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Exit notes from Miller Park

* Starter Garrett Mock had one of the more unusual pitching lines you'll see this season.

4-2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 B, 9 K

That's right -- nine strikeouts in less than five innings.

Just out of curiosity, I went back and looked at the numbers. Before today, pitchers in 175 games this season have notched more than nine strikeouts. Only one -- Aaron Harang, on May 25 -- pitched fewer than five innings in that game. (Harang got nine strikeouts in four innings.)

As Mock said after the game, he was struggling to locate his fastball; that's part of why his pitch-count ran so high, so fast. But his breaking balls were terrific -- so good, that they almost prohibited quick outs. On this day, only because Mock was supposed to last as long as possible, that really worked against him.

After the game, Mock called the nine strikeouts a negative, not a positive.

He would have preferred nine ground ball outs, he said.

(For the record, he got one ground-out.)

* Mock on Corey Hart, who homered today in the fourth: "That guy owes me a steak or something, because I've thrown him more cookies than anybody I've ever thrown to."

* As for the draft picks the Nats signed today, here are their bonus figures, per Baseball America

ESPINOSA -- $525,000

HICKS -- $475,000

What does it mean? More above-slot signings from the Nats.

Just to recap, Espinosa was taken 87th overall. The No. 86 player, Brent Morel (White Sox) received $440,000; the No. 89 player, Tim Murphy (Rangers) received $436,000.

Hicks, meanwhile, was taken 121st overall. The No. 120 player, Drew O'Neil (White Sox), received $260,000. The No. 122 player, T.J. Steele (Astros), received $267,000. Hicks' bonus is the third-highest given to a fourth-round pick. The first pick of that round, Ty Morrison, No. 113, (Rays) received an even $500,000. So did pick No. 131, Matt Cerda (Cubs), a high school shortstop.

* I'm off tomorrow (while flying back to DC), so this blog will be inactive -- at least on this end -- in the morning. Zach Berman will be covering the Nats tomorrow, so he'll have you covered in the p.m. hours. Thanks for your understanding.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 11, 2008; 8:31 PM ET
 
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Next: Lineups

Comments

More signings over slot. Boy they sure are cheap. All you haters are eating some humble pie now. You will be eating Crow when he signs by Friday

Posted by: Cheap Lerners | August 11, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Decent value on Espinosa; a little pricey on Hicks. Just glad to have them both under contract (Mr. Selig & the rest of the owners can just bite the bullet on "slot" until it's in the CBA). I'm beginning to think that Crow is demanding a 40-man slot (aka Detwiler), and big $$$ in bonus money. If so, take a pass on this one. Given the current market outlook, he could fall to us at #10 next year - Wouldn't that be ironic?

Posted by: BIM | August 11, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see Mock had the right frame of mind after today's game. He must have remembered the famous words of Crash Davis in "Bull Durham:" "Relax, all right? Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic."

Posted by: baltova | August 11, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

One more thought before signing out for tonight - I'd love to see Manny shake up the lineup in game 1 against Santana & the Mets, to wit:
2B- Bonifacio (B/R)
SS- Guzman (B/R)
1B- Belliard, R. (R/R)!
3B- Zimmerman (R/R) !!
CF- Milledge, L. (R/R)
C - Flores, J. (R/R)
RF- Kearns, A. (R/R)
LF- Harris (L/R)
P - Bergmann, J. (R/R) !!!

I know he won't do it, but think of the possibilities...

Posted by: BIM | August 11, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

BIM you can't assume that, especially since the Nats will likely get a pick in the 1-3 range too. Pick #10 would likely be an overdraft (a college closer, maybe). Get him in ASAP. Compromise and give in if he demands the major league deal. He will likely be up within a year anyway.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | August 11, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

If we can't sign Crow now, you are not allowed to draft him next year. Thems the rules

Posted by: draft rules | August 11, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

"Decent value on Espinosa; a little pricey on Hicks. Just glad to have them both under contract (Mr. Selig & the rest of the owners can just bite the bullet on "slot" until it's in the CBA). I'm beginning to think that Crow is demanding a 40-man slot (aka Detwiler), and big $$$ in bonus money. If so, take a pass on this one. Given the current market outlook, he could fall to us at #10 next year - Wouldn't that be ironic?"

first Detwiler didn't 'demand' a 40 man slot aka a major league deal, he was a sept. call up and was obstentialy rewarded for pitching well, signing early and the hope was he could learn from the big league staff and players. 2nd while I agree that Crow could def. fall to or past 10th overall in next years class, a player can't be drafted by the same team in back to back years unless the player agrees to it. Given the hardline between the two sides I doubt Crow would agree to it or the Nats would want to do that again (esp. since that pick next year wouldn't get compensation the following year if we didn't sign the player). Now I do agree with the hesitation of giving Crow a spot, esp since you called up Detwiler and he is taking up a spot and there seems to be little chance of him being ready next season. The Nats can't keep giving spots away when they will need to protect players who they could lose in the Rule 5 draft. Hopefully the Nats will sign him its obvious not really an issue of "slot" but how much over slot they'd be willing to go.

Posted by: Steveo | August 11, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know the deal with our 11th round pick Marcus Jones? I know the Nats drafted him in 2005, but he went to NC state instead. He finished his Junior year. The Nats must really like him to have drafted him twice, three years apart.

I hope we sign him finally.

Posted by: Marcus Jones | August 11, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

some people here expect not only above slot signings, but early signings as well. anything less shows a lack of commitment to the plan.

Posted by: 231 | August 11, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

read somewhere, think it was the times website, that nieto's signing was expedited when rizzo took over negotiations from jimbow. hint, lerners, hint?

Posted by: natsscribe | August 11, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I was one of the people shouting for the Nats to sign their picks... I'm glad they signed their 3rd, 4th, and 5th, (Although I would have liked it earlier so that they could have played this year)

I'm starting to think that signing Crow for way above slot would be a mistake. The nats publicly saying they are going to build through the draft, and the McGeary deal precedent is causing them to constantly have to spend over WAY OVER slot.(Granted they are drafting and signing guys in lower rounds who are supposedly unsignable)

Given the fact that we get a 1st round pick next year and the draft class next year is deep, I don't see any reason why we should sign Crow over slot. I would rather the Nats use that money and overpay all of their other unsigned draft picks then give into crow. If we don't sign Jones (11th round) Coleman and Ramirez (14th and 15 rounds) those will be "wasted opportunities" and assets where we could have drafted someone else that signed. We will lose that draft pick forever, however, with Crow it's no big deal at least we get a pick next year.

