.

Bernadina - meh. might top out as a AAAA player - certainly in the times I have seen him in AA, AAA, and DC he has shown anything different than Brandon Watson in the AAA and major league levels. sorry.

Dukes - oh yes, he is ready to come back, swinging the bat well and with power.

Overall, the R-Braves were ahead 7-0 after the 2nd inning. The Clippers fought back to tie it in the 7th, only to have the Braves retake the lead in the bottom of the 7th. Little Papi hit a 2-run bomb in the 10th inning to somehow win this game!

Posted by: Angry in Alexandria | July 30, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Also at the risk of turning into a one-trick pony like SoCH or dk---

regarding Bill Rhinehart -- this is for those of you who want to see him in Sept.

tonight he played in his 162 CAREER minor league game. Only 30 of these have been on the AA level. 60 of them were in the short season NY-Penn league and 60 were in the Sally League with Hagerstown, which we all know are both "weed-out" leagues.

I very much believe that he is just now starting to face legitimate competition and that to have him play 30 days in the Food Court on Capitol Street Stadium would not be in the best interest for his development nor for the long term Nats.

If anyone doubts the facts above - here is the link I used...


Posted by: Angry in Alexandria | July 31, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

The Nats are underachieving. They have a higher payroll than three MLB teams but they're playing like they have the lowest payroll in baseball. What a waste of the Lerner's money. No wonder they're refusing to pay rent while fining the City $100,000 per day (which will shortly translate into new sales taxes on DC consumers). It's about time we played like a $35MM team.

Posted by: km | July 31, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Ugh, this is really depressing. I can't believe we are one the verge of not signing our first pick. I wish we would sign Coleman as well but that doesn't look likely. This team is completely screwed up.

Posted by: Dumbo Jimbo | July 31, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Its a shame natscribe had to chime in there...JayB, LAC & mjames were almost able to complete the vaunted triangle of discontent.

The Nats have the worst record in baseball and are in last place, filled with a roster of underachieving players according to the GM. Incredibly little has gone according to plan this season.

But, any of you fellas see Flores tonight. He's pretty good. How about Zimmerman's return from the DL. Looks like resting instead of surgery may have been the right call. Zimmermann pitched another great game for Harrisburg tonight. Check out Derek Norris' ridiculous numbers at Vermont or Smiley's numbers in the GCL. There are a some rays of sunshine on the horizon.

Would you rather beat down a beaten team or support them?

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 31, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

What happened to all those Plan defenders who said anyone who doubted The Plan and its impending success was an idiot? Where did they all go? In the toilet with Ross Detwiler?

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | July 31, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

"Why did Lopez come out in the 7th? No hustle? Injury? pleasepleaseTRADE?pleaseplease?!?!

Does anyone know? Gameday makes it remarkably mysterious..."

It's called a double switch. NL Managing 101. Haven't you been paying attention the last four years?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 31, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

"Why did Lopez come out in the 7th? No hustle? Injury? pleasepleaseTRADE?pleaseplease?!?!

Does anyone know? Gameday makes it remarkably mysterious..."

It's called a double switch. NL Managing 101. Haven't you been paying attention the last four years?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 31, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

The follow up questions to Bowdes are: So what are you going to do now with all the veterans you signed last winter thinking you would be able to trade on July 31st? Keep them? DFA them and bring up the youngsters? How does this affect the Plan?"

No need for a followup question here. Bowden already provided the answer to your question in his original response. If he can't trade guys like Lopez and LoDuca before the trade deadline, he'll try to flip them in August like he did in previous years with Anderson, Ward, Stanton, etc. So don't get your hopes up. Neither Lopez nor LoDuca will be DFA on Friday. They'll probably both be in the lineup against the Reds.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 31, 2008 12:22 AM | Report abuse

I don't want to see Rhinehart in the majors this year. Really no point to have him on the 40 man roster if the plan is to go into next season with Nick as the starter and Dmitri as the backup in a best case, and incredibly wishful, scenario. It is interesting, however, to view Rhinehart's better high A & AA numbers compared to those at Hagerstown.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 31, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse

LAC...what do you think of the Nats minor league system?

An incredible number of promotions throughout all the levels this season. Many players have gone from afterthought to a prospect of varying degree (Montz, Davis, Lowrance, Rhinehart, Alaniz, Meyers, Mandel, Atilano, Dean, Estrada). Others have established themselves as high end prospects (Smiley, Norris, Zimmermann, King, Burgess). Other players have validated previous expectations (Willems, Daniel, Martis, Zenicola). Sure, Detwiler hasnt had the success most expected. Injuries to Marrero, Maxwell, Desmond and Smolinski are definite setbacks.

But do you view any sort of difference between the Nats minor league system in 2006 vs. the present day? I do. The depth of potential major league contributors is astounding relative to where the organization once was. Add Flores, Dukes, Milledge, Zimmerman, Lannan and Balester. Thats the plan.

