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A Nat or a Cat?

If you fancy yourself a masochist, here is the recap of yesterday's 12-0 loss.

If you crave a little sense of encouragement, here's the notebook, which looks back on the offseason trade for Lastings Milledge.

And now, if you want to lower yourself into the cesspool of down-to-the-wire negotiating ploys...

The clock is ticking toward the final 36 hours. The Nats have until midnight, Friday, to sign their first-round pick, Aaron Crow. If they do, though, they'll now be depriving him of a late August summer pitching for an independent minor league team in Fort Worth. According to the team Web site of the Fort Worth Cats, whose regular season ends on August 23 against the El Paso Diablos, Crow will join the Cats if he doesn't sign with Washington. (The Cats' playoff run begins August 25.)

Here is the Cats' announcement:

"The Cats have signed the ninth overall selection in the 2008 June draft, pitcher Aaron Crow to a contract, it was announced today. Crow was selected by the Washington Nationals but has been unable to reach an agreement with the Nationals. The deadline to sign players from the draft is midnight on Aug. 15. Crow will be in a Cats' uniform and pitch out of the bullpen if he does not sign with the Nationals. Crow was 13-0 with 127 strikeouts for Missouri in 2008. He was the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year."

Meanwhile, yesterday, the White Sox (who had the eighth pick of the first round, one ahead of the Nats) signed first-round pick Gordon Beckham with a signing bonus of $2.6 million. The reports of what Crow has been seeking range somewhere between $4 million and $8 million -- plus a major league contract. Beckham's signing was much more in line with the Major League slotting standards, and might help infuse the market with a little sanity.

One final bit of news:

Stephen Strasburg, the lone amateur on the US Olympic baseball team, struck out 11 and took a no-hitter into the seventh pitching against the Netherlands. Strasburg is the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft. And the Nats are the odds-on fave to have the No. 1 pick.

Just my opinion:

Better to be pitching in Beijing this August than Fort Worth.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 14, 2008; 8:14 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: A Relief from Early Relief
Next: Gonzalez to DL; Boone reinstated

Comments

At this point I almost really don't care. Let Crow walk if Bowden drafted I doubt his potential. Last night was a tipping point, we are owed a competitive team. I'm not saying we should win the world series any time soon, but a winning season, is that too much to ask. If ownership can't be bothered to put a decent product on the field then I can't be bothered to show up. I fully realize there are no quick fixes but not really seeing any light at the end of the tunnel.

Posted by: Ugh | August 14, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Let him walk who needs him. If Bowden drafted him he can't be that good anyway. Last night was a tipping point. I know we weren't supposed to win anything this year, but come on, at least put a competitive team on the field. I know there are no quick fixes but if ownership can't be bothered to put a decent team on the field then i can't be bothered to show up for the games.

Posted by: Ugh | August 14, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post.

Posted by: Ugh | August 14, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

At this point my view on Crow is that he is a kid with a greedy agent, plus stuff, a suspect delivery, and an undisclosed nozzle on his head that dispenses vinegar and water. Let him play in Forth Worth, and see how far he falls in next year's draft. Getting Strasburg plus a power hitter with our compensitory pick 9B would be just fine, thanks.

Posted by: Deep Fried Screech | August 14, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Yeah seems like the Nats are thinking they are winning the Strasburg sweepstakes and don't need Crow as much as you'd think he needs them.

they might be inclined to not sign Crow, use the #1 pick on Strasburg, and get a hitter with 9a pick next year. Just a thought.

I also used to think that Crow would be crazy to not take a reasonable offer and instead go back to college and risk getting hurt or performing worse. But I was thinking that amatuer sports stars who know they are going pro often insure themselves against injury. He might have a $4mil policy on himself to guard against injury.

I am doubting this deal gets done.

Posted by: uh oh | August 14, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

1a, sibling, lol.

I still want to see Crow signed. He seems a special talent and we really haven't heard his side of the story. I'd also like to see the other top 20 plus #32 signed. This is the only way, and strangely enough, an inexpensive (relatively) way, to improve our team dramatically. This may not improve us immediately, but it will improve us immensely. For the $ it took to sign several mediocre FAs we could accomplish it all.

I'm hopefull...otherwise why would I be here?

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 14, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

i'd love to have crow sign but doubt he has future cornerstone potential. he had one great year in college. sure he wants best deal but sheesh.

it's the wrong time to play this team this hard considering we overpay for everyone already, are getting a bit burned on detwiler and marrero, and are set up perfectly to pick 1st overrall next year, oh yea and it will probably be a pitcher.

i guess if we don't sign him we'll always be able to compare him to next years compensation pick. that's fun.

Posted by: longterm | August 14, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Section 506, why are going on as if your way is the only way to root for this team? Face it, the team stinks. Injuries are not the reason. If people want to call for change, what's wrong with that? What's wrong with pointing out that Manny is not up to the task? If you ask me, the Nats need more fans like Brue, guys who actually know how to play--and watch--the game, and aren't afraid to call out the team for its pathetic performance.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 14, 2008 8:19 AM

------

Nothing's wrong with "calling" for something, LAC, I just can't wrap my head around what would get someone to devote as much time and energy as some do to follow something that made them so positively irate, with no hope of a future. I watch this nonsense and think "Boni's learning to lay off the breaking stuff, that'll be good in the future." To watch and say "Who is this garbage who didn't go 3 for 4 in his fourth cumulative week as a major leaguer, there's a big dead end!" seems like a complete waste of time.

What is baseball fandom without hope? What is your team that you see no silver linings for? Why would someone devote their time to that? It's a real question of mine.

Oh, and I don't think you want more fans like Brue, LAC, since he hasn't been following very closely at all, claiming to speak for Mike Rizzo when he dumps on Rizzo's boy Bonifacio.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 14, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Crow's the smartest one of the bunch. Why would he want to come to the Nats? He knows what's going on. What, pitch your tail off and watch your offense get their bats sawed off on the first pitch? End up with arm troubles because every situation is so tight it's like pitching in the 7th game of the world series?
See, he really doesn't expect all that money, or even close, he just wants the Nats to go away, and that's how you do it. Sounds perfectly rational. To me, anyway, but rational doesn't always matter on internet bulletin boards. Or in the Nats management scheme.

Posted by: Brue | August 14, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Slowpitch63,

I'm with you on the remaining 11-20. Love to see them sign, but it looks doubtful. I was especially hoping for Marcus Jones and Lombardozzi since they are locals and thought that Harold Coleman would be a nice addition. I think the Nats drafted Jones out of high school before he went to NC State. It seems like we wanted him bad enough twice that we could have found the money to get him this time.