Posted by: NatsFan | August 11, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Uh....no. These "over-slot" signings are barely blips on the radar screen. The Lerners are simply doing what they have to and promised to do as far as player development is concerned (and kudos to them for at least doing that). But that doesn't mean they aren't cheap.

Look at it this way: the Nats right now are 5th from the bottom in MLB payroll. Right ahead of them are the Royals ($3M higher), Twins ($7M higher), and Dbacks ($11M higher). Now take the rough estimate "over slot" amounts for Hood ($375k), Espinosa ($85k), Hicks ($215k), and Nieto ($190k). (I'm giving the Nats the benefit of the doubt on these numbers, like not amortizing for Hood.)

So what's the grand total over slot? $865,000. Yeah, you convinced me, they're not cheap.

Even if they were to go 4 or 5 million over slot for Crow, that incremental amount still doesn't even get them to the Twins on payroll plus over slot bonus payments--and that assumes that the Twins aren't paying out over slot also.

So, I'm sorry, but try again. Hey, at least the Lerners convinced you, right? By the way, I don't know what you mean by "hater" but it's a pretty silly word in this context. I don't hate the Lerners, and I don't think others here do either. Some of us just want them to put the resources into the team that it and their fans deserve, and are willing to call them out on it, rather than deluding ourselves.

___________________

More signings over slot. Boy they sure are cheap. All you haters are eating some humble pie now. You will be eating Crow when he signs by Friday

Posted by: Cheap Lerners | August 11, 2008 8:34 PM

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 11, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

I feel like many folks are missing the point here. It is not the aggregate amount over slot that is the issue. The ML payroll isn't the issue here. The issue is the precedent that is being set. I'm not concerned with the team paying over slot to get guys, however, if a guys is making demands that are ridiculous, it is only prudent to negotiate. Also, it seems a bit disingenuous to talk about how cheap the Learners are, then when they show themselves not to be cheap, discount that evidence. I guess everyone needs to be mad at something.

Posted by: Cavalier | August 11, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Cavalier, as I said before, the draft signings are a drop in the bucket. It is just wrong to say that by making the signings, the Lerners are showing themselves not to be cheap. We're talking less than Johnny Estrada's wasted salary in over-slot dollars. If they've put themselves over the barrel and given leverage to their draft picks by being cheap on the big league side of things, whose fault is that?

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 11, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

LaC, you're arguing two different things.

MLB payroll is one thing, draft signings are another. you can call them cheap on payroll, fair enough. but people were b1tching here that the lerners were cheap because they hadn't signed any of the top 10 picks yet a week ago.

and just because they promised they would spend doesn't mean "simply doing what they promised to do" should be ignored. if they're spending more on their picks than much of the rest of baseball, they should get credit for it, whether they promised it up front or not. it's very convenient to just make the "but they promised to do it, so it's not special" claim when it suits your argument.

Posted by: 231 | August 11, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

That's my point LAC--I feel that argument is faulty. Do you want them to throw 6 million over slot to some 10 round high schooler to prove they aren't cheap? The point here is that they are paying twice what commensurate picks are getting. Let's talk about percentage rather than literal value. Further, Kasten has already said that money will not be spent on premium free agents because they aren't in the long term interest of the team. I would argue that it is neither in the long term interest of the team to set a precedent that they will pay a draft pick whatever they want.

I've also said it before here, I would much rather lose 100 games and have a low ML payroll for 2 years than lose 90 games for 10 to 15 years. If the Learners went out and spent 20 million a year on Teixeira, what would that gain? 5 wins? 10 wins? Instead, they put pieces in place and when a big bat or Ace will put them over the top, they can go out and spend the money then. If, in 3 or 4 years, the Nats are a big stick or an Ace away from the World Series, and they don't spend the money to get one, then you can be angry.

For right now, I think you need to acknowledge that they've done exactly what they said they were going to do. You don't have to like it, but you're disposition towards ownership is tiring.

Posted by: Cavalier | August 11, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

231, I do--and did--give them credit for it. But my point is that the money that is at issue here is so relatively small that the fact that the Nats are paying it out just doesn't have any bearing on showing that they are not cheap. Unfair? No-win proposition? Maybe, but that's what happens when you've got a major-market team with the worst record in baseball and the fifth-lowest payroll.

So, I disagree that I'm arguing two different things. I'm not calling them cheap on payroll, I'm calling them cheap. The fact that they have paid out around $865,000 in over-slot money hardly changes that.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 11, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse


"...and was obstentialy rewarded for pitching well,..."

Posted by: Steveo | August 11, 2008 9:28 PM

Posted by: Ostensibly? | August 11, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Is this a generational thing? Chico takes more days off in 3 months than Barry too off in 3 years. Barry bloged, reported, did interviews on radio, podcasted, and went to the park on rare off days. He even posted from vacation. Chico? 2 days on, 2 days off. I just flew in from Milwaulkee and boy are my arms tired. The Barry story on the swim team this morning was delightful. I'm not hating on Chico, but he's no Barry.

Posted by: NatBisquit | August 11, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game today and just got back to DC. I'll be at work at 8:30 in the morning and at tomorrow night's game.

Loved the smackdown on Ayala, though.

Posted by: Just Saying | August 11, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Cavalier, I'm sorry if you are "tired" by my "disposition.". Personally, rather than worrying about other posters, I try to focus on the team. And I'm tired of watching losing baseball and the worst team in the league, with little to no internal prospects to improve their offense over the next couple years. I'm tired of hearing the organization blow smoke about their Plan, I'm tired about the phenomenal cheapness that the owners have demonstrated with their rock-bottom payroll, and I'm tired of hearing about how Austin Kearns is a superstar-in-hiding.

This whole "get the pieces in place and then sign some big free agents" idea is a fallacy. What happens if the right free agents aren't available when the Nats are "ready"? What happens if the "pieces" are never ready? If you can sign someone like Tex, you do it. He's young, and consistently healthy. That's how you build, incrementally, through many different channels. When a team is constantly waiting for the future for something to "happen", the future often never comes.

Also, you are wrong to claim that ownership has done exactly what they said they would do. Mark Lerner in Spring 07 vowed that the Nats would be active in the free agent market starting in 07-08 and that they would take their 08 payroll to another level. I imagine that Mark is glad that some people, like you, have forgotten those promises. I, on the other hand, have not.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 11, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

What, you gotta crush on Chico now and can't live without him? I mean seriously, not a knock on him, but how much do you REALLY miss the guy? It's all still covered. We still get gamers, we still get notebooks, we still get Nationals Report, and we still get blog posts. What's the big deal if the guy takes a day off? I bet if he never said a word about being away, you'd never know the difference.