Glass half full? Glass half empty? Or is the glass perpetually empty?

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 31, 2008 12:42 AM | Report abuse

The thing that has struck me this year is that, while the farm is better by leaps and bounds today than it was two or three years ago, there is still little depth and hardly any legitimate prospects (especially bats) at the upper levels. Marrero was our #1 bat, great. He was at A+ ball. Well, he goes down and it's Burgess. He's at A Ball. Well, he goes cold for a month, and then you're looking...and looking...and looking. Back to Hagerstown? Short season A ball? Smiley at GCL? Any enthusiasm for Rhinehart must be tempered.

So it's tough. Yes, it's better, but it's still not great. I see a lot of those "prospects of varying degrees" as pot-sweeteners in deals. Toss one or two in with a Kearns or a Perez or a Redding in order to get somebody decent (or with a pulse) in return.

And it won't get better if we're not signing our draft picks.

Posted by: Wily Mo Pena's Mailman | July 31, 2008 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Since I was researching stats on first basemen in the Nats farm system, I decided to check in on Josh Whitesell. Ouch. this hurts - he is tearing up the PCL with Tucson. Hitting .430 with 28 doubles and 20 dingers.

I might think that Rhinehart needs to stay in the minors but I would certainly be clamoring for Josh to be in the Food Court on Capitol St Stadium if Jim hadnt blown the roster move and lost him with no return on investment.

On a side note - when is Larry Broadway going to concede that his ship has sailed?

Posted by: Angry in Alexandria | July 31, 2008 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Los Dos Ochos

I am here to agree with you. Let's face it, we all want the team to do well and we drink the koolaid as they pour it. However, this team had a crappy MLB roster and a non-existant Minor League roster when it came here. We now have prospects. I hope they sign their top 5 picks this year and then the farm will really have something. At this point, let's start playing for the top draft pick and please make it a hitter.

The Lerners need to sign Texiera next year no matter what the price, within some reason. It is time. He also changes our lineup in a big way and takes pressure of a lot of people. Dukes should hit in the 43 spot and Zim in the 5 hole.

Posted by: NatsWin! | July 31, 2008 2:05 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry. This was just plain funny. Succinct and with a snark factor 10.

"It's a good thing the Nats are starting to get some separation from the Padres and Ms, so they can get the #1 pick and then draft and not sign Salzburg."

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | July 30, 2008 11:10 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | July 31, 2008 2:38 AM | Report abuse

I've been a pure LoDuca hater from day one, but he's been inching up on my respect meter.

He's pretty plain-spoken. He owns up to his own shortfalls. He's playing out of position without complaint (well. except for the recent minor complaint about it hindering his trade possibilities). He's doing pretty well at 1B, considering.

But you wanna know what really raises him in my esteem? The dude plays the BEE GEES for one of his intro songs. He's definitely got a pair, that's for sure.

My friend Amy always jokes about how she'd love it if a player had the guts to have a show tune song for his intro. I think LoDuca's "Stayin' Alive" is right about up there.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 31, 2008 2:45 AM | Report abuse

speaking of baseball books, I finished Feinstein's "Living on the Black" about Mussina and Glavine's 2007 season.

one warning: the middle of the book got pretty tiresome. Lots of boring descriptions of pretty inconsequential games. But if you can look beyond that, it's pretty good.

Cool to read about some of the inside workings of a pitcher. I especially liked descriptions of pitchers' interactions with the umpires. I swear, there is SO MUCH going on in a baseball game. I'd be surprised if even the knowledgable fan catches 30% of what's going on.

The nats play a bit part thanks to their scrappy contributions to the down-to-the-wire pennant race, but in my opinion the Nats didn't get nearly enough ink (of course). Then again, the book IS about a Mets and Yankee pitcher...

The best part? He called our boy "the immortal Jason Bergmann." Good stuff.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 31, 2008 3:13 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: NN's timestamp | July 31, 2008 3:15 AM | Report abuse

I've been a pure LoDuca hater from day one, but he's been inching up on my respect meter.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 31, 2008 2:45 AM

I've always been curious about this; maybe someone can explain it to me: how on earth can someone hate Paul Lo Duca? Or rather, why have so many people on here (including very early in the season, before he had a chance to fail on the field) expressed such intense dislike of the man? I mean, is it because he's the National whose use of steroids (or whatever) happens to be public knowledge? Because his signing demonstrated that fan favorite Flores would start the season in the minors? Because he was a Met? He punched your puppy?

One of the things that turned me off when I started reading this here weblog (in spring training) was the intense vitriol directed toward this man, and I've been curious about it since. (I know that asking this question risks stirring up some bad feeling, of which there's been more than enough lately, but ... hey, there it is.)