As for Crow, unless he will accept 3 mil or lower I say just use the pick next year since we will get Strausburg too

Posted by: draft picks | August 14, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Lombardozzi has signed and is playing in the GCL

Posted by: Brian | August 14, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

That might be the worst baseball analysis I have ever read.
A pitchers mindset in a tight ballgame pitching for a team with a losing record IS THE SAME as pitching the 7th game of the World Series?
And just think, someone was sticking up for your knowledge earlier.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
End up with arm troubles because every situation is so tight it's like pitching in the 7th game of the world series?
Posted by: Brue | August 14, 2008 9:04 AM

Posted by: Section 138 | August 14, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

As long as it is not my money, I say sign Crow. Overpay, so what? What do we really have to lose by overpaying to sign him? Oh, right, we are going to piss off some small market team owners-- like the Brewers who build a stadiom no visiting team can play day baseball in.

This organization needs every freaking advantage that it can grasp. I mightily concur with those that think signing middling veterans is a complete waste of money. Spend it on draftees and international signings and buscones if need be. Spend it on top tier free agents like Teixeira. Spend it on a real hitting coach. Heck, be avante garde and spend it on two hitting coaches. Spend it on a team psychologist. Spend it on a traveling MRI machine. Spend it on something to lace those dang sunflower seeds so that the players think they can hit. Spend it like its Peter Angelos' money. Spend it like you are trying to empty the joint checking account before the spouse leaves you. If I was 70 odd years old and owned a baseball team I would want to spend it to see a winning team before I die.

Posted by: Dale | August 14, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Crow can fly away as far as I'm concerned. The Nats pay too much for potential players anyway. Crow is giving the Nats a reason to save some cash. Greed can kill a career.....

Later

Posted by: DPT | August 14, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

top picks always get drafted by struggling teams. if he wants to be the next luke hochevar good for him. he's wasting time though.

i totally agree with nats that if you want to get paid you need to put in your service time. even below ave veterans get $5 mil in arbitration for one season. longevity seems to have more influence on a pitchers payday than performance.

personally i think he's nervous as hell cause he doesn't trust himself and wants the money now. he's not high profile enough to command who he plays for. a fall back position is not commanding. it's not even leverage.

Posted by: longterm | August 14, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

We are in full force in these negotiations. Don't you just love it?

Posted by: Posturing and Rhetoric | August 14, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Remember that we've heard absolutely nothing from the Crow camp. Not a single on-the-record comment from crow, his agent, his father, his priest, or his dog. All we are hearing is the Nationals doing some of their bargaining through the media. If the kid wants 8MM and a major league deal that's good for him. I'd like that too. Just remember that we don't know what he wants, we don't know if he'll sign, we don't know what he'll sign for.

According to Jim Callis of Baseball America, Crow would immediately become the National's top prospect. There's clearly something there worth getting. If we don't get him however i just hope we sign the guy we draft next year. A 9A pick is great and all, but if you don't sign him next year then all you get is a 9B pick. I'd like to see this team commit, but if he's asking too much you walk away. If a "top tier" guy like Tex (whose not that great by the way) wants too much, you walk away. The only thing worse then having a young cheap roster who cant win, is having an old expensive roster who can't win. Just ask O's fans.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | August 14, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

You know, I think my favorite part about the long losing streaks is watching the trolls come out of the woodwork...I always wonder if they sit there and look at the scores and hope for losses so as to post hateful, semi-coherent nonsense, or if this is somehow like catharsis for them - without message boards, would they go on a three-state killing spree?

That said, Bergmann looked as terrible as I've ever seen him last night - I was one of the unfortunate souls who actually paid money to watch that mess - it was pretty clear in the first that he didn't have it, and coupled with the Nats ability to make John Maine and Pelfrey look like Webb and Haren, well, let's just say I didn't mind waiting in line for my halfsmoke.

But for all that, the part that worries me the most is there's a lot of the 2009 Nats that are on the field right now - and there's just no power there. I tend to think the Nats are counting on Kearns, Dukes, Milledge, Flores, and Zimm to all put up around 20 HRs and there's some reason to be hopeful for some of that, but I have to say, I'm finally wavering on Kearns.

Baseball Reference's Splits pages are great for "normalizing" and projecting stats - that is, taking what a player has done, and projecting that out over a full season. For instance, taking what Dukes, Flores, Milledge and Zimmerman have done so far for the year in the ABs that they've had, BBRef says that you'd get 17 HRs from Flores, 18 from Dukes and Zimm, and 19 from Milledge. Given that they're all 23/24, it's not unreasonable to expect another year might comfortably put that group into the 80-90 range - I tend to think Zimm's underproduced, and I think either Milledge or Dukes is going to see a pretty serious upswing. The problem, though, is Kearns' lack of power. At his current level, he projects to have 12 HRs over the course of a full season - "But," you say, "he's been hurt." Entirely true - but he only slugged .411 last year and .429 in his limited time with the Nats in '06. If we're counting on guys giving us 18-25 HRs, we need a lot of them, and having one of them producing 12 is just not going to get it done.

As much as I love Austin's gamerness and defense and professionalism, he'd be a great fit for a team that's getting power from elsewhere in the lineup, but it's been a mistake to consider him a central cog in the offense. At some point, he is what he is.

Anyway, scuse the long post, I'm just working out some stuff I was thinking about while watching Bergmann walk Schneider to get to Maine, only to walk Maine.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | August 14, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

We are in full force in these negotiations. Don't you just love it?

Posted by: Posturing and Rhetoric | August 14, 2008 9:41 AM
_________________

Yes. This soap opera makes my day more interesting by at least an order of magnitude.

:)

Posted by: 3434 | August 14, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I sort of feel that if any of us are going to survive this season we are going to need to watch these games and simply pick out individual positives. Bonaficio made a step forward yesterday. Admittedly it was one game. Milledge is starting to look geniunely worthy while.

This board was full of guys a month ago crying out for the team to strip veterans and chuck the young guys in. Did we really believe they would just start winning? If that was the case they'd have been in from the start. We are going to lose, and lose a LOT. But from Yesterday take the Bonafacio, the Milledge streak is still alive, and stop obsessing about Kearns and Langerhans not being that good. All we are watching now is try outs for next season.

Or we could all just drink until the bits of our brains that remember baseball games dies. But it's hard to do. I've been a fan of this franchise for 20 years and those cells are stubborn.