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

Plenty of time for baseball writers to take days off November through January. Get back to the keyboard, Chico

Posted by: No Vacation for Chico.com | August 11, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

LACheap,

I have no trouble with a low payroll for a period of time. I think the biggest problem is how they spend their money.

The free agent signings were horrible. LoDuca, King, Wachowiak, Estrada. Extending Young instead of trading him last year turned out to be a waste of money. If you could have pulled the salaries from the people mentioned above plus FLop then you could have gotten some real free agents.

Florida has a low payroll and they are doing pretty well. I am tired of the Nats shopping in the bargain bin for rejects. I'd rather see 8 young players in the starting lineup with one legitimate star.

Posted by: Lerners aren't cheap, but Bowden stinks | August 12, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

your kudos seemed quite begrudgeoned, LaC. that's why i quoted part of how you said it. while you did give them kudos, you only did it after making it sound like since they promised they'd do it, actually doing meant less than if they hadn't promised they would.

Posted by: 231 | August 12, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

I see that some people are still smoking something good. What makes Texeira want to come to the nationals? let's say that he gets offered $20m a year to go to Boston, even if the Lerners are willing to pony up $21m a year, you think he'll come? $22m? $24m? Do you think that he's worth 6 years and $24m per? That's a pretty fiscally irresponsible price, isn't it? The Lerners will have to way overpay to get him here while the farm catches up. It's just not worth it.

Posted by: SF Fan | August 12, 2008 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Agreed. The Nats have not made a good case for themselves this year to free agents. I'm hoping next year we're the sleeper team and by off-season 09-10, we'll look much more attractive.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 12, 2008 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Hey, sure Tex would want to come here. I'm sure there are some posters here who are still convinced that it's the Lerner's fault Hunter isn't here, like if they would have coughed up a penny a year more than the Angels, he would be.

Posted by: natty bo | August 12, 2008 7:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Chico's work schedule is odd -- and makes me wonder if his bosses are completely satisfied with their new hire.

Posted by: ohplease | August 12, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

It's funny, I haven't see a single poster assert that Tex wants to come to the Nats. I have seen some--including me--state that the Nats should try to sign him, and that if you can sign him, you do it. But that's different. Why not try?

You know, the Lerners sure are lucky that they have so many fatalistic pessimists among their fans. It makes it a whole lot easier for them when they don't even try.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 12, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

If we're going to talk about Barry's work schedule, can we remember that Barry specifically mentioned work schedule as one of the reasons he was leaving us for the football beat? He said that covering baseball was just too much work.

By all means, give Chico more days off so he stays longer.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 12, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm with NatsNut. We have done little at the Major League level to encourage any FA to pick us..this year. The best thing we can do for ourselves now is continue with the draft choices. Brian on NFA, estimates that the Nats spent the 5th most on the 07 draft at $7.9 and have thus far spent $3.75. I know both sides have to agree but I would love to see the purse strings loosened and see the remaining top 25 signed. I would also like to see the big impact (high risk, high reward) move to sign Silverstein for 2nd round money. Total cost of my dream would maybe reach $10m. It's so much fun to spend other's money. It seems relatively inexpensive when compared to even a very bad FA (check recent Nats history). That would put the CAPITAL P in Plan. Are you listening Girl who revels?

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 12, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Quoth Harlan: "After the game, Mock called the nine strikeouts a negative, not a positive."

I think I could maybe like this kid. (Of course, the real way to my heart is to get batters out. But he's got plenty of time to do that.)

On another note, may I say that it's a bit early to be judging the team's ownership and management for their failure to sign Mark Teixeira on the free-agent market? I know it's fun to idly speculate; heck, that's pretty much why blogs exist. But seriously, I'm seeing posts deriding the Lerners for the fact that they didn't sign him, AND posts complaining that his demands were too high for the team to even consider. If I may be so bold, can we please give the player and the team a chance to negotiate?

You know, I could swear there's a parallel to be drawn here ... people getting worked up into a lather about something that was still in process ... dang, if only I could think of what it is. It's right on the tip of my brain ...

Posted by: Scooter | August 12, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm with ya, SP63, but there is no chance he signs. Zero. Nada. Even for 2nd round money.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I would also like to see the big impact (high risk, high reward) move to sign Silverstein for 2nd round money.
Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 12, 2008 8:16 AM

Posted by: Section 138 | August 12, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Oh! PS: It's not really fair to pick on other people for discussing something without putting myself on the line. My take: Teixeira sure looks like he'd be a swell fit on our squad. I hope the Nats try to sign him (and would be disappointed if they didn't try), and I hope they succeed.

True, he might not be interested in coming to such a lousy team. But then, he'd be a very big fish in our pond. And maybe he thinks that we're on a big upswing, and would be intrigued by the chance to get in early. Hey, it could happen.

Posted by: Scooter | August 12, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Mock had me at steak.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 12, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut is never willing to settle for a bar that can still be lowered.

Posted by: Scooter | August 12, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

LAC--

I understand your take on the Lerners, I just simply disagree. You do make a good point about buidling incrementally. When I spoke about going and getting players to round out needs, that also comes from trades. And quite honestly, the right player will always be available for the right price (in terms of trade value). And if the Nats continue to build the farm system, it won't necessarily be overpaying to give up a couple prospects for a stud who is still under contract for a decent amount of money.

I know I will sound like a Lerner apologist when I say this, but who would you have had them sign during free agency? Torii Hunter for 20 million a season? I think it was clear that a better decision was to plug money into the scouting and player development. If you would rather that a team spends stupid money (like they did with LoDuca and Estrada), that's fine. I just disagree.

Also, if we weren't at all interested in what other fans had to say, we wouldn't post on a blog. We would go to the stadium, watch the games, and internalize all the comments.

Posted by: Cavalier | August 12, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I'd love to hear the conversation between Stan and Selig over the Nats high signing bonuses.

"Stan, you guys cut that out. We are trying to suppress salaries and not let big market teams ruin things for small towns like Milwaukee."

"Bud, did you just see the scores this weekend? You and the 28 others who owned my team stripped it bare of talent before we bought it. Now we aren't going to use the resources of our market to jack up FA salaries. One or two would not make a difference now for us. But we'll be darn sure to spend what we want to restock the minors. We'll make an example out of Crow, though, just to not look like suckers, and take two top ten picks next year."