On another note, good morning!

Posted by: Scooter | July 31, 2008 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Loduca = steroids = hate
Meat = choked girlfriends = love

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse


My antipathy towards Lo Duca was based on the following scenarios:
underachieving as a hitter
underachieving as a catcher
playing catcher instead of Flores and Nieves
playing left field instead of Harris or Langerhans.

My respect has inched up due to fact that we actually need him to play first base now. The fact that he has been passed by by the league's general managers confirms his truly low value. When Boone returns from the DL then he will once again have zero value to us.

Posted by: Dale | July 31, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning to you, Scooter! A special shout out to Los Doches Ocho, who always keeps his eye on what's worth keeping an eye on. Give this man a press pass! Vin Scully had nothing but good to say about Lo Duca on Sunday - plays his heart out, good contact hitter, almost never strikes out, how much he enjoyed having Lo Duca with the Dodgers- sort of the way we speak of Schneider. Len Shapiro published an e-mail after the deadspin interview by Costas which admitted that it's fun to ridicule and hate others-that's what draws many to internet forums like this. There are certain "safe targets" among the Needhamites who came over here when Chris gave up on Capitol Punishment. Lo Duca, Felipe Lopez, -calling for him to be dfa'd as if he never hit a grand slam against the Mets, put a minor leaguer at 2d while Guzman's hurt and Flip is an MLB infielder and hitter. Go over to Capitol Punishment and see Chris' most recent entry - it sums up what they're about.

Posted by: flynnie | July 31, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game when Paul Lo Duca came back from the DL the first time in May. He was out signing autographs before the game and signed my son's glove. Just as he was leaving a boy handed him a journal and asked him what inspired him to be a baseball player. PLD spent a long time writing what probably was a thoughtful answer. I was very impressed. Say what you will about his play, he seems to be a decent guy.

Posted by: Twinbrook, MD | July 31, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

My local paper is pretty bad but covers the baby nats ok. Some interesting stuff in the Potomac News about their coaching approach. Maybe since we are fielding a minor league team up in dc we need more minor league - type coaching. How about we call up some coaches in September? I say we make the end of the season fun to watch and play spoiler again. Put some of the vets with no passion on the bench for a nice long winters rest.

Posted by: masnstinks | July 31, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

"However, this team had a crappy MLB roster and a non-existant Minor League roster when it came here."

Posted by: NatsWin! | July 31, 2008 2:05 AM

How did 2005 happen? The Nats were 57-50 at this time in 2005, and contended into September, until they finished with a 500 record 9 games behind the Braves.

2005 57-50
2006 48-59
2007 47-60
2008 39-69

They're one win streak away from being about where they were last year. They are playing against an NL East where every team is much improved since 2005 by free agent signings (was that Brad Lidge of the Astros closing for the Phils to shut the door last night?) or trades using their minor league assets (Hanley Ramirez for Josh Beckett) of which the Nats had none. Moves that every GM would've made that should've resulted in youth and power in the outfield have been a bust. e.g. Wily Mo. Jesus Flores, Christian Guzman, Willie Haris, Ryan Langrerhans are pleasant surprises, as are almost evrybody on the mound. Just one win streak. 0-9 since beating Atlanta. Does this team have one win streak in it?

Posted by: flynnie | July 31, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I asked brian the following on NFA but would be interested in any comments from this august group.

I hate the line of questions that follow because: 1 - you may have already answered them and ; 2- I'm displaying a pessimistic attitude.

I understand that if the Nats don't sign Crowe they get the pick after next year's number 9. Are there any additional picks next year if we don't sign numbers 3, 4 and 5 from this year.

I believe the plan is the right way to go and you have done a wonderful job of keeping us all informed but I also believe it has to start with good drafts and then signing those choices. If failing to sign this year's pick get's an extra pick next year then failing to sign them is bad but not catestrophic. If the Nats get nothing for a failure to sign a top five then it is catestrophic. I would then believe that the plan is merely a cover for running an inexpensive cash cow, that willl be sold in a few years. Terrible thought, I know.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | July 31, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Mornin, SlowPitch - They'd get the pick immediately after 9 -#10- next year if they don't sign Crow, who's stock has fallen since the experts analyzed his delivery and believe that he'll blow out his arm in two years.

Posted by: flynnie | July 31, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Jim Bowden has to be good at his job to make "the plan" work, and there is nothing in his resume to suggest he is any good at his job. FOUR winning seasons in 15 years as a GM.

Once again he has blown any chance of potential trades by overvaluing his own players - according to Jon Heyman at : ""Jim Bowden overplayed his hand,'' one NL general manager said about the Nationals GM who is said to be seeking a haul for the solid but unspectacular starter. Redding allowed 10 hits and seven runs in four innings in an 8-5 defeat to Philadelphia, a value-killer of a performance if there ever was one. Redding is 7-6 with a 4.34 ERA , not bad for the Nats. But he didn't help himself -- or Bowden -- with that outing."