Posted by: Ben | August 14, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

So was I, and I was pretty bummed out about it. Until I realized Bergie and Manny are in cahoots! It's called the Strasburg plan!
***************************************
I was one of the unfortunate souls who actually paid money to watch that mess
Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | August 14, 2008 9:51 AM

Posted by: gnatsgnation.blogspot.com | August 14, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I have been sold the Plan. I also bought the Plan. Worse than that, I believe in the Plan.
I've seen glimmerings of the plan in last year's draft signings, this years #2-10, Dukes, Flores, Blastings, Boni, and Gonzales.

If I don't see something exciting in the next 38 hours I will certainly question the Planners.

I want my team to keep piling up the young talent. This fickle game we love only allows 5-10% of the truely talented to excell. Think about that. If you are going to build a geat 25 man team merely from the draft you need 20 x 25 =500 top picks. Every draftee is important because we don't know which will beat the odds, but if we don't have them it is certain they won't beat the odds for us.

Let's sign the picks and...

Let'slay two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 14, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I was there last night too. 3rd inning was so painful. We kept looking over at the bullpen to see if anyone was warming up. At one point Mock got up and started stretching, then moseyed around the bullpen awhile. Tease.

We finally figured out that Manny was making Bergmann stay and face it. Once in awhile we'd see Bergmann hold his glove up to his face as he paced around the mound. We knew he was cursing a blue streak.

The thing is, I still don't really think this is ominous for Jason. It's one of those games where he melts down and then I just trust he'll get over it. I hope he's starting to trust that too.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 14, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

VT Nats Fan said: "Remember that we've heard absolutely nothing from the Crow camp. Not a single on-the-record comment from crow, his agent, his father, his priest, or his dog."

Actually, here is a quote from Crow's agent from the Star-Telegram newspaper:

**********
Discussions with Nationals general manager Jim Bowden have stalled, Crow’s agent, Randy Hendricks, said.

“We wouldn’t have had him sign with the Cats if we thought he was going to sign with the Nationals,” Hendricks said. “The last I talked with Jim Bowden, he didn’t think there was anything more to talk about. I didn’t disagree.”

"“Our real focus is on Aaron pitching for the Cats and entering the draft next season,” Hendricks said."
**************

If it'll take up to $4M to sign him, do it. Anything over that, then let him walk. The Nats have shown that they will pay over slot (and in some cases significantly over slot), but they do have to be a little cautious about going WAY over slot. If they give in and give this guy $6M or more, what happens next year when Strasberg wants $20M for being the #1 overall pick? Where do you draw the line? It's not just about this season's picks, but next year's and the year after that.

Posted by: e | August 14, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Tim Redding said in an interview that it was all mental with Bergman. That he gets shaken and is too scared to go after people. It wasn't long into that inning when Manny must have realised that the game was out of reach. Good choice to make Bergman stay in and face his demons if you ask me.

Posted by: Ben | August 14, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Two words for Aaron Crow: Wade Townsend.

Posted by: anon | August 14, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I agree with others on here, and I was thinking it last week. Let Crow walk....the kid could be insanely good, but with his delivery he may not be. I don't want his attitude either....the kid thinks he is Manny Ramirez.

Next year's draft is supposed to be incredibly deep - I'll take 2 top-10 picks (perhaps #1 overall) and be incredibly happy.

Nice knowing you Crow, enjoy 5th round money next year.

Posted by: Corey | August 14, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Sorry the Nats ownership and management aint smart enough for any plan.

The Lerners need to sell the team to somone who cares and wants to win.

At the very least the Lerners need to stop using the peep holes in the Victoria Secrets stores in their malls and stop watching the illicit videos from their malls and run the team and maybe do any interview about their plans for the team.

Lerners almost make Danny Boy Snyder look competent and Angelos look like a real baseball man.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the insight, Anonymous!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 14, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

It would be a good choice to make Bergmann "face his demons" if you had a team like Boston that can come back from giving up 12 runs to win 19-17. For the Nationals it really accomplishes nothing except prolonging an agony. Bergmann in his next start will be different than last night or he should be back in the minors. What did Bergmann learn last night other than Manny will leave you in to burn on your own funeral pyre? Bergmann did not have "it" in the first, second or third inning. When would Manny say enough is enough--12 runs, 15 runs? Somebody please tell me what Bergmann "learned" last night?

Posted by: Dale | August 14, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Worst Game Ever.

Left at 9pm, I think it may have been the 5th. On the other hand Zim made the highlight real on ESPN with a fancy bare hand in the 8th.

The upside is Philly now has to share 1st place. The downside of course is the Mets are also in 1st. The only way this could get worse is if we were getting shut out all the time...oh, right.

Maybe part of the plan should be to let fans hit. It couldn't statistically be any worse.

Posted by: IBC | August 14, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Mock had just started a game on Monday so he was not likely to be going in.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

$4 - $8 million...is he (or should I say his agent) crazy!! Not worth it!! $2.5 - $3 million tops. He's the one who will lose out by not signed this year because he'll have no leverage as a Senior coming out of college. My vote...take Strasburg and a hitter at 9b.

Posted by: Section 307 | August 14, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Bergmann was not the point last night, it was to save the bullpen. The idea is you take a lopsided loss one night, so you're rested well enough to hold a win the next. It didn't work.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 14, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

#5 overall selection Buster Posey agrees to a $7.5M major league deal with the Giants.

Posted by: The market is being set | August 14, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I don't think it had too much to do with Bergmann's psychology - I think it probably had more to do with the fact that Manny was hoping he could get out of the inning at ~75 or so pitches, and maybe give him an inning or two more. But when he got to 89 by the time the mess was finally done, there's no point putting him back out there for the fourth, when he might throw 30 more.

I agree that Bergmann's problems seem to be mostly mental - the greatest strength of Lannan is that he grinds and battles - when he gets in trouble, he bears down - here's my best stuff, hit it if you can. Bergmann seems, in the same kind of situation, to try to get cute - he's trying to figure out what the hitter is thinking, and then trying to go against that, and then worrying that it might not go where he wants it, as opposed to thinking about how to execute his best pitches. It's almost like, when he gets into trouble, he's sort of expecting the wheels to fall off. I like him, and I love his stuff, but I don't know if he's a long-term solution if he's going to get torched one start out of three.