Posted by: PTBNL | August 12, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

LAC, I'm also going to respectfully disagree with you on this one. I understand (and share) your disappointment in this year's team, but I don't fault the Lerners for the money they haven't spent. They're running the Nats the way they would run any business, and that means they're not going to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into two or three free agents who will contribute an extra 15 (or _maybe_ 20) wins per season… and this in a perfect world. With 20 more wins this year, we'd still finish the season under .500, setting us back five or ten draft picks without making the fans a whole lot happier.

The Lerners are just trying to get the most out of their money. I guess that does make them cheap, but I'd rather they be cheap than stupid. I believe that they will bring the team slowly but surely up to an 85-90 win level and leave it there, because that’s the best way to turn a profit from this franchise. And I’ll gladly wait half a dozen years in return for legitimate, perennial playoff hopes.

I will also admit that I'm one of those annoying "fatalistic pessimists," and I have this nasty habit of paying to go to Nats game regardless of the product on the field. People like me probably keep Mark and Stan from crying themselves to sleep at night, and for that I suppose I owe you an apology :)

Posted by: 3434 | August 12, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Cavalier, let me respond to your last point first. I'm happy to discuss these issues about how to build the team with you and other posters. To elaborate on my earlier point, the kind of thing that I'm not interested in is your earlier comment that you are "tired" by my "disposition." I don't think that kind of comment is very productive--as you say, if we weren't interested in what other fans have to say, we wouldn't post (or presumably read the comments). And if my particular comments are tiresome, there's no need to respond.

As to the substance of your post, no, I'm not in favor of stupid free agent signings like LoDuca and Estrada. I'm also not in favor of trying to buy an entire team of free agents. But I do think that at the same time the Nats are developing the farm, building the team incrementally by going after bona fide solid players in free agency like, for example, Hunter (I agree it would have been unlikely he would have signed here but who knows?) or Rowand (IMO a good chance he would have signed here) is a better way to build the team, on many levels.

Here's the first and foremost reason: signing an established veteran or two who plays the game right is good for the development of our younger players. We can all say what we want about Lenny Harris, but isn't it striking how often he has commented that the young players have no veterans to learn from? An established good hitter would also help take some pressure off the younger players. As an example, in my view, Zimmerman's performance at the plate this year has been a big disappointment. He has regressed as far as discipline and pitch selection are concerned. Having a vet to learn from--and take some pressure off him--can only be a good thing for his future development.

Second, the Nats are tens of millions of dollars behind their peer teams when it comes to expenses. Signing a free agent and player development/scouting are not mutually exclusive, because the latter type of expenses are extremely small compared to the former. Plus, there's the argument that the Nats are actually retarding player development on the big league level by not providing veteran presence to lead and learn from.

The issue is not just can a free agent or two get the Nats "over the top." There's no reason it has to be that way--the Lerners' adherence to that formula suggests cheapness. Maybe a free agent or two can help get the Nats to the next level, and help with the development of the younger players to boot. And then maybe it's the younger players who then provide the push to get over the top. Why not?

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 12, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Do you think Mackowiak, LoDuca, Estrada and Lopez will make them more or less willing to spend more money on players in the future?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 12, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Cav --

"I know I will sound like a Lerner apologist when I say this, but who would you have had them sign during free agency? Torii Hunter for 20 million a season? I think it was clear that a better decision was to plug money into the scouting and player development."

The problem with that is that they're not putting all that extra money into the scouting and minor league system. There's only so much you can spend. Look at those draft numbers again. Even in a year that they went above and beyond the average team, they still only spent half a LoDuca more.

That's my biggest problem with the whole thing is that they've presented it as an either/or. Either we can spend money on the minors and scouting or we can spend money on the major league level. That's a false choice.

Yes, you can argue that the particular players might not make sense for the Nats, but the notion that a dollar saved today is going to improve the scouting operation or is going to be used next year is likely wrong as well.

Posted by: Chris | August 12, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and if you'd prefer complaints, here's what bugs me about the management of this team:

The Nationals front office--especially Jim Bowden, from what I can tell--are absolute masters of buying low. Since they're committed to minimal spending, they're forced to grab rejects and nobodies, and they do a reasonable job of finding guys that actually pan out (examples that come to mind are Meathook and post-Lasik Guzman). But it infuriates me to NO END that Jim can't bring himself to sell high. He signed both of those guys to extensions after career seasons (well, a career half-season for Guz) instead of ditching them for someone less likely to collapse into injured oblivion by the time the ink was dry. Ugh.

Posted by: 3434 | August 12, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"...signing an established veteran or two who plays the game right is good for the development of our younger players."

With this I agree wholeheartedly. I think we can all see the toll that the Team Leader role has taken on Zim, and that is a real shame. But I don't necessarily think a big-name, big-bucks free agent is the answer. Soriano provided protection in the lineup, but I don't remember him coaching the rookies in his spare time. On the other hand, I think the approach of Willie Harris as described by Chico in the gamer a week or two back is something the young kids could really learn from. So I worry that you're combining two separate complaints; the lack of a big bat in the 4-hole and the lack of guidance for the developing players.

Posted by: 3434 | August 12, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Anyone see this on the Nats website? According to Bill Ladson, Bowden will be gone by the end of the season....I hope he's right!

"There is no question that what Bowden did was wrong, and he admitted as such. Cordero is one of the greatest human beings I've ever met in baseball. He deserved better than that. I strongly believe he will not be back with the Nationals, based on what sources have told me. Cordero is still angry about the way" things happened.

Posted by: Pablo | August 12, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I think Ladson's saying CHAD won't be back.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 12, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

You're right Natsnut.

Nothing wrong with wishful thinking I guess.....

Posted by: Pablo | August 12, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Section 138,
You're probably right but it's my dream and, although I am willing to share it, I will not abandon it. At least not until 16 August.

Let's sign some more and ...

Let's play two

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 12, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Pablo - I read the "he" in "I strongly believe he will not be back " to mean Cordero, not Bowden.

Posted by: PTBNL | August 12, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I had the same interpretation as NatsNut and PTBNL on the Cordero-related comments.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 12, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I actually don't care too much about Crow because worst case scenario we get two top 10 picks next year. If Crow is willing to risk going back to college and getting injured or having a bad season and dropping in draft order that is on him. I see no reason to grossly overpay when we are guaranteed a top 10 pick next year if we don't sign him. With that being said if we can find a reasonable price that is over slot, but not crazy I'd prefer to sign him this year.

I would really like to get Marcus Jones signed since he is from DC and this is our second time drafting him. The Nats drafted him in 2005, but he went to NC State. They must really like him to draft him twice.