JimBo is all about snake oil and hype, with no substance to back it up. As long as he is GM, the Nats have no hope.

Posted by: NovaNat | July 31, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Flynnie,
Thanks for the response. Do you know if the Nats get extra picks next year for failing to sign their numbers 3, 4 and/or 5 this year?

I read an interesting analysis of the "inverted w" (would that be an M to us mere mortals?) delivery that Crowe uses and which is supposed to portend eventual arm/shoulder injury. I guess if the Nats are having severe second thoughts they should slap your scouts around a little (it's not a new delivery for Crowe) then take next year's pick. There is so much going on of which I am completely unaware.
If they didn't sign Crow, I was planning on holding my breath. Now maybe I'll just whine.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | July 31, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

NovaNat - Did you cut and paste this from Steven on Capitol Hill? Not even Chris Needham agrees with this. Do you enjoy watching Guzman? Bowden signed him. Do you enjoy Redding? Bowden signed him. And Redding is very loyal to "Jim" and likes him a lot, as do most of the players, who appreciate his honesty. Dukes? Bowden signed him. Aaron Boone? 100% of last year's draft? The kid from Mobile who just signed - Destin Hood? Bowden signed them. JimBow would've signed A-Rod if the Lerners had given him the money. He dreams of the day he had Brian Cashman't budget. What remains to be seen - did the Lerners buy this team to bring this town great baseball, or to expand their real estate empire with Tyson's III downtown?

Posted by: flynnie | July 31, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: I'm up! | July 31, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I guess if the Nats are having severe second thoughts they should slap your scouts around a little (it's not a new delivery for Crowe) then take next year's pick. There is so much going on of which I am completely unaware.

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | July 31, 2008 8:56 AM

Your last sentence sums up how I feel about much of what gets discussed here: I have such a small window on this stuff that I can't really opine on a lot of it. We do well to bear this in mind.

As to what to do with this draftee, I think you got it right. How vexing to be sold on a guy -- sold enough to draft him -- only then to decide he's not worth it. But as you say, if that is in fact the case*, the better choice moving forward is to admit the mistake and take the extra pick next year. The 2008 pick has already been made; there's no fixing that.

* I again mention that we don't know whether this is the case. Further, I'm told we have until August 15th to sign these kids. There are two weeks between then and now. Mind if I make an analogy? If the Nats go 0-16 between now and 8/15, their record will be 38-85, a .309 winning percentage. Based on this hypothetical future .309 winning percentage on August 15th, Manny Acta is a incompetent manager. See how that works? Let's try to avoid worrying too much about something that, after all, has a 50% chance of happening: either it will or it won't.

Just my thinking on the matter. My suggestion? We've got 4 top-5 picks unsigned. In the next ten days ... let's sign two!

Posted by: Scooter | July 31, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

nothing terrible about passing on Crow and signing 2 top 10s next year. i'm convinced that we are really establishing some footing to negotiate with Strasburg by playing hard with Crow.

Still agree with the plan. i'm mostly frustrated with the play on the field.

Seems like destin hood is off to a good start also...

Posted by: longterm | July 31, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Crow - I don't think that the Nats having second thoughts is what is delaying his signing - it's Crow's asking price (I read somewhere, I'll post the link if I can find it) of an $8million dollar Major League deal. I don't agree with draftees asking for major league contracts, it's starts their options years and may force the Nats to rush his development to get him in the majors before his deal and options expire.

As for getting compensation if the Nats don't sign picks 3,4, or 5. There is none.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | July 31, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

No, flynnie, I don't think I'm as pessimistic as SoCH. But the proof is in the numbers. He has fifteen years of results to be judged by, and the success just is not there. Redding, Boone, even Guzzie seem like good guys, but they are at best run of the mill MLB players.

Posted by: NovaNat | July 31, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Trade Bowden! Ship him down to the Minors. Release him. Whatever it takes to get him out of here. The guy doesn't know baseball, doesn't know management.
BTW, any news on the investigation of the Dominican scandal?

Posted by: Margaret Gentry | July 31, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

So the Twinkies want to unload Boof Bonser, and they need a 2b, 3b, and relief pitching. We'll give you Felipe and Ayala/Colome for Bonser.

I know this is about as silly as it gets, but what the hey....each team wants to unload each. I'll flip Lopez for a 26 y.o. pitcher

Posted by: Corey | July 31, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

ESPN just said that the White Sox are negotiating with the Nats for John Lannan.

I can't believe that Jimbo would part with the only young pitcher to come up from the farm system and perform. After all, isn't that The Plan?

Posted by: Ashburn | July 31, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

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