Looking at his gamelogs, his starts are basically bipolar - he's had 7 "gem" starts where he's given up 1 or 0 runs (usually over 7 innings), and 7 disasters where he's given up an average of more than 1 run/IP (including last night's unmitigated mess), and just five in-between - that kind of distribution says to me that he's entirely driven by whether or not he thinks his stuff is working - Patterson used to be like that, too - when he thought his stuff was good, he wasn't just good, he was dominant. When he thought his stuff wasn't on, it's almost like he gave up in the first inning, and tried to get cute. That's what I saw last night, and that's the issue - on night when you don't have your best, you've got to battle and find a way to prevent the 8 run inning. If he just manages to give up 2 or 3 in that inning, at least the team's got a fighting chance to help him out, down 5. (or they would, if they could hit at all). Down 10, and you start depressing late walk-up sales who hear the score and decide not to come in, y'know? To me, that's the difference between "mystifying frustration" and "useful #3 starter" - everybody's going to get lit up from time to time, but how you pitch when you don't have your best stuff is probably a better measure of a pitcher than how you pitch when you do.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | August 14, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

#5 overall selection Buster Posey agrees to a $7.5M major league deal with the Giants.

Posted by: The market is being set | August 14, 2008 10:32 AM
___________________

Wow, that's a big deal!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Again, that's where Bergman needs Redding in the dugout. Redding is master of limiting damage when he doesn't have his best stuff. Bergman may yet be savable. He just needs a different brain.

And I'm not sure even Terry Francona actually believes his team can make it back from a 10 run deficit.

Posted by: Ben | August 14, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

By the way, sorry for the long-winded posts - we now return you to your normal NJ post-loss programming:

Cut Kearns!! Fire Lenny!! Fire everybody!! Run Bowden over with a Segway!!!

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | August 14, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Correct, Mock wasn't going to be pitching. Rick Aponte just told him to stretch. Same with Steven Shell.
The bullpen phone didn't ring until the end of the top half of the 3rd. Then Jesus got up.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Mock had just started a game on Monday so he was not likely to be going in.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 10:26 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I for one appreciated your insightful and reasoned posts, Hwy 295. (I also like the Segway rant. :D)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

That was me up there talking about the bullpen phone.

Posted by: Section 138 | August 14, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, 138 (I chuckled at the idea of Jesus answering the bullpen phone until I realized that it probably referred to Colome).

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Great analysis, RE:I-295. I think the big difference between Bergmann and Patterson is health. When Bergmann doesn't have his best stuff he gets flustered (though he is getting better at dealing with it, despite last night's slide) and makes bad pitches. When Patterson didn't have his best stuff, he thought hard until he figured out something that hurt and then obsessed over the "injury".

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 14, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

That's annoying (Posey signing.) It really makes it impossible for the Nats to sign Crow. I don't want such an enormous jerk on my team. All Crow's doing is hurting himself at this point. There's no way he'll be chosen ninth overall or better next year. I'll take Strasburg (or another number 1 pick) and a hitter at 9B instead.

Posted by: Mary | August 14, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Apologize all you want, H295R, but those are great posts to read.

I really like Bergmann. Maybe I'm delusional, but I keep telling myself that he's gonna snap out of it and find his misplaced self confidence one of these days. According to the numbers, I'm pretty much insane for thinking that, but I really believe the switch could flip at any time.

Call me crazy--I think I deserve it.

Posted by: 3434 | August 14, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Two words for Aaron Crow: Wade Townsend.

Posted by: anon | August 14, 2008 10:15 AM

---------------------------------------

Two more: Matt Harrington

Posted by: John O. | August 14, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Crow...it's not like he'd help the MLB squad next year, if we could get a power bat for the 9a pick next year...

If we sign Crow and draft Strasburg, we have tons (and tons) of young pitching.

Onto the free agent watch. C.C. had another dominant performance last night. How can management justify NOT going after him? For a bat, I'd like to see Manny in LF (Dukes in RF). Manny would put more fans in the stands and bring some excitement (plus, his OBP is over .600).

Posted by: 756* | August 14, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

My two cents is let him walk rather then go ridiculously out of slot. If any person doesn't think sports salaries - and tickets - are ridiculous then they need to get their head examined. We have a 'work stoppage' to stop things from spinning out of control then a couple of years later everyone forgets. I agree with his agent wanting to strike the best deal possible - that's his job - but its unrealistic to think he'll get #3 money from the #9 spot. And if he doesn't want to come here then great, go back in the draft and get drafted by KC next year.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | August 14, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

IP H R ER BB K Sabathia(W, 7-0) 7.0 9 1 1 1 8

ERA in NL 1.55

Posted by: 756* | August 14, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

To 756* - I think it will be easier to the Nats to justify signing CC then CC will be able to justify signing here. We can all dream though...

Posted by: SCNatsFan | August 14, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

ummm...that's not how it was supposed to look.

Posted by: 756* | August 14, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I see Manny's OBP at .417, .564 since going to LA. Career .410, though declining. Same with slugging.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/r/ramirma02.shtml

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 14, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Crow has to know his demands are unreasonable. The Posey signing is an interesting wrinkle, but I have to believe Crow is going to cave near the deadline and sign for something on the order of $3M. Why would he even consider doing anything else? We're holding all the chips.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

We could figure it out from the sequence, though, 756.

Re. Manny, does that mean we would all have to wear dreadlock hats like the Dodger fans are ordering?

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

four more: JD Drew, Luke Hochevar.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Two words for Aaron Crow: Wade Townsend.

Posted by: anon | August 14, 2008 10:15 AM

---------------------------------------

Two more: Matt Harrington

Posted by: John O. | August 14, 2008 10:50 AM

Posted by: Section 138 | August 14, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of headgear, maybe the team should make up special two-flapped Willie Harris batting helmets for the sundaes. :D

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"we would all have to wear dreadlock hats"

...Yuck.

I take amusement from the fact that people put down Crow for acting like a prima donna, then suggest picking up Manny Ramirez.

Posted by: 3434 | August 14, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Ben, maybe - but I think Bergmann may be headed down towards the path of a "million-dollar-arm, ten-cent-head" pitcher - he may pull it together, but he's in need of a serious moxie transfusion - maybe we can get Lannan to donate some on his off-days...a little touch of that "Oh, heck no. Not tonight" kind of attitude might do him wonders.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | August 14, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you on that, 3434.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I hear you, Section 138. Sometimes guys don't sign and then it turns out okay the next year or the year after that. But how much better off were Hochevar and Drew in signing a year later as opposed to when originally drafted? Marginally?

And the real risk is that pitchers, unlike position players, get hurt, lose command, and encounter other pitfalls. Being a top-end starting pitcher is a really fragile thing, and there is considerable risk in not taking your money when you're hot and healthy.