Posted by: Sign Crow and Marcus Jones fan club | August 12, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Chris--

There is far more to minor league development than signing bonus money paid to draft picks. So, I think you're taking one small portion of player development and using that to illustrate the entire budget. However, I do agree with your point that there is only so much they can spend money on.

LAC--
I'm sorry you took exception to my comments.

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

3434, it all boils down to picking the right type of free agent. Believe me, I don't harbor the illusion that the Nats can be a contender next year. So I'm not necessarily advocating that a free agent signing right now needs to be a #4 bat. Guys like Hunter* and Rowand though are both gamers who the youngsters could learn from and feed off their energy. Maybe they don't provide lineup protection specifically, but they still take some of the focus off and provide good examples to learn from. On the other hand, I would have viewed an Andruw Jones signing as a bad move--even if his performance rebounded to earlier all-star levels, he still wouldn't have been the right kind of guy to bring in to a developing team.

The problem I have is the almost instantaneous gag reflex that the Lerners/Kasten seem to have adopted in their comments to the media in reaction to the notion of signing any big-ticket free agent now. Some of us fans seem to have adopted the same view. But there's no reason free agents need to be the "last piece," and the right free agents can actually help with the development of the other pieces.

Oh, and as to your earlier apology--not necessary, unless I owe one to myself also. As I've stated before, I'm a season ticket holder myself. That I feel free to rip the owners of the team doesn't, in my view, make me less of a fan. I expect I'll be a Nats fan long after Mark Lerner has gotten his family out of the baseball business.

*To address the inevitable forthcoming response from someone on Torii Hunter, I know it is unlikely he would have signed here. At this point, we're talking about types of guys we would want for the future and not castigating the Nats for hypothetical past mistakes, so whether he would have isn't really the issue. I would point out, though, that the Nats didn't try, so who knows what could have happened? Also, I think Rowand may well have signed here if the Nats went after him.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 12, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Is this a generational thing? Chico takes more days off in 3 months than Barry too off in 3 years. Barry bloged, reported, did interviews on radio, podcasted, and went to the park on rare off days. He even posted from vacation. Chico? 2 days on, 2 days off. I just flew in from Milwaulkee and boy are my arms tired. The Barry story on the swim team this morning was delightful. I'm not hating on Chico, but he's no Barry.

Posted by: NatBisquit | August 11, 2008 11:09 PM

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

Agreed Bis - It's nice to read a Barry "gamer" again.

Posted by: Patty | August 12, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I can't complain, though. If Chico were Barry, he'd stick around just long enough to make everyone love him, then leave for the Redskins beat because the day-to-day grind of baseball takes superhuman devotion.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Chico,
I'm satisfied with your work schedule. I admire your work and hope you enjoy it enough to stick around for many years. Taking time off is part of the deal.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 12, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I once went to 5 games in one week and I was exhausted. And I was just watching.

Granted, I do have another job, but as big a fan as I am, I cannot even imagine watching that many live games a year.

It very much took its toll on Barry. Just read some of his stuff from the beginning of this year. Flat.

If a day off every 10 games keeps Chico fresh and vibrant, for a longer period of time, then I'm all for it.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 12, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to the Washington Times Sports-Baseball section. Todays coverage was simply "over the top", plenty of Nats stories and game info. If you'll have had enough of Chico's "flex-time" and WAPO's intern fill-ins, hold you nose and read the Times.

By contrast to the WAPO the Times Redskins coverage was appropriate for the time of year.

Posted by: Tippy Canoe | August 12, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Can someone (hint, 1a, our unofficial archivist!) find Barry's explanation of leaving post. I am almost positively that he specifically lists not having enough time off as a reason for transferring.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 12, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I mean to crticize no poster here.

It is difficult for me to join the discusion of potential free agent signings when we are talking about the "type" of free agent. I would prefer the intellectual rigor of naming a specific FA expected to be available next year. To reduce it to the absurd, to argue whether we would want a "Walter Johnson type" or a "Babe Ruth type" is akin to the medieval theologians arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I do not object to those discussions. This is supposed to be fun and it is, but it is hard for me to participate. I am much more comfortable arguing whether to draft Crow or Smoak, i.e, real peole with real pluses and minuses.
There are at least two sides to the Big Train vs Babe discussion. The romanicist would take both because they would be great in present day Nats' uniforms. The realist might point out that they are both dead.
This all may be my problem but it explains why I don't participate in those discussions. It may also point out why those that do rarely agree.
Again no criticsm meant, enjoy doing what you do.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 12, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut,
Much better said than I did.

I agree!

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 12, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

So how do you KNOW that the Nats didn't "try" to sign Hunter (or someone like Hunter)? Couldn't something have happened where Bowden, or whomever, contacted Hunter's agent, who simply said something like "My client wants to play for a competitive team." Then Bowden, correctly, moves on -- there's only so much time in the day, why waste it.

I don't see why a scenario like that is so far-fetched. I would think that the Nats have a list of ALL free agents, and go to the reps of all of them who would fit in (not a third baseman) to see if there is any posssiblity that a deal could be worked. All say no, because the team sucks. So then you move on. Maybe they should hold a press conference -- "We asked and no good players want to play here."

Posted by: nat matt | August 12, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

"there's no reason free agents need to be the 'last piece,' and the right free agents can actually help with the development of the other pieces."

Again, no argument here. But at this point, you're talking about a VERY specific type of player; someone young enough to fit with The Plan, respected enough to command a spotlight, with a talent for leadership and the time and inclination to serve as a mentor. And he has to be willing to sign in DC. And he should probably play 1B or LF, since we have guys everywhere else. And he shouldn't be injury prone, because we've got enough of those. Oh, and he should be good at baseball.

So if this guy exists and is willing to play in DC for a reasonable price considering his talent, we absolutely should pick him up. I'll join you in Lerner-bashing the day they don't make that deal.

Posted by: 3434 | August 12, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Here you go, 506:

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2008/01/ballparks_and_beat_writers.html

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

Thanks for the laugh, SlowPitch!

---------

The romanicist would take both because they would be great in present day Nats' uniforms. The realist might point out that they are both dead.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 12, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"The romanicist would take both because they would be great in present day Nats' uniforms. The realist might point out that they are both dead."

Lerners ARE Cheap would say that the Lerners are cheap for not buying Ted Williams's frozen head and spending a billion dollars to find a cure for whatever it was that killed him so they could bring him back to life to bat cleanup for the Nationals. And if they DID do that, LAC would still say the Lerners are cheap because they didn't also clone the revived Ted Williams to serve as manager of the team as well.

Broken record, thy name is Lerners ARE Cheap!

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | August 12, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

RKGF, have you read this thread all the way through? LAC has had some intelligent, well thought out, discussion-oriented post. We've been having a real productive chat about our opinions on free agent acquisitions and the best strategy for improving the Nationals now and in the future.

I'm pretty sure broken record's name is still Steven on Capitol Hill.

(Also, I'm pretty sure we don't have the technology to safely un-freeze Williams even if we could reverse-age him back to his .400+ prime. A damn shame, don't you think?)

Posted by: 3434 | August 12, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

**make that posts, with an s.

That's the second time today I've left the s off of a plural... oops...

Posted by: 3434 | August 12, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Natsfan1a,
Anything for you, my cyberfriend, anything for you. You've brightened my day more times than I can count.

Let's play two!

Thanks for the laugh, SlowPitch!

---------

The romanicist would take both because they would be great in present day Nats' uniforms. The realist might point out that they are both dead.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 12, 2008 12:26 PM

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 12, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

3434, in most respects it seems like you have described Teixeira, for one. I don't know the view on his intangibles and would be interested to hear from others about that. Would he sign here? Who knows, but there's only one way to find out. I hope the Nats make a serious effort to sign him. They can certainly afford it and, as we've been discussing, I think he fits in to the picture very well.

________________________

Again, no argument here. But at this point, you're talking about a VERY specific type of player; someone young enough to fit with The Plan, respected enough to command a spotlight, with a talent for leadership and the time and inclination to serve as a mentor. And he has to be willing to sign in DC. And he should probably play 1B or LF, since we have guys everywhere else. And he shouldn't be injury prone, because we've got enough of those. Oh, and he should be good at baseball.

So if this guy exists and is willing to play in DC for a reasonable price considering his talent, we absolutely should pick him up. I'll join you in Lerner-bashing the day they don't make that deal.

Posted by: 3434 | August 12, 2008 12:08 PM

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 12, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, being cheap is not a bad thing. Lack of investment of any kind would be a bad thing, but lack of lavish spending is not. I think we have seen a significant amount of investment from the Lerners including stadium, player development, and even salaries. We have also seen that they will incur necessary short term expenses to protect those investments (e.g., LoDucca to protect Flores). Their commitment to player development can be seen in multiple areas including scouting, over-slot signings, and Domincan/world development.

Teixeira makes no financial sense whatsoever - you don't make that kind of investment before you have the other 80 percent in place. You add players like him at the top of the pyramid, not at the bottom.

Posted by: NatBisquit | August 12, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I suppose time will tell with Tex. Personally, I'd be VERY surprised if he ended up in DC, but I doubt he'd come here even if we were to actually offer him substantially more than the contending teams do... which I expect we won't.

Posted by: 3434 | August 12, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

LAC

In everything that he does on the field 3434 has described Tex. Sadly both the Yankees and the Angels will be looking for first basemen in the free agent market. The Lerners may be cheap, but ever if they weren't, the contract it would take to lure a guy of that talent from teams that can write any contract AND compete would be astronomical. I think we may all have to come to terms with the fact that Tex ain't coming.

Posted by: Ben | August 12, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't really have any basis for guessing whether or not Teix would come here, since I've never spoken to him, and I don't know what free agents think of the future we have here. If someone's prediction of a 10 year contract is correct, I do feel comfortable guessing that the man is capable of thinking more than one year in advance and his estimation of the state of Washington's rebuilding project is as indicative as this year's W-L record.

I do know that he would be a great piece in our lineup, so I'll keep saying, make a go at him.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 12, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

NatBisquit, I think you hit the nail on the head in your first paragraph. I agree (and said before, perhaps less eloquently than you) that I think the Lerners are "cheap," and I'm okay with that, as long as it's a sign of intelligence.

But I agree with LAC when he says that we don't HAVE to put pieces of the puzzle together in a particular order. If Tex could be a real part of the future, we shouldn't let him sign long-term with another team. Then we have to find a different puzzle piece with all of his upsides later, when we're ready to win. We might as well pick him up now, since he'll still be around when The Plan starts to click.

The downsides are the cost (which the Lerners can afford) and the worse draft pick (this bothers me, but I can also understand the POV that a passable team is worth a few slots in the draft). The upsides are a better team (which some of us value more than others) and a pair of shoulders to take some of the weight off of our developing players. That last benefit shouldn't be underestimated, IMHO.

Posted by: 3434 | August 12, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

It's been reported Texiera wants 10 years, and might take 7. That doesn't sound to me like he'll insist on going to a team that will contend in 2009. But that's not what worries me. For the Nats to "out-bid" everyone else, they'll probably have to put up, not just the money, but also the time. I don't care how good he is, the Quarter of a Billion Dollars per Decade thing has been tried, and it didn't work (granted, $.25B doesn't buy what it used to).
But that's not all. You pay him that, you just made him the Face, necessarily. NOW what do they have to offer Zimmerman when his turn comes? Even if they *can* afford it?
I'd LOVE to see them sign Texiera, but I don't see how it happens.

Posted by: CE | August 12, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

So, to recap, everyone on NJ thinks it would be great to have Tex on the team, but that there's not a snowball's chance in hell that could actually happen...

Posted by: summary | August 12, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if he read this post and realised how much we really really wanted him to come.

Posted by: Ben | August 12, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

There's also the Monopoly approach. If you bid a lot on him and lose, that means somebody has to bid more on him, which then limits their spending.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 12, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

We'd be complete idiots not to try for Teixiera with everything we have because he's perfect, and we'd be complete idiots to think we even had a passing chance of him landing with us.

Posted by: better summary | August 12, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

So, now that we've penciled in our 1B in the four-spot for the next eight years, what do we do with the rest of the mess at that position? Can someone walk me through the best options for NJ and DY, in terms of contract status, possible compensation, etc? Saying we head into '09 with a new starter at 1st, what are the other moves that need to be/can be made?

Posted by: nat in beantown | August 12, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Yankees: We offer you $21/10.

Nats: We offer you $25/10!

Yankees: We offer you $21/10. And we're the Yankees.

Tex: I pick the Yankees.

Posted by: why Monopoly strategy fails | August 12, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Summary/Better Summary,
The discussion in question is obviously just a cover for why we're all really hanging around NJ this afternoon: Anticipation of a Brian post announcing a Crow signing.

Well, that, and random speculation on Teix beats the hell out of work right now...

Posted by: stating the obvious | August 12, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Yankees: We offer you $21/10.

Nats: We offer you $25/10!

Yankees: We offer you $21/10. And we're the Yankees.

Tex: I pick the Yankees.

Yankees: Sweet! Now, go out there and do your best to make A-Rod and Jeter look great while not making the post-season because the team is decaying.