Posted by: John O. | August 14, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

And thanks, y'all - I'm just chasing down stuff I was thinking of during the game. I know I get tired of reading the "if I were GM, here's how I'd do it" stuff.

3434, you're not crazy for thinking that, I don't think - those 7 starts (and other stretches like that in '07) show that he's got the stuff to stick as an MLB starter - but his problem is that he just doesn't seem to battle on days that he doesn't have his best stuff. I didn't dig into those bad starts to check, but my recollection of those bad ones is that they were a lot like last night - cruising along ok, and then all of a sudden the wheels come flying off and he gives up 5 or 6 in one inning. That says to me that it's entirely in his head - he's just got to do that good old "relax and focus" thing. I hope he can find it, but I think that's the thing that separates the guys who end up having long careers - they learn how to keep a leak from turning into a flood.

And 1a, I'm saving your comment - the next time somebody at work says I'm nuts, I'm going to say "But anonymous posters on the internet think I'm insightful and reasoned!!!"

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | August 14, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Townsend and Harrington were much different situations than Crow.

Townsend wasnt asking for crazy money relative to his draft position. The stupid O's didnt want to even pay him slot money (around $2.3 mil in 2004) and actually lowballed him. The stupid O's screwed up, angered Townsend and Townsend then challenged the MLB draft by relinquishing his college eligibility. MLB ruled against Townsend, thus forcing him into the following years loaded 2005 draft where he had almost no leverage. He ended up signing almost immediately with Tampa for slightly less than what the stupid O's had reportedly offered. Townsend has since had multiple arm issues and I think is pitching in Single A.

Harrington was a high schooler with reportedly a prearranged deal with the Rockies in 2000. He didnt sign, saying COL had reneged on the deal and he walked away from almost $4 mil. He never went to college, played in independent ball and was drafted 4 or 5 times in subsequent years. I dont think he ever signed with a team that drafted him but I think he recently signed as a minor league free agent with the Cubs.

Even with the signing deadline being moved to 8/15, the most recent Crow comparable would probably be Luke Hochevar. He never signed with the Dodgers in 2004 and ended up being the #1 overall pick with KC and signing for $3.5 mil the next year. Sherzer with ARI & Weaver with LAA are two other recent examples of leveraging independent league ball. But the draft deadline was much later at the time and both players were never redrafted.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | August 14, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

VT Nats Fan,
According to Brian at NFA if we don't sign Crow this year we get a 9A choice next year that can not be Crow unless he agrees. If we don't sign that 9A, whoever it may be, we loose the slot entirely. It does not go from draft to draft to draft until you sign someone. We get the original draft then a 9A then nothing.

I still say sign Crow even for $7.5M. What free agent pitcher could we get for $7.5 for 5 years. Note that's a total of $7.5M not $7.5M per year. I know he may not pan out but would you rather have Barry Zito? There are no guarntees among draftees and/or MLB FAs.

Let's pile up the potential stars and let the law of probability take over. Like everyone, we trust our talent evaluators so, like everyone, we think we've got an edge. If we don't shoot we'll never hit the target. Without knowing much about next year's draft, and who among us does, except for Brian, I don't know who would be available but I think Crow is the second or third most talented out of this year's draft. Let's sign him and move on.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 14, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Money talks. At some point, the team WILL HAVE TO sign a FA. This offseason, next, or the next (yikes).

I think that signing a FA is easier if (A) the team is competitive, (B) has proven major league talent on the team, or (C) is at least exciting and on the verge of competing. So far, the Nats are 0 for 3 on all of these. But, IMO, signing 1 or 2 FAs will speak to B and C.

Posted by: 756* | August 14, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Crow should sign. He wont be the first RHP drafted next year and may not even be the first RHP from Missouri drafted next year. Strasburg, Alex White @ UNC & Kyle Gibson @ Mizzou all potentially could be drafted ahead of him.

$4.8 million/major leage deal is my guess if/when the Crow signing is announced.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | August 14, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"I take amusement from the fact that people put down Crow for acting like a prima donna, then suggest picking up Manny Ramirez."

Different people. I think I'm alone in advocating picking up Manny.

Posted by: 756* | August 14, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Fair enough, 756'. That possibility occurred to me, but I didn't feel much like going back and checking names.

Personally, I don't have anything against prima donnas on principle, but I have no interest in seeing Manny anywhere near Nats park--playing for us or against us.

Posted by: 3434 | August 14, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"I think I'm alone in advocating picking up Manny."

Nope. I'm with you if the price is right - which it likely won't be.

And, for the record, Manny > Crow because:

1) He can hit.
2) He can hit.
3) He's fun for the fans (can you imagine the LF seats?)
4) He can hit.
5) He can hit.

Posted by: Not Really 756* | August 14, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Also - I can hit, amigo.

Posted by: Not Really Manny Ramirez | August 14, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Will Manny Acta let Manny be Manny?

Posted by: Manny Ramirez | August 14, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I actually live in Boston and let me tell you, that Manny being Manny nonsense get very old very fast. He was let go because of the 25 players in the club house 24 voted to get rid of him. Poor old Manny Acta has enough 'big personalities' to try and hold together right now.

Posted by: Ben | August 14, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Then stay away from Nats park from Aug. 26-28.

______________________________
Personally, I don't have anything against prima donnas on principle, but I have no interest in seeing Manny anywhere near Nats park--playing for us or against us.

Posted by: 3434 | August 14, 2008 11:48 AM

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | August 14, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm not coming down one way or the other on Manny Ramirez, but who are the other 'big personalities' in the clubhouse? Hasn't the complaint actually been that there is a leadership void? Leadership seems like it would be an important aspect of personality, I'd think.

The only real outbursts of personality we've seen were the exuberance shown by Dukes and Milledge (and the blown-out-of-proportion confrontation thereafter). Okay, and Belliard's dismissive home run spit, but that doesn't even count. I'm not sure that anyone posting on this board has any idea whether or not those isolated displays really translate into being 'big personalities' in the clubhouse.

Posted by: faNATic | August 14, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Last night was a sports trifecta: Nationals game on the radio [the game was rank but I'm addicted to listening], Olympics on the telly, the Sports page on the table.

We're pretty pathetic this year, whatever the reasons, and despite a few bright spots, but the Olympics are exciting to watch.

Posted by: samantha7 | August 14, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"Also - I can hit, amigo."

Tell me about it.

Posted by: Fake traveling secretary | August 14, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

People you had better get a grip and come to some level of a reality check.

Pretty easy to figure that Crow has no interest in coming to this organization. I agree w/Brue, the word is on the street that at this point in time DC ain't the place to hang your hat or spend anything other then the obligatory 3 day swing thru on a 6 or 9 game road-trip with some other team. Please forget about A level FA's signing here (Tex,Sabby),they too know the score and if most other available are coming from B level teams why in the world would they want to come here to a Z level team.

For whatever reason this will turn-out to be another Nats PR blunder ala Bowdoin Buffunery or the Lerner-Stans total miscalculation regarding the level of tolerance that people will have going into year 5 of existence and year 3 of "The Plan".

2009 and 2010 need to be turn-around years in order for this franchise to build a "fan base", if that doesn't happen your going to be looking at a sea of empty blue seats.

Posted by: Tippy Canoe | August 14, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Since the Nats are more interested in supposedly building the farm system rather than fielding a competitive MLB product then why don't the Lerners just petition to move the Nats down to the AAA level until 2011-12 when we keep hearing all these supposed prosepects will pan out.

Posted by: I Hate Plans | August 14, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I would love to get Manny.... think of the great influence his work ethic would be on Dukes.

Yeah right.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | August 14, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Bedouin Buffoonery?

"Bowdoin Buffunery"

Posted by: blog translator | August 14, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

TippyCanoe, I disagree with you... I think anyone can see that despite the blunders at MLB the minors have made a 180 degree turnaround and the future looks bright here. The immediate future? Looks bleak, but I'm encouraged this franchise finally has young talent to develop... and to not sign here because our team stinks now when you are years away from playing for the big club is the type of attitude we don't need... and not for 8M$.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | August 14, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

So, Tippy Canoe, I'm still curious as to why you follow this team, much less spend so much time posting on a fan blog?

I'm not saying you can't come, please don't misconstrue, I just can't understand why you would be so dedicated to a diversion from life that you have no hope of enjoying.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 14, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Since R.Zimmerman these top draft picks are really making an impact, so glad we got a couple more for Soriano.

Posted by: Joe the Fan | August 14, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

WFAN just called...they would like their "Joe the Fan" back

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | August 14, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"the word is on the street that at this point in time DC ain't the place to hang your hat "

Huggy Bear! Is that you? What's the word on the street about why Bonifacio changed his uniform number? I know one of your ho's must have the low down on that caper...

Posted by: joebleux | August 14, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

>That might be the worst baseball analysis I have ever read.
A pitchers mindset in a tight ballgame pitching for a team with a losing record IS THE SAME as pitching the 7th game of the World Series?<

You see what it's done to our bullpen, haven't you? They can't afford to make a mistake, because they get punished every time they do. They try to be too fine, or put a little bit extra on it, and before you know it, your arm slot is dropping down (Ayala) because you're getting tired, your ball is sailing, and you're getting tattooed. Bergmann last night was a perfect example, he's been in so many tight games, with so much tension, his arm slot is completely shot. Almost sidearm. See, the reason there's all that tension is because pitching is all about numbers at contract time. It has nothing to do with the team's record, only the record they have when you're pitching. You saw what happened to Cordero, didn't you? All those appearances - he was throwing 75 mph by the time they sent him to the glue factory. When your arm slot drops, you get hurt. At the very least, you're ineffective.

Posted by: Brue | August 14, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Brue, your analysis makes sense to the extent that pitchers can overthrow and hurt themselves when they think every pitch must be perfect to keep the team in the game.

However, I don't think it can be pinned down to one mechanical struggle for everybody, and I think it's a fallacy to liken any and every pressure situation to game seven. If Bergmann executes now and really succeeds, he might help the team avoid 100 losses. If this were the World Series, he'd be playing for a ring.

Posted by: 3434 | August 14, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Brue, all due respect, but you're nuts. What's Joba Chamberlain's excuse, getting hurt pitching for the Yankees? Billy Martin won a lot of games during his career as manager and one of the ways he did it was burning out arms. Tony LaRussa won the World Series two years ago and half of the starting rotation blew up the next year. Look at the Tigers right now, with all of the arm problems they've got. How could have these problems, playing for winners?

Posted by: baltova | August 14, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Also, I think it's more likely that our bullpen is tired and/or injured because they're overused than because they're trying too hard.

I'll acknowledge that it's probably some of both, but I think the former probably has more influence.

Posted by: 3434 | August 14, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

What is the right amount of use for a bullpen? Is there any rule of thumb akin to the hated "pitch count" for starters?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 14, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The WP really went off on the Nats today with a Metro article calling the people who showed up at the ESPN Zone to see Lannan "fanboys" and Goff in the Soccer Insider referring to them as woeful and a minor league team. We asked for more coverage and I guess we got it.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Check out "Pitcher Abuse For Dummies" over at the FireJimBowden blog (no affiliation). It's really Good stuff. Now that Capitol Punishment shut down, that's a good place for the sanguine Nats fan.

This club is headed nowhere fast. They haven't a clue on or off the field. It's pretty much the same old Senators in so many ways.

Posted by: Max | August 14, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Re Crow: "Let him starve." (cf. "Breaking Away")

Re bullpen: methinks they're exhausted, and there's still six weeks to go.

Re the future: Too soon to tell long-term, but there are reasons to believe in "The Plan", IMHO. I would not do anything drastic in the short-term, such as signing a reluctant FA or two just to make some fans feel better. Let "The Plan" be "The Plan." If by 2012 the team is not competitive in September and comfortably above .500, well then . . .

As to 2009 and 2010? Fuhgettaboutit!


Posted by: JohnR(VA) | August 14, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Brue,

"You see what it's done to our bullpen, haven't you? They can't afford to make a mistake, because they get punished every time they do."
Umm, if they can't pitch in tight situations, then I suggest they move out of the bullpen.
"because you're getting tired, your ball is sailing, and you're getting tattooed."
What does this have to do with your "mindset" quote?
"Bergmann last night was a perfect example, he's been in so many tight games, with so much tension, his arm slot is completely shot. Almost sidearm."
Again, you're saying his arm is shot because of *tension*? I just want to make sure I have that right.
"You saw what happened to Cordero, didn't you? All those appearances - he was throwing 75 mph by the time they sent him to the glue factory."
Umm, no. He was throwing 75 MPH (low 80's, actually) because of a torn lat/labrum, not overuse.
Brue, I'm not arguing that Washington is a tough place to pitch in right now. Any pitcher's wins will be low, losses high, and not much run support. I just *cannot*, for the life of me, figure out how pitching in tight games injures people, both physically and mentally.