Tex: I take the Nats, where I can bat fourth and be the toast of the town!

Posted by: Mr. Monopoly | August 12, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

One factor on whether Tex would sign here is that he is a local guy. We don't know whether or not that means anything to him, but it may--and may also make the Os a possibility. Anyway, some players don't want to play in NY. Plus, the Yankees have some complicated issues they would have to deal with before they could go after Tex (and which might stop them), as Posada's career as a catcher might well be over, forcing him to 1st. He is signed for 3 more years.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 12, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see Tex here, but I don't think it will happen. Not because he wouldn't want to come here (though he may not), but because Kasten has already said it isn't going to happen. They aren't going to go out and pay top dollar for free agents. Lerner may have said they will increase payroll and will bring in some free agents, but that doesn't mean they will double payroll and bring in the top free agent on the market.

Perhaps the trade for a big first base bat will come through. Who would it be? No idea, but wouldn't it be nice? I think a trade is actually better in this case. They've signed most of their draft picks, effectively stocking the minors with another crop of youngsters. A trade of a couple prospects for a guy who is still under contract for a few years would keep the Nats away from having to spend astronomical free agent prices and would get the big bat everyone wants.

Posted by: Cavalier | August 12, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"Tex: I take the Nats, where I can bat fourth and be the toast of the town!"

Is it possible for him to have this attitude AND be a positive clubhouse personality at the same time? I mean, a spotlight hog would come in handy right now since Zim is being blinded, but we don't need a prima donna.

Posted by: abc | August 12, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Angels: We offer you $21/10.

Nats: We offer you $25/10!
Angels: We offer you $21/10. And we're the Angels.

Tex: I pick the Angels.

Posted by: in case the Yanks are out of the running | August 12, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

The reason why Teixiera fits in with the plan is because he can be the pop of the lineup for five to seven years and a solid producer for two to three more.

No post-Mitchell flop in this guys stats:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/t/teixema01.shtml

And only 28!

You're correct that we might not need this guy next year, plan-wise, but we sure will need him the seven years after that. Why not get him now, if it's available? Better than wasting money on Adam Dunn, who will only do half as much for half as long.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 12, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

angels are smart. they already have kendry morales lined up for next year. i doubt they sign tex. purely a move for this year and when they offer arbitration it just deepens their farm system if he rejects it.

i actually hope cordero is gone. he's cooked and reading about another injury case repeatedly gets tiresome. letting him go is the right move. keeping him to say you are sorry in a roundabout way is just foolish.

crow or no crow i'm happy with the draft now.

Posted by: longterm | August 12, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

for discussion/amusement/debate, the 2009 Opening Day #4 hitter candidates, in order of likelihood:

1) Elijah Dukes
2) Nick Johnson
3) Lastings Milledge
4) Adam Dunn
5) Austin Kearns
6) Ryan Zimmerman
7) Bobby Abreu
8) Wily Mo Pena
9) Mark Teixiera
10) Rocco Baldelli

Posted by: nat in beantown | August 12, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

We can play Monopoly in whatever manner we choose to because of our exemption. So there.

Posted by: MLB suits | August 12, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

**and before anyone goes off on Baldelli, I sort of threw him in there as a sort of crazy, batsh**, high-risk/reward, but-hes-not-even-a-power-hitter kind of move that I've come to expect from JimBo. (I said the list was partly for amusement, remember). For those who want a more realistic, less fun list, throw Delgado or Flores in at #10)

Posted by: nat in beantown | August 12, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Beantown, I am assuming your prediction of who is batting number four one month AFTER opening day has Nick Johnson as the tenth most likely candidate?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 12, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I see that some people are still smoking something good. What makes Texeira want to come to the nationals? let's say that he gets offered $20m a year to go to Boston, even if the Lerners are willing to pony up $21m a year, you think he'll come? $22m? $24m? Do you think that he's worth 6 years and $24m per? That's a pretty fiscally irresponsible price, isn't it? The Lerners will have to way overpay to get him here while the farm catches up. It's just not worth it.

Posted by: SF Fan | August 12, 2008 1:46 AM
____________________________________

Free Agents sign with Texas all the time and they never win.

Posted by: 756* | August 12, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Opening Day 2009:

6 guzman
7 dukes
5 zimmerman
3 nick johnson
8 milledge
2 flores
9 kearns
4 harris
1 ben sheets

Posted by: longterm | August 12, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

boston won't commit to him either. they are happy with lars anderson's future at 1b.

Posted by: longterm | August 12, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"Soriano provided protection in the lineup, but I don't remember him coaching the rookies in his spare time."

Wow, do you work on the grounds crew or in the organization? Did you come to games 3 hours in advance? I'm not sure you are qualified to make such statements.

Posted by: 756* | August 12, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Yankees: We offer you $21/10.

Nats: We offer you $25/10!

Yankees: We offer you $21/10. And we're the Yankees.

Tex: I pick the Yankees.

Yankees: Sweet! Now, go out there and do your best to make A-Rod and Jeter look great while not making the post-season because the team is decaying.

Tex: I take the Nats, where I can bat fourth and be the toast of the town!
____________________________________

Nats: ok, We offer you $23/8!

Posted by: 756* | August 12, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"Soriano provided protection in the lineup, but I don't remember him coaching the rookies in his spare time."

Wow, do you work on the grounds crew or in the organization? Did you come to games 3 hours in advance? I'm not sure you are qualified to make such statements.

Posted by: 756* | August 12, 2008 2:58 PM
___________________

I'm not qualified to say he DIDN'T coach them. On the other hand, it's perfectly reasonable for me to relate my own memories and impressions.

Also, my point was that Soriano's presence didn't (to my knowledge) automatically drive the rookies to excel. A better counterargument on your part would be a list of young players who excelled during his tenure here and then flopped when he left. I don't have the time or the desire to look all that up, but you're welcome to.

Posted by: 3434 | August 12, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Soriano didn't provide any protection for anyone, because he refused to bat anywhere but leadoff. We probably could have had five to ten more games if that prima donna had been unselfish enough to put himself in a position to drive in runs, instead of hitting all solo homers.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 12, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"Soriano didn't provide any protection for anyone, because he refused to bat anywhere but leadoff. We probably could have had five to ten more games if that prima donna had been unselfish enough to put himself in a position to drive in runs, instead of hitting all solo homers."

...good point.

Posted by: 3434 | August 12, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Sori was the opposite extreme of the "hustle" continuum from Lopez. He hustled so hard he had no time to do anything for the team.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 12, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

What we know about Soriano is that he is on the "all nice guy" team and was quite popular with the millionaires who inhabit our last place clubhouse. The source of that popularity seems to be Sori's genuinely sunny disposition, as opposed to the question most players want to know: "How did a failed 2d baseman, Yankee castoff and below average left fielder with streaky power that dies against playoff pitching get to be a 100+ millionaire? I gotta get me somma that!"

Posted by: flynnie | August 12, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not qualified to say he DIDN'T coach them. On the other hand, it's perfectly reasonable for me to relate my own memories and impressions."

Not if your own memories and impressions were limited in scope to watching games from the stands or on tv, i.e. you were not privy to details about his "spare time."

Posted by: 756* | August 12, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Soriano also kicked up such a fuss about playing in left field that our entire staff spent the off season trying to make him happy or flip him to another team. There was a fair bit of pitching available that year, and we didn't sign anyone. His prima donna'ing was unforgivable if you ask me.

As was Bowden signing him without ever clearing that he would be happy to play left field...

Posted by: Ben | August 12, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The problem with that is that they're not putting all that extra money into the scouting and minor league system. There's only so much you can spend. Look at those draft numbers again. Even in a year that they went above and beyond the average team, they still only spent half a LoDuca more.

That's my biggest problem with the whole thing is that they've presented it as an either/or. Either we can spend money on the minors and scouting or we can spend money on the major league level. That's a false choice.

Yes, you can argue that the particular players might not make sense for the Nats, but the notion that a dollar saved today is going to improve the scouting operation or is going to be used next year is likely wrong as well.

Posted by: Chris | August 12, 2008 10:24 AM

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

The Lerners should build a new Minor League Park in Richmond and put the AAA team there-The NatsPos (goes w/PoNats and the theme of impoverished ownership.) It would only cost 10-20 Lo Duca's. They could put it next to the All-Night Krispy Kreme on Broad Street that is now Richmond's main attraction and call it The Big Doughnut, which will remind us what to bring to NatsPark to sit on after paying what we pay to see what we see.

Posted by: flynnie | August 12, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, I'm sorry I opened this can of worms.

All I wanted to say was that a superstar can put up good numbers, draw fans, and cost a bundle without necessarily being a mentor and peer-coach for all of the young guys.

I didn't mean to get everyone riled up, and I still think my basic point is true. Feel free to discuss.

Posted by: 3434 | August 12, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"As was Bowden signing him without ever clearing that he would be happy to play left field..."

GMs aren't allowed to talk to players before they trade for them. But yes, Bowden was an idiot for thinking he could force Sori in that situation. Even though Bowden eventually won out, it's still a nonsensical way to run a team, especially when that player is on record as opposing a switch.

Ideally, players will do what's "best for the team" but I can sympathize with Soriano in opposing the 2B to OF switch. What if your organization traded you and your new place told you to switch jobs (to one that you had never performed before and thought you would fail at)? What if they switched you to a less-lucrative career path? I'd be pissed too.

Posted by: 756* | August 12, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

3434,
No good deed goes unpunished.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 12, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

The last Raul Ibanez rumor I saw had him seeking 3 years, $10 - 11 million from Seattle. Assuming no Teixeira, would anyone offer him that as a 1B / OF? 37 Years old, but a much shorter term and still some position flexibility.

Posted by: PTBNL | August 12, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Of course, then the Cubs tried to switch him to center and he threw a fit about that, too, talking about how much he liked left field.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 12, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't have any interest in a short term, mediocre free agent. I'd rather take my knocks with the kids and veteran backups we already have. Start Belli/Casto for half the year, then call up Reinhardt.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 12, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

756*, bowden didn't have to talk to soriano about playing OF before he traded for him. all he had to do was listen to him repeatedly say he didn't want to play OF.

granted, it was a stupid proposition on soriano's part and he's better off now as an OF than a 2B, but that didn't mean it wasn't going to be a big friggin issue after they signed him, knowing how he felt.

Posted by: 231 | August 12, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Texeira - Why not try? If the goal is to compete in 2010, he'll be 30 and in his prime. The Nats need to acquire championship-caliber players that will be ready to compete at a chosen time however they can. To say that it's too early to acquire a stud, well, then you're the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are always acquiring young talent because they don't want expensive prime talent.

Soriano - he made his one day, one act protest of being moved to LF in spring training, then sucked it up and did the best he could. The team was better and his career was better. Bowden did an excellent job of scouting and knowing what would work out best. He had leverage and used it, to the benefit of all concerned. Can't say that Bowden was an idiot there. Maybe for not trading him at the deadline, but that dead horse is hopefully buried. Agree that Sori's desire to hit leadoff is prima-donnaish though.

Posted by: Geezer | August 12, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie,
I love your idea for the Lerners to build a ballpark in the Richmond area and put an AAA team there. I think the best spot would be the east side of 295 which would be accessible to the fastest growing areas as well as the Peninsula cities.

Posted by: Dale | August 12, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"756*, bowden didn't have to talk to soriano about playing OF before he traded for him. all he had to do was listen to him repeatedly say he didn't want to play OF."


Preaching to the choir.

Posted by: 756* | August 12, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: 756*

_________________________________

Okay, who let him out of his cave? What have we told you about that?
...sigh...

Posted by: *657 | August 12, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't get it...cave? Is that supposed to mean something?

So, is that what you people do on this "blog"? Whenever someone posts comments that contradict yours, you make them feel unwelcome?

Posted by: 756* | August 12, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Where is resident dad of the blog (Section 506 (Before moving)) to punish *657?

Posted by: 756* | August 12, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

The Braves are leaving Richmond. I read a story that said that the Carolina League (Single A) was looking to expand to Richmond.

But I also read that Columbus wants to dump the Nats and get another AAA team. I think the Nats would be crazy not to try and find a way to move to Richmond

Posted by: Nats in Richmond | August 12, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Not to disrupt the flaming and counter-flaming, but two things:
1) As one of the people who was referred to as a "you," I think I can speak for (get ready, another generic pronoun...) us regular NJers that we don't do that. Heck, there was a great conversation with LAC today! Two months ago I agreed with SoCH and 506 ON THE SAME POINT. And as far as I can tell, the world has not ended.

2) New post. I'm putting up some riveting commentary.

Not really. But the new post part is true!

Posted by: NattyDelite! | August 12, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I meant to say the Nats would be crazy to not try to move their AAA team to Richmond

Posted by: Nats in Richmond | August 12, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

756*, we are a diverse group of individuals, and we each think and act on our own. It would be a mistake to assume that one individual speaks for or represents all of us.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 12, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

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