Posted by: Section 138 | August 14, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I saw the ESPN Zone-related piece, Anon. I realize that I'm preaching to the choir here, but in my experience, the so-called "fanboys" (not my choice of term) in the piece are just one part of the Nats demographic; they aren't representative of it as a whole. I suppose that sampling is more of the precise statistical science that gave us the much-hyped 9,000 viewer number.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

What is the right amount of use for a bullpen? Is there any rule of thumb akin to the hated "pitch count" for starters?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 14, 2008 1:35 PM
_______

I don't have the slightest idea. Our team has no ace who gives us seven solid innings every five days, and a few guys who implode on a semi-regular basis. Even the solidly impressive Lannan is a lot more likely to last six innings than seven. I get the impression that, over the course of a season, this probably adds up to significantly more bullpen innings than a team where starters go seven, eight, or nine innings once a week.

This is all conjecture on my part, but our 'pen does have the fifth most IP in the majors at 403.2.

Posted by: 3434 | August 14, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

1. cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident: a sanguine disposition; sanguine expectations.

Posted by: sanguine? I think not. | August 14, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Check out "Pitcher Abuse For Dummies" over at the FireJimBowden blog (no affiliation). It's really Good stuff. Now that Capitol Punishment shut down, that's a good place for the sanguine Nats fan.

Posted by: try Nats320 if you want sanguine | August 14, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Gee, The Post dissing the Nationals. What a shock.

Re Crow, if all the first-round picks ahead of him this year wind up signing, that's another (albeit small) point in favor of letting him walk. In that case, they really would have pick 9A = actual pick #10 overall, because there's no 8A, 5A, or whatever, in front of it. And if, as they say, next year's draft will be better than this one, then they ought to be able to get a better player than Crow with that pick. OTOH, if there are several compensatory picks next year (which looks unlikely with Beckham signing), and they really only got actual pick #15 or so, then maybe there's more pressure to sign Crow, because they might well not do better next year.

Crow can play in Ft. Worth, or Schaumburg, or wherever. I wish him, his family, and his upper left extremity luck. He doesn't *have to* sign, and they don't *have to* sign him.

******
The WP really went off on the Nats today with a Metro article calling the people who showed up at the ESPN Zone to see Lannan "fanboys" and Goff in the Soccer Insider referring to them as woeful and a minor league team. We asked for more coverage and I guess we got it.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 1:42 PM

Posted by: CEvans | August 14, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Not too many of those around here, what with Flynnie out of town.

***********
Now that Capitol Punishment shut down, that's a good place for the sanguine Nats fan.
Posted by: Max | August 14, 2008 1:48 PM

Posted by: CE | August 14, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

how about the sangfroid Nats fan?

Posted by: Tequila Mockingbird | August 14, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

why do people blame guys for wanting money? Pro sports are the only arena where people dont understand money. Would you take $4 mill less than you could get? NO. I dont blame him or any pro athletes. This could be his only payday in about 8 years. Think about that.

As for not signing him, that would be foolish. They talk about doing what it takes to sign these guys, then they play hardball and lowball them. The FO is developing a bad rep with the rest of baseball, and NO ONE wants to come here. Just look at the orioles. Their front office before macphail was an embaressment and they did the same things and finally people stopped coming. You need to sign your draft picks, especially number 1's. It just is another year lost if you just say "well we've got next year" Well what if they dont pan out either, or better yet dont sign. I guarentee strasberg will look for about 10 mill. He is a boras client. If they lowball him (which they will) they will be in deep sh*t not to sign the guy.

Believe me, im not hating. Just being the voice of reason. This front office has A LOT to prove, and they are losing a lot of faith and reputation. This kid is doing what he needs to do, just like what ANY of us would do.

Posted by: luv da nats | August 14, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The Orioles and Brian Matusz seem to be closing in on a deal. Most folks thought the Crow deal would go down before the Matusz deal, and that it would set how much to sign him for. Matusz was rumored to be looking for a Major League contract at around $5MM. Word now is that it will be a Major League contract, but at only around $3.2MM. This will set the precedent for the Crow deal. Those two were the top pitchers in the draft, bar none.
This is good news (the dollar amount, *if* true) for the Nats, and bad for Crow.

Posted by: Section 138 | August 14, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Whoever drafts Strasburg next year, if he's still throwing 100+, will pay what they have to. If it's DC, we'll see him here, on the mound, by Labor Day. How could they not bring him in?
Someone posted earlier that Crow would be our best prospect, immediately. Strasburg would be our best pitcher. Full stop.

Posted by: CE | August 14, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"Check out "Pitcher Abuse For Dummies" over at the FireJimBowden blog (no affiliation). It's really Good stuff."

What a load of crap that article is. In apportioning the blame for Bergmann giving up eight runs before getting out of the third inning last night, he lays some of it on every member of the Nationals organization, save for one - Jason Bergmann. Right. The organization messed up his mind so much that there was literally nothing else he could do but walk those guys with the bases loaded, give up all those hits, and ultimately eight runs in one inning. So, if Bergmann wasn't at fault in the least for that, why did he feel the need to go individually to every other player who started the game last night and apologize to them in the clubhouse after the game? (Hopefully, he also apologized to Manny and Randy, but if he did that wasn't reported on Nats Talk Live last night.) Has the extent to which the organization has abused him included them brainwashing him into apologizing for doing what they've cruelly condemned him to do? Give me a break.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | August 14, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Section 138,
One bad effect on our pitchers could be that they are trying to be too fine. They then get behind in the count then either provide a good pitch to hit or walk the batter. They walk the bottom of the order (when have we seen that?) and walk in runs (again, anybody see anything like that around here?). The key to pitching is strike one, nothing good happens until then. Our pitchers must get ahead in the count and learn to depend on the defense. Now there is even some reason to do so, although we have our holes. I think the pitchers may think that one mistake will doom them and the team. It's an ironic twist that throwing strikes makes the possibility of a "mistake" higher for that individual pitch but lower for the at-bat. It also reduces the damage of any one mistake by limiting men on base.
Is this a beautiful game, or what?

I Hate Walks, I need your help here.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 14, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

>Brue, I'm not arguing that Washington is a tough place to pitch in right now. Any pitcher's wins will be low, losses high, and not much run support. I just *cannot*, for the life of me, figure out how pitching in tight games injures people, both physically and mentally.<

I guess I didn't explain it thoroughly - I'm trying to say that when you get a nice lead in the game, your approach to pitching is different. You might be able to get by with using less breaking balls, for instance. You can spot your fastball, and not worry about contact, because a big league hitter is going to fail 7 times out of 10, so the other team may hit some shots off of you, but chances are they'll be at somebody. Let's say it's a tight situation, and the only thing that's going to get you out of it is to induce a grounder. Or a pop-up. Sometimes only a strikeout will do, so you have to put the ball exactly where you need it in order for that to happen, as opposed to throwing the ball over, making them earn their way on, and letting your fielders do the work with a lead. So, like I said, you can avoid a dead arm from too many breaking balls, say the way that Daniel Cabrera has thrown this year - two and four-seamers 90% of the time. He's not perfect, but he's pitching more innings with less pitches because he's not trying to be too fine with the breaking balls. It seemed to me that Bergmann throw a copious amount of breakers in his last start, and I'm of the opinion that it's no coincidence his arm was dead yesterday. It's like Lannan - he's got to tiptoe around the plate because he doesn't throw that hard, so he ends up throwing many more pitches because of a tight game. He's not tip-toeing around because he doesn't have good stuff, because he's having success this year, he's tip-toeing because it's a tight game every outing. Which keeps him from throwing a complete game, which in turn drains the bullpen. The drained bullpen usually doesn't show up until after the all-star break.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

If I was a premier prospect, I would want nothing to do with this franchise unless they paid me a premium. But I'm just a season ticket holder (for now), so all I can do is decline to renew my season tickets. Something tells me the infield box seats are not going to be sold out next season...

Posted by: Can you blame him? | August 14, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"Pro sports are the only arena where people dont understand money. Would you take $4 mill less than you could get?"

Armed robbery is the only other arena besides pro sports where one of the parties always seems to think that they can say to the other one "Gimme all your dough" and get it without a fight. But the armed robber's expectation there is the only one grounded in reality, if you ask me.

I wonder. On Armed Robbers Journal, is there a Banks ARE Cheap poster who decries banks for not wanting to hand over all their dough each and every time someone asks for some of it?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | August 14, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

The walks may be the result of umpires having wildly fluctuating strike zones on the same day. Some of the calls in Milwaukee were horrible and not just that but horrible on a consistent basis. When pitchers get frustrated with the umpires not calling the edge of the plate strikes then they have to deliver the ball over the middle sections or hope that the batter swings and misses. At some point Manny has to make it known that bad calls are noticed. Bergmann, as bad as he was in the third, should not have to get 5 outs in an inning.

Posted by: Dale | August 14, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Who is this Goff that you speak of?

Posted by: Fanboys R Us | August 14, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder. On Armed Robbers Journal, is there a Banks ARE Cheap poster who decries banks for not wanting to hand over all their dough each and every time someone asks for some of it?"

No offense to LAC, but LMAO!

Posted by: post of the day | August 14, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

It *was* funny!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Ft. Worth Cats = Arm Robbers

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 14, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Right, but armed robbers are stealing. These guys get drafted because of their talent and skills. Way to compare the two.

Posted by: luv da nats | August 14, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Nationals today recalled infielder Aaron Boone from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus and reinstated him from the 15-Day Disabled List, and placed shortstop Alberto Gonzalez on the 15-Day DL (retroactive to August 5) with a left hamstring strain.

Posted by: Dr. Vinny Boombatz | August 14, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Bob, PotD has already been awarded. You'll have to settle for runner-up.

Posted by: official post of the day award committee | August 14, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

awww, can't we have co-posts?

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey, maybe we could have a gold, silver, and bronze?

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Isn't that kind of the same as saying he's the runner up?

Posted by: 3434 | August 14, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"Right, but armed robbers are stealing. These guys get drafted because of their talent and skills. Way to compare the two."

So you're saying that baseball draftees shouldn't have to negotiate in order to establish their value, and that the teams should just hand over whatever the draftee thinks they're worth, no matter how inflated or unrealistic that amount might be? Why is that?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | August 14, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"It would be a good choice to make Bergmann "face his demons" if you had a team like Boston that can come back from giving up 12 runs to win 19-17."

You think it matters if we win that game? Wow.

Posted by: mrm0to | August 14, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

The Nats won't let Willie Harris compete in the Olympics so he doesn't steal Phelps' thunder.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 14, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Tis true, 506. He's already swiped his swimsuit (not the goggles, though).

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"It would be a good choice to make Bergmann "face his demons" if you had a team like Boston that can come back from giving up 12 runs to win 19-17."

You think it matters if we win that game? Wow.

Posted by: mrm0to | August 14, 2008 3:26 PM
____________________

I’ll also point out the fact that the eight-run inning had zero bearing on the outcome of the game. It’s the perfect chance to let Bergmann work himself out real-time, because he would have ended up with an L even if he had pitched an eight-inning, one-run gem. Keeping the run total down is a lot more of an issue in a back-and-forth nailbiter (like that Texas/Boston game) than a shutout, where you’re doomed either way.

Posted by: 3434 | August 14, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Phelps swiped Willie's suit, I mean, which helped him to be so speedy. eh, never mind...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Not Crow.........Crow.

-Get Smart

.....oh wait that was "Craw not Craw"

Posted by: Cabraman | August 14, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Way to mention that Shairon Martis was the losing pitcher.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

As of writing this post, here are the bonus babies (highest signing bonuses) in the first ten rounds:

* 1st round (pick 1) - Tim Beckham - $6.15 million (Rays)
* Supplemental 1st (pick 1) - Shooter Hunt - $1.08 million (Twins)
* 2nd round (pick 9) - Destin Hood - $1.1 million (Nationals)
* 3rd round TIE (pick 5) - Roger Kieschnick - $525k (Giants) and (pick 10) - Danny Espinosa (Nationals)
* Supplemental 3rd (pick 1) - Ross Seaton - $700k (Astros)
* 4th round TIE (pick 1) - Ty Morrison - $500k (Rays) and (pick 19) - Matt Cerda (Cubs)
* 5th round (pick 9) - Adrian Nieto - $376k (Nationals)
* 6th round (pick 28) - Brett Marshall - $800k (Yankees)
* 7th round (pick 29) - Tim Fedroff - $725k (Indians)
* 8th round (pick 4) - Bobby Bundy - $600k (Orioles)
* 9th round (pick 15) - Steven Caseres - $250k (Dodgers)
* 10th round (pick 12) - Rashun Dixon - $600k (Athletics)

For a team with a small payroll, the Nationals seem to be spending quite a bit of money on their early draft picks.

http://www.sportsagentblog.com/2008/08/14/fridays-mlb-draft-deadline/

Posted by: Gal Revels in Pee | August 14, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